The Out-of-Towners

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    [Total: 9 Average: 1.8]
  • Directed By: Sam Weisman
  • Written By: Marc Lawrence
  • Release Date: April 2, 1999
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, John Cleese

Box Office Info:
Budget: $40 million Financed by: Paramount; Cinevisions Ice
Domestic Gross: $28,544,120 Overseas Gross: $4,700,000

The Out-of-Towners (1999) box office
In mid 1996 Paramount began to develop two old Neil Simon properties — a remake of The Out of Towners (1970) and a belated sequel to The Odd Couple (1968).  Both projects were critical and commercial failures.  Paramount offered screenwriting duties to Neil Simon for both pictures and he collected a paycheck for his hack work on The Odd Couple II, but turned down The Out-of-Towners.  He said the current times were too grim to update the fish-out-of-water story from the innocence of when the original was made.  Those were the lovely innocent times of the Vietnam War, Nixon, the Kent State shootings, NYC teetering on bankruptcy and violent social upheaval across the country.

In September 1997, the studio announced that the remake would pair Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, which would be their second collaboration after HouseSitter (1992).  The budget for The Out-of-Towners was $40 million and Paramount initially financed the picture themselves, but when the movie was in post-production, Cinevisions Ice took a small equity investment into the film.   In November 1998 this unfunny mess was sent back for reshoots.

Paramount dated The Out-of-Towners for April 2, 1999 and it bowed against The Matrix and 10 Things I Hate About You.  Despite being toplined by strong comedic talent — Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn and John Cleese — they could not elevate this dreary material and reviews were awful, which was off putting to most older auds, which Paramount was targeting.  The Out-of-Towners pulled in a very soft $8,224,215 — placing #3 for the weekend led by The Matrix.  It declined 39.1% to $5,010,781 the following frame and dipped 37.8% to $3,114,729 in its third session, but the domestic run closed with a terrible $28,544,120.

The Out-of-Towners was a complete box office turkey overseas, where it cumed all of $4.7M.  The worldwide gross was $33.2M and Paramount would see returned about $18.2M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not cover P&A expenses or any of the budget.

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