The Chronicles Of Riddick

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  • Directed By: David Twohy
  • Written By: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, David Twohy
  • Release Date: June 11, 2004
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Vin Diesel, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Judi Dench

Box Office Info:
Budget: $110 million Financed by: Universal; Radar Pictures
Domestic Gross: $57,761,012 Overseas Gross: $58,011,721

The Chronicles Of Riddick was financed by Universal and Ted Field’s Radar Pictures for $110 million.  Universal balked at the idea of a direct sequel to Pitch Black (2000), which pulled in a modest $53.1M worldwide haul on a $22M budget — but instead agreed to an outline David Twohy sent the the studio expanding the narrative into a space opera.

The success of The Fast And The Furious (2001) led Universal to begin development on The Chronicles Of Riddick and the studio signed Vin Diesel onto the picture for $12.5 million.  Problems began after Diesel’s action vehicle XXX (2002) took in strong worldwide numbers and he tried to renegotiate his Riddick deal.  He demanded $45 million for both Riddick and 2 Fast 2 Furious.  Universal refused and he was removed from the second Fast And The Furious installment, but The Chronicles Of Riddick landed a greenlight and went into production.

The Chronicles Of Riddick was dated for June 11, 2004 and as publicity began for the expensive tentpole, two long-delayed Diesel pics, Knockaround Guys (2002) and A Man Apart (2003) bombed and Universal began to promote The Chronicles Of Riddick with Diesel not central to the marketing campaign — instead they stressed the visual effects and scope of the picture.  But as the release date approached, the sequel was tracking soft and Universal revised the marketing material to focus more on Diesel.

The Chronicles Of Riddick received negative reviews and opened against the troubled The Stepford Wives and Garfield: The Movie.  It pulled in a troubling $24,289,165 — placing #2 for the weekend led by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in its second frame.  The Chronicles Of Riddick was very front loaded and sank 61.2% the following weekend to $9,415,155 killing its chance at breaking out.  The film declined 51.9% in its third frame to $4,531,765 and had a quick death at the box office after a 70.4% fourth weekend drop to $1,343,160.  It closed with a less than blockbuster $57,761,012.

The Chronicles Of Riddick performed in line with its domestic cume overseas, pulling in soft numbers in almost every market and stalled at $58,011,721.  The worldwide total was $115.7 million and after theaters take their percentage of the gross, Universal would see back about $63.6 million, which would not even cover the expensive worldwide P&A spend.  The Chronicles Of Riddick ended as nearly a $50 million loss.

Vin Diesel eventually brokered a deal with Universal, where he would do a cameo in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift for free, in return for the rights to the Riddick character.  A third entry in 2013 was independently financed for 1/3 the cost of this expensive flop.

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