Knock Off

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    [Total: 7 Average: 2.7]
  • Directed By: Hark Tsui
  • Written By: Steven E. de Souza
  • Release Date: September 4, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rob Schneider, Paul Sorvino

Box Office Info:
Budget: $35 million Financed by: MDP Worldwide
Domestic Box Office: $10,319,915 Overseas Box Office: $7,800,000

knock off van damme
Knock Off was financed by MDP Worldwide, which took this ridiculous project to the 1997 American Film Market for pre-sales.  The budget for Knock Off was $35 million and sales to distributors covered the majority of the expenses.   This Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle was packaged with veteran director Hark Tsui (Once Upon a Time in China), who tried his hand at two western productions with pathetic results — both Van Damme movies Double Team (1997) and Knock Off.  Upset with interference and the abysmal quality of both movies, he returned to Hong Kong cinema.

The muscles from Brussels’ drawing power had been fading after a string of flops starting in 1995 and after the failure of Knock Off, his next picture Legionnaire (1999) was dumped straight to video.  He had also burned all of his studio bridges with diva behavior on his poorly performing movies and his legendary cocaine habit hit its peak with Knock Off.  The following year Universal Soldier: The Return (1999) ended the theatrical era of JCVD films.  Up and comer Rob Schneider signed on as the comic relief, who had recently filmed his comic relief turn in another godawful action picture Judge Dredd.

Sony acquired domestic distribution in late March 1998 and first dated Knock Off for August 21, but Blade was scheduled for that date and Sony pushed it back to the slow Labor Day frame on September 4.  Knock Off was not screened for critics and was not expected to open higher than $5M or $6M. 

It opened within the very low bar set for this junker at $5,516,231 — placing #4 for the weekend led by the holdover There’s Something About Mary.  Audiences gave the movie a hateful D+ cinemascore and Knock Off plunged 65.1% to $1,922,829 in its second frame and sank 66.8% to $638,313 in its third session.  The domestic run closed with only $10,319,915.  Sony would see returned about $5.6M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far below the P&A expenses.

Overseas numbers were just $7.8M.

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