Murder By Numbers

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    [Total: 9 Average: 3.4]
  • Directed By: Barbet Schroeder
  • Written By: Tony Gayton
  • Release Date: April 19, 2002
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ben Chaplin, Ryan Gosling, Michael Pitt

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 million Financed by: Castle Rock
Domestic Gross: $31,945,749 Overseas Gross: $24,768,398

murder by numbers 2002
It was announced in August 1999 that screenwriter Tony Gayton would pen Murder By Numbers for Castle Rock co-founder Rob Reiner to direct and the scribe would land a payday of $500,000 against $850,000.  Reiner eventually stepped away from directing duties and Barbet Schroeder (Barfly, Desperate Measures) took over the production.  The Warner Bros owned Castle Rock financed Murder By Numbers for $50 million and WB distributed worldwide.

About 10 days after Murder By Numbers opened to disappointing numbers, Warner Bros closed Castle Rock’s physical production departments and the company would no longer have any of its own public relations and 16 of Castle Rock’s 46 employees were fired and the rest absorbed into Warner Bros.  Also factoring into Castle Rock’s reduced operations, were recent box office losers Proof Of Life, Hearts In Atlantis, The Majestic and also at this time Warner Bros was prepared to finally release Castle Rock’s long delayed and expensive disaster The Adventures Of Pluto Nash.

This Sandra Bullock vehicle was dated for April 19, 2002 when a glut of thrillers were saturating the marketplace — Panic Room, High Crimes and Changing Lanes were each released in the three weeks leading up to Murder By Numbers‘ release.  It received mixed reviews and bowed against The Scorpion King.  Murder By Numbers pulled in a very soft $9,307,394 — placing #3 for the weekend led by The Scorpion King.  Audiences gave the pic a poor C+ cinemascore and despite the low score, Murder By Numbers posted a modest 31.6% second weekend decline to $6,362,457 and continued posting small weekly drops, but the film closed its domestic run with only $31,945,749.

Warner Bros saw the film post mostly weak numbers overseas, with a total of $24,768,398.  The worldwide total was $56.7 million, leaving Warner Bros with about $31.1 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which does not cover the worldwide P&A costs or put a dent in the budget.  This was the last studio picture directed by Barbet Schroeder, who would secure financing for future projects from European sources.

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