K-Pax

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  • Directed By: Iain Softley
  • Written By: Charles Leavitt
  • Release Date: October 26, 2001
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack

Box Office Info:
Budget: $48 millionFinanced by: Universal; Intermedia; IMF
Domestic Box Office: $50,338,485Overseas Box Office: $14,663,000


K-Pax had been in development at Universal since the late ’90s and after numerous false starts, the project came together in July 2000 when Kevin Spacey committed to the lead role.  Universal brought in German based Intermedia to co-finance the $48 million production and Intermedia would take foreign rights and Universal would handle domestic distribution.  The German tax shelter fund IMF was also tapped for some capital.

Universal dated K-Pax for October 26 and it opened against Thirteen Ghosts and the modestly wide releases for Bones and On The Line.  Even with mixed reviews and a lousy title, K-Pax opened above expectations on the usually slow end of October weekend, placing #1 with $17,215,275.  It declined 41.5% in its second frame to $10,065,475 and dipped 36.5% in its third frame to $6,387,970.  K-Pax closed its domestic run with an ok $50,338,485.  Universal would see returned about $27.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would cover most, but not all of the P&A expenses.  After ancillary sales, the movie was probably a wash for Universal.

K-Pax was a disaster overseas and Intermedia even ran into distribution issues with the film in their home country Germany, when distributor Helkon ran into cash-flow problems and backed out of releasing the picture.  Constantin eventually took theatrical rights, where it pulled in just $513,584.  The offshore total was $14.6 million.

After the dismal overseas gross, producer Lawrence Gordon sued Universal for fraud.  He claimed that since the studio sold overseas rights to a German tax shelter company, it was “insuring that ‘K-Pax‘ would not be properly exploited in the international film market.”  Much of Gordon’s earnings were dependent on the foreign box office receipts.

The novel’s author penned two additional sequels and attempted to set them up at Universal, but the studio had no interest in K-Pax II & III.  This project was another post American Beauty stumble for Kevin Spacey, who had Pay It Forward tank the previous year and The Shipping News would open two months later to dreadful business.

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