ERIK THE VIKING
Majority backed by the Swedish Svensk Filmindustri, Terry Jones’ 1989 film was trimmed for its US release and tanked with $1,932,642 and was cut further for its UK release. A truncated DVD release which was re-edited by Terry Jones’ son, was chopped down to 77 minutes. Olive Films is releasing the film on Blu-Ray and has no specs or special features listed on their website – or any info for that matter.
KINGS OF THE SUN
Financed for $4m by the Mirisch Corporation and distributed through their distribution deal at United Artists, Kings of the Sun was released in 1963 to mixed reviews and box office failure with $1.6m. Directed by the late and sometimes great J. Lee Thompson, who directed the original Cape Fear the year before and The Guns of the Navarone in 1961, Thompson’s career shifted to exploitation in 1981 with Happy Birthday to Me and found himself doing for hire work by Cannon Films.
RIVER OF DEATH
Cannon Films financed this Indiana Jones knockoff staring the anti-charisma American Ninja himself, Michael Dudikoff. Somehow avoiding a direct to video fate, River of Death grossed $535,031 in the US, opening way outside of the top 10 and behind Cannon’s Kickboxer in its 4th weekend. Blu-Ray comes with an audio commentary with the director and Dudikoff and the theatrical trailer.
Seventh Son was financed by Legendary for $95m and was set up for distribution through Warner Bros and once the partnership between the two companies ended and numerous release dates postponed, the film finally saw release through Universal’s distribution arm. With an expensive ad spend covered by Legendary, Seventh Son ended as an $85m write down for Legendary. The film opened in the US to a terrible $7,217,640 and fell a modest 42.5% in its second weekend to $4,151,780 but sank 76.7% in its third weekend to $967,700. The Seventh Son ended its run with just $17,223,265. Overseas, the film has pulled in a decent $27.5m in China and its overseas total is an ok $92.6m, but not nearly enough to offset the poor domestic numbers. Legendary had a rough start to 2015 between The Seventh Son’s $85m loss and Blackhat posting a $90m loss.
Dark Castle acquired the $14m film from Anonymous Content back in 2012 and Warner Bros was set to distribute The Loft, but WB and Dark Castle parted ways. Dark Castle set up its new home at Universal and it was set for release in 2014, when they removed the film from their release schedule and Open Road (joint distribution between Regal Cinema and AMC) picked up the US rights for distribution. Open Road spent an estimated $15m on advertising and saw the long delayed film open to a terrible $2,747,342 in 1,841 theaters. The Loft declined 47.3% in its second weekend to $1,447,948 and lost all but 245 theaters going into its third frame, where it pulled in $166,277 and closed after its fourth week to $6,002,684. Sierra/Affinity sold the foreign rights back in 2011 when the film was in post production and the film has sat unreleased in the few territories it found a distributor. The Loft, which is a remake of the Belgium film with same director, saw a late 2014 release in Belgium to $852,806 far below the original’s $8,416,814 – which was the most attended film in Belgium’s history. The film has a pending theatrical release in a few territories throughout 2015. The Loft will go straight to video in the UK. More as the overseas rollout continues…
The second film released this week staring most of the cast of Monty Python, other being Erik the Viking. The cast has almost entirely publicly railed against Yellowbeard and critics savaged the film back in 1983. Yellowbeard tanked opening weekend with $1,564,155 coming in at #11 behind Return of the Jedi in its 5th weekend, Superman III in its 2nd weekend and Porky’s II in its opening weekend. Yellowbeard flopped with a total of $4.3m and has carried its toxic reputation for 3 decades. Olive Films is releasing the Blu-Ray, who seem to like to keep the disc’s features (or lack of features) a secret.