The Last Castle

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  • Directed By: Rod Lurie
  • Written By: David Scarpa, Graham Yost
  • Release Date: October 19, 2001
  • Domestic Distributor: DreamWorks
  • Cast: Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo

Box Office Info:
Budget: $60 million Financed by: DreamWorks
Domestic Box Office: $18,244,060 Overseas Box Office: $9,398,647

the last castle 2001
The budget for The Last Castle was $60 million and it was financed by DreamWorks.   The mini-major hired former film critic Rod Lurie to direct, who had just helmed the low budget The Contender (2000) for the studio.  Robert Redford took the lead with an $11 million salary and he had just directed the expensive flop The Legend of Bagger Vance for DreamWorks in 2000.  James Gandolfini was signed with a $5 million salary and he also had third billing in the DreamWorks pic The Mexican, which opened in March, 2001 and the next big screen movie he would appear in was the studio’s major clunker Surviving Christmas (2004).

The Last Castle ended filming in June 2001 and post production was rushed to release the film before another Redford pic Spy Game.  DreamWorks dated The Last Castle for October 12, with Universal’s Spy Game right around the corner on November 21.

After the September 11th attacks, the film’s upside down American flag poster, was replaced and DreamWorks pushed the film back a week to tweak some of the marketing.  It opened against From Hell and Riding In Cars With Boys and The Last Castle received mixed to poor notices from critics.

Pre-release tracking indicated a modest $10 million opening for the expensive movie and it came in below expectations at $7,088,213 — placing #5 for the weekend led by From Hell.  Audiences enjoyed the film more than critics and gave it an A- cinemascore, but it had weak legs and fell 48.8% to $3,626,006 in its second frame.  The Last Castle sank 52% in its third session to $1,740,647 and continued to post large weekly declines and flopped out of theaters with $18,244,060.  DreamWorks would see returned about $10 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover their P&A expenses.

The Last Castle marked the studio’s second major box office wipeout in 2001 after Evolution.  The film posted a weak $9.3 million in overseas receipts.

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