"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" Reviews and Box Office Prospects

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Chris Pine is the latest actor to take over the role of Jack Ryan in the international spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Since Harrison Ford dropped out of the series, Paramount seems to want to keep the character young.

This is the third reboot since Alec Baldwin begin the series with The Hunt for Red October, which was a critical and commercial success -- 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and $122M at the domestic box office.

Ford had two equally successful outings with Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. The two films scored 74% and 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. At the box office, “Patriot Games” took a dip to $83M. Because its budget was a modest $45M, it was still profitable enough for Paramount to greenlight another one. It was a good decision then because Clear and Present Danger would go on to gross $122M at the box office, equal to the first film and a huge improvement over the second.

Ben Affleck followed Ford with The Sum of All Fears, which took in $118M but was dismissed by critics with a 59% Tomatometer reading. Critically, it’s the weakest of the series.

With Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the studio seems to be pulling out all the stops by hiring Kenneth Branagh to direct and casting Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, and Branagh in supporting roles. Will the critical reception improve from the previous film with this ensemble? So far, yes, but we won’t know for sure until Friday when all of the reviews are tabulated on Rotten Tomatoes.

With four ongoing international spy franchises -- the Jeremy Renner Jason Bourne spin-off, Liam Neeson’s ass-kicking Taken, Mission Impossible and James Bond -- is there still room at the box office for Jack Ryan?

If the super-packed promotional screening I went to is any indication, then Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit will do solid business this MLK weekend. The response from the audience was enthusiastic.

It’s paced and edited like the Paul Greengrass Bourne films, but it doesn’t have any of the exciting fight scenes or nifty car chases. It’s still thrilling and should please crowds looking for some action but have already seen Lone Survivor last week. It should do as well as the previous Jack Ryan films, but not likely to reach the heights of Jason Bourne.

(Box office data from BoxOfficeMojo.com)

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