The King And I

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    [Total: 14 Average: 1.9]
  • Directed By: Richard Rich
  • Written By: Peter Bakalian, Jacqueline Feather, David Seidler
  • Release Date: March 19, 1999
  • Domestic Distributor: Morgan Creek (through Warner Bros)
  • Cast: Miranda Richardson, Christiane Noll, Martin Vidnovic

Box Office Info:
Budget: $22 million Financed by: Morgan Creek
Domestic Box Office: $11,993,021 Overseas Box Office: $904,618

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization had publicly stated that licensing the rights of the classic musical The King And I to this woeful animated movie was their biggest regret involving the property.  Producer and veteran animator Arthur Rankin, brokered the deal for the rights to The King And I and then took the project over to Morgan Creek.  With Disney monopolizing the animation market, both FOX and Warner Bros had recently launched their own animation studios to compete with the mouse house by funding their own in-house and expensive features — but Morgan Creek decided to give The King And I a penny pinching production, akin to TV quality animation.  The budget for The King And I was a modest $22 million and Morgan Creek fully financed.

Morgan Creek also fully financed the marketing spend for The King And I and used Warner Bros’ distribution resources for a fee.  The cartoon was dated for March 19, 1999 and Morgan Creek had high hopes that the built-in audience for the Rodgers & Hammerstein productions would turn out in force.  Arthur Rankin was also banking on the picture being a success, as he had a development deal with The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization to produce Oklahoma and The Sound of Music as animated features.  If The King And I was both a critical and commercial success, he would have been given the go ahead to produce the two movies — this was eventually savaged by critics and flopped at the box office.

The King And I bowed against Forces Of Nature, True Crime and Ravenous.  Audiences stayed far away and it was dead on arrival with $4,007,565 — placing #6 for the weekend led by Forces Of Nature.  It declined 50% the following frame to $2,004,503 and the domestic run closed with a terrible $11,993,021.  Morgan Creek would see returned about $6.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which leaves much of the P&A costs in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts — plus a fee to WB.

Warner Bros handled most international markets and dumped the movie.  Recorded overseas numbers are just $904,618.

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