Zathura

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  • Directed By: Jon Favreau
  • Written By: David Koepp, John Kamps
  • Release Date: November 11, 2005
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony (Columbia)
  • Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins

Box Office Info:
Budget: $65 millionFinanced by: Sony
Domestic Box Office: $29,258,869Overseas Box Office: $35,062,632


For years Sony had attempted to get a followup to the 1995 hit Jumanji into development, including paying numerous high priced directors and scribes for work on the stalled project.  In 2001 the studio tossed all that aside when author Chris Van Allsburg’s announced Zathura, his sequel to his children’s book Jumanji and Sony took the upcoming rights to the book, which was to be released in late 2002.  Jon Favreau, who was coming off the family smash hit Elf (2003) became attached as director in 2004 and this belated follow up to Jumanji was greenlit.  The budget for Zathura was $65 million and it was financed by Sony.

Zathura was dated for November 11 and was tracking very poorly.  Sony held two weekends of sneak previews in over 500 theaters to help spread word of mouth.  Despite generally positive reviews, Zathura had the misfortune of being sandwiched between the release dates of the family skewing Chicken Little and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

It bowed against Derailed and Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and pulled in a troubling $13,427,872 — placing #2 for the weekend led by holdover Chicken Little.  The following weekend Zathura sank 61.8% to $5,133,592, when Harry Potter took most of the box office to itself.  The pic saw a modest 31% third weekend decline to $3,541,291 over the Thanksgiving holiday, but then The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe entered the market and Zathura was pulled after just five weeks in release and cumed $29,258,869.

Overseas, Zathura did not fare much better, pulling in a weak $35,062,632 with $7.6 million from the UK as the highest gross.  The worldwide total was $64.3 million and Sony would see back about $35.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would leave much of the P&A costs in the red, as well as the budget.  After a disappointing 2005, Sony replaced Columbia TriStar prexy of worldwide marketing Geoffrey Ammer after a string of flops that included Zathura, Bewitched, Lords of Dogtown, XXX: State of the Union and Stealth.

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  1. Strangely enough, when Sony actually got their Jumanji sequel off their ground over a decade later, it was so successful that it overtook Star Wars as the smash of the season.

    • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, ended up making more than 10 times its opening weekend in the long run. And another fllm, The Greatest Showman, made nearly 20 times its opening weekend. Combined the two films had a budget of only $174 million, but together they outgrossed TLJ worldwide by about $65 million. That’s damn impressive.

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