Miracle At St. Anna
|Budget: $45 million||Financed by: On My Own; RAI Cinema; TF1; Disney|
|Domestic Gross: $7,919,117||Domestic Distributor: Disney (Touchstone)|
|Overseas Gross: $1,404,716||
Directed by: Spike Lee
Produced by: Jon Kilik
After Spike Lee got into a public spat over the absence of black soldiers in Clint Eastwood’s two WWII pics, Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, he set out to make his own tribute to WWII black soldiers with Miracle At St. Anna. Italy based On My Own contributed $8.74 million of the $45 million budget and Italy based RAI Cinema, France based TF1 and Disney contributed the rest of the budget. TF1 Intl. took international rights outside the US and Disney distributed in the US under their Touchstone banner. Disney first dated Miracle At St. Anna for October 10 and then moved it forward to September 26 — where it bowed against Eagle Eye, Nights in Rodanthe and Fireproof. Disney booked it only moderately wide at 1,185 locations and St. Anna was expected to open around $6 million, placing it within the range of previous Spike Lee movies distributed by the mouse house Summer Of Sam and He Got Game. Awful reviews and the broadcast of the first 2008 Presidential debate on its opening night kept auds away and Miracle At St. Anna flopped with $3,477,996 — placing #9 for the weekend led by Eagle Eye. It declined 50.1% the following weekend to $1,736,302 and promptly lost most of its theater count. The domestic run ended with only $7,919,117. The mouse house would see returned about $4.3 million after theaters take their cut of the ticket price, far below their P&A costs and budget contribution.
The film made a poor $1.3 million in Italy and then TF1 refused to release the film in much of the world after poor reviews and tried to sever its distribution contract. This tied the film up in the courts without a proper offshore rollout. A Paris court sided with director Spike Lee, screen writer James McBride and On My Own and ordered TF1 to pay $45.8 million for failure to distribute Miracle At St. Anna. That amount was reduced to an undisclosed number, when the two sides settled years later in 2011. The film eventually went straight to video in France in 2011 and saw a belated video release in most territories. The overseas total was a mere $1.4 million, with almost all of that coming from Italy.
In November 2016, Spike Lee and his production company were sued by two union employee benefit funds for a debt of $44,987.87 — as he had not made the required payments for benefits for several union members during the production of Miracle At St. Anna.