The Girl Next Door

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  • Directed By: Luke Greenfield
  • Written By: Stuart Blumberg, David Wagner, Brent Goldberg
  • Release Date: April 9, 2004
  • Domestic Distributor: FOX
  • Cast: Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, Paul Dano

Box Office Info:
Budget: $21 million Financed by: New Regency
Domestic Gross: $14,589,444 Overseas Gross: $15,821,739

New Regency fully financed The Girl Next Door for $21 million and Fox distributed the film in most markets.  The Girl Next Door was a long in development project at New Regency and after executive Peter Cramer saw a short film by director Luke Greenfield, he offered him Freddy Got Fingered.  Wisely, Greenfield passed on that monstrosity, but quickly took a directing gig on the idiotic Rob Schneider vehicle The Animal.  After a miserable experience helming that garbage and much interference from the studio, Greenfield was offered The Girl Next Door by Peter Cramer.  Production went smooth, but numerous executives were nervous of some of the pic’s darker elements, but little changes were made after it tested well with preview audiences.

With strong testing scores, Regency had high hopes that the sex comedy would be a major hit and FOX invested heavily for the US marketing campaign.  However the studio botched the marketing, with ads that alienated the core 18 – 30 year old male audience and instead peaked interest with young teenage girls, who could not even buy a ticket.  Director Luke Greenfield said  “Our movie, there was such a challenge, because we’re at 20th Century Fox, which at the time was a very conservative studio.  The idea that they had to go out there and sell an R-rated movie about teenagers and about a kid falling in love with a porn star? They tried. They spent money. They didn’t know how to do it. I got in there and I was trying to cut trailers too. We had worked with some of the best trailer editors. In the end, what’s really funny is that — everyone knows this, no one is at fault — the marketing destroyed the movie.

The Girl Next Door opened over the Easter weekend against a slew of flops — The Alamo, The Whole Ten Yards, Ella Enchanted and Johnson Family Vacation.  Reviews were mixed, leaning negative and The Girl Next Door opened way below expectations with a terrible $6,003,806 — placing #10 for the weekend and faring the worst out of the new openers.  Audiences were more kind than critics and gave the movie a solid B+ cinemascore, but it sank 54.1% the following weekend to $2,757,145.  After a steep 59.7% third weekend decline to $1,109,813 the film lost most of its theater count and flopped out of theaters with $14,589,444.

Overseas, The Girl Next Door pulled in weak numbers in most markets, where it grossed $753,011 in Australia, $3 million in the UK and $3.4 million from Spain was the strongest performance.  The overseas cume was $15,821,739 — bringing the worldwide total to $30.4 million.  FOX would see returned about $16.7M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far less than their P&A spend and the theatrical receipts would not dent the budget.

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