A Sound Of Thunder

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  • Directed By: Peter Hyams
  • Written By: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Gregory Poirier
  • Release Date: September 2, 2005
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, Ben Kingsley

Box Office Info:
Budget: $52 million (estimated)Financed by: Franchise Pictures; Apollo Media; Crusader Entertainment
Domestic Box Office: $1,900,451Overseas Box Office: $9,765,014

a sound of thunder
This Z-grade adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s short story A Sound Of Thunder (obviously the best stab at this material was the Time and Punishment segment of The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror V“) was developed by the notorious Franchise Pictures.  It was originally moving forward with director Renny harlin and Pierce Brosnan in the lead role — but as a potential WGA and SAG strike was on the horizon in 2001, the project was shut down after Brosnan demanded a rewrite and the looming strike date would have overlapped with the pushed back production.  Brosnan was then replaced with Edward Burns and Peter Hyams took over directing responsibilities.

Franchised financed A Sound Of Thunder with the German tax shelter fund Apollo Media and Crusader Entertainment.  Franchise and Apollo had produced some of the worst movies with a legitimate budget in the early 2000s — they collaborated on Funky Monkey and Feardotcom— and Franchise was responsible for dreck like Battlefield Earth and Ballistic: Ecks Vs Sever and Apollo churned out movies like Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2.

Franchise was given a $2 million loan from Morgan Creek for 3% of the revenue for A Sound Of Thunder and Franchise was required to repay the loan if filming didn’t begin by June 1, 2002.  Filming did not begin until July 15, 2002 and they were sued and forced to repay.  A Sound Of Thunder went into production with an expected $80 million budget, most of which would be spent on VFX, but Franchise soon went bust and this became a visual effects production with no money to pay for visual effects.

Franchise had a habit of artificially inflating the budgets on their movies, so their co-financing partners end up shouldering most of the costs of the projects and Franchise pocketed the rest.  Their previous financing partner Intertainment successfully sued them for the fraud and wiped them out.   The estimated budget for A Sound Of Thunder after funding dried up was around $52 million.  The film languished on the shelf for three years.   A Sound Of Thunder saw a few scraps of cash left over for completing visual effects, which was a problem when the film was vfx driven with dinosaurs and futuristic city environments.  The vfx are hilariously bad.  For lovers of bad movies, look no further if you have not seen this.

Warner Bros was contractually forced to release the picture in the US with unfinished visuals and it was in unreleasable condition.  This was WB’s final picture from their long standing arrangement with the now defunct Franchise Pictures.  For obvious reasons Warner Bros dumped A Sound Of Thunder with minimal marketing and booked the film in only 816 theaters, over the slow Labor Day frame. 

It bowed against Transporter 2, The Constant Gardener and Underclassman.  Reviews were awful and it predictably grossed a poor $917,398.  The small audience the film attracted, awarded A Sound Of Thunder with a hateful D- cinemascore and it sank 69% in its second weekend to $284,527 and was promptly pulled out of all, but 62 theaters.  The film closed out its run with $1,900,451.

The overseas cume was $9.7 million, across multiple distributors and it went straight to video in most major markets.

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