Jack Ryan never seems to catch a break, either on screen or off. The infamous Tom Clancy CIA Agent, and titular character of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, returned to the screen this weekend for the first time in twelve years. Unfortunately, based on box office numbers, it might be another long while before he gets another go.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opened this past weekend to an estimated 17.2 million. This is the fifth Jack Ryan film and the lowest opening for the character since his big screen debut in The Hunt for Red October (1990), which made 17.1 million its opening weekend. This figure looks even worse when you account for the fact that 1990 dollars are worth a whole lot more than today’s money. The latest film is the first to feature Jack Ryan’s name in the title, and clearly shows Paramount’s desire to build brand recognition around the name. However, the opening weekend may have dashed Paramount’s hope of reigniting the franchise.
The subpar opening doesn’t quite spell death for the franchise yet. Made for a relatively modest $60 million, a decent second and third weekend, combined with a solid showing at the foreign box office could turn Ryan’s fortune’s into sequel territory. Paramount’s last action thriller adaption, Jack Reacher, made just $15 million its opening weekend before going on to make more than $218 million internationally. A Jack Reacher sequel is currently in pre-production, so it’s not so far fetched to think Jack Ryan might get the same treatment.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is certainly not the blockbuster franchise builder Paramount was hoping for. But in the relatively sparse January landscape, there’s certainly still money to be made. Chris Pine has said he’s open to the idea of sequels, and if Shadow Recruit is able to rank in enough cash, Paramount might be too.