The Man Who Knew Too Little

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    [Total: 7 Average: 2.3]
  • Directed By: Jon Amiel
  • Written By: Robert Farrar, Howard Franklin
  • Release Date: November 14, 1997
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Bill Murray, Peter Gallagher, Joanne Whalley, Alfred Molina

Box Office Info:
Budget: N/A Financed by: Regency
Domestic Gross: $13,717,039 Overseas Gross: N/A

the man who knew too little 1997
The Man Who Knew Too Little was financed by Regency and global distribution was handled by Warner Bros.  Budget info was never released at the time of release and the $20M figure that has circulated from is unsubstantiated.  The cost was likely between $25M – $35M.

The film was dated for November 14 and was tracking for disaster.  Bill Murray’s career had gone cold and he had not had a hit since Groundhog Day (1993).  Regency decided to hold nationwide sneak previews of The Man Who Knew Too Little the weekend before it was set to open, against the advice of the WB brass.  Sneak previews are not only very costly, but used to bolster word of mouth for audience friendly movies that they expect to break out and the response expected for this picture was not positive.  Tracking was showing that kids viewed the movie as a bland version of Austin Powers, which had just been released in May and adult Murray fans had seemed to move on after he had been slumming it in family fare like Larger Than Life (1996).

The Man Who Knew Too Little bowed against The Jackal and the re-release of The Little Mermaid.  Reviews were poor and it was dead on arrival with $4,604,819 — placing #5 for the weekend led by The Jackal.  It quickly left theaters with $13,717,039.  WB would see returned about $7.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — below P&A expenses and the budget would not be touched by the theatrical receipts.  The only Bill Murray studio vehicle after this was the box office disaster The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004).

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