Wimbledon

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  • Directed By: Richard Loncraine
  • Written By: Adam Brooks, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
  • Release Date: September 17, 2004
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany, Sam Neill, Jon Favreau

Box Office Info:
Budget: $35 millionFinanced by: Working Title; Ingenious Media; Inside Track; Miramax
Domestic Box Office: $17,001,133Overseas Box Office: $24,510,874


Wimbledon was budgeted at $35 million and was setup for development by the Universal owned UK based Working Title.  Working Title got the tax shelter fund Ingenious Media involved with financing.  Ingenious Media launched another fund in 2002 called Inside Track, which covered 35% of the film’s expenses.  Inside Track was setup for wealthy investors to act as a tax avoidance scheme.  For example a person could invest £50,000, then borrow £100,000 from Ingenious and then the company could match the £50,000 investment and then claim tax relief on £200,000.  Investors would then be able to write off their investment as a loss on the first day of filming and if that sounds too good to be true, it was — and deemed illegal by the UK government in February 2004.  Along with their fund Inside Track, Ingenious Media also got involved with the production, using all of the tax shelter schemes available at the time, which covered 47% of the budget for Wimbledon.

Back in 2000, Miramax had a one picture option on Kirsten Dunst, when they inked a deal for her to star in the cheap teen comedy Get Over It (2001) and Harvey Weinstein aggressively sought to use that option after her exposure in Spider-Man.  Knowing this, Universal and Working Title brought Miramax on board to use that option for Wimbledon, because they would be able to hire Dunst for less than her asking salary.  Even at a reduced rate, she took home $5 million.  Miramax also contributed 1/3 of the production costs.

Universal dated Wimbledon for September 17, where it would bow against Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow and another sports pic Mr. 3000.  It landed lukewarm reviews and had a soft start with $7,118,985 — placing #4 for the slow frame led by Sky Captain.  Wimbledon then sank 53.3% to $3,323,570 in its second weekend and declined 47.7% to $1,739,075 in its third session and promptly lost most of its theater count.  The US run closed with only $17,001,133.

Wimbledon pulled in a mediocre $12.7 million in the UK and disappointed in almost every market, with an offshore cume that stalled at $24.5 million.  The worldwide gross came to $41.5 million.  Universal would see returned about $22.8 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover P&A expenses or half of the budget that wasn’t funded by tax shelter schemes.

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