Mission To Mars
|Budget: $100 million||Financed by: Disney; Spyglass Entertainment|
|Domestic Gross: $60,883,407||Domestic Distributor: Disney|
|Overseas Gross: $50,100,000||
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Produced by: Sam Mercer
Mission To Mars began development at Disney in 1997 as a major tentpole for the mouse house and it was previously a Disney theme park attraction that had closed in 1993. It was announced by the studio on October 2, 1998 that Gore Verbinski would helm the picture as his sophomore film, who had just come off the minor hit Mouse Hunt (1997). Three months later Verbinski exited Mission To Mars after disputes over the creative direction of the movie and budget concerns. Pointless Trivia: Three years after Mission To Mars opened, Gore Verbinski would finally direct another Disney theme park attraction Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Veteran director Brian De Palma became attached to the project and Mission To Mars began a race to the big screen with another competing mars movie Red Planet. Mission To Mars made it into production first, but both movies ended as expensive disasters. Disney majority financed the $100 million budget for Mission To Mars and Spyglass Entertainment invested $30 million for numerous overseas rights. Spyglass offset their risk in the picture by pre-selling those rights to numerous foreign distributors. Despite the huge expense behind the picture, De Palma has stated that making the movie was a terrible experience and he had to fight Disney for money to complete vfx shots. De Palma has said, “At the end of Mission to Mars, I didn’t have the money to make the kind of shots you need in order to make them as spectacular as they should be.” No kidding, the alien at the very end looks like mucus was flung onto the film negative. After his troubles, plus the dreadful box office numbers on Mission To Mars, De Palma never directed a movie for a studio again — getting most of his funding independently or from European sources.
Mission To Mars was dated for March 10, 2000 and bowed against The Ninth Gate. The movie was savaged by critics but managed to open strongly with $22,855,247 — placing #1 for the weekend. Audiences hated the movie as much as those paid to review it and gave the pic a C- cinemascore. It declined 50.2% to $11,385,709 the following weekend and fell 49.8% to $5,720,133 in its third frame. The domestic run closed with $60,883,407. Disney would see returned about $33.4 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would just about cover only their expensive P&A spend.
Mission To Mars fared even worse overseas and cumed $50.1 million.