The Fountain

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    [Total: 20 Average: 3.6]
  • Directed By: Darren Aronofsky
  • Written By: Darren Aronofsky
  • Release Date: November 22, 2006
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn

Box Office Info:
Budget: $35 millionFinanced by: Warner Bros; New Regency
Domestic Box Office: $10,144,010Overseas Box Office: $5,834,412

Darren Aronofsky the fountain
The Fountain originally went into production in 2002 starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, with a $75 million budget backed by Warner Bros and Village Roadshow.  A massive crew and expensive sets were organized in Australia  including a pyramid 10 stories high.  In the weeks before filming was to begin, Pitt began to demand script changes and WB also had their set of script demands.  As the screenplay was being fought over, Village Roadshow pulled out and production shut down.  A few weeks later, New Regency came in to co-finance and set construction started up once again.  Creative differences continued between Brad Pitt and director Darren Aronofsky and Pitt left the project (and signed onto another WB picture Troy), which killed off the production.  $18 million was spent on the aborted version of The Fountain.

Two years later, a scaled back production came together with financing from Warner Bros and New Regency.  The budget for The Fountain was $35 million — plus the two entities had to absorb the $18 million from the previous scrapped version of the film, including a seven figure pay or play deal to Blanchett.  Keeping costs down was replacing CG vfx with macro-lens fluid photography, which was done for just $140,000.

Warner Bros distributed the film in the US and premiered The Fountain at the Venice Film Festival.  The reception divided auds and was mostly met with boos, which did not bode well for its planned awards push by WB and its commercial prospects.  Reviews were also mixed and The Fountain had little buzz.  It was booked into 1,472 theaters over the crowded Thanksgiving frame — which also saw another Regency financed pic open Deck The Halls, though they were not competing for the same audience.  Other openers were Deja Vu and Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny.

The Fountain tanked with $3,768,702 — placing #10 for the weekend led by holdovers Happy Feet and Casino Royale.  Audiences gave The Fountain a toxic C- cinemascore and it sank 52.6% in its second frame to $1,785,334 and then promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with a dreadful $10,144,010.  WB would see back about $5.5 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover much of the P&A spend or any of the budget.

After the film flopped stateside, the overseas rollout was spread out from late 2006 to mid 2007 and it was given a smaller release in most markets.  FOX picked up numerous territories and saw a weak $312,380 in the UK and just $177,765 in Australia.  France posted the strongest showings overseas with a soft $1,341,088.  The overseas cume was only $5.8 million.

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