The Newton Boys

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  • Directed By: Richard Linklater
  • Written By: Richard Linklater, Claude Stanush, Clark Walker
  • Release Date: March 27, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: FOX
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio

Box Office Info:
Budget: $27 millionFinanced by: FOX
Domestic Gross: $10,452,012Overseas Gross: N/A

the newton boys box office 1998
The Newton Boys began development at Castle Rock in 1994 and was to be the second of a two picture deal Richard Linklater landed at the company after he completed Before Sunrise (1995).  In 1995, Castle Rock put the project into turnaround and in October ’95 FOX took over development and put The Newton Boys into pre-production.  In spring 1996, FOX shut the picture down, due to budget and script concerns.  Linklater then went off to quickly helm the low budget SubUrbia (1996), while the fate of The Newton Boys was being decided at FOX.

Matthew McConaughey had been attached to one of the lead roles in The Newton Boys since the project was announced and this was to be the second collaboration between him and Linklater after his debut performance in Dazed and Confused (1993).  When pre-production was halted on Newton, McConaughey practically overnight was launched to fame — landing roles in major commercial fare A Time To Kill, Contact and Amistad.  With celebrity status now around the actor who was yet to be proven bankable, FOX decided to move ahead with The Newton Boys.

The budget for The Newton Boys was $27 million, which was fully financed by FOX and filming began in April ’97.  At the time, The Newton Boys was the most expensive movie completely shot in Texas.  When Linklater was finishing up his edit, FOX executives became sour on the movie.  They did not feel that there was requisite action and that the pace was too slow.  Tensions escalated between the filmmakers and the studio, when it was mandated that a lengthy backstory opening be excised to speed up the narrative.  FOX ultimately won that battle.

The studio dated the movie for March 27, 1998 and gave The Newton Boys a half assed marketing campaign.  The dull poster was hated by the filmmakers and the dreadful trailer tried to pander to younger audiences by inserting pop music into the period film and was basically just quick edits of the leads shooting guns.  The Newton Boys was basically dumped by the studio and it bowed against the re-issue of Grease and the low budget moron movie Meet the Deedles.  Reviews were mixed and it was dead on arrival with $4,010,245 — placing #9 for the weekend led by the 15th frame of Titanic.  The film declined 42.5% to $2,303,889 the following weekend and then promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with a dismal $10,452,012.

FOX dumped the movie straight to video overseas in most markets and there are no numbers reported for the few countries where The Newton Boys landed a theatrical release.

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