Femme Fatale

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  • Directed By: Brian De Palma
  • Written By: Brian De Palma
  • Release Date: November 6, 2002
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Rebecca Romijn, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote

Box Office Info:
Budget: $35 million Financed by: Quinta Communications
Domestic Gross: $6,630,252 Overseas Gross: $10,208,658

After working within the studio system for more than two decades, Brian De Palma went the independent route for financing his projects after his miserable experience directing the expensive turkey Mission To Mars (2000).  Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications fully financed Femme Fatale for $35 million and Summit pre-sold the picture to numerous distributors, which would help limit their exposure to the budget.

Femme Fatale first opened in France about one month before the Cannes Film Festival, where the picture was scheduled to screen out of competition — and part of the film’s narrative actually takes place at the Cannes Film Festival (the entire production was shot in France).  Because of the early release date, the film was not able to take advantage of the tons of exposure it would have received at the festival.  Despite De Palma being a highly regarded filmmaker in France, Femme Fatale underperformed with just $2,159,134.

Warner Bros picked up US distribution rights and dated Femme Fatale for November 6 as counter-programming to 8 Mile.  WB booked the film into 1,066 theaters with the intention of expanding the location count over a few weekends.  Reviews were mixed and Femme Fatale pulled in a terrible $2,776,248 — placing #9 for the frame led by 8 Mile.  Audiences also gave the movie a terrible C- cinemascore and the poor opening numbers killed off the expansion.  Femme Fatale sank 55% to $1,248,414 the following frame and promptly lost most of its theater count.  It closed its run with only $6,630,252.  Warner Bros would see back about $3.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far below their P&A expenses and unreported acquisition cost.

Overseas numbers were a poor $10,208,658 across the many distributors who picked up the title.  The pic was dumped straight to video in the UK and premiered on television in Australia and went straight to video in most smaller European markets.

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