Ghost Town

  • Ghost Town Ricky Gervais box office
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  • Directed By: David Koepp
  • Written By: David Koepp, John Kamps
  • Release Date: September 19, 2008
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni, Kristen Wiig

Box Office Info:
Budget: $19 million Financed by: DreamWorks; Spyglass Entertainment
Domestic Box Office: $13,367,624 Overseas Box Office: $13,706,868

After completing his War Of The Worlds (2005) writing assignment for DreamWorks, David Koepp pitched the story for Ghost Town and the studio paid $2 million for the rights.  DreamWorks was looking to partner with Universal for distribution and financing, but DreamWorks was sold to Paramount in early 2006 and took on worldwide distribution duties.  The budget for Ghost Town was a modest $19 million and it was equally financed by DreamWorks and Spyglass Entertainment.

The domestic run was scheduled for September 19, 2008 which was a messy time for both Paramount and DreamWorks.  Both companies were unhappy about their partnership and DreamWorks had been trying to raise capital to be able to free themselves from Paramount.  On the day of Ghost Town‘s release, DreamWorks announced that they closed a deal with India based Reliance, which would fund the company and quickly begin their divorce from Paramount.

Ghost Town was originally going to bow in 2,000+ theaters, but Paramount cut the locations down to 1,505.  The scaled back release was never directly reported as the result of studio infighting or corporate politics, but the timing was certainly suggestive.  Ghost Town opened against Lakeview Terrace, My Best Friend’s Girl and the animated Igor and was tracking for a single digits weekend, despite positive reviews.

It opened within its low expectations at $5,012,315 — placing #8 for the frame led by Lakeview Terrace.  Ghost Town declined 41.5% the following weekend to $2,930,904 and 49.8% in its third session to $1,469,919 and then promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with $13,367,624.  Paramount would see returned about $7.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover their P&A expenses.

The Ricky Gervais vehicle was expected to perform better overseas, but the $10.2 million UK run comprised the majority of the offshore cume.  Overseas receipts stalled at just $13.7 million, from the handful of markets that Ghost Town had a theatrical release.

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