Exorcist: The Beginning

Budget: $52 million (estimated) Financed by: Morgan Creek
Domestic Gross: $41,821,986 Domestic Distributor: Morgan Creek (through Warner Bros)
Overseas Gross: $36,178,600
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Stellan Skarsgård
Produced by: James G. Robinson

Exorcist: The Beginning box officeThe troubled fourth entry in the Exorcist series started off with director Paul Schrader being fired after financier Morgan Creek did not approve of his cut and then hired Renny Harlin to reshoot 90% of the film, which James G. Robinson said cost between $52 and $54 million and Schrader’s scrapped film cost between $32 and $34 million — which would see a small release in 2005, with unfinished visual effects and sound mixing and titled Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.  Morgan Creek distributed Exorcist: The Beginning in the US through Warner Bros and covered the hefty P&A costs and the film was not screened for critics.  In an interview with the LA Times Robinson said: “I get out with my money if we open at $40 million.  If we hit that, nobody wins, nobody loses.”  It opened with $18,054,001 — winning the slow end of summer Aug 20 frame, which saw only the comedy Without A Paddle open.  Audiences gave the film a poor C cinemascore, which is not uncommon for horror films, but it fell a steep 60.8% the following weekend to $7,081,057 and saw a 48.8% third weekend decline to $3,623,328.  Exorcist: The Beginning closed its US run with $41,821,986 leaving Morgan Creek with about $23 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, plus a fee to Warner Bros, which would not cover their P&A spend and leave the budget in the red.  Overseas, the film was released in most markets through Warner Bros and pulled in weak numbers for a film with this price tag.  Exorcist: The Beginning took in a poor $2.2 million in the UK, Roadshow distributed in Australia to just $869,617 and Italy was the only market where the film played to decent numbers with $7.5 million.  The overseas total was $36,178,600 and after the failure of this film, Morgan Creek gave Schrader $35,000 for visual effects and sound mixing to get Dominion in some sort of releasable form.