“The Fabelmans” is a film directed by Steven Spielberg that was released in November 2022.

Despite the high expectations and the pedigree of the director, the movie failed to connect with audiences, resulting in poor box office numbers.

The film tells the story of a family living in the 1960s, exploring their relationships, struggles, and triumphs.

Despite the commercial success that Spielberg’s previous works have received, “The Fabelmans” failed to capture the attention of moviegoers and suffered from lackluster ticket sales.

This box office flop is a reminder that even the most celebrated directors can’t always guarantee a hit.

The Fabelmans Box Office: Was it a Flop and why?

The Fabelmans grossed 31 million worldwide on a budget of 40 million dollars making the movie a box office flop.

Hollywood films generally need 2.5x their budget just to break even so the Fabelmans lost the studio millions of dollars.

There a variety of reasons why the fabelmans flopped of which I will address in the preceding sections.

The Fabelmans box office prediction

The box office predictions for The Fabelmans were generally optimistic.

Box Office Pro projected that the film would gross anywhere from 35-65 million in North America.

There was optimism that the raving critic’s score and oscar buzz that the film was receiving would lead to interest from general audience members.

However, there was concern that a prestige title like The Fabelmans would fail because adult-oriented dramas had been the slowest genre of film to recover financially post-pandemic era.

International/Domestic Numbers

The Fabelmans grossed 17 million domestically and 14 million overseas.

The film was released to a select amount of theaters on its opening weekend as the studio chose to initially give the film a platform release.

Top overseas performers for the movie include The UK (3.8 million), Italy (3.3 million), and Israel (1 million).

DVD/Blu-Ray sales

The Fabelmans has no record of DVD or Blu-ray sales as of the publish date and it has been almost a full year since it was released.

This is very unusual for a large Hollywood production, especially a Speilberg movie.

I can only speculate but I think this is due to the film not being very popular.

However, the film did get the coveted 4k blu ray (paid link) release although that format is starting to be given to films that don’t directly fall in the big budget blockbuster category, which wasn’t the case in the past.

Typically they don’t make a 4k blu ray unless the studio thinks they will sell a substantial amount of units.

Why Did the Fabelmans Flop?

There are several reasons why the Fabelmans flopped including a lack of audience interest in prestige films, a lack of interest in original mid-budget movies, and the movie not being a must-see in a movie theater.

Oscar Nominated Films Don’t matter to Audiences

Long gone are the days when films like Black Swan and The King’s Speech can make 400 million plus.

Today’s theatrical landscape is beyond depressing, films that are not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or tied to another large Franchise are more likely than not destined to fail at the box office.

Films that win Oscars today are not seen by audience members.

When The Fabelmans came out it was the projected front-runner for best picture and looked like another best director win for Steven Spielberg, critics were raving about the movie after it was shown at TIFF.

Unfortunately none of the buzz that surrounds awards season matters to audiences anymore.

There have been several other awards players that have bombed this year including TAR, She Said, and Babylon.

In fact the only nominees in this year’s best picture lineup that did reasonably well are known IP’s such as Top Gun Maverick, Avatar 2 and Elvis.

Everything Everywhere All At Once being the sole standout success this year.

Audiences Don’t care about directors anymore

In today’s cinema landscape, intellectual properties/franchises dominate.

Directors and movie stars use to have sway when it came to the public interest in a film but this has lessened dramatically in the last decade.

Very few directors are flop-proof when it comes to their projects, there are only 3 directors that have shown time and again that they can make an original movie and defy all odds, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, and Quentin Tarantino.

Steven Spielberg use to have a lot of sway with the public but this just isn’t the case anymore.

He has produced numerous box office flops in the past several years including West Side Story, The BFG, and Munich.

Death of the Mid-Budget Film

It has become increasingly difficult for studios to make a profit on mid-budget movies.

There have been several mid budget movies that have bombed in 2022 including The Northman, Amsterdam, Death on The Nile, The Unbearable weight of massive talent, and The Woman King.

Original ideas are largely relegated to either streaming or budgets under 20 million these days.

Too Niche of A film

Another reason why The Fabelmans flopped is that it had a very small target audience.

There just weren’t too many people who wanted to see a film about a teenager making home movies.

Non-Theater Quality

One of the biggest reasons people are not going to movies anymore is that they have gotten used to seeing movies at home, this was exacerbated because of the pandemic.

Typically big budget blockbusters are the only movies people go out and see anymore, adult-oriented dramas specifically have suffered numerous bombs and are by far the least profitable genre in today’s current theatrical landscape.

In order to get butts in seats studios typically need to produce big spectacle-driven action/adventure movies that are escapist entertainment of which The Fabelmans is not.

Audiences are much more selective on what they see as seeing movies in theaters is expensive today, with all the additional fees and surcharges as well as increased ticket prices.

However, what is interesting is that The Fabelmans has not done well on streaming or video on demand either.

According to Indiewire fellow box office bombs “Bros” and “She Said” have had better VOD numbers than the Fabelmans.