First Daughter

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  • Directed By: Forest Whitaker
  • Written By: Jessica Bendinger, Kate Kondell
  • Release Date: September 24, 2004
  • Domestic Distributor: FOX
  • Cast: Katie Holmes, Michael Keaton, Forest Whitaker

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 millionFinanced by: New Regency
Domestic Box Office: $9,055,921Overseas Box Office: $1,536,259


New Regency announced in March 1999 that they purchased the First Daughter screenplay from actor Jerry O’Connell (it was later re-written) for six-figures.  The project was supposed to be rushed into production with super hack Brian Robbins (Norbit, Meet Dave) by summer ’99, but it never moved forward until 2003 when a competing project with the same premise and title at Alcon was also announced.

The other romantic comedy at Alcon about the President’s daughter was racing to get behind the cameras first.  Alcon eventually let Regency keep the First Daughter title and they changed their title to Chasing Liberty, which entered production one week before First Daughter.  Alcon quickly dated their picture first for January 9, 2004 and Regency delayed First Daughter to September 24 to keep it away from Chasing Liberty.  Both films failed at the box office.

The budget for First Daughter was $30 million, which Regency fully financed and FOX distributed the film, as per their output deal.   It bowed against The Forgotten and Shaun Of The Dead and received terrible reviews.  Tracking was soft, but FOX expected the opening to be stronger than the $6 million Chasing Liberty started off with.  First Daughter was dead on arrival with $4,002,067 — placing #5 for the weekend led by The Forgotten.  First Daughter declined 46.1% in its second frame to $2,158,637 and then plummeted 72.1% in its third session to $603,094.  The domestic run closed with just $9,055,921.

The movie had no appeal in the international market, where it pulled in a terrible $343,566 from the UK and Mexico posted the highest overseas gross with just $420,468.  First Daughter pulled in a mere $1,536,259 from a few markets and went straight to video in most countries.  The worldwide total was $10.5M and FOX would see returned about $5.7M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below P&A expenses and the budget would be all red ink.  Forest Whitaker has not directed another feature after First Daughter bombed.

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