Death To Smoochy

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  • Directed By: Danny DeVito
  • Written By: Adam Resnick
  • Release Date: March 29, 2002
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Robin Williams, Edward Norton, Catherine Keener, Jon Stewart

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 million Financed by: Warner Bros; FilmFour; Senator Entertainment
Domestic Gross: $8,364,691 Overseas Gross: $18,247

“It was a great experience all the way up until Warner Bros. released it.”
–Danny DeVito

Death To Smoochy was financed for $50 million by Warner Bros, UK based FilmFour — and FilmFour had a financing agreement with German based Senator Entertainment, which covered 25% of their investment.  FilmFour’s parent company Channel 4’s executives called the film “Death to FilmFour” during production and indeed it was.  After a few years of losses, Death To Smoochy was one of the final death blows to FilmFour, which lost $7.9 million from the picture and was shut down by Channel 4.

In 2000, FilmFour made a distribution pact with Warner Bros, which would release about half a dozen FilmFour pics over three years and WB could acquire additional territories on a per picture basis.  The only other movie to emerge from the deal was the dud Charlotte Gray.

Warner Bros distributed in most markets and opened Death To Smoochy over the Easter frame, against Panic Room, The Rookie and Clockstoppers.  Death To Smoochy received poor reviews and bombed with $4,266,463 — placing #7 for the weekend led by Panic Room.  Audiences gave the movie a hateful C cinemascore and the following weekend Death To Smoochy sank 62.2% to $1,612,420 and promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with a terrible $8,364,691.  WB would see returned about $4.5 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, barely putting a dent in their P&A expenses and the budget would be all red.

Warner Bros dumped the film straight to video in almost every market overseas, including the UK and Germany and the recorded offshore cume was a minuscule $18,247.  The back to back directing gigs of Death To Smoochy and Duplex, ended Danny DeVito’s studio helming days.


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