Soul Survivors

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  • Directed By: Stephen Carpenter
  • Written By: Stephen Carpenter
  • Release Date: September 7, 2001
  • Domestic Distributor: Artisan
  • Cast: Eliza Dushku, Wes Bentley, Casey Affleck

Box Office Info:
Budget: $17 million Financed by: Artisan
Domestic Box Office: $3,111,545 Overseas Box Office: $1,187,596

The budget for Soul Survivors was $17 million and it was financed by Artisan Entertainment.   The mini-studio was one of the last movie companies to use insurance-backed financing, which had run its course in the mid to late ’90s.  The idea was that if you pooled together multiple movies, it provided an insurable risk, so that if one film was a success it would offset the losses from any flops.

In October 1999, the mini-major set up an 8-picture insurance-backed deal with Royal & Sun and the first two pictures on the slate were Stir Of Echoes and The Ninth Gate.  Artisan was also infused with a $163 million insurance financing arrangement with Chase, which they received because the bank viewed the Royal & Sun insurance as security.  The next three films were Way of the Gun, Blair Witch 2 and Soul Survivors and the insurance company refused to hand over the cash and Artisan sued.  Royal & Sun pulled out of the slate deal completely and then Chase took back their massive loan, since they lost their ‘security’ and Artisan was forced to dip into their cash reserves and other lines of credit to finance the movies.  The lawsuit was tossed out of court.

Soul Survivors was originally set for release in September 2000 and was delayed many times.  Reportedly, Artisan demanded the addition of a few gratuitous sex scenes, which the director refused to add and then they took the picture away from him and recut it numerous times.  The struggling Artisan eventually dated it for September 7, 2001.  

The cash strapped studio clearly knew they had a stinker on their hands and cut the pic down from a R rating to PG-13 (despite their previous sex scenes mandate) and dumped it with minimal advertising in 601 theaters and did not screen it for critics.  Soul Survivors opened against The Musketeer, Two Can Play That Game and Rock Star and would see competition from holdover horror fare The Others and Jeepers Creepers.  It was dead on arrival with $1,140,698 — placing #15 for the weekend.  The film declined 48.5% to $587,269 the following weekend and lasted 5 weeks in release with just $3,111,545.

Soul Survivors saw a brief theatrical release overseas to all of $1,187,596 across a few distributors and went straight to video in most markets.

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