Æon Flux

  • Æon Flux box office
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  • Directed By: Karyn Kusama
  • Written By: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
  • Release Date: December 2, 2005
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Jonny Lee Miller

Box Office Info:
Budget: $65 million Financed by: Paramount; Lakeshore Entertainment
Domestic Box Office: $25,874,337 Overseas Box Office: $26,429,664

The budget for Æon Flux was $65 million and it was co-financed by Paramount and Lakeshore Entertainment.   The film fell victim to three administration changes at Paramount.  Former Paramount studio head Sherry Lansing greenlit the film to be the studio’s answer to Blade Runner and after she was replaced, the newly appointed production chief Gail Berman saw the film closer to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (!?).  By the time the third administration  was put in place at Paramount, executives removed director Karyn Kusama from post production.  The film was sliced and diced, removing over 25 minutes and rendering the final result mostly incoherent.  Karyn Kusama has said of the executives who gutted the picture: “What they didn’t realize, is that sometimes a cohesive 100 minutes will feel much shorter than an incoherent and barely comprehensible 82.”

Paramount dated Æon Flux for the slow post-Thanksgiving frame on December 2, which was the only wide opener that weekend.  The studio did not bother to screen this butchered mess for critics and the reviews that eventually posted were predictably awful.  Æon Flux was booked into 2,608 theaters and came in on the lower end of expectations with $12,661,112 — placing #2 for the weekend led by the holdover Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  The following weekend marked the beginning of the end of the year blockbuster tent poles being released, which kicked off with The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Æon Flux sank 64% to $4,561,619.  King Kong opened the weekend after and it saw a 61.6% third frame drop to $1,751,220 and closed its domestic run with $25,874,337.

UIP (joint distribution between Paramount and Universal) released Æon Flux overseas to poor numbers in most markets.  The film bombed in the UK with $1.9 million and it grossed just $1.7 million in Australia.  The film was dumped in France to all of $232,946 and Japan posted the highest ticket sales at $5.3 million.  The overseas cume was $26,429,664.  The worldwide total was $52.3 million, which would leave about $28.7 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not cover much of the worldwide P&A costs and leave the budget in the red.

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