The Thirteenth Floor

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  • Directed By: Josef Rusnak
  • Written By: Daniel F. Galouye, Josef Rusnak, Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez
  • Release Date: May 28, 1999
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D’Onofrio

Box Office Info:
Budget: $18 million Financed by: Centropolis Entertainment; Sony; Filmstiftung NRW
Domestic Gross: $11,916,661 Overseas Gross: $6,647,427

the thirteenth floor 1999
The budget for The Thirteenth Floor was a modest $18 million and it was financed by Centropolis Entertainment (which received its funding through German banks and investors) and also Sony.  Additional coin came from the German fund Filmstiftung NRW, which sued Centropolis in 2007 for 1.84 million euros, after they were never given any revenue from ancillary sales.

After the success of Independence Day, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s Centropolis production company were courted by most studios and they landed a massive deal at Sony in 1998.  Centropolis would be housed at Sony with a three year first look deal and the overhead of cost the studio $15 million.  In 2001 Sony did not renew the deal, after it only produced the lousy Godzilla (1998) which cost so much to market it barely made it into the black; the dud The Thirteenth Floor, which Sony wasted its time and resources on a pricey marketing campaign; and The Patriot (2000), which also barely squeaked into profit.

Sony handled global distribution on The Thirteenth Floor and dated the pic for the Memorial Day holiday frame on May 28, 1999.  Along with no bankable leads and dreadful reviews, the movie had the extra misfortune of opening not even two months after The Matrix (still in release), which The Thirteenth Floor was criticized as being a low-rent version of.  Also adding clutter to the sci-fi marketplace was Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace which opened the weekend prior.

The Thirteenth Floor was dead on arrival with $3,322,416 — placing #5 for the weekend led by The Phantom Menace.  Audiences that showed up hated the movie and gave it a D+ cinemascore, but despite the toxic word of mouth, it dipped 39.7% to $2,004,461 the following session — but it was too little too late.  The domestic run closed with a terrible $11,916,661.

Sony saw dire box office numbers from the overseas release, where it cumed just $6.6M and the studio dumped it straight to video in the UK.  The worldwide total was $18.5M and Sony would see returned about $10.1M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below P&A expenses and the theatrical receipts would not dent the budget.

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