Jack Frost

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  • Directed By: Troy Miller
  • Written By: Mark Steven Johnson, Steve Bloom, Jonathan Roberts, Jeff Cesario
  • Release Date: December 11, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston, Joseph Cross

Box Office Info:
Budget: $40 million Financed by: Warner Bros
Domestic Box Office: $34,562,556 Overseas Box Office: $3,222,466

Jack Frost was in development in 1995 at the short lived Giant Pictures, which was housed at Warner Bros and Sam Raimi was attached to direct the project for nearly three years.  WB began to actively move forward with Jack Frost in late 1997 and the movie was expected to be the studio’s major holiday release in 1998.  George Clooney was attached as the lead, but he and Raimi left the project shortly before the cameras were ready to roll.  Raimi went off to helm the financially unsuccessful, but acclaimed A Simple Plan and Clooney left this trainwreck and walked into another one with Batman & Robin.  Raimi had also cast Billy Bob Thornton in a co-starring role in Jack Frost, but he was fortuitous enough to follow Raimi away from this, over to A Simple Plan and landed a Supporting Actor nomination.

After Clooney vacated the lead role, Michael Keaton was signed and Jack Frost sadly marked the end of studio movies built around his dimming star wattage.  Keaton was coming off a series of flops: Speechless (1994), Multiplicity (1996) and Desperate Measures earlier in 1998.

The budget for Jack Frost was $40 million (not the ridiculously inflated box office mojo estimate at $85 million which has circulated) and it was fully financed by Warner Bros.   It was dated for December 11 (oddly enough, Raimi’s A Simple Plan also opened in limited release that weekend) and bowed into a market saturated with family fare.  Jack Frost landed dreadful reviews, which Roger Ebert hilariously called “the most repulsive single creature in the history of special effects.” It opened against Star Trek: Insurrection and would have competition from holdover family fare A Bug’s Life, The Rugrats Movie and Babe: Pig in the City.  The family pictures The Prince of Egypt and Mighty Joe Young were also gearing up for the holiday release.

Jack Frost was tracking very poorly and actually opened above expectations with a terrible $7,104,125 — placing #3 for the weekend led by Star Trek.  It dipped only 28.1% the following frame to $5,106,442 and continued to post modest weekly declines, but the domestic run closed with $34,562,556.  WB would see returned about $18.9M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — below P&A expenses and the theatrical receipts would not dent the budget.  Overseas numbers were only $3.2M.


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