The End of the Affair

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  • Directed By: Neil Jordan
  • Written By: Neil Jordan
  • Release Date: December 3, 1999
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Stephen Rea, Julianne Moore

Box Office Info:
Budget: $23 million Financed by: Sony
Domestic Box Office: $10,827,816 Overseas Box Office: $11,000,000

As The Crying Game (1992) was picking up steam at the box office and landing major end of the year accolades, it was announced in January 1993 that Neil Jordan was in talks with Sony about adapting Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair.  Sony owned the theatrical rights to the property, but the project was put on the back burner while Jordan helmed three pictures for Warner Bros: Interview with the Vampire (1994), Michael Collins (1996) and his underseen masterwork The Butcher Boy (1997).  In September 1997, Jordan delivered a draft of the screenplay and began to move forward with The End of the Affair, but he was first committed to direct the trainwreck In Dreams (1999) for DreamWorks.

The budget for The End of the Affair was $23 million, which Sony fully financed and it marked the second stab at this material after the disastrous 1955 movie.   In Dreams was released in January 1999 and was a major commercial and critical failure, but The End of the Affair was positioned as a prestige pic with major award potential.  Sony set the date for a limited release on December 3, 1999 with a slow expansion set over the following weeks.

Reviews were mildly positive, but far from the raves that would have increased its commercial play.  The End of the Affair was booked into 7 theaters and pulled in $198,535 with a solid $28,362 per screen average.  For its first seven weeks in limited release it had only expanded to 92 locations, but had grossed a healthy $3.4M.  The End of the Affair then expanded into 686 theaters and posted a soft $2,327,117.  It dipped 29.9% to $1,631,780 the following weekend and never expanded further.

When the Academy Award nominations were announced on February 15, 2000, The End of the Affair landed a nom for Julianne Moore and Roger Pratt’s cinematography, but Sony did not put the film back into nationwide release to capitalize off the award attention.  The domestic run flamed out with $10,827,816.

The reported overseas numbers were only $11 million.  The worldwide cume was $21.8M and Sony would see returned about $12M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not cover P&A expenses or any of the budget.

Shortly after The End of the Affair fizzled, Warner Bros put Jordan’s next film The Good Thief (2003) into turnaround and that project was eventually financed independently.  He made a brief detour back into studio filmmaking with the flop The Brave One (2007) and then continued to work outside of the system.

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