|Budget: $50 million||Financed by: Warner Bros; Village Roadshow; Ratpac-Dune|
|Domestic Gross: $47,119,388||Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros|
|Overseas Gross: $37,300,000|
Directed by: David Dobkin
Robert Downey Jr.
Produced by: Susan Downey
This $50 million courtroom drama was co-financed by Warner Bros and Village Roadshow and received some additional coin from Ratpac-Dune. The Judge was slated as an awards contender with an October 10 release date and plenty of heat evaporated from the project when it premiered a month early as the opening film at the Toronto International Film Festival and was met with mediocre reviews. Warner Bros had an expensive marketing blitz for The Judge, spending $25.9 million in TV ads (as per iSpot.tv) up to the film’s release, plus millions more in print, online, radio, booking fees, etc and opening weekend tracking was estimated from $13 – $17 million, with some estimates north of $20 million.
The Judge bowed against Dracula Untold and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The Judge came in at the low end of expectations with $13,116,226 in 3,003 theaters — placing #5 for the weekend when Gone Girl led the box office in its second frame and was also siphoning much of The Judge‘s opening weekend target demo. After the picture pulled in its disappointing opening numbers, Warner Bros continued to throw cash at the marketing campaign, bringing the cost of its TV ads to $35.8 million, where its total domestic P&A spend would be about the price of the film’s budget. The Judge held well in its second weekend, declining 39.6% to $7,916,418 and continued to post modest weekly drops, but it closed with a disappointing $47,119,388. Warner Bros would see returned about $26 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, leaving almost half the P&A expenses in the red and the budget untouched.
A further ad spend across foreign markets added more red ink, as The Judge only pulled in $37.3 million, doing mediocre to poor business in most markets. Village Roadshow distributed in their home country Australia to a poor $2.6 million. The marketing spend was overkill on a project that was a step backward for Downey’s ability to bankroll an adult oriented picture outside of the Marvel films.