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Is ‘Tarzan’ Warner Bros. Next ‘Pan’ Style Flop?

Is 'Tarzan' Warner Bros. Next 'Pan' Style Flop?

Executives at Warner Bros. are probably eager for 2015 to be over. The studio spent the year reeling from a string of flops, with “Jupiter Ascending,” “Entourage,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Vacation,” and “We Are Your Friends” all underwhelming or failing miserably. But at the top of the pile is Joe Wright‘s “Pan,” which could wind up costing WB $150 million. Ouch. I would wager the suits are eager for the calendar to roll over to 2016, so they can release guaranteed money earners like “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” and put the last twelve months behind them. But first, they’ll have to deal with another potentially impending disaster.

THR reports that “Tarzan” is facing a rough jungle as it heads into post-production. The movie, on paper at least, seems like a sort of promising reboot with “Harry Potter” veteran David Yates behind the camera, Alexander Skarsgard in the title role, with Christoph Waltz, Margot Robbie, and Samuel L. Jackson in support. Not bad, but it seems things didn’t turn about as planned.

According to the trade, test screenings haven’t gone well, and “considerable work” is needed to fix things. This isn’t unusual for this point in the game, and theoretically there is plenty of time before the movie is due next summer. The problem? Yates has already started production on another movie he has to finish for next year: “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.” Right now, he’s shooting that film during the week and trying to edit “Tarzan” on weekends, which is certainly a lot for anybody to handle.

On a financial level, “Tarzan” is costing $180 million dollars, so there is a lot on the line. Meanwhile, Yates is grappling with overlapping schedules on two blockbusters, though there is already a suggestion floating that “Tarzan” could be moved off its planned July 1, 2016 release date if need be. But that would be the third year in a row WB has delayed a summer movie, which isn’t exactly a great look to be wearing.

It’s a bit unfortunate because troubles and bad box office for these kind of non-branded, non-comic book movies will likely only push execs to pursue sure things with more familiarity and recognition. That said, there is still nine months to go until “Tarzan” is released and a lot can change, so maybe this is all premature hand-wringing

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