Righteous Kill

  • Righteous Kill box office
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  • Directed By: Jon Avnet
  • Written By: Russell Gewirtz
  • Release Date: September 12, 2008
  • Domestic Distributor: Overture
  • Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, 50 Cent, Carla Gugino

Box Office Info:
Budget: $60 millionFinanced by: Nu Image/Millennium; Emmett/Furla
Domestic Box Office: $40,081,410Overseas Box Office: $38,379,289


The budget for Righteous Kill was $60 million and it was financed by Nu Image/Millennium and Emmett/Furla & Millennium kicked off pre-sales at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.   Millennium CEO Avi Lerner announced at Cannes, “There’s no doubt that when anyone looks back at the history of either of these actors, this movie will be one of the defining moments of their careers. Let’s hope it’s defined in a positive way.”  Not a chance.

Newly formed and short lived US distributor Overture, which was owned by cable giant Starz, acquired the rights to Righteous Kill for $12 million.  Marketing stressed that the picture had two acting legends together for the first time (not counting their two brief scenes in Heat) — but the novelty did not rub off on audiences, who had seen the two thesps slumming it in paycheck roles for over a decade.  Righteous Kill was also the second Jon Avnet directed turkey of 2008, the other being the long delayed 88 Minutes, also financed by the same team and starring Al Pacino.

Righteous Kill was dated for September 12, 2008 and received awful reviews (though not nearly as awful as 88 Minutes).  It bowed against Burn After Reading, Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys and The Women. 

Righteous Kill pulled in a mediocre $16,288,361 — placing #3 for the weekend led by Burn After Reading.  The movie sank 54.4% to $7,424,479 in its second frame and continued to post large weekly declines.  The domestic run closed with $40,081,410.  Overture was not one of the major studios that would command roughly 55% of the ticket price and they would see returned less than $20M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not cover the P&A expenses or the cost of the rights.  After Righteous Kill tanked, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino sued Overture.

righteous watchOverture made an agreement with watchmaker Tutima to use images and names of the actors for a product tie in, without the consent of the actors.  De Niro and Pacino sued Overture and Tutima and the case settled confidentially in Dec 2009.

Righteous Kill pulled in soft numbers overseas for the distributors who overpaid for the film.  The offshore cume was $38.3 million across numerous distributors.

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