Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever
- Directed By: Kaos
- Written By: Alan B. McElroy
- Release Date: September 20, 2002
- Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
- Cast: Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu, Gregg Henry
Box Office Info:
|Budget: N/A||Financed by: Franchise Pictures; Academy Film Fund I; Epsilon|
|Domestic Box Office: $14,307,963||Overseas Box Office: $5,616,070|
This disaster began as a spec script in the 80s under various titles and somehow the ridiculous title Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever made it to release. The notorious Franchise Pictures co-financed and developed this stinker. They partnered with the German bank CommerzBank, which set up a $133 million tax shelter fund called Academy Film Fund I to contribute to the production. Epsilon rounded out the financing. The budget was reported as $70 million, which is completely far-fetched.
Franchise CEO Elie Samaha was under investigation and was sued for fraud, because he had a habit of inflating the production budgets so that his financing partners end up shouldering most of the costs — and he would pocket the rest. Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever likely cost half of what Franchise claimed. Samaha was more interested in running a criminal enterprise and siphoning production money, than focusing on quality control and the result was some of the lousiest movies of the early 2000s. Along with this turkey, Franchise gave the world such gems as Battlefield Earth, Funky Monkey, Fear Dot Com and 3000 Miles To Graceland. Franchise was successfully sued by their former partner Intertainment and wiped out in 2004.
Warner Bros distributed in the US, as per their output deal with Franchise, but not before Morgan Creek joined the litigation chorus against Franchise. Morgan and Franchise struck an output deal in 1998 which gave Morgan Creek the right of first refusal on eight Franchise projects, one being Ecks vs Sever, but Morgan Creek was never shown any films. They did dodge an expensive bullet by not having the opportunity to distribute this.
Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever received some of the worst reviews of the decade, a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes and it opened in 2,705 theaters against The Banger Sisters, The Four Feathers and Trapped. Ballistic pulled in a poor $7,010,474 — placing #4 for the weekend led by the holdover Barbershop. It collapsed 60.9% the following weekend to $2,738,311 and sank 63.1% in its third frame to $1,009,338 and promptly lost most of its theater count. Ecks vs Sever was out of release with just $14,307,963. Warner Bros would see returned about $7.8 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far below their P&A expenses.
Despite being funded with German coin, it went straight to video in Germany, the UK and most smaller markets. The overseas total was only $5,616,070. Director Kaos (seriously), was snatched up by CAA for representation and had set up a followup sci-fi project at FOX, but after this mess was released his studio helming days were instantly over.
In 2012, MHF Zweite Academy Film sued Warner Bros for continuing to collect revenue from The Whole Ten Yards, Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever and The In-Laws, after Warner Bros lost the rights to the films after Franchise Pictures collapsed. Warner Bros was to pay $432,578 to settle and continue to collect revenue and report accounting data on the films, only to not pay and not report the data and lead to another suit in 2015 also regarding the lost rights of the rom-com Laws Of Attraction.