- Directed By: William Friedkin
- Written By: David Griffiths, Peter Griffiths, Art Monterastelli
- Release Date: March 14, 2003
- Domestic Distributor: Paramount
- Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $55 million||Financed by: Lakeshore Entertainment; Paramount; Motion Picture Production GmbH & Co. Ertste KG|
|Domestic Gross: $34,244,097||Overseas Gross: $11,252,437|
Veteran director William Friedkin helmed The Hunted and continued to raise eyebrows in hollywood, not for controversial material in the film, but that of nepotism — since every studio considered him unemployable and yet Paramount which was run by his wife Sherry Lansing, would hire him for big budget productions. The Hunted was snatched up by Lakeshore Entertainment after Disney put the project into turnaround. Lakeshore financed the film with Paramount for $55 million, with some production coin from the German tax shelter Motion Picture Production GmbH & Co. Ertste KG. The Hunted was set to complete production in 2001, but Benicio Del Toro suffered a wrist injury with only 8 shooting days left, which shut production down in June 2001 and was delayed until in February 2002 — and all costs of suspending production were covered by insurance.
After completion, The Hunted was originally dated for release in October 2002, but it was pushed back to March 14, 2003 opening against Agent Cody Banks and Willard and it would also be competing for auds looking for action with Tears Of The Sun in its second weekend. The pic received mixed to poor reviews and Paramount booked it into 2,516 theaters to a soft $13,482,638. It placed #3 for the weekend led by the holdover Bringing Down The House and audiences gave the film a terrible C cinemascore. The Hunted declined 51.7% the following weekend to $6,510,154 and closed its domestic run with a disappointing $34,244,097. Paramount would see back about $18.8 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover their P&A expenses or any of the budget.
The Hunted flopped in every country overseas, grossing just $1.9 million in the UK and Spain posted the highest gross with only $2 million and most markets pulled in under one million. The overseas total was $11,252,437 across numerous distributors. After The Hunted posted heavy red ink for Paramount, Sherry Lansing attached her husband to a big budget project about mob lawyer Sidney Korshak, which again drew criticism of nepotism, but in 2004 Lansing left the studio and the project never materialized. William Friedkin has not directed another big budget studio production after The Hunted, but rebounded critically with the low budget Bug in 2006.