Flyboys

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  • Directed By: Tony Bill
  • Written By: Phil Sears, Blake T. Evans, David S. Ward
  • Release Date: September 22, 2006
  • Domestic Distributor: Electric Entertainment (through MGM)
  • Cast: James Franco, Jean Reno, David Ellison

Box Office Info:
Budget: $60 millionFinanced by: Larry Ellison; ICM
Domestic Box Office: $13,090,630Overseas Box Office: $4,744,235


The budget for Flyboys was $60 million and Larry Ellison paid for 40% of the production and the remainder was through ICM, which raised the funds through private equity.  Lionsgate pre-sold the picture to foreign distributors and a US deal was to be reached after production.  Sales kicked off at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival in May and additional markets were sold later in the year at the American Film Market, where 20 minutes of footage was shown to buyers.

Producer Dean Devlin shopped the movie to every major US studio, but there were no takers.  Flyboys landed at MGM, where the lion would act as a rent-a-distributor.  Devlin’s company Electric Entertainment raised $20 million for P&A and MGM would receive a fee for use of its distribution resources.  The expensive indie was dated for September 22, 2006 and bowed against Jackass: Number Two, Jet Li’s Fearless and All The King’s Men.

Reviews were mixed leaning negative and buzz was low.  Flyboys was dead on arrival with $6,004,219 — placing #4 for the weekend led by Jackass: Number Two.  The movie sank 60.8% to $2,351,841 in its second frame and declined 55.8% in its third session to $1,039,073 and quietly closed its run with $13,090,630.  Devlin would see returned about $7.1 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, leaving much of the P&A costs in the red, plus a fee to MGM.

The overseas total was a dismal $4.7 million across numerous distributors.  South Korea posted the film’s highest number with a weak $950,353.  Flyboys was dumped straight to video in France.  Using MGM as a rent-a-distributor entitled Electric to MGM’s lucrative cable deal with Showtime, giving a large 20%-25% of the theatrical gross for cable rights, which put about $3 million back in Electric’s pockets.

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