Spanglish

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  • Directed By: James L. Brooks
  • Written By: James L. Brooks
  • Release Date: December 17, 2004
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Adam Sandler, Téa Leoni, Paz Vega

Box Office Info:
Budget: $90 million (estimated)Financed by: Sony
Domestic Box Office: $42,726,869Overseas Box Office: $12,314,498


Sony financed Spanglish for what was to be a $75 million budget, but director James L. Brooks went months over-schedule, filming at a glacial rate for about half a year.  Costs rose to at least $90 million and in an interview with Brooks, the NYTimes pegs the budget at almost $100 million.  Spanglish ended as one of the costliest bombs on record and is the biggest financial disaster toplined by Adam Sandler — who quickly rebounded a few months later with his usual schtick in The Longest Yard.  James L. Brooks’ follow up feature How Do You Know (2010) lost even more money and got him kicked off the Sony lot, where his Gracie Films had been stationed since 1990.

Sony positioned Spanglish as part of their end of the year holiday fare on December 17 and previewed the film a week before its release at 1,100 locations to 75% capacity to spread word of mouth.  Spanglish was Brook’s 5th film in 21 years and the studio had hopes it would have a huge multiplier like his previous feature As Good As It Gets (1997).

Spanglish received mixed reviews, which cooled off any heat the picture had and it opened in a crowded end of the year market.  It bowed against Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Flight of the Phoenix and was booked into 2,438 theaters.  Spanglish came in with a soft $8,817,853 — placing #3 for the weekend led by Lemony Snicket.  Sony expected the picture to play well throughout the holidays, but it dropped 47.4% to $4,641,492 over the Christmas frame.  There was a 33.2% uptick in business over the New Year’s frame to $6,183,965 but Spanglish fizzled out of release with only $42,726,869.

The pic pulled in miserable numbers overseas, grossing a mere $12,314,498 which brought the worldwide cume to $55 million.  Sony would see back about $30.2 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover worldwide P&A costs and leave the budget in the red.  In Sony’s quarter financial report, “the disappointing theatrical performance of Spanglish” was offset by over 30 million units sold of Spider-Man 2 and Seinfeld — and the strong box office performance of The Grudge and Christmas With The Kranks.

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