Lions For Lambs
|Budget: $35 million||Financed by: United Artists|
|Domestic Gross: $15,002,854||Domestic Distributor: United Artists|
|Overseas Gross: $48,213,018||
Directed by: Robert Redford
Produced by: Matthew Michael Carnahan
In 2006 United Artists was being restructured by MGM chief Harry Sloan, who appointed Tom Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner to revive UA and they took 30% ownership of the company, which is owned by MGM. Harry Sloan set up a $500 million line of equity with Merrill Lynch for Cruise and Wagner to greenlight four films a year with budgets around $40 million to $50 million. The first film out of the gate was the $35 million Lions For Lambs and MGM sold off overseas rights, to limit their exposure to the budget. UA released the film in the US and heavily marketed the pic, pushing the A-list cast of Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and director/actor Robert Redford. Audiences had ignored fims about the ‘war on terror’ as In The Valley Of Elah flopped in September and Rendition flopped in October and tracking for the November 9 release of Lions For Lambs was heading in the $10 million range — UA had a lowball estimate of $8 million. Mixed to poor reviews hurt what little appeal the pic had and it came in below its low expectations at $6,702,434 in 2,215 theaters. Lions For Lambs placed #4 for the weekend led by holdovers Bee Movie, American Gangster and new opener Fred Claus. Unsurprisingly for a politically charged film, audiences gave it a terrible C cinemascore and it sank 56.8% in its second weekend to $2,896,594. Lions For Lambs bombed out of release with just $15,002,854. UA would see back about $8.25 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross. FOX released the film in the majority of overseas territories and it pulled in mostly poor numbers, grossing $48.2 million and was savaged by critics. Tom Cruise’s star power mustered a decent enough $8.3 million in Italy for FOX and an ok $6.5 million in Spain, but the film outright flopped in the UK with $3.1 million. It is estimated that United Artists lost $30 million on Lions For Lambs. In 2008 Paula Wagner quit her post at UA and in 2011 MGM bought back all of United Artists, including their only two releases, Lions For Lambs and Valkyrie and two pics UA financed — Hot Tub Time Machine and Fame.