The Wicker Man

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  • Directed By: Neil LaBute
  • Written By: Neil LaBute
  • Release Date: September 1, 2006
  • Domestic Distributor: Alcon Entertainment (through Warner Bros)
  • Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Leelee Sobieski

Box Office Info:
Budget: $40 million Financed by: Millennium Films; Equity Pictures; Emmett/Furla
Domestic Box Office: $23,649,127 Overseas Box Office: $15,105,946

No, not the bees!  The 1973 cult classic The Wicker Man gets the big screen remake mistreatment with this show stopping display of incompetent filmmaking and insane unintentional camp.  This was originally being developed at Universal in 2002, but the project eventually moved over to Millennium Films (and they purchased the remake rights from Canal Plus).

Millennium was making the transition from low budget direct to video action and genre schlock to bigger budget projects with A-list casts.  Their first slate of mid to large budget fare were all money losers and with the exception of 16 Blocks, were all serious critical failures — The Black Dahlia88 Minutes, The Wicker Man, Edison and The Contract.

Millennium would also become Nicolas Cage’s best employer for years, as they handed him many starring vehicles, all of which were flops.  Their working relationship began with The Wicker Man, then Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), Drive Angry (2011), Trespass (2011) and Stolen (2012).

The budget for The Wicker Man was $40 million, with funding from Millennium, Equity Pictures and Emmett/Furla.  Offsetting the financiers exposure to the budget was selling off global distribution to dozens of distributors.  Alcon Entertainment acquired US rights and released the picture through their distribution arrangement with Warner Bros.  Alcon would pay for all P&A expenses and WB would receive a distribution fee.  The Wicker Man was dated for the usually sleepy Labor Day frame and bowed against Crank and Crossover.  Tracking was pointing to a mid to high teens opening over its 4-day holiday run.

The Wicker Man was not screened for critics and grossed a soft $9,610,204 ($11,740,235 4-day cume) — placing #3 for the weekend led by holdover Invincible.  The Wicker Man became one of a handful of movies to receive a rare F cinemascore from audiences.  The film sank 57.7% in its second frame to $4,062,271 and declined 47.3% to $2,141,978 in its third session.  The domestic run closed with $23,649,127.  Alcon would see back about $12.9 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would fall far short of their P&A spend and unreported acquisition costs.

Overseas, The Wicker Man pulled in a terrible $15.1 million across numerous distributors and Lionsgate saw the best results with a weak UK gross of $3,155,534.  Sony dumped the film straight to video in Australia and Universal dumped it in France as well.  This Nic Cage vehicle has become something of a camp classic after its poor worldwide run.


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    • For Millenium Films, it was “No, not the fees! Not the fees! They’re in our eyes! Our eyes! BLAGAGRAGAGAGAGHHHHHHHH!”

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