The Sweetest Thing

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    [Total: 11 Average: 2.9]
  • Directed By: Roger Kumble
  • Written By: Nancy M. Pimental
  • Release Date: April 12, 2002
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Jason Bateman

Box Office Info:
Budget: $43 millionFinanced by: Sony
Domestic Gross: $24,718,164Overseas Gross: $43,978,606

the sweetest thing 2002
It was announced in July 1999 that Sony had acquired Nancy Pimental’s The Sweetest Thing screenplay for $1 million against $1.5 million.  The project was then developed as a vehicle for Cameron Diaz, whose $15M salary accounted for more than 1/3 of the $43 million budget.  Director Roger Kumble was tapped to direct after Sony gave him an office on the studio lot just a few months after he scored a modest box office hit with the low budget Cruel Intentions (1999).  His first assignment from Sony was pumping out a TV series prequel to Cruel Intentions called Manchester Prep, which never aired and was then edited together as Cruel Intentions 2 for the video market.  After The Sweetest Thing flopped, his working relationship with Sony ended.

The Sweetest Thing was first dated for March 22, 2002 and then shifted to April 12.  Sony executives were high on the picture and after viewing a rough cut of the movie, the studio snapped up Nancy Pimental’s next screenplay Erika Schmerika for $1.2 million against $1.7 million — though after the failure of The Sweetest Thing, that project never materialized.

The Sweetest Thing bowed against Changing Lanes and Frailty and landed awful reviews.  Tracking was pointing to a mid-teens opening, but it disappointed with $9,430,667 — placing #3 for the weekend led by Changing Lanes.  Auds gave the movie a toxic C+ Cinemascore and it posted a 45.9% decline in attendance the following frame to $5,105,706 and it quickly bombed out of theaters with $24,718,164.

The rom-com had some signs of life during its international run, which pulled in $43.9M, but it was not enough to offset the poor domestic numbers.  The worldwide total was $68.6M.  Sony would see returned about $37.7M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving nearly half of their P&A expenses in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.

The movie did sell well on home video, eventually finding its audience years later and Sony also netted between $2 million and $3 million from the broadcast rights to Comedy Central.  16 years after its release, there were some rumblings about the actresses and the writer and director being open to a sequel — but that appears unlikely.  Roger Kumble has not directed a big screen feature since the turkey Furry Vengeance (2010) and The Sweetest Thing was Nancy Pimental’s only movie.  Cameron Diaz has been off screens since 2014 and has claimed she is retired.

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