After seven years of post-production issues, release delays, and a historical case of development hell, the Pierce Brosnan movie The King’s Daughter was finally released to theatres. Was the wait worth it? Well…not really.
The King’s Daughter is currently sitting at an abysmal box office gross of $750,000. In the movie business, you can pretty safely consider that a bomb. If that’s not bad enough, the movie is getting absolutely slammed by critics. Currently, it holds a depressing 21% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience outlook is markedly better, with an 86% currently, though who knows where that will end up as more reviews pour in. This was the opening weekend, after all.
So, what is this ill-fated movie even about? According to descriptions, it’s a tale about a powerful king, played by Pierce Brosnan, who wants to use a mermaid to live forever. Apparently, in this fantasy universe, the life essence of a mermaid could be the key to obtaining immortality. His plan is further complicated by his illegitimate daughter discovering the sea creature. The movie also stars William Hurt, Fan Bingbing, Benjamin Walker, Julie Andrews, and Kaya Scodelario. Sean McNamara directs. Although there are certainly stranger concepts for a story out there, it seems like this movie just wasn’t able to pull it off.
Perhaps the incredibly long delay to release could partially explain the issues The King’s Daughter has, but no official explanation for the delay has been given. Usually, COVID-19 would pop up as a delay explanation, but this movie wrapped filming back in 2015, before the pandemic was even an issue. The pandemic could have delayed post-production to a point, but out of all of the jobs in the movie business, this part would be the easiest for remote work and social distancing. The on-set portion of production would have been long finished by the time COVID became a universal pressure on the film industry. Finally, when the film was eventually released, the distributor Gravitas Ventures opted for a wide release last week, amidst the pandemic, which clearly didn’t work well. Even the star power of Pierce Brosnan couldn’t save this release from turning into a disaster.
While the film still has time to make more money, since it has only been out for one weekend, the opening weekend numbers do not bode well for its financial prospects. The fact that it didn’t even break $1 million is going to be disheartening for all involved, to say the least. The movie has already been released to over 2,100 screens in the US and Canada, making it one of the worst debuts of all time sent to over 2,000 screens. There’s no word yet on an international release, but if it does happen, maybe it could help them recoup some of their losses.
If you’re interested in seeing what nearly eight years of release delays look like, you can likely catch The King’s Daughter in a theatre near you. Again, as of now, the critics hate it but audiences seem to be warm on it. It could end up being something you enjoy.