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3 Major Reason Why Even a $200 Million Budget Could Not Save Jake Gyllenhaal’s One of the Most Disappointing Movie Prince of Persia

Despite Disney's big ambitions for the IP, the Jake Gyllenhaal-led Prince of Persia would fail to bring in the numbers to warrant a sequel

3 major reason why even a $200 million budget could not save jake gyllenhaal’s one of the most disappointing movie prince of persia


  • Disney was fixated on turning the Jake Gyllenhaal-led Prince of Persia into their next big cash cow.
  • Their plans came crumbling down following three major reasons, resulting in the movie becoming a flop.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal's recent children's book pays a nod to his forgotten disaster.

For a long time video game movies struggled to find their footing despite Hollywood’s adamancy to turn them into the next big thing after the boom of superheroes. And in 2010, Disney put $200M behind a live-action adaptation of Ubisoft’s’ Prince of Persia, with Jake Gyllenhaal at the forefront, in order to kickstart a franchise similar to Pirates of the Caribbean.

But their plans to replicate the Depp-led films’ success wouldn’t come to fruition, with it becoming a commercial and critical disappointment, and Gyllenhaal would later express his regret for taking the role.

Also read: Real Reason Jake Gyllenhaal, Emma Stone Won’t be in Fantastic Four: Report Confirms Fans’ Worst Fears

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of The Caribbean series
Johnny Depp | Pirates of The Caribbean

Three Reasons Why Disney’s Prince of Persia Was Dead on Arrival

By the time 2010 arrived, Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia was long past its glory days, with their last major release in the franchise, The Forgotten Sands, failing to score big. The Disney adaptation, which debuted 10 days after it, did little to reignite the IP’s popularity, only making $336.4M from a massive budget of $200M, shutting down Disney’s plans of turning it into a big franchise.

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Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Jake Gyllenhaal | Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

There are several factors responsible for the movie’s failure, with the major one being the whitewashing of the protagonist. Critics panned the adaptation for casting Jake Gyllenhaal over an actor of Iranian descent. The Nightcrawler Star too expressed regret over his decision to take the gig, claiming that it was a major slip-up and was a learning experience. He told Yahoo!:

“I think I learned a lot from that movie in that I spend a lot of time trying to be very thoughtful about the roles that I pick and why I’m picking them,” Gyllenhaal said. “And you’re bound to slip up and be like, ‘That wasn’t right for me,’ or ‘That didn’t fit perfectly.’ There have been a number of roles like that. And then a number of roles that do.”

But this wasn’t the lone reason that resulted in the movie’s eventual failure, as Prince of Persia crumbled under Disney’s humongous pressure to turn it into the next big thing. Furthermore, the incompetent marketing prior to its release alongside Disney overestimating the IP’s potential, Prince of Persia opened to less-than-stellar numbers.

Also read: “I hope this isn’t true”: Jake Gyllenhaal Can Become 3rd MCU Actor to Play Two Major Marvel Roles after Chris Evans, Gemma Chan

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Jake Gyllenhaal’s New Children’s Book References Prince of Persia

And while the movie is now seen as just a bad chapter in Jake Gyllenhaal’s impeccable career, his new children’s book, The Secret Society of Aunts and Uncle, did reference his Prince of Persia. But per the acclaimed actor, he wasn’t the one to sneak that reference into the book. He told EW:

“That was [illustrator] Dan Santat. He snuck that in before printing, and I didn’t approve that. I don’t know where that came from. Dan likes to put in his bits of humor, even misspelling my name at the back and having to put a post-it, having two A’s at the end. But no, when I described that space, it was the space where there was no farther down to go than the depths of where Leo is in that moment in the book. So I guess that was Dan’s joke on me.”

Also read: Jake Gyllenhaal Had To Shoot an Entire Film in 11 Days, Claimed It Was Too Difficult Despite Getting Rave Reviews For His Neurotic Performance

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time gets called out for white-washing
Jake Gyllenhaal

While Prince of Persia failed to live up to Disney’s plans, video game movies would eventually land their footing in Hollywood, especially in recent years, with one major example being The Last of US.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is available to stream on Disney Plus.


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Written by Santanu

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with The Everly Brothers, Billy Joel, and The Platters. Having expertise in everything related to Batman, Santanu spends most of his time watching and learning films, with Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook being his personal favorites. Apart from pursuing a degree in animation, he also possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a content writer at Fandomwire with over 1000 articles.