Surviving Christmas

Budget: $45 million Financed by: DreamWorks
Domestic Gross: $11,663,156 Domestic Distributor: DreamWorks
Overseas Gross: $3,457,644
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Ben Affleck
Christina Applegate
Produced by: Patricia Whitcher

surviving christmas box officeSony wisely turned this doomed production into turnaround and DreamWorks picked up the project and financed Surviving Christmas for $45 million.  Script problems led the production astray and in a promotional tour with Ben Affleck, the man had some sort of breakdown, displaying bizarre behavior like putting his head in Christina Applegate’s lap, badmouthing frequent collaborator Kevin Smith and refusing to talk about the movie.  Affleck’s spokesman blamed his behavior on boredom and a sore throat.  Yea, those sore throats are the worst.  Surviving Christmas was originally slated for an end of the year 2003 release, but DreamWorks boarded co-financing duties with Paramount on the Ben Affleck vehicle Paycheck and as part of an agreement they had to push Surviving Christmas into 2004.  After being moved around the release calendar, Surviving Christmas opened far enough away from christmas in October and DreamWorks booked the critically savaged film in 2,750 theaters against The Grudge.  It opened with a miserable $4,441,356 — placing #7 for the weekend led by The Grudge.  Audiences gave the film a crummy C+ cinemascore and the film declined 45.2% the following weekend to $2,435,652 and left theaters after 5 weeks with $11,663,156.  DreamWorks would see back about $6.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far less than their P&A expenses and budget.  The studio rushed Surviving Christmas onto home video just before christmas, less than two months after the film opened, which incensed theater chains because of the short theater to video window.  The film did atrocious business overseas, pulling in a mere $3,457,644 with $1.3 million from Mexico as the highest number.  After Surviving Christmas was a box office disaster, Affleck’s career bottomed out.  No career can withstand the trauma caused by back to back releases of Gigli, Paycheck, Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas.  He took a short Hollywood leave and reemerged a few years later with better quality control at choosing projects.