The Stepford Wives
|Budget: $120 million||Financed by: Paramount; DreamWorks|
|Domestic Gross: $59,484,742||Domestic Distributor: Paramount|
|Overseas Gross: $42,516,884|
Directed by: Frank Oz
Produced by: Scott Rudin
This disaster of a production was a nightmare shoot that ended with everyone involved, from the actors to the producers, regretting involvement with The Stepford Wives. On set fighting and rewrites sent this mess back for numerous reshoots after endless test screenings that posted awful scores. At an investor conference, Viacom Inc. co-President Tom Freston said: “Instead of spending $120 million on ‘The Stepford Wives,’ we could have made three pictures targeted at a younger audience that could be a lot more profitable.” The expensive remake was backed by Paramount and DreamWorks. Despite all of the troubles and post production tinkering, a fantastic theatrical trailer was cut and Paramount opened The Stepford Wives in 3,057 theaters against The Chronicles of Riddick and Garfield: The Movie. It came in with a better than expected $21,406,781 — placing #5 for the weekend led by the holdover Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Audiences gave the film a poor C+ cinemascore and the film sank quickly at the box office. The Stepford Wives saw a 59.1% second weekend decline to $8,762,198 killing its chances at breaking out and it dropped 42.3% the third weekend to $5,056,343 and followed that with a 54.4% drop to $2,306,090. The film closed its domestic run with $59,484,742 which would have been a respectable enough number if the production didn’t go so over budget. Paramount distributed the film overseas through UIP (joint distribution between Paramount and Universal) and The Stepford Wives pulled in mediocre numbers, grossing $42,516,884 bringing its worldwide total to $102 million. Paramount and DreamWorks would see back about $56 million, which would not even cover their P&A costs. The Stepford Wives was one of three high profile 2004 remakes at Paramount which all flopped — the other two were The Manchurian Candidate and Alfie. Paramount was also in a three year slump and the 2004 slate of pictures were mostly bombs and on November 2 studio head Sherry Lansing announced she would soon exit her post after 12 years on the job. Producer Scott Rudin saw three Paramount titles do poor box office in 2004: The Manchurian Candidate, The Stepford Wives and Team America: World Police.