|Budget: $92 million||Financed by: Universal; Beacon Pictures|
|Domestic Gross: $62,362,560||Domestic Distributor: Universal; Beacon Pictures|
|Overseas Gross: $80,687,000|
Directed by: Tony Scott
Produced by: Marc Abraham
Beacon Pictures picked up the spec script for Spy Game in April 1997 and the project was originally going to a have a small budget helmed by Dutch director Mike Van Diem with Robert Redford attached to star. Diem exited over creative differences and after he was replaced by Tony Scott and the addition of Brad Pitt to the cast, the budget was estimated to be near $70 million. Spy Game‘s final cost rose to $92 million. The production expenses were split between Universal and Beacon — as per a 1996 five year agreement between the two companies, which evenly split the production and P&A costs. Spy Game marked the final movie to emerge from the Beacon/Universal deal.
Robert Redford had been absent from screens since The Horse Whisperer (1998) and Spy Game was dated for the Thanksgiving holiday frame, just one month after another film he top lined, the box office bomb The Last Castle. Spy Game‘s plot involved terrorist themes, including a suicide bomber destroying a building and there was concern about audience’s sensitivity after the September 11th attacks. Universal claimed test screening scores actually improved after 9/11 and they kept the release date.
Spy Game opened against Black Knight and Out Cold and and pulled in $21,689,125 over the weekend and a decent $30,566,960 five-day holiday total. It placed #3 for the frame led by the second weekend of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the fourth session of Monsters, Inc. Despite the solid start, Spy Game lost auds the following weekend when Behind Enemy Lines opened and it declined 49.2% to $11,013,350 and then sank 59.4% in its third frame to $4,473,550 when Ocean’s Eleven (also with Pitt) opened. It closed its domestic run with $62,362,560. Universal and Beacon would see returned about $34.2 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would likely cover P&A costs and none of the budget.
Universal distributed Spy Game in select overseas territories and the picture was also handled by numerous distributors. Spy Game fared a bit better in its offshore release than it did in the states and cumed $80.6 million — but it would not be enough to lift the pic out of the red and into profit.