Almost Famous

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  • Directed By: Cameron Crowe
  • Written By: Cameron Crowe
  • Release Date: September 15, 2000
  • Domestic Distributor: DreamWorks
  • Cast: Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson

Box Office Info:
Budget: $60 million Financed by: DreamWorks; Sony
Domestic Gross: $32,534,850 Overseas Gross: $14,848,839

almost famous 2000
After Cameron Crowe’s third feature Jerry Maguire (1996) pulled in $273 million globally, all the studios were eager to land a first look deal with the filmmaker.  In May 1997, Crowe signed a three year, first look deal with DreamWorks and Almost Famous was the only picture to materialize.  DreamWorks was originally the sole financier of the movie, which was expected to come in at around $45 million.  Cameron Crowe was the only marketable name attached to the project and he received the highest salary at $7 million.  Even with a medium sized budget, Almost Famous was always envisioned as a small scale personal film and DreamWorks began to panic when the production went way over schedule.

The budget for Almost Famous was $60 million after production went one month over schedule to 92 days, which pushed the expenses $15 million over budget.   Even the music budget came in at $3.5 million.  Just weeks before the movie was set to open, DreamWorks decided to broker a deal with Sony to offset their risk on Almost Famous.  Sony was the studio behind Jerry Maguire and handed DreamWorks over $100 million for the overseas rights to Almost Famous and two other movies — the Ivan Reitman dud Evolution (2001) and An Everlasting Piece (2000).  $35 million would go toward Almost Famous, $55 million would go to Evolution and the rest would go to the low budget An Everlasting Piece.  Sony would split domestic revenue for Almost Famous 50/50 with DreamWorks and Sony would take just the foreign receipts for the other two movies.

Knowing they have a decent product, but tough sell on their hands DreamWorks held 425 nationwide preview screenings of the movie to help spread word of mouth.  Tracking indicated that audiences under 30 had little interest in the picture.  DreamWorks decided to carefully expand the theater count over a few weeks to let positive buzz spread.

Almost Famous was dated for September 15 and received strong critical praise.  It was booked into 131 theaters and grossed $2,314,646 with a fantastic $17,669 per screen average.  It then expanded to 1,193 locations the following weekend and pulled in $6,926,467.  While those were soft numbers, the film was expected to leg out and play strong over the next few weeks.  DreamWorks pushed the theater count to 1,635 in its third frame with diminishing returns at $5,570,441.  Almost Famous continued to expand in its fourth session to 2,085 theaters and continued to struggle.  It declined 33.2% to $3,718,598 and expanded one last time to 2,262 theaters in its fifth weekend and fell 41% to $2,192,827.  The domestic run closed with a very disappointing $32,534,850.  About $17.8 million would be returned after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover P&A expenses.

Almost Famous was a total dud for Sony overseas, where it cumed all of $14.8 million.  The movie would find success and a continued life on the home market.


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