- Directed By: Jonathan Demme
- Written By: Akosua Busia, Richard LaGravenese, Adam Brooks
- Release Date: October 16, 1998
- Domestic Distributor: Disney (Touchstone)
- Cast: Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $53 million||Financed by: Disney|
|Domestic Box Office: $22,852,487||Overseas Box Office: N/A|
Oprah Winfrey purchased the theatrical rights to Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winner Beloved back in 1987 for $500,000. In November 1995, Winfrey’s production company Harpo Films landed a five year first look deal at Disney and Beloved would be the first project put into production. After the movie’s major commercial failure, no other films came from the Harpo/Disney pact. The film began to actively move forward in early 1997. The budget for Beloved was $53 million and Disney financed the picture.
Beloved was positioned by Disney as a big budget prestige pic set for an awards end of the year release on October 16, 1998. The movie rode a tidal wave of publicity and positive buzz into release and was expected to play well throughout the awards season. The mouse house marketing machine fully backed the picture and audience awareness was high. Reviews were lukewarm and it bowed against Practical Magic and Bride of Chucky. Beloved was commercially handicapped by its 2 hrs. 52 min running time, which impacted the amount of times it could be played at cinemas, but it came in far below expectations at $8,165,551 — placing #5 for the slow weekend led by Practical Magic. Audiences gave Beloved a toxic C+ Cinemascore, which did not bode well for its longevity in theaters and it fell 47.5% to $4,286,417 in its second frame, killing its chances at breaking out. The domestic run closed with a very poor $22,852,487. Disney would see returned about $12.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below the P&A expenses and the budget would be entirely in the red.
Ten days after Beloved opened to disappointing domestic numbers, Disney panicked and tried to sell off some overseas markets at the London Screenings marketplace. Beloved was dumped overseas and offshore numbers are not available. Oprah said that the box office failure of Beloved “sent me into a massive, depressive, macaroni-and-cheese-eating tail spin.” Some people hit the bottle and others get f-cked up on Macaroni-and-cheese.