- Directed By: Mike Mitchell
- Written By: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont
- Release Date: October 22, 2004
- Domestic Distributor: DreamWorks
- Cast: Ben Affleck, James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate, Catherine O’Hara
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $45 million||Financed by: DreamWorks|
|Domestic Box Office: $11,663,156||Overseas Box Office: $3,457,644|
Surviving Christmas was originally in development at Sony in 2000 as a potential directing effort for Betty Thomas, but the studio wisely turned this doomed production into turnaround. DreamWorks then picked up the project and financed. The budget for Surviving Christmas was $45 million. Script problems led the production astray and this trainwreck finished filming in early 2003 with a Christmas release planned for the end of the year. DreamWorks had also boarded co-financing duties with Paramount on another Ben Affleck vehicle Paycheck and were contractually required to push Surviving Christmas into 2004.
DreamWorks moved this turkey all over the calendar and eventually decided on October 22, 2004 — because nothing gets audiences more in the mood for a christmas movie than a Halloween release. After Surviving Christmas was a box office disaster, Affleck’s career bottomed out. No career can withstand the trauma caused by back to back releases of Gigli, Paycheck, Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas. He took a short Hollywood leave and re emerged a few years later with better quality control at choosing projects.
With Affleck’s career going down the toilet and his every personal move the stuff of tabloid fodder, the man had some sort of breakdown on the promotional tour for Surviving Christmas — displaying bizarre behavior like putting his head in Christina Applegate’s lap at a press conference, badmouthing frequent collaborator Kevin Smith and refusing to talk about the movie. Affleck’s spokesman blamed his behavior on boredom and a sore throat. Yea, those sore throats are the worst.
DreamWorks booked the film into 2,750 theaters and it bowed against The Grudge. Reviews were abysmal, buzz was overwhelmingly negative and it was dead on arrival with $4,441,356 — placing #7 for the weekend led by The Grudge. Audiences gave the movie a crummy C+ cinemascore and the film declined 45.2% the following weekend to $2,435,652 and was quickly pulled from theaters with just $11,663,156. DreamWorks would see back about $6.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far less than their P&A expenses. The studio rushed Surviving Christmas onto home video just before christmas, less than two months after the film opened, which incensed theater chains because of the short theater to video window.
Surviving Christmas did atrocious business overseas, pulling in a mere $3,457,644 with $1.3 million from Mexico as the highest gross.