Species II

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    [Total: 535 Average: 3.7]
  • Directed By: Peter Medak
  • Written By: Chris Brancato
  • Release Date: April 10, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: MGM
  • Cast: Michael Madsen, Natasha Henstridge, Marg Helgenberger

Box Office Info:
Budget: $35 million (estimated) Financed by: MGM
Domestic Gross: $19,221,939 Overseas Gross: $10,800,000

species 2 1998
Just a few weeks after the surprise global hit Species (1995) pulled in $113.3M at the worldwide box office, producer Frank Mancuso Jr. thought he found his next franchise.  Mancuso Jr. had produced and guided the Friday The 13th series from Part 2 to Part 7 and felt the Species property could be exploited for numerous theatrical installments.  After Species II bombed, there were two cheap sequels produced for the video market.

The always in distress MGM was on financial life support when the studio took a $53.6 million write-down on Species II and also the cheaper pics Dirty Work and Disturbing Behavior.  The loss depleted enough of  MGM’s cash reserves that majority shareholder Kirk Kerkorian had to give a $500 million cash infusion to continue film operations.

The budget for Species II was estimated at $35 million and MGM originally dated the sleazy horror show for June 5, 1998 but then moved it forward to April 10.  MGM landed a promotional tie-in with McFarlane Toys for a toy line for adults — or more likely kids who wanted the Eve figure with exposed boobs.  Along with a trailer that looked like a direct to video softcore horror schlocker, the movie landed some unwanted publicity when veteran creature designer H.R. Giger demanded his name be removed from the picture after he saw a cut of the film.

MGM did not screen the movie for critics and when the reviews for Species II posted, they were as bad as they come.  Even actor Michael Madsen, whose résumé is an archive of mostly Z-grade films, said “Species II was a crock of shit.”  It bowed against City of Angels, The Odd Couple II, The Players Club and My Giant.

MGM booked Species II into 2,510 theaters and it tanked with $7,274,008 — placing #4 for the weekend led by City Of Angels.  Auds gave the pic a terrible C cinemascore and it declined 44.8% to $4,013,009 in its second frame and then sank 60.8% to $1,573,525 in its third session.  The domestic run closed with just $19,221,939.  MGM would see returned about $10.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, leaving much of the P&A costs in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.

The sequel was also a non-performer overseas with a small $10.8 million cume across a few distributors.

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