SAHARA

Sahara

Budget: $160 million Financed by: Bristol Bay
Domestic Gross: $68,671,925 Domestic Distributor: Paramount
Overseas Gross: $50,597,561
Directed by: Breck Eisner
Starring:
Matthew McConaughey
Produced by: Howard Baldwin

sahara box officeBristol Bay, which was formerly Crusader Entertainment, which is the sister company to Walden Media, financed this infamous flop, which has since been audited with its staggering losses and numerous instances of bribery in Morocco made public.  Sahara has spent it’s post theatrical life in and out of the courts for almost a decade.  Before production began, Summit Entertainment pre-sold overseas territories to numerous distributors and Paramount signed on as US distributor with their first look deal with Bristol Bay.  The production was as fiscally irresponsible as filmmaking gets, with the original $80 million budget doubling to $160 million and distribution costs added $81.1 million to the already out of control spend.  Novelist Clive Cussler sued the producers and attempted to block the film’s release, claiming he had contractual control over the script, but was not granted it.  Bristol Bay countersued, claiming the author inflated book sales by as much as $50 million to drive up the costs of the rights.  After the film flopped, Bristol Bay sued for $50 million claiming fraud against the publishers and the literary agent to Cussler.  This went in and out of the courts until 2013 when the Colorado Supreme Court threw out the case against the publishers.  Sahara opened in the US against the rom-com Fever Pitch and it won the weekend with a soft $18,068,372.  Sahara saw a modest 27.7% second weekend decline and continued to post small weekly drops, but closed its run with a less than blockbuster $68,671,925.  Overseas, the film pulled in a weak $50.5 million, across numerous distributors. Sahara cost Bristol Bay $105 million in losses at the end of 2006 and their write down of $78.3 million is projected over a 10 year period with continued ancillary sales — and then there is the millions they spent on litigation, which after 8 years went nowhere.