Budget: $30 million Financed by: Good Universe
Domestic Gross: $2,193,658 Domestic Distributor: FilmDistrict
Overseas Gross: $2,667,364
Directed by: Spike Lee
Josh Brolin
Produced by: Peter Schlessel

oldboy box officeSpike Lee’s remake of the acclaimed Korean film, ended with ill will among producers and filmmakers and lots of lost money.  Forced to trim about an hour of footage and inexplicably add an edit to the film’s centerpiece fight scene which was filmed as an unbroken shot, director Spike Lee removed his ‘joint’ trademark and used ‘A Spike Lee Film,’ hardly damning, but in an age where filmmakers are forced to sign non-disparaging contracts, any sign of dissatisfaction is amplified.  His only remarks of dissatisfaction were: “Tough business. That’s all I’m going to say. Tough business.”  Good Universe financed the $30 million production and pre-sold territories at Cannes.  Universal Pictures International purchased the rights for the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and Spain.  FilmDistrict acquired US rights and slated the film for a wide release Oct 25, but Oldboy was tracking poorly and the cash strapped FilmDistrict pushed the release back a month to open over Thanksgiving.  FilmDistrict was then absolved into Focus Features, with Oldboy being the studio’s last release before they closed their doors.  FilmDistrict clearly had no faith in the film with blink and you miss it marketing and they dumped Oldboy into 583 theaters, where it flopped with a terrible $885,382 opening weekend, placing #18 at the box office.  The pic sank 66% in its second frame to $301,455 and quickly closed with only $2,193,658.  Universal opened the film moderately wide in the UK in 253 theaters to a terrible $155,018 with a $613 per screen average and it was pulled out of release after two weeks with just $314,468.  The overseas numbers were an embarrassing $2,667,364 losing money for every distributor that picked up the ‘hot’ title during pre-sales and losing Good Universe the balance that the pre-sales didn’t cover, since no cash overages from distributors would flow back to them.  The recorded domestic home video sales were just $846,558 (less after resellers take their cut and manufacturing costs).