Town & Country

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  • Directed By: Peter Chelsom
  • Written By: Michael Laughlin, Buck Henry
  • Release Date: April 27, 2001
  • Domestic Distributor: New Line
  • Cast: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Garry Shandling

Box Office Info:
Budget: $90 million Financed by: New Line
Domestic Gross: $6,719,973 Overseas Gross: $3,652,318

“It’s not my fault.”
Warren Beatty

This notorious fiasco began when screenwriter Michael Laughlin sold his Town & Country spec script to Sidney Kimmel Entertainment for what was expected to be a $14 million film.  After Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Garry Shandling joined the cast, the budget rose to $40 million.  Financing was handled by New Line and production began without a finished script in June 1998.  In 1999 New Line Chairman Bob Shaye blamed Beatty for rushing the film into production and that his controlling behavior was mostly responsible for budget overages, which had climbed to about $70 million.  In response, Beatty’s lawyer Bert Fields sent a cease and desist letter to Bob Shaye.

Production completed in 1999 and the response from test screenings were terrible and extensive and expensive reshoots were scheduled for 2000 and a release planned later that year.  In January 2001, New Line Cinema production president Michael De Luca was fired after a terrible 2000 for the mini-studio that saw major money losers like Little Nicky and Thirteen Days and the ever rising costs of their problem picture Town & Country.  Most people expected him to be fired back in 1998, when at an A-List pre-Oscar party at the William Morris Agency President Arnold Rifkin’s home, he took off his pants in front of the party and received oral sex and was thrown off the premises.  Lack of indiscretion aside, it was a few high profile flops that did him in.

After almost three years of production and post production, 12 delayed release dates and a negative cost that rose to north of $90 million, Town & Country was finally dated for April 27, 2001 and would open against Driven, The Forsaken and One Night at McCool’s.  New Line knew they had a stinker on their hands and unloaded this with an inexpensive ad campaign, no premiere and the cast was nowhere to be seen promoting the picture.

Critics trashed the film and it was dead on arrival with $3,029,858 in 2,222 theaters.  It placed #7 for the slow weekend led by Driven.  Audiences didn’t like the pic anymore than critics and gave it a poor C- cinemascore and Town & Country declined 56% the following weekend to $1,333,504.  It was quickly out of theaters with only $6,719,973.  New Line would see back about $3.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which barely puts a dent in just their modest P&A expenses and leaves the budget untouched.  New Line was expected to have written off the entire production cost of the movie.

Town & Country was picked up and dumped by numerous overseas distributors and the offshore cume was just $3.6 million.

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