With harder data now in, it looks like Conan the Barbarian did even less well than estimated over at Deadline Hollywood. The revised figures have the film grossing only $3.6 million on Friday and barely cracking $10 million for the weekend. Meanwhile, The Wrap puts the Friday figure at $3.7 million and estimates that it won't even break double digits for the entire weekend. However you slice it, this latest attempt to bring Robert E. Howard's most famous character to the silver screen is a failure.
I wish I could say that the failure was directly the result of the film's deviations from Howard's stories, but that seems unlikely, given how little known Howard's stories are. Of course, one might reasonably argue that, by presenting just a generic sword-and-sorcery movie whose lead happens to be named Conan rather than one that draws on what makes Howard's stories unique, the end result was inevitable. We've already got Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia, what, other than the name, does Conan bring to the table that they don't?
Such questions are likely academic for now. Howard has never been treated well by Hollywood -- I think there's only ever been one remotely faithful adaptation of his stories -- and the failure of the 2011 Conan the Barbarian won't do much to increase the odds of that's changing. I'm OK with that. Like Lovecraft, Howard's an author about whom I care enough that I'd rather see no movies made of his works than bad movies. If I go to my grave without there ever being another Conan film made, I won't mind at all.