K-19: The Widowmaker

Budget: $100 million Financed by: Intermedia
Domestic Gross: $35,168,966 Domestic Distributor: Paramount
Overseas Gross: $30,547,160
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Harrison Ford
Liam Neeson
Produced by: Edward S. Feldman

K-19: The Widowmaker box officeK-19: The Widowmaker was originally setup at Working Title, but they put the project into turnaround after their parent company Universal greenlit another submarine thriller U-571.  Director Kathryn Bigelow went off and helmed The Weight Of Water after development stalled on K-19.  The project was moved over to the German based Intermedia, who financed the big budget K-19: The Widowmaker for $100 million.  The budget put such a dent in their bottom line, that they were spending more than they were making and Intermedia posted a €11.9 million loss in 2001 on upfront costs on the pic.  There would be a lot more red ink to follow after this posted disastrous worldwide numbers.  To offset the expensive budget, worldwide rights were sold to distributors and K-19: The Widowmaker sold well.  Regency was set to distribute the pic in the US through their distribution agreement with FOX, but Regency could not come to terms with Intermedia.  Paramount boarded K-19 for domestic distribution, giving Intermedia more of the share of box office receipts in return for covering a small portion of Paramount’s risk.  Intermedia reported that if the film reached $60 million domestic, they would be $8 million short of recouping their costs.  K-19: The Widowmaker opened on July 19 against Stuart Little 2 and Eight Legged Freaks and performed very poorly, coming in #4 for the weekend with $12,778,459 in 2,828 theaters.  The film declined 43.1% in its second frame to $7,266,631 and then collapsed 60.7% in its third to $2,854,111 when Signs took most of the box office to itself.  K-19: The Widowmaker closed with only $35,168,966 — almost half of what Intermedia expected the pic to post as a lowball estimate.  Paramount would see back about $19.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover their P&A expenses.

Before Paramount took on US distribution, they scooped up rights in the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand and the pic posted a miserable $1,096,297 in the UK, $1,460,664 from France, just $805,997 from Australia and $209,992 from New Zealand.  The overseas total was a terrible $30.5 million across numerous distributors.  Kathryn Bigelow saw her long delayed The Weight Of Water barely get a theatrical release about three months after this flopped.