Delgo

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  • Directed By: Marc F. Adler, Jason Maurer
  • Written By: Patrick J. Cowan, Carl Dream, Jennifer Jones-Mitchell
  • Release Date: December 12, 2008
  • Domestic Distributor: Fathom Studios (through Freestyle Releasing)
  • Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Chris Kattan, Jennifer Love Hewitt

Box Office Info:
Budget: $40 millionFinanced by: Fathom Studios
Domestic Gross: $694,782Overseas Gross: $0

delgo 2008
Delgo began pre-production in 1998 and it would take a full decade to get this expensive indie into theaters and land the record for the worst opening of all time (at the time of release).   Production began in 2001 and it was financed by the co-director Marc Adler’s Fathom Studios.  This was his first and last foray into the movie business.  The budget for Delgo was $40 million.

Adler expected to wrap up the animation in 2002 and have a theatrical run in 2003, but production dragged on for years.  Back in 2001, Adler had setup a ‘digital dailies’ page on the Delgo website, where viewers could watch the bits of animation come together.  This was basically in the wee days of the internet and this was certainly not common and it did attract many viewers and also gave a lot of exposure to the soon to be movie.  One drawback to the digital dailies was that major studios were also watching them and began hiring away the staff of animators on Delgo, which also slowed the production down.

In 2004, Key Creatives boarded the project to sell to overseas distribution, but production continued… until early 2008.  Adler shopped Delgo around to US distributors, but was passed over and Fathom distributed themselves through the rent-a-distributor Freestyle Releasing.  Delgo was dated for December 12, 2008 and there was no buzz.  The celebrity voice cast toplined by Freddie Prinze Jr., Chris Kattan, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Val Kilmer were semi-bankable back when pre-production began 1998, but everything about Delgo in 2008 screamed ‘straight to video’.

Delgo bowed against The Day the Earth Stood Still remake and Nothing Like the Holidays.  It would have competition with the holdover animated fare Bolt and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, which were still in the box office top 10 and The Tale of Despereaux was opening the following weekend.

Delgo set a record for worst wide opening in over 2,000 theaters, only to be dethroned of the title four years later when Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure opened to empty theaters.  The weekend numbers were just $511,920 and a horrible $237 per screen average — placing far outside the top 10 at #18 when The Day The Earth Stood Still led the charts.  Delgo was yanked out of every theater after 1 week, with just $694,782.  It found distribution in a few overseas markets, which sent it straight to video.

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