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June Sales Busts: UFC Undisputed 2010, UFC 115 In Theaters, The A-Team

Brock Lesnar on UFC 2010 Undisputed CoverNot everything the UFC touches turns to gold.

Video game publisher THQ was in dire financial straights last year before the UFC came along and breathed life back into the company with the success of UFC Undisputed 2009. They figured gamers would come back for more would and eat up this year’s release, but it turns out they were wrong. Last week, video game industry analysts noted that UFC Undisputed 2010 was “selling below expectations,” and now THQ itself is confirming it. Because of the overestimation in their forecast, THQ has been forced to reduce their expected earnings, those critical numbers their investors care about.

The publisher today warned investors that its sales for the current fiscal quarter would be roughly 18 percent lower than it had previously expected, due to lower-than-expected sales of UFC and a stronger US dollar. THQ had been expecting revenues for the quarter ending June 30 to fall between $190 million and $200 million, but now expects sales to range from $155 million to $165 million. It also expects to post losses of $0.20 to $0.30 per share, where it had previously expected to break even. In a note to investors, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said the reduced guidance suggests that UFC Undisputed 2010 sales will fall about 1 million copies shy of THQ’s expectations.

It’s not exactly surprising considering 2010 was more or less a series of improvements, enhancements and roster additions to 2009, not an entirely new experience. From a consumer perspective, I would rather see THQ adopt a two-year development cycle and support the current game with plenty of DLC in the meantime. I’m not sure if that would put more or less dollars in THQ’s pockets, but as a gamer, that’s what I would be more willing to support.

Video game sales weren’t the only bust for the UFC in the past week. Word from Dave Meltzer (via FO) is UFC 115 bombed in movie theaters.

“Oh, by the way, from everything that I can gather, the UFC closed circuit bombed [Saturday] night.”

“I mean just a lot of reports of 20 people, 16 people, 35 people in theaters.”

“It wasn’t the show for it.”

“You know, I mean the bar stuff I’ve heard you know people say that there was 1/5th as many people as [UFC 114] and… again, I mean, you know you can’t come, it’s two weeks, it’s real quick to come back and I mean for any show and this was I mean you know they ended up having a good show but it was just too quick and you know in between two monster main events you got a match that really, you know, they booked a match that people really didn’t want to see.

I think Meltzer hit the nail on the head. It just wasn’t the show for it. I think the movie experience caters to certain demos such as teenagers who can’t get into bars and don’t have permission to order pay-per-views at home, and the fan who just doesn’t have anybody to watch it with. But of course, even those types of fans aren’t going to flock to their local theater to watch a show they aren’t interested in.

And perhaps the most surprising bust of all three is “The A-Team” movie. There was plenty of buzz for this movie in the weeks leading up to its release, but when it was all said and done, The Karate Kid remake (of all movies) beat it down at the box office.

The Karate Kid debuted at No. 1 with a far more than predicted $56 million, while The A-Team opened in second place with an estimated $26 million. The Karate Kid cost only $40 million to produce, whereas A-Team reportedly cost $110 million — meaning the former has already turned a profit while the latter will be lucky to break even at the domestic box office.

Didn’t see that coming. Both the UFC and Rampage Jackson got their ass kicked down the hall by Will Smith’s 12-yr old son and Jackie Chan.

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