Apple Original film Argylle has a disastrous launch at the box office, recouping less than a tenth of the necessary cost to break even

(Image credit: Apple)

Despite rumors that Taylor Swift wrote the tie-in book and a star-studded cast, Argylle has tanked in its opening weekend at the box office.

Connected to the book Written by the enigmatic Elly Conway, the moniker of a pair of writers, Argylle is just as mysterious as its authors. Our main character, Elly Conway (Yes, like the book’s author) is a novelist who is about finish writing the ‘Argylle’ series, before being embroiled in her very own spy thriller. It’s a very meta affair that appears almost intentionally hard to understand. 

Unfortunately, not even a bizarre and intriguing premise like this could get people to show up on its opening weekend. 

Argylle finally launched just last week to severely negative critic reviews, sitting at a 35 on Metacritic and 34 on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite having a much higher audience score of 71 on the latter, it has severely underperformed at the box office pulling in $17.4 million domestically and $34.3 million worldwide. Argylle did manage to outpace The Beekeeper, Wonka, and Mean Girls, but those are movies whose opening weekends are long since behind them.

A worrying trend

Killers of the Flower Moon, which has been nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture, did not manage to break even at the box office. As reported by Collider, Martin Scorsese’s retelling of the Osage murders cost $200 million to make but only managed to make just over $150 million at the worldwide box office. Variety reported that a film of this caliber would need to make more that $500 million to consider it having broke even.

Despite making over $200 million in its box office run, Apple Original film Napoleon did not manage to “break even”, according to those Variety metrics. Deadline Hollywood reported that Napoleon “likely lost around $16M in its theatrical run off the global marketing spend alone, but made up for it in its limited transactional run.”

All three of these movies have such high production costs that they are nearly impossible to recoup costs on. Since 2020, just over 20 movies worldwide have managed to make more than 500m gross from the box office, the estimated cost of a movie like Killers of the Flower Moon, Napoleon, and Argylle. This is a wider problem with movies in general costing more and relying on streaming to recoup final cost. Given all Apple Original films eventually launch on Apple TV and Apple TV Plus, Apple has a chance of making those costs back but streaming is likely where the tech giant sees the end value. Either way, Argylle probably isn’t making it into the best movies on Apple TV Plus. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.