According to THR, the movie is on point to lose a pretty staggering $125-140 million, even with the movie expected to haul in nearly $200 million once all is said and done. So why did it lose money? Well, the production budget itself was a pretty ridiculous $195 million (none of which is seen on screen) and that's not counting the marketing costs or delays, with the movie pushed from release last summer to this spring. While Warner Bros. won't feel the sting too badly since they shared costs with Legendary, it's still a pretty ugly black eye. And too bad really, because the movie itself is lighthearted and modest overall (and better than 'Oz' in this writer's opinion), but perhaps foiled by spending way too much on it all around.
And one can't help but think of last year's spring flop, "John Carter," which Disney openly admitted hurt them to the tune of $200 million. And what directors Andrew Stanton and Bryan Singer both did next is eerily similar. Stanton has returned to the animation world, helming the "Finding Nemo" sequel "Finding Dory" (he helmed 'Nemo,' as well as the hit "Wall-E"). Singer too returned to very familiar territory, taking over from Matthew Vaughn on "X-Men: Days Of Future Past." The directors are basically returning to the franchises where they've had their greatest success to once again prove their bonafides to Hollywood.
There is probably a lesson in here about overspending on unproven concepts, or stuffing a $200 million movie with largely unknown actors to the mainstream, but Hollywood won't learn because they're not in the business of learning. Studio tentpole releases are basically a game of chance, where a bigger risk and can lead to a bigger reward, so this kind of thing won't end anytime soon. Everyone involved will recover, WB will do some creative accounting, and by this time next year, everyone will hopefully have forgotten (or a bigger disaster will happen over the next eight months that will take the attention away).