Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

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  • Directed By: George Clooney
  • Written By: Charlie Kaufman
  • Release Date: December 31, 2002
  • Domestic Distributor: Miramax
  • Cast: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, George Clooney

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 million Financed by: Miramax; JVS GmbH & Co. OHG
Domestic Box Office: $16,007,718 Overseas Box Office: $17,006,087

After years of development and a revolving door of A-List directors and stars and numerous financiers and studios involved, Miramax took control of the project.  Miramax financed Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind for estimates just north of $30 million and received some German tax shelter coin for the production from JVS GmbH & Co. OHG.  Miramax’s exposure to the budget was also reduced from foreign pre-sales to distributors.

Confessions opened in limited release on December 31, 2002 and received decent reviews, but not strong enough to position it as an awards contender, which Miramax was grooming the picture into.  It was booked into 4 theaters and pulled in $87,199 with an ok $21,799 per screen average.  One additional screen was added the following weekend and Confessions remained in 5 theaters during its third limited frame and would expand wide in its fourth session into 1,769 theaters.

With no major awards hype, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind struggled with $5,833,052 for the weekend — placing #8 for the frame led by Darkness Falls.  Audiences gave the pic a poor C cinemascore.  After the poor box office receipts, Harvey Weinstein pulled a stunt that angered the guilds and the above line talent in the Miramax film ChicagoChicago had already been in release in just 616 theaters and strong attendance had pushed its gross to $40 million.  Weinstein decided to “preview” Chicago in 950 theaters that were playing Confessions and audiences would pay to see Confessions and stay to see Chicago for free.  The “previews” took away profit from the talent who deferred their pay.  Miramax (Weinstein) claimed it wanted to get males and youth audiences from Confessions to spread word of mouth on Chicago, but it was assumed that the free ticket for Chicago was the selling point for the less appealing Confessions.

The stunt did little to bolster attendance and the film declined 26.3% in its second week in wide release to $4,300,162 and then collapsed 68.8% the next weekend to $1,343,778.  The domestic run ended just under $16 million.  In April 2003, Miramax announced it would re-release Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind in 1,000 theaters on August 1, with a revamped marketing approach.  Instead, it played in 2 theaters on August 15 for three weeks, where it scraped up just enough cash to push its domestic cume to $16,007,718.

Overseas, the film did poor business in every market and grossed $17,006,087 across numerous distributors.  Chuck Barris quickly penned a sequel to his book when the film went into production and Miramax also took sequel rights, but nothing materialized after this did poor box office.  Years later screenwriter Charlie Kaufman expressed his dislike of the movie and of Clooney saying: “I didn’t like it. That was a movie in which I was not consulted. I mean, George Clooney changed the script, he didn’t talk to me during production. We kind of didn’t get along. I was invited to see the movie when he was pretty much done and I wrote a bunch of notes and gave them to him and I guess it was offensive to him.”

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