Walking Tall

  • walking tall Dwayne Johnson box office
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  • Directed By: Kevin Bray
  • Written By: David Klass, Channing Gibson, David Levien, Brian Koppelman
  • Release Date: April 2, 2004
  • Domestic Distributor: MGM
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough

Box Office Info:
Budget: $56 millionFinanced by: MGM; Hyde Park Entertainment
Domestic Gross: $46,437,717Overseas Gross: $10,786,173

walking tall 2004
After Dwayne Johnson’s turn as The Scorpion King (2002), studios were eager to build projects around the rising star.  Universal first courted Johnson with a $12.5M payday for The Rundown (2003) and quickly tried to set up another picture for him after filming ended, but MGM landed The Rock for $15M to topline the remake of the 1973 hicksploitation movie Walking Tall.  The $56 million in financing came from MGM and Hyde Park Entertainment, which mitigated much of their risk through foreign sales.  Walking Tall would also be the ever troubled MGM’s biggest budgeted movie in 2004, which tried to keep their slate of pictures in the $20M range.

Walking Tall was dated for April 2, 2004 and along with a pricey marketing spend, MGM gave the movie nationwide sneak previews the weekend before to help spread word of mouth.  Reviews were mixed to poor and it bowed against Hellboy (which it would compete for similar auds), Home On The Range and The Prince And Me.  Walking Tall posted a soft $15,501,114 for the weekend — placing #2 behind Hellboy.  It did not have strong enough weekly holds to break out and fell 45.5% to $8,442,008 the following frame and dipped another 45.5% in its third session to $4,601,007.  The domestic run closed with a disappointing $46,437,717 — which was in line with the US cume for The Rundown which stalled at $47.7M.  MGM would see returned about $25.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross.  In their quarterly financial reports, MGM expected to eventually get out of the red on the picture after ancillary sales.

Walking Tall was a complete dud overseas, where it pulled in just $10.7M across numerous distributors who overpaid for the picture.  After Sony acquired MGM, they commissioned two cheap direct to video sequels starring Kevin Sorbo.  Before finding his footing as a reliable box office draw, Dwayne Johnson weathered a series of flops that began with The Rundown, then Walking Tall, Doom, Gridiron Gang and Southland Tales.

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