The Next Best Thing

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    [Total: 4 Average: 1.5]
    • Directed By: John Schlesinger
    • Written By: Tom Ropelewski
    • Release Date: March 3, 2000
    • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
    • Cast: Madonna, Rupert Everett, Benjamin Bratt

Box Office Info:
Budget: $25 million Financed by: Lakeshore Entertainment; Paramount
Domestic Gross: $14,990,582 Overseas Gross: $9,372,190

The budget for The Next Best Thing was $25 million and it was co-financed by Lakeshore Entertainment and their domestic distribution partner Paramount.  Lakeshore retained foreign rights.  The production was a mess and this stinker was sadly the final film of veteran director John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy, Sunday Bloody Sunday) — and the end of studios offering lead roles to Madonna and Rupert Everett.  The screenplay was considered a serious problem by Schlesinger, who planned on completely reworking it, but as filming commenced, he found himself shut out of the process by the producers.  Rupert Everett began to rewrite and rework the script, much to the chagrin of Schlesinger.  The director also clashed with Madonna on set and bequeathed a collection of letters and production notes to the British Film Institute after his death in 2003 — many of which were about her demands for expensive computer effects to beautify herself, ridiculous changes to her character and her behavior on set.

During post-production on The Next Best Thing, on November 22, 1999 John Schlesinger collapsed outside his home and then underwent a triple bypass surgery.  He was then shut out of the completion of the film.  After the picture was finished, Rupert Everett and his writing partner Mel Bordeaux tried to obtain a screenplay credit and went to arbitration with the Writers Guild.  They were denied credit.  Clearly they were under the misguided impression that this misguided movie was going to be successful.

Paramount dated The Next Best Thing for March 3, where it opened against Drowning Mona, 3 Strikes, the box office disaster What Planet Are You From? and the wide expansion of My Dog Skip.  Reviews were horrible and it bombed with $5,870,387 — placing #2 for the slow weekend led by the holdover The Whole Nine Yards.  The Next Best Thing declined 42.8% to $3,360,692 the following weekend and fell 50.8% to $1,652,564 in its third frame.  The domestic run closed with only $14,990,582.  Paramount would see returned about $8.1 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, well below their P&A spend and exposure to the budget.

The Next Best Thing was a dud overseas and cumed $9.3 million across numerous distributors.

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