Flight Of The Phoenix

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  • Directed By: John Moore
  • Written By: Scott Frank, Edward Burns
  • Release Date: December 17, 2004
  • Domestic Distributor: FOX
  • Cast: Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Giovanni Ribisi

Box Office Info:
Budget: $45 million Financed by: FOX
Domestic Box Office: $21,009,180 Overseas Box Office: $13,577,088

In 1996 Producer William Aldrich pitched a remake of his father’s 1965 picture Flight of the Phoenix to FOX.  The rights to the property were co-owned by the Aldrich estate and FOX, which distributed the original.  In July 1997, it was announced that the studio and William Aldrich finalized negotiations on moving forward with the project.  Script development began, but Flight of the Phoenix did not begin to actively move forward until February 2002 when John Moore was tapped to direct.

The budget for Flight of the Phoenix was $45 million and FOX fully financed.   While the original sported an all-star cast toplined by James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine, the remake did not have a single bankable actor.  The picture was dated for Christmas and then bumped up to Dec 17, to give it extra breathing room before the crowded holiday market.  The marketing stressed that Flight of the Phoenix was the only action film of the holiday season (there’s literally only one action sequence), but that had little traction and the movie was tracking poorly.

Flight of the Phoenix bowed against Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Spanglish.  Reviews were mixed to poor and it tanked with $5,019,430 — placing #8 for the weekend led by Lemony Snicket.  The audience for Flight of the Phoenix skewed older and FOX hoped it would have strong holds and stay alive through the holidays, but it fell 46.9% over the Christmas frame to $2,666,898.  There was a 14.4% increase in ticket sales over the New Year frame to $3,050,635 but the domestic run stalled at just $21,009,180.

FOX released the film overseas to terrible numbers in every market, where Phoenix pulled in just $1,057,535 from the UK, $936,276 from Australia and Spain posted the highest numbers with only $2.4 million.  The overseas cume was $13,577,088 — bringing the worldwide total to $34.5 million.  FOX would see returned about $19 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far less than their global P&A spend and the theatrical receipts would not dent the budget.

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