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  • Directed By: Bill Duke
  • Written By: Chris Brancato
  • Release Date: August 29, 1997
  • Domestic Distributor: MGM
  • Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Tim Roth, Vanessa Williams, Andy Garcia

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 million Financed by: MGM
Domestic Gross: $23,499,102 Overseas Gross: N/A

hoodlum 1997
In 1996 there was a production hiatus at MGM, while Kirk Kerkorian was in the process of purchasing the studio for the third time and almost all of the lion’s 1997 releases were output deals for other companies or inherited titles from their purchase of Orion Pictures and Goldwyn Entertainment.  Of the 13 pictures that MGM theatrically released in 1997, only three were in-house productions — Hoodlum, Red Corner and the Bond picture Tomorrow Never Dies. 

The budget for Hoodlum was $30 million and MGM financed.  Both Hoodlum and Red Corner were major flops for the always in financial distress MGM, which announced a write-down of just over $10 million on Hoodlum and a huge $30 million loss on Red Corner.  Variety had obtained documents given to potential buyers for MGM that projected the domestic box office gross for Hoodlum at $78 million.  MGM management was close, but only $54.6 million off.

Hoodlum was booked into 2,020 theaters during the slow end of summer August 29 frame and it opened against the disposable fare Excess Baggage and Kull the Conqueror.  She’s So Lovely also bowed moderately wide.  Laurence Fishburne had also toplined Event Horizon, which was released just two weeks earlier.  Reviews were mixed leaning negative and it fared the best of the new releases with a mediocre $8,162,768 — placing #4 for the weekend led by the holdover G.I. Jane.  Hoodlum showed weak legs and declined 50% in attendance the following weekend to $4,047,485 and the domestic run closed at $23,499,102.   MGM would see returned about $11.7 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover their P&A expenses.  Overseas numbers are not available.

MGM packaged the hit The Man In The Iron Mask with 6 unwanted flops (Hoodlum, Mod Squad, Dirty Work, Disturbing Behavior, The Rage: Carrie 2 and At First Sight) to sell to the USA network and their sister channel Sci-Fi Channel for $22 million.

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  1. “Variety had obtained documents given to potential buyers for MGM that projected the domestic box office gross for Hoodlum at $78 million. MGM management was close, but only $54.6 million off.“

    Whoever signed those documents should do time. Not as much as the Enron guys or Madoff, at least 6 mos.

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