Leatherheads

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  • Directed By: George Clooney
  • Written By: Duncan Brantley, Rick Reilly
  • Release Date: April 4, 2008
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: George Clooney, Renée Zellweger, John Krasinski

Box Office Info:
Budget: $58 millionFinanced by: Universal
Domestic Gross: $31,373,938Overseas Gross: $9,925,554

“It bombed and when I say bombed, it bombed. Someone said, “How does that feel?” and it stings a little bit. It’s not like we just showed up: I was working on this for a couple years and put a lot of work into it, and you get knocked back a little bit.”
–George Clooney talking to Rolling Stone about Leatherheads

leatherheads 2008
The Leatherheads project had been kicking around at Universal since the mid 1990’s.  Jon Favreau (uncredited) was hired to rewrite the screenplay in 1996 after the success of the low budget movie Swingers, which he wrote — but the project stalled in development with Jonathan Mostow attached as director.  A decade later the picture was given the greenlight as George Clooney’s directing follow up to his acclaimed Good Night, and Good Luck.  Universal sole financed Leatherheads for $58 million.

The studio first dated the movie for December 7, 2007 but Clooney was in a motorcycle accident that broke a few of his ribs, which set back the completion of filming.  It was pushed to April 4, 2008.

Universal gave Leatherheads a strong marketing push and Clooney was a heavy presence on the PR circuit and it was tracking toward a high teens to $20 million opening.  Leatherheads bowed against Nim’s Island and The Ruins.  Reviews were mixed and the film came in way below expectations at $12,682,595 — placing #3 for the weekend led by the holdover 21.  Audiences did not like what they saw and gave the picture a poor C+ cinemascore and Leatherheads lost half its audience the following weekend, declining 50.5% to $6,276,665.  It fell 51.4% in frame three to $3,049,465 and closed its domestic run with a disappointing $31,373,938.

Universal released Leatherheads in most overseas territories and it pulled in awful numbers everywhere, with a $9.9 million total.  The worldwide cume was $41.2 million and the studio would see back about $22.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving most of the worldwide ad spend in the red and the budget at a loss.

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