The Hoax

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  • Directed By: Lasse Hallström
  • Written By: William Wheeler
  • Release Date: April 6, 2007
  • Domestic Distributor: Miramax
  • Cast: Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, Hope Davis

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 million Financed by: Yari Film Group; Stratus Film Company; Mark Gordon Company
Domestic Gross: $7,164,995 Overseas Gross: $4,607,466

In 1997, Mark Gordon’s The Mutual Film Company optioned the rights to fraudster Clifford Irving’s book The Hoax (1981), which was about the scribe’s experience penning a phony biography of Howard Hughes and eventually getting caught in a ridiculous series of lies.  In 2001, Mark Gordon left Mutual and formed the Mark Gordon Company and took the property with him.

The Hoax was financed for $30 million by Yari Film Group, Stratus Film Company (which was run by Bob Yari and Mark Gordon, who dissolved their relationship in March 2005) and The Mark Gordon Company.  Bob Yari’s Syndicate Films pre-sold the film very well, which limited the investor’s exposure to the budget.  The Hoax went before the cameras in August 2005 and one month earlier Disney acquired the domestic rights, which they passed onto their sibling specialty label Miramax.

Miramax originally positioned The Hoax as a late 2006 awards contender with a November release planned, but they pushed the film back to April 6, 2007.  The delay gave the rumor mill ammunition that the picture was a turkey, but The Hoax landed strong reviews, with many calling it Richard Gere’s best performance.  Miramax decided on a platform release and booked the movie into 235 theaters, where it pulled in a so-so $1,449,320 with a $6,167 per screen average.  They expanded the film in its second frame to 413 theaters with no growth at $1,466,552.  The Hoax went moderately wide in its third session at 1,069 theaters with diminishing returns at $1,229,781 which killed off a further expansion.  The domestic run closed with $7,164,995.

For the offshore release, The Hoax posted small numbers across numerous distributors, grossing just $4.6 million and it went straight to video in Germany and Australia.  In a head scratching move, Disney canceled the Blu-Ray release last minute without reason and only released the movie on DVD — it would finally be release on Blu-Ray in 2013.

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