Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
|Budget: $35 million||Financed by: Paramount|
|Domestic Gross: $23,083,334||Domestic Distributor: Paramount|
|Overseas Gross: $1,888,805||
Directed by: Glenn Ficarra
Produced by: Lorne Michaels
Paramount financed Whiskey Tango Foxtrot for $35 million and this Tina Fey vehicle was based on the memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by journalist Kim Barker. Political war comedies are a difficult sell and toothless trailers emphasizing light comedy, coupled with mixed reviews did not help the limited appeal. Despite the weak marketing material, Paramount did invest heavily into the pic’s promotion, with $13.79 million spent on TV spots going into release and a few million more after release — plus millions on print, online, radio, billboard, booking fees, etc. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was tracking for an opening between $10 – $12 million, trying to court older femme audiences as counter-programming to Zootopia and London Has Fallen. Paramount booked the film in 2,374 theaters and it came in below expectations with $7,450,275 — placing #4 for the weekend led by Zootopia. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot saw a modest 37.4% second weekend decline to $4,665,013 and a 39.9% third frame drop to $2,801,718 but lost most of its theater count after its third week. It closed its domestic run with $23,083,334 and Paramount would see back about $12.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.
Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman said the box office failure of Zoolander 2 and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot cost the studio $136 million in losses. In late February, a week after Zoolander 2 pulled in its disappointing opening numbers, a bitter Viacom board drama erupted between Philippe Dauman and Viacom head Sumner Redstone. Dauman wanted to sell 49% of the studio to China based Wanda and Redstone did not want to give up any ownership of the studio and a very public and messy battle played out, resulting in the departure of Dauman — who received an exit package estimated at $85 million. That is an amazing payout for someone who attempted a corporate coup, by claiming the mental competence of his 93-year-old boss was not of sound mind.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot has seen a small rollout overseas, pulling in just $1.8 million with most of that anemic number coming from Australia’s $1.5 million gross. Paramount dumped it in the UK, where it cumed a mere $175,508.