Rules Of Engagement
- Directed By: William Friedkin
- Written By: Stephen Gaghan
- Release Date: April 7, 2000
- Domestic Distributor: Paramount
- Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Guy Pearce
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $70 million||Financed by: Paramount; Seven Arts Pictures|
|Domestic Gross: $61,335,230||Overseas Gross: $10,397,073|
The budget for Rules Of Engagement was $70 million and it was equally financed by Paramount and Seven Arts Pictures. Paramount would handle domestic distribution and Seven Arts would take international and sell rights to overseas distributors. Seven Arts had success pre-selling the project at the MIFED film market in 1999. Seven Arts was run by now convicted fraudster Peter Hoffman, who tried to seize the copyright to Rules Of Engagement in 2002 and went on an 11 year long lawsuit quest. Hoffman claimed Seven Arts was the owner of the property and in November 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Paramount. Three months later Hoffman was charged with defrauding the state of Louisiana for $1.13 million in a film tax rebate scheme and was facing up to 405 years in prison. This dipsh-t was ultimately spared prison and fined $40,000 and given 300 hours of community service.
Veteran director William Friedkin helmed Rules Of Engagement and continued to raise eyebrows in hollywood for nepotism — since every studio considered him unemployable and yet Paramount which was run by his wife Sherry Lansing, would hire him for big budget productions. His career hit rock bottom with the evil tree movie The Guardian (1990) for Universal and after that fiasco Lansing gave him work at Paramount, all of which were critical and box office losers. First was Blue Chips (1994), then the trainwreck Jade (1995), Rules Of Engagement and the last movie before Lansing was replaced was The Hunted (2003).
Rules Of Engagement was dated for April 7, 2000 and along with receiving mostly poor reviews, it was slammed as possibly the most racist film ever made against Arabs. The screenplay was originally written to take place in an unnamed Latin American country, but the studio did not want to offend hispanic audiences, so they opted to offend Arab auds. The overtly American jingoistic narrative would also be entirely dependent on the domestic market, as the rest of the planet would have no interest in the picture.
Rules Of Engagement bowed against Return To Me, Ready To Rumble and Black and White. It won the weekend with $15,011,181. The pic had strong weekly holds and closed with $61,335,230. Paramount would see returned about $33.7 million, which would likely cover most of the P&A expenses and after ancillary sales, the studio would certainly be in the black for their half of the production expenses.
The half of the production that was paid for with foreign coin through pre-sales, would be all red ink when Rules Of Engagement drummed up just $10.3M in receipts.