Eight Legged Freaks

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  • Directed By: Ellory Elkayem
  • Written By: Jesse Alexander, Ellory Elkayem
  • Release Date: July 17, 2002
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: David Arquette, Scarlett Johansson, Doug E. Doug

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 million Financed by: Warner Bros; Village Roadshow
Domestic Gross: $17,322,606 Overseas Gross: $28,544,727

Eight Legged Freaks was the first production from producer Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment and it was financed by Warner Bros and Village Roadshow for $30 million.  With the de facto WGA and SAG strikes in 2001, studios were rushing projects into production if the guilds did strike and WB slashed Freaks‘ shooting days from 55 down to 40.  The original title was Arac Attack, but it was changed because it sounded phonetically like Iraq Attack — oh, what a PR nightmare!  The Arac Attack title was used in most international markets.

The campy horror comedy was first dated for March 2002 and then moved to April and positioned again to the slow Labor Day frame.  It was finally moved to a Wednesday, opening in a prime but crowded summer frame on July 17.  Eight Legged Freaks would have a two day head start on the competition opening that weekend, K-19: The Widowmaker and Stuart Little 2

Eight Legged Freaks was tracking soft with a $10M bow expected.  It came in below expectations with a poor $6,485,458 — placing #7 for the weekend led by the holdover Road to Perdition.  The 5-day cume from Wednesday was $9,080,158.  Eight Legged Freaks collapsed quickly at the box office, sinking 63% the following weekend to $2,402,482 and then took a 73.1% nosedive in its third frame to $647,399.  It promptly lost most of its theater count after its third week and closed with just $17,322,606.

The movie fared slightly better overseas, but the results were not enough to lift the terrible domestic numbers out of the red.  Village Roadshow distributed in their home country Australia and saw a dismal $992,252 gross.  Warner Bros handled distribution in most markets and the offshore cume was $28,544,727.  The worldwide total was $45.8M and about $25.1M would be returned after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not cover P&A expenses or any of the budget.

In an investor relations report, Village Roadshow saw their massive profits from the Matrix franchise cut in half from the awful numbers Dreamcatcher, The Adventures Of Pluto Nash, Analyze That and Eight Legged Freaks pulled in.

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