My two cents...
Too much competition? Bollocks! Tell that to Octopussy which did solid U.S. business in the summer of '83 despite Return of the Jedi, Superman III, War Games, Blue Thunder, etc. Oh yeah, and this other Bond film with Connery that had a lot of buzz despite not opening for several more months...
I think you´re wrong on this. The only real moneymaker in that summer was "Return of the Jedi". The only other successful summer movies that made over 80 million dollars were "Trading Places" & "WarGames".
Compare this with the summer of ´89: "Batman" (251 millions), "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (197), "Lethal Weapon 2" (147), "Honey I shrunk the kids" (130), "Ghostbusters 2" (112), "Parenthood" (100), "Dead Poets Society" (95), "When Harry Met Sally" (92).
Even with regards to inflation, this summer was very competitive and set standards that would change the way the industry looked at box office successes. Climbing the 100 million mark would not be a sign for unexpectedly huge success but something a profitable film had to achieve.
Let's not forget "Turner and Hooch" starring Tom Hanks and a drooling dog. That made 71 million in the U.S. alone, more than twice what LTK made - $33,197,509 if IMDB is to believed. This proves that "competition" can only explain so much. Does anybody here like Turner and Hooch more than LTK? Maybe one or two. Probably Jim. But that's it. Christ, even "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder did much better business: $46,908,987. Then there's another cop & canine buddy picture, "K-9" with Jim Belushi which pulled in $43,247,647. Then we've got "The Karate Kid, Part III" - were there really that many Ralph Macchio fans back then? - which made $38,956,288. LTK narrowly beat out "Road House" with Patrick Swayze ($30M) and a reissue
of the 1953 "Peter Pan" ($29.5M).
If people wanted to see LTK, they would have. They didn't. They didn't want to. Period. Ain't the competition's fault.
Notice that LTK also did 42% less business in its second week where "When Harry Met Sally" did 708% more business, also in its second week. No typo, seven hundred and eight percent. LTK fell off 33% in its third weekend. It fell off 40% in its fourth weekend. It fell off another 40% its fifth weekend. And then it drops out of the top 19. Ewwww.
Now if we were discussing why LTK didn't open at number 1 then you'd be mostly correct to blame the competition.
TLD opened at number 1, remained there in its second week falling off by only 30%, falling off another 35% the following week, falling off another 28% the week after that, falling off another 41% the following week, growing
by 5% the following week.
AVTAK opened at number 2 with $13.7M, much better than either TLD or LTK. Believe it or not but AVTAK remains the biggest grossing 80's Bond film on opening weekend. It fell off worse than TLD, tho' not as badly as LTK. Octopussy had the shallowest decline of any 80's Bond flick. I gotta mention that Return of the Jedi (1983) opened in only one thousand theatres and pulled in $30M dollars opening weekend. Even LTK opened in more theatres. A little birdie tells me there were fewer movie theatres during the early 1980s than in many decades. Only by the late 1980s did movie theatre construction get under way again. So comparing 1983 to 1989 box office is in some ways comparing apples and oranges.
Of course, if you don´t like the film you won´t defend it. That´s perfectly fine.
Please don't seem to misquote me. I said that I generally like the film.
Of course the flip side of your argument is that if a person likes the film a lot they'll defend it. More than it deserves to be defended.
And despite what somebody else claimed in this thread, the film did not get terrible reviews. It got very mixed reviews with some critics (Roger Ebert, David Denby, Leonard Maltin, Derek Malcolm) liking it a lot, much more than they had previous Bond films. It certainly got better reviews than AVTAK.