It hasn't been a summer to remember for A-listers Will Smith and Johnny Depp, normally bankable box office stars, whose summer fare has landed with a thud in theaters. Smith's sci-fi adventure "After Earth" had less than worldly returns while Depp's western "The Lone Ranger" barely produced a gallop.
That recent trend turned alarming this past weekend as the sci-fi action comedy "R.I.P.D." had a dismal North American debut, continuing a Hollywood streak of weekly box office bombs for films that cost more than 100 million dollars (USD) to make.
Hollywood marketing executives also blame movies that are too much alike...pointing out that the plot for "White House Down" - the taking of the White House by terrorists - is much the same as "Olympus Has Fallen."
"After Earth" is also similar to the plot of the April release "Oblivion," Tom Cruise's sci-fi flick and the cartoonish villain creatures in "R.I.P.D." are reminiscent of those in "Men in Black" sequel "MIB3" last year.
One silver lining among the dark clouds of box office bombs is the fertile foreign market that could help the studios mitigate their losses.