With Suburbicon Bombing: A Look Back At George Clooney’s 5 Previous Movies

George Clooney has directed a movie every three years since 2002 — here’s a look at his 5 previous movies.

1. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

George Clooney’s directorial career began with 2002’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based off the book by former game show host and irritant Chuck Barris.  The screenplay was written by scribe Charlie Kaufman, who expressed his dislike of the movie and Clooney saying: 

I didn’t like it. That was a movie in which I was not consulted. I mean, George Clooney changed the script, he didn’t talk to me during production. We kind of didn’t get along. I was invited to see the movie when he was pretty much done and I wrote a bunch of notes and gave them to him and I guess it was offensive to him

Charlie Kaufman

Critics were more kind to the movie than its screenwriter, but it ultimately didn’t get the stellar reviews it needed to turn into a major awards player, which Harvey Weinstein was trying to groom the picture into.

With a budget just north of $30 million, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind flopped with a domestic take of just $16,007,718.  It pulled in an underwhelming $17 million from its offshore run.  You can read our complete write-up on Confessions here.

2. Good Night and Good Luck. (2005)

Good Night and Good Luck. is where the multi-hyphenate peaked as director.  Made for a lean $7.5 million, the film was a strong showcase of acting talent, with a stripped-down, no-bullshit approach to filming – excusing all of the showy and over-directed elements someone could accuse Clooney of in Confessions.

The black & white picture was produced by Clooney and Steven Soderbergh’s former production company Section Eight, which was housed at Warner Bros and Warner Independent handled the specialty title.

Good Night and Good Luck. never expanded beyond 929 theaters and managed to gross a strong $31,558,003 in the US and racked up an additional $23 million in overseas receipts.  It landed six Oscar nominations, including best picture and director.

3. Leatherheads (2008)

leatherheads 2008

After all the acclaim and accolades of his previous feature, Clooney’s next directing assignment Leatherheads was ultimately met with shrugs from critics and audiences.  It received mixed reviews and a poor C+ cinemascore from paying auds.

Clooney got to play with a larger budget this time around, with the movie’s price tag at $58 million and the picture was a box office disaster.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s Clooney in his own words to Rolling Stone:

It bombed and when I say bombed, it bombed. Someone said, “How does that feel?” and it stings a little bit. It’s not like we just showed up: I was working on this for a couple years and put a lot of work into it, and you get knocked back a little bit.

George Clooney

It grossed $41.2 million worldwide and after theaters take their percentage of the gross, Universal would see returned about $22.6 million — which would not even cover advertising costs.  You can read our complete writeup on Leatherheads here.

4. The Ides Of March (2011)

George Clooney’s next feature was The Ides of March, which was based off of Beau Willimon’s (the creator of the US version of House Of Cards) stage play Farragut North.  The film was produced for a very economical $12 million, mostly from foreign investors that Clooney pitched the movie to.

Critics were lukewarm to the movie, but it managed to gross $75.9 million worldwide.  Somehow the screenplay, which is a generic boilerplate narrative about political dirty tricks landed an Oscar nomination.

5. The Monuments Men (2014)

His next project was The Monuments Men, which came with both an ambitious premise and a $70 million production expense.

The result felt like a rough assembly edit.

This flatline of a film has no sense of pacing, intrigue, or emotion.  It lumbers along until the credits roll.  This major disappointment was not lost on its helmer and in an email that was published by WikiLeaks, Clooney wrote to the head of the movie division at Sony Amy Pascal about turning in this below-par product: 

I adore you, Amy. You are literally the only person running a studio that loves film. I fear I’ve let you all down. Not my intention. I apologize. I’ve just lost touch….. Who knew? Sorry. I won’t do it again.

George Clooney

Despite the movie’s failures, the global box office was a respectable $154.9 million.

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