The Kingdom

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  • Directed By: Peter Berg
  • Written By: Matthew Michael Carnahan
  • Release Date: September 28, 2007
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman

Box Office Info:
Budget: $70 million Financed by: Universal; Relativity
Domestic Box Office: $47,536,778 Overseas Box Office: $39,121,780

the kingdom 2007

Peter Berg and Michael Mann (who produced) pitched the premise of The Kingdom to Universal in 2004.  Then in April 2005, Berg landed a first-look deal on the Universal lot and The Kingdom was set as the first picture.  He had previously helmed the Universal productions Friday Night Lights (2004) and The Rundown (2003).  His second Universal assignment after Kingdom was the mega-budget disaster Battleship.  The studio then picked up stateside rights for Lone Survivor (2013).

The budget for The Kingdom was $70 million and it was co-financed by Universal and Relativity Media.  It marked the last film from the $600 million equity line that Relativity head Ryan Kavanaugh set up called Gun Hill Road I — which was a hedge fund for private investors to pump capital into 18 Sony and Universal films.  By the time the funds were used, Gun Hill investments were deemed ‘dead money’ after such costly fiascos like All The King’s Men.  The fund closed with a whimper when The Kingdom flopped at the worldwide box office and it is estimated the movie posted a $30 million loss for the two principle financiers.

Universal first dated The Kingdom for April 20, 2007 but after positive test screening responses, the movie was pushed back to a stronger release date on September 28.  The studio gave the picture an aggressive promotional blitz and it was tracking well.  They also held 850 nationwide sneak previews two weeks before the opening to help spread word of mouth.  Despite the support from the studio, audiences were ignoring thematic films about the ‘war on terror’ — which saw In The Valley Of Elah struggle a few weeks earlier and Rendition and Lions For Lambs would tank in the upcoming weeks.

The Kingdom bowed against The Game Plan and Feast of Love and reviews were mixed.  It was expected to win the weekend, but The Game Plan over-performed, winning the weekend and The Kingdom came in soft at $17,135,055.  It declined a so-so 43.3% to $9,722,940 in its second frame, but then fell 52.6% to $4,608,025 in its third session, ending its chances at breaking out.  The domestic run ended with a disappointing $47,536,778.

Overseas, the film fared worse, pulling in $39.1 million.  The worldwide cume was $86.6M.  Universal would see returned about $47.6M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving tens of millions worth of global P&A costs in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.

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