What Does Speed Racer’s Box Office Flop Mean to the Wachowskis?

It cost north of $150 million to make, and scored a meager $18 million in its opening weekend. This, despite a blitzkrieg of advertising on and offline, and some serious buzz in the fan community. Who didn’t geekgasm when the very first picture of the Mach 5 was released? I’m not even a fan of the original cartoon, and even I was intrigued, so I can only imagine how you Speed Racer freaks felt upon seeing it.

“Speed Racer” was originally estimated to have pulled in an average $20.2 million in its opening weekend, but even that number is now in doubt. Actual sales figures now put the film’s first-week take at $18.6 million. To add insult to injury, the Ashton Kutcher-Cameron Diaz romantic comedy “What Happens in Vegas” leap frogged “Speed Racer” into the second spot with its $20.7 million first-weekend take.

While domestic box office doesn’t tell the whole tale, the film’s overseas figures aren’t exactly astounding, either. The movie made $12.6 million in overseas box office, for a worldwide total of $31.2 million according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

So what does the failure of “Speed Racer” mean to the Wachowski brothers? Most likely, not much.

Andy and Larry Wachowski have bought more than a little room for a flop or two with Hollywood studios after the phenomenal success of their “Matrix” films. Their last movie, which they wrote but did not direct, “V for Vendetta” was also a hit, turning a $54 million dollar budget into a $132 million dollar worldwide take. They’re not Spielberg and Lucas yet, but let’s face it, these guys have made too much money for too many people for the studios to get into a tizzy over “Speed Racer’s” underwhelming box office.

Up next? “Ninja Assassin”. Drop the cartoon neighborhood and get back to basics, boys.

Can you say, “Insanely kick ass ninja action”? Let’s hope.

The Wachowski Brothers