Jarhead

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  • Directed By: Sam Mendes
  • Written By: William Broyles Jr
  • Release Date: November 4, 2005
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard

Box Office Info:
Budget: $72 millionFinanced by: Universal; Hannover Leasing
Domestic Box Office: $62,658,220Overseas Box Office: $34,231,778


A few months after Anthony Swofford’s Gulf War memoir Jarhead was published in 2003, Universal paid over $2 million for the rights.  Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road To Perdition) committed to direct in April 2004 and the project quickly went before the cameras.  Universal financed Jarhead for $72 million and received some additional coin from a $283 million German tax shelter fund from Hannover Leasing, where investors put up a minimum of $30,000 for a huge tax write off.

Jarhead was looked at as a prestige picture, with major awards potential and Universal dated the movie for November 4.  The film received mixed reviews, which killed off any award talk and Jarhead was tracking for a modest mid-teens opening.  It bowed against Chicken Little and came in far above expectations at $27,726,210.  Universal president of distribution Nikki Rocco likened the box office performance to Black Hawk Down, which opened to similar numbers and crossed the domestic $100 million mark.  Word of mouth was mixed on Jarhead and it collapsed the following weekend 57.7% to $11,738,160.  It sank 59.5% in its third frame to $4,753,335 and Jarhead left theaters with $62,658,220.

The US military theme had minimal appeal overseas and with the exception of a $9.5 million UK gross and a soft $4.7 million from Germany — the overseas cume was only $34,231,778.  The worldwide total was $96.8M.  Universal would see returned about $53.2M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would leave part of the worldwide P&A spend in the red and the expensive budget untouched from the theatrical receipts.

Jarhead sold well on home video in the US, which launched two cheap direct to video sequels in 2014 and 2016.

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