- Directed By: Carl Franklin
- Written By: Yuri Zeltser, Cary Bickley
- Release Date: April 5, 2002
- Domestic Distributor: FOX
- Cast: Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Jim Caviezel, Adam Scott
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $42 million||Financed by: New Regency; FOX; Epsilon|
|Domestic Gross: $41,543,917||Overseas Gross: $22,237,893|
It was announced on July 1, 1997 that Sony Tri-Star purchased the big screen rights to Joseph Finder’s High Crimes novel for $850,000 before its publication in 1998. The project did not move forward at Sony and High Crimes was then optioned by New Regency. New Regency financed with FOX for $42 million and FOX handled global distribution duties. Munich-based Epsilon had a slate investment arrangement at Regency and contributed some coin to the production.
After Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman found success toplining high concept, easily packaged thrillers, both became attached to High Crimes in 2000. The two had first worked together on Kiss The Girls (1997) and then Judd scored a major hit with Double Jeopardy (1999) and Freeman landed a hit with Along Came a Spider (2001). After High Crimes disappointed at the box office, Judd had one more thriller, Twisted (2004) which tanked and ended studio movies built around her.
Director Carl Franklin had made the leap from his acclaimed indie One False Move (1992) to helming studio fare, which all bombed. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) and One True Thing (1998) were both commercial failures and Franklin stated he took the High Crimes job to do something lighter after his weepy 1998 drama. After his duties on High Crimes he pumped out another underperforming high concept thriller Out Of Time (2003) and then found himself only being offered more thrillers to direct and instead moved into a successful career in TV.
FOX dated High Crimes for April 5, 2002, as this weekend frame had been reserved for generic thrillers for the past two years — Rules of Engagement in 2000 and Along Came a Spider in 2001. Reviews were mixed leaning negative. It bowed against Van Wilder and the delayed comedy Big Trouble. High Crimes also had the misfortune of opening one week after another high concept thriller Panic Room was released and was dominating the marketplace.
High Crimes came in below estimates with $14,005,550 — placing #2 for the weekend led by Panic Room, which had taken much of the audience away from Crimes. Another thriller entered the market the next weekend Changing Lanes and then Murder By Numbers would open the following weekend. With thriller overload at the box office, High Crimes closed its stateside run with $41,543,917.
High Crimes performed poorly overseas and cumed just $22.2M. The worldwide total was $63.7M. FOX would see returned about $35M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving around half of their global P&A expenses in the red and the theatrical receipts would not touch the budget.