I Spy

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  • Directed By: Betty Thomas
  • Written By: Marianne Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley, Jay Scherick, David Ronn
  • Release Date: November 1, 2002
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen

Box Office Info:
Budget: $70 million Financed by: Sony
Domestic Box Office: $33,561,137 Overseas Box Office: $17,171,808

The budget for I Spy was $70 million and this big screen version of the 1960s television show was financed by Sony.  I Spy would also mark the brief return of Carolco co-founders Mario Kassar and Andy Vajna who produced the pic, which they set up at Columbia, under their new company C-2 Pictures — after Carolco (Cutthroat Island) went bankrupt in the mid-’90s.  I Spy was the third and final Eddie Murphy vehicle in 2002 and all three were box office disasters, beginning with Showtime and then the long delayed The Adventures Of Pluto Nash.

Murphy and director Betty Thomas had previously collaborated on the hit Doctor Dolittle (1998) and the studio had high hopes for this stinker.  I Spy received poor reviews and Columbia opened it in 3,182 theaters against The Santa Clause 2 and it pulled in a disappointing $12,752,803 — placing #3 for the weekend led by Santa.  It fell a modest 30.9% in its second frame to $8,809,800 but it sank 56.8% in its third session to $3,806,001 when Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets sucked the air out of the box office.  I Spy closed its domestic run with $33,561,137.

Sony released the film overseas to poor numbers and it topped out with $17.1M.  The worldwide cume was $50.7M.  Sony would see returned about $27.8M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below the global P&A expenses and the theatrical receipts would not touch the budget.  In Sony’s quarter financial report, after a strong year of films like Spider-Man, Mr. Deeds, XXX and Men In Black II, the studio pointed to ‘the disappointing theatrical performance of I Spy‘ which offset the profit of a successful quarter.

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  1. True story- i only found out about this movie from a trailer on a DVD of Mr. Deeds after its release, and i thought “Is this supposed to be an adaptation of those find-the-things books? Cause if so, they were WAY off the point.”

    10-year old me was way more of a dumbass than now.

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