Ride With The Devil

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    [Total: 7 Average: 3.6]
  • Directed By: Ang Lee
  • Written By: James Schamus
  • Release Date: November 26, 1999
  • Domestic Distributor: USA Films
  • Cast: Tobey Maguire, Jewel, Skeet Ulrich

Box Office Info:
Budget: $38 million Financed by: Universal; Good Machine
Domestic Box Office: $635,096 Overseas Box Office: N/A

Good Machine began developing Ride With The Devil at Fox Searchlight and parent corp FOX was set to handle the international release.  Good Machine and Fox Searchlight collaborated on Ang Lee’s previous picture The Ice Storm (1997), but Searchlight did not put much effort into that release and then sent Ride With The Devil into turnaround a few weeks after Ice opened.  Fox was growing concerned with the costs, as the budget for Ride With The Devil was $38 million and the only bankable actor that was attached to the project was Matt Damon, who dropped out to star in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Good Machine then took Ride With The Devil to Universal, which majority financed the project.  Good Machine Intl. handled overseas sales to distributors and Universal was set to handle domestic distribution duties.  Most of the production was filmed in Kansas, which at the time of release was the most expensive picture shot in the state.

When the movie was in post-production, Good Machine’s first look deal at FOX was expiring and the experience with Universal during production on Ride With The Devil was positive, so the two companies launched a first look agreement.  The fit was so good that Universal purchased Good Machine in 2002 and the company was rebranded into Focus Features.

Ride With The Devil was scheduled to make the end of the year festival rounds for exposure and it was looked at as a potential awards contender.  Reviews were positive, but Universal decided to pawn the movie off to their specialty label USA Films.  It was dated for the Thanksgiving holiday frame on November 26, 1999 and was expected to land a wide release.  There was much publicity about the singer Jewel in her first feature film role, but Ride With The Devil was completely dumped.

The prestige pic quietly opened in 11 theaters and pulled in $64,159 with a not very promising $5,832 per screen average.  At its widest, the movie was in just 60 locations and it died at the box office with a mere $635,096.  Overseas numbers are not available.

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  1. This film derserved better than it got from its distributors. They managed to turn a $35 million film into a bomb. Makes no sense why the studios didn’t promote and distribute this very decent, well made film unless they were looking for a write off.

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