Children Of Men

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  • Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón
  • Written By: Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby
  • Release Date: December 25, 2006
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Box Office Info:
Budget: $72 million Financed by: Strike Entertainment; Universal; Ingenious Media
Domestic Box Office: $35,552,383 Overseas Box Office: $34,407,368

“Stacey Snider was the head of Universal. She was really awesome. I passed through her office, and she said, “I don’t understand this film, I have no idea what you want to do, but go ahead and do it.” Then it began, but it was the beginning of a very gruesome process. It was very tough. I have to say, it was a very troubled production.”
–Alfonso Cuarón

Children of Men was first in development at Beacon Pictures, which attached director Alfonso Cuarón in 2001.  Cuarón began reworking the screenplay and production was expected to begin in 2002, but the project was pushed aside when he went off to helm Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Children of Men began to move forward again in 2005, with majority financing from Strike Entertainment and Universal and additional coin from Ingenious Media.  The budget was $72 million.

Children of Men rolled out in most territories before it was released in the US and was distributed in most markets through UIP (joint distribution between Universal and Paramount).  The film’s most successful run was a mediocre $9,585,931 from the UK, but Children of Men pulled in weak numbers in almost every country.  The film outright bombed in Australia with $2.1 million and even grossed a poor $2.5 million in Cuarón’s home country, Mexico and its overseas total was only $34.4 million.

Universal distributed in the US and first planned on a September release, but decided the movie had awards potential and opted to platform the picture from a limited run on Christmas day to a wider expansion over a few weeks.  Universal had no clear marketing strategy for the picture, which resulted in low awareness and mediocre promotional bits.

Reviews were fantastic and despite opening into a very crowded holiday market, Children Of Men pulled in $501,003 with a solid $31,312 per screen average in 16 locations.  By the end of its first week, it had amassed $1,607,498.  The strong turnout in limited release prompted Universal to expand the picture beyond its planned 200 theater increase the following weekend to 1,209 theaters.  It pulled in a better than expected $10,197,775 — placing #3 for the New Year’s frame led by Night at the Museum and The Pursuit of Happyness.  Children Of Men expanded in its third weekend to 1,508 theaters with diminishing returns at $6,371,335 and the movie continued to struggle to reach a broader audience.  Children of Men closed its US run with a very disappointing $35,552,383.

The worldwide cume was $69.9 million and Universal would see back about $38.4 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving much of the worldwide P&A costs in the red and not putting a dent in the budget.


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