Meet Dave

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  • Directed By: Brian Robbins
  • Written By: Rob Greenberg, Bill Corbett
  • Release Date: July 11, 2008
  • Domestic Distributor: FOX
  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Banks, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart

Box Office Info:
Budget: $60 millionFinanced by: FOX; New Regency; Dune Capital
Domestic Gross: $11,803,254Overseas Gross: $38,846,825

meet dave 2008 flop
Meet Dave was first in development at Paramount, which picked up the script (originally titled Starship Dave) from former MST3K staffers Rob Greenberg and Bill Corbett in September 2004.  The project was eventually dropped by Paramount and FOX picked it up in February 2006 with Eddie Murphy attached as the lead and Peter Segal on board as director.  Segal quickly left the picture to helm Get Smart and Murphy brought in Brian Robbins to direct, who had just directed him in the godawful Norbit (2007).

Fox co-financed Meet Dave with New Regency and Dune Capital for $60 million.  FOX changed the the title from Starship Dave to the generic sounding Meet Dave to avoid any comparison with the sci-fi Eddie Murphy fiasco The Adventures Of Pluto Nash.  FOX studio Co-Chairman Tom Rothman also had the sci-fi premise purged from the marketing material, believing sci-fi and comedy are a disastrous box office combination.  Men In Black anyone?

Meet Dave was tracking very poorly going into release and was expected to open under $10M.  The public was largely unaware of what the premise of the movie actually was, since the marketing had no context to explain why there was a tiny Eddie Murphy running around with miniature people in a normal sized Eddie Murphy.  Along with months long bad buzz, it went public that Eddie Murphy was a no show at the premiere, claiming he was filming A Thousand Words, yet the same director on both pics Brian Robbins was at the premiere.  Also not helping the lack of appeal for the high concept movie was Eddie Murphy on his press tour talking more about wanting to retire from movies than about the pic.

Meet Dave was dated for July 11, 2008 and bowed against Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Journey to the Center of the Earth.  The market was also saturated with comedy family fare, made even more competitive with fellow opener Journey to the Center of the Earth.  Meet Dave would also have to pry auds away from WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda and even Get Smart (directed by Peter Segal, who was first attached to Meet Dave).  Reviews were poor and it had a disastrous opening with $5,251,918 — placing #7 for the weekend led by Hellboy II: The Golden Army.  The opening gross was the third worst opening for a film playing in over 3,000 theaters at the time of release.  Meet Dave then sank 68.4% in its second frame to $1,659,424 and then set a record for the most theaters dropped, where it lost 2,523 theaters going into week 3.  The domestic run ended with a miserable $11,803,254.

Fox handled the overseas release in most markets and the film pulled in a weak $38.8 million cume.  The worldwide gross was $50.6M and FOX would see returned about $27.8M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below the P&A expenses and the theatrical receipts would not dent the budget.

After the failure of Meet Dave, New Regency said they would focus on more highbrow films and be the filmmaker friendly division on the FOX lot, though their output after Meet Dave reflected the usual commercial fare the studio churned out.

Meet Dave began the quick descent of Murphy’s star wattage, when he followed this dud with Imagine That and the long delayed A Thousand Words.

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