Elizabethtown

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    • Directed By: Cameron Crowe
    • Written By: Cameron Crowe
    • Release Date: October 14, 2005
    • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
    • Cast: Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon

Box Office Info:
Budget: $52 millionFinanced by: Paramount; KMP Film Invest
Domestic Gross: $26,850,426Overseas Gross: $25,184,463

elizabethtown 2005
Cameron Crowe had Orlando Bloom in mind for the lead when he wrote Elizabethtown, but when the picture began development, Bloom was already booked for Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven.  Ashton Kutcher was briefly hired and then fired, because Crowe thought he and Kirsten Dunst had no chemistry.  Pointless Trivia: Though they have existed on screen before, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope was coined from Kirsten Dunst’s irritating character in Elizabethtown.

After the dismissal of Kutcher, Cameron Crowe pushed back the production start date and Bloom was able to join the film.  Before the start date was pushed back, it was to be a co-production between Paramount and DreamWorks — but DreamWorks backed out when production was suspended, leaving Paramount as the primary financier.  The studio received additional coin from the German tax shelter fund KMP Film Invest.  The budget for Elizabethtown was $52 million.

Elizabethtown was a picture from Sherry Lansing’s previous administration at Paramount, which Brad Grey took over in January 2005.  It was originally scheduled for a July 29 release, but was pushed back to October 14 as a potential awards contender and it was set to have a gala premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.  It was very poorly received at the festival and Crowe went back to the editing room and trimmed 20 minutes.  The final cut was still poorly received by critics.

Elizabethtown bowed against The Fog remake and Domino.  It was expected to place first at the box office for the weekend with a mid-teens opening, but came in with a weak $10,618,711 — placing #3 for the slow weekend led by The Fog.  The film did not have the strong legs it needed to break out and declined 47.1% the following weekend to $5,621,009 and sank 57.6% in its third frame to $2,382,813.  The domestic run closed with a poor $26,850,426.

The film was released overseas through UIP (joint distribution between Paramount and Universal) and pulled in poor numbers in most markets.  Elizabethtown grossed a poor $2.8 million in the UK, $2.1 million in Australia, tanked in France with $1.3 million and Japan posted the highest gross with $4 million.  The overseas cume was $25,184,463.  The worldwide total came to $52 million, returning about $28.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would leave much of the worldwide P&A costs in the red, as well as the budget.

Elizabethtown began a downward trajectory for writer/director Cameron Crowe and the last picture of his to be warmly received by critics was the box office flop Almost Famous (2000).  After Elizabethtown, We Bought A Zoo (2011) was a disappointment that just about broke even and Aloha (2015) was a disaster.

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