'Mad Max' franchise likely put on hold after 'Furiosa' flop

The female-led sequel for the “Mad Max” franchise likely didn’t do enough at the box office for studios to bank on another movie in the saga, reports have suggested.

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” finished the Memorial Day long weekend with only $32,000,000, according to Box Office Mojo. It was also the lowest-earning No. 1 film for a Memorial Day box office opening since 1995 when “Casper” took the top spot with just $16.8 million.

The budget was an estimated $168-$233 million, likely on the higher end when accounting for advertising and marketing costs.

As reports have suggested, the performance of the sequel seemed to be the marker as to whether or not the planned prequel called “The Wasteland” gets made.

‘A Mad Max movie without Mad Max — or the actress who embodied the title character — is a tough sell.’

Franchise creator George Miller told journalists the day after the film’s Cannes Film Festival premier that he was waiting to see how “Furiosa” does before jumping into the next film.

“I’ll definitely wait to see how this goes, before we even think about it,” he said, per the Hollywood Reporter. The outlet also said its industry sources revealed the next film hasn’t even reached the development stages. At the same time however, Warner Bros. studio is allegedly incredibly proud of the film.

Another point of contention for the film was its inability to bring in a female audience, which is essentially the point of making the lead character a hard-nosed, tough woman.

The opening weekend for 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” brought in an audience of 40% women, with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron leading the way. That number reportedly shrank to 29% female viewership for “Furiosa,” which, while being the lead character, was played by relatively unknown actress Anya Taylor-Joy, not Theron.

The film also suffered in the 18-24 age group, which frequents movie theaters the most. That demographic also had a 10% decrease since the last film, from 31% to 21%.

“This won’t kill the franchise. Hollywood clings to IPs, even the ones that have stumbled or collapsed,” said entertainment reporter Christian Toto.

“See the ‘Terminator’ saga, which had not one but two duds before they took a knee. Still, a ‘Mad Max’ movie without Mad Max — or the actress who embodied the title character — is a tough sell,” Toto told Blaze News. “Audiences increasingly know films are hitting video on-demand faster and faster these days. Just look at ‘The Fall Guy,’ already available for home viewing.”

Warner Bros. will have to hope “Furiosa” blazes a similar trail to that of “Fury Road,” which opened with $45.3 million domestically but eventually gained momentum on its way to grossing $379.4 million.

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