Looney Tunes: Back In Action
|Budget: $80 million||Financed by: Warner Bros|
|Domestic Gross: $20,991,364||Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros|
|Overseas Gross: $47,523,480|
Directed by: Joe Dante
Produced by: Paula Weinstein
Looney Tunes: Back In Action was a sad commercial fiasco, that saw the end of veteran director Joe Dante’s studio helming days, the cancellation of further Looney Tunes features and shorts and the complete shutdown of Warner Bros Animation — which was mostly disbanded already after the flops Quest for Camelot (1998), The Iron Giant (1999) and Osmosis Jones (2001). Production was apparently a mess, with script arguments between the studio and the filmmakers and what was left was an $80 million dud. This was to kickstart a new Looney Tunes franchise and the Warner Bros marketing machine put their full weight behind the picture. Warner Bros Worldwide Consumer Products set up cross promotion with Action Performance and Chevrolet for a Looney Tunes-themed NASCAR tie-in; toy company Mattel created a new line of toys; there was a video game tie-in; promotion at Sprint and Wendy’s; and other corporate crossovers were from Rubies, Hallmark, Nanco, Scholastic, Mead, Dalmatian, In-Zone Products and Six Flags. All that branding effort cost untold tens of millions.
Despite Looney Tunes: Back In Action having a rather poor reputation, the film did receive kind reviews from critics, but the family marketplace was crowded when it opened on November 14 — Elf opened the week prior and Brother Bear was still going strong. Looney Tunes: Back In Action opened at #5 with a very disappointing $9,317,371 when Elf led the weekend. The film had further competition the following weekend, when The Cat In The Hat opened and Looney Tunes sank 54.8% to $4,215,236 and bombed out of release with $20,991,364. Looney Tunes: Back In Action pulled in mostly soft numbers overseas, grossing $47,523,480. The worldwide total was $68.5 million, leaving Warner Bros with about $37.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover even half of the P&A costs and the budget is all red.