Captivity

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  • Directed By: Roland Joffé
  • Written By: Larry Cohen, Joseph Tura
  • Release Date: July 13, 2007
  • Domestic Distributor: After Dark Films (through Freestyle Releasing)
  • Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Daniel Gillies, Pruitt Taylor Vince

Box Office Info:
Budget: $18 millionFinanced by: Foresight Unlimited; Ramco; After Dark Films
Domestic Gross: $2,626,800Overseas Gross: $8,294,400


Arguably the low point of director Roland Joffé’s (The Killing Fields) career, Captivity came together as a joint Russian and American financed production.  Funding came from Russia based Ramco, which was backed by private equity, mainly from six oligarchs.  The newly formed Foresight Unlimited also co-financed and handled international sales with Seven Arts Intl.  Seven Arts was run by now convicted fraudster Peter Hoffman and in an SEC filing (page 21) for his company, they listed the budget at $17.5 million.

When the film was completed, it was put on the market for a domestic distributor and was picked up by After Dark Films and Lionsgate would distribute on home video.  Once they acquired Captivity, After Dark Films made every wrong move before its release and stirred up a tidal wave of bad buzz.  A test screening landed a very muted response and After Dark head Courtney Solomon decided to turn the thriller into torture porn.  He commissioned extensive reshoots with After Dark’s own money and directed all of the new torture sequences himself and revamped the ending.  After Dark has not reported the cost of the new footage, but would certainly drive the budget over $18M.  Solomon would later blame the torture sequences as the reason why Captivity flopped.

After Dark set a wide release for May 18, 2007 and then began a marketing campaign that used images of torture that were rejected by the MPAA.  The images were ordered to be removed and in retaliation for using the unapproved ads, the MPAA had the film’s rating process suspended for a month.  The delay to receive a R certificate, meant the film would not land a rating by May 18 and most theaters would not book an unrated film.  Captivity did eventually receive its R rating and the release was moved back to June 22, but The Weinstein Company dated 1408 for the 22nd and Captivity was pushed to July 13.

After Dark Films was going to distribute the pic through Lionsgate as a rent-a-distributor, but ended up using actual rent-a-distributor Freestyle Releasing.  Lionsgate also forced Courtney Solomon to submit all promotional material for approval after the MPAA stunt.  That didn’t stop him putting on what he envisioned to be a truly debauched premiere with Suicide Girls and just like this movie, the premiere turned out to be lame.

Captivity was booked into 1,061 theaters to bad press and empty theaters as counter-programming to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  It pulled in a terrible $1,429,100 — placing #12 for the weekend led by Harry Potter.  Captivity sank 77.7% in its second weekend to $318,545 and was out of release after just three weeks with $2,626,800.  After theaters take their cut of the gross, that wouldn’t put a dent in After Dark’s print and advertising costs and the pointless reshoots just added red ink.

The film pulled in $8.2 million overseas across numerous distributors, with $1.7 million from Italy posting the highest gross.  Captivity went straight to video in Germany and most smaller markets.

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