The Majestic

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  • Directed By: Frank Darabont
  • Written By: Michael Sloane
  • Release Date: December 21, 2001
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Jim Carrey, Hal Holbrook, Martin Landau

Box Office Info:
Budget: $72 million Financed by: Castle Rock; Village Roadshow
Domestic Box Office: $27,807,266 Overseas Box Office: $9,510,292

The budget for The Majestic was $72 million and it was co-financed by the Warner Bros owned Castle Rock and also Village Roadshow.  Warner Bros handled distribution duties.  In early 1997, director Frank Darabont landed a two picture deal with Castle Rock, which produced The Shawshank Redemption for him back in 1994.  The first film was the hit The Green Mile and the second would be the Capra-esque The Majestic.  Jim Carrey dropped out of Death To Smoochy to top-line The Majestic and both ended as commercial disasters.

Warner Bros had very high hopes for the movie and dated it as their Christmas release and The Majestic would be WB’s final end of the year heavy hitter after Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Ocean’s Eleven.  The Christmas frame was incredibly crowded in 2001 and The Majestic opened on December 21 against The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (released by WB’s corporate sibling New Line), Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, How High, Joe Somebody — and also Ali and Kate and Leopold opened on the 25th.

Any awards hope and hype for the film were extinguished when the reviews posted, which were horrible and The Majestic was lost in the competitive market.  WB held 500 sneak previews the week before its release to drum up word of mouth, but it tanked —  placing #8 for the weekend with a poor $4,904,339.  The pic saw a 10.6% uptick in business over the New Year’s frame and posted $5,422,482 but then declined 41.2% in its third weekend to $3,187,261.  The Majestic quickly bombed out of release with $27,807,266.

After The Majestic tanked at the domestic box office, Warner Bros mostly dumped the picture overseas.  Japan posted $5.3 million, which comprised the majority of its awful $9.5 million offshore cume.  The worldwide total was $37.3 million and WB would see returned about $20.5 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.  Much of the worldwide P&A spend would be in the red and the budget untouched from the theatrical receipts.

Castle Rock had only two movies in 2001, Hearts In Atlantis and The Majestic.  In 2002, Warner Bros closed Castle Rock’s physical production departments and the company would no longer have any of its own public relations and 16 of Castle Rock’s 46 employees were fired and the rest absorbed into Warner Bros.  Factoring into Castle Rock’s reduced operations, were the box office losers Proof Of Life, Murder By Numbers, Hearts In Atlantis, The Majestic and also at this time Warner Bros was prepared to finally release Castle Rock’s long delayed and expensive disaster The Adventures Of Pluto Nash.

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