Desperate Measures

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  • Directed By: Barbet Schroeder
  • Written By: David Klass
  • Release Date: January 30, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Michael Keaton, Andy Garcia, Brian Cox

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 millionFinanced by: Mandalay Pictures
Domestic Gross: $13,806,137Overseas Gross: N/A


Desperate Measures was in development at the newly formed Mandalay Pictures in 1995, which had a domestic distribution arrangement at Sony.  Desperate Measures was set to go out through Sony’s TriStar division and was to be the label’s big budget main release in 1996, but the project was pushed back to allow more time in development.  The budget for Desperate Measures was $50 million and Mandalay financed.   Production began in July 1996 and it was dated for an August 8, 1997 release.  Mandalay offset some of their risk on the picture from pre-sales to international distributors.

In June 1997, Warner Bros shifted the release date for their movie Conspiracy Theory to August 8 and Sony blinked and moved Desperate Measures to the January dead zone on January 30, 1998.  It bowed against Great Expectations and Deep Rising.  Reviews were awful, there was little buzz and the dimming star wattage of Michael Keaton was coming off the flops Speechless (1994) and Multiplicity (1996).  Desperate Measures was dead on arrival with $5,833,412 — placing #6 for the weekend led by the 7th frame of Titanic.  The picture fell 48.5% to $3,004,790 the following session and sank 54.1% to $1,378,515 in its third weekend.  The domestic run closed with just $13,806,137.  Sony would see returned about $7.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which leaves much of the P&A expenses in the red.

Overseas numbers are not available.

Sony packaged this unwanted flop and the dud The Replacement Killers with the box office hits As Good As It Gets and I Know What You Did Last Summer for a huge $45M sale to Turner cable stations TNT & TBS.

At the end of 1998, the ridiculous kids pic Jack Frost sadly marked the end of studio movies built around Michael Keaton.

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