Why Argylle Bombed At The Box Office

Based on its mediocre $18 million opening weekend, it’s fair to say “Argylle” just doesn’t have the momentum needed to cross its reported $200 million-plus budget. Numbers vary across several different sources, but the consensus seems to suggest that $200 million is the minimum budget for the star-studded affair. There might be some truth to that number, as Deadline says Apple bought the rights for the pic for $200 million back in 2021. Over the last few years, several films have failed thanks in part to their bloated budgets, which put considerable expectations on films to overperform. 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the box office hasn’t fully rebounded, and the industry hasn’t hit the same highs it boasted in 2018. The numbers show that audiences aren’t showing up to cinemas as much as they used to, which means production budgets need to be managed to reign in expectations. On paper, it’s a great idea for Apple to pay $200 million for a flick that features heavyweights like John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson, Henry Cavill, and pop sensation Dua Lipa — but none of these stars are actual box office draws. In an era where star power is only reserved for the likes of Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, and Tom Cruise, it’s difficult to see where the money was spent, especially when one considers the film’s poor use of CGI. 

Despite the reported $200 million price tag, which has consistently been maintained by trades, Matthew Vaughn has contested that number, telling Deadline that the pic didn’t cost that much. “I don’t know how you spend $200 million on it,” he told the outlet. “I actually don’t. Unless you’re going to make a five-hour CG fest.” 

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