Absolute Beginners cost £8.4m and nearly sunk the British film industry back in 1986. This rock musical was destroyed by critics and ignored by audiences and grossed £1.8m in the UK and between the staggering losses of this film and the Al Pacino disaster Revolution, Goldcrest Films went bankrupt. Orion distributed in the US and was to cover most of the budget, but that percentage went lower and lower, as the film went wildly over budget and Goldcrest covered the overages. Absolute Beginners came and went in the US with just $930,211.
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Serena was co-financed by 2929 Entertainment and StudioCanal for an estimated $30m and filming was completed back in 2012 and in the subsequent years, found its two leads as bankable A listers, but even with the star wattage of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, the film premiered at the London Film Festival to little buzz. StudioCanal pre-sold the film and sold out almost every major market, which would limit their exposure to the budget. The film did not have a US buyer and all of the major studios passed on the film after numerous screenings and Magnolia, which is owned by Mark Cuban who owns 2929, decided to distribute in the US. StudioCanal distributed in the UK and opened the film in 185 theaters to a dismal $153,030 with a $827 per screen average and it was pulled out of release after just two weeks with just $320,907. StudioCanal also distributed in Australia to a disastrous $54,820 opening weekend with a $375 per screen average and it quickly closed with $306,438. The overseas gross is about $4m, with most markets not reporting numbers. Magnolia released the film on VOD a month before its limited US theatrical run, where it pulled in about $1m and Serena opened in 59 theaters to a terrible $100,090 with a $1,696 per screen average. Serena declined a huge 76.2% in its second weekend to $23,802 and closed its brief theatrical run with $176,391.
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Financed by Orion who hit a serious dry spell in 1990 due to a string of box office flops, including State of Grace, Valmont, RoboCop 2, The Hot Spot and Everybody Wins. Orion was in need of a cash influx and tried to raise $90m as quickly as possible and one of its properties it sold off was the already in-production of the Addams Family. State of Grace tanked at the US box office pulling in just $1,911,542 and it didn’t help that the gangster themed film was released at the same time as Goodfellas.
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The Last Unicorn had trouble finding a US distributor and after numerous deals fell through with various studios Jensen Farley Pictures signed on to distribute. The film opened with a poor $2,250,000 coming in behind E.T. in its its 24th week in release and closed with $6,455,330 and sent Jensen Farley Pictures into bankruptcy.
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