Astro Boy

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  • Directed By: David Bowers
  • Written By: David Bowers, Timothy Harris
  • Release Date: October 23, 2009
  • Domestic Distributor: Imagi (through Summit)
  • Cast: Nicolas Cage, Charlize Theron, Freddie Highmore

Box Office Info:
Budget: $65 millionFinanced by: Imagi
Domestic Box Office: $19,551,067Overseas Box Office: $20,335,919


The budget for Astro Boy was $65 million and it was financed by Hong Kong based animation company Imagi.   They had previously collaborated with Warner Bros and The Weinstein Company for their inaugural animated feature TMNT (2007) and after the modest success of that picture, they re-upped their distribution deal for Astro Boy.  When Astro Boy was in production Imagi lost some of its investors and needed an infusion of $25 million to finish the project.  Then WB and TWC pulled out of the distribution arrangement.  Imagi did land the funds to complete Astro Boy. 

Imagi then tapped Summit to sell the movie to overseas distributors.  A service deal was also reached with Summit for US distribution, where Imagi would cover all P&A costs and use Summit’s distribution resources.  Imagi took a $30 million loan for P&A expenses and once the distribution deal with Summit was finalized, they landed a promotional tie in with McDonalds.  As Imagi was gearing up for the release, they released documents to their investors that showed they expected at least $75M from the US box office — close, but only $55.5M off.

Astro Boy was dated for October 23, 2009 and bowed against Saw VICirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant and Amelia.  It landed mixed reviews and would also have competition with holdover family fare Where The Wild Things Are and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.

Tracking was pointing to a soft $10M opening, but it bombed with $6,702,923 — placing #6 for the weekend led by Paranormal Activity.  Astro Boy declined 48.4% in its second session to $3,460,651 and flamed out with just $19,551,067.  Imagi would see back about $10.7M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, plus a fee to Summit.

The film was expected to be a success in Japan since the Astro Boy character was a long running manga series, but it flopped with just $864,683.  It continued to post awful numbers in every market and the overseas total stalled at $20.3 million.  After Astro Boy tanked, Imagi Animation was shut down by its parent company, Imagi International Holdings Ltd, which took a huge loss on the film.  When Imagi was shuttered, they had to scrap their in development animated project Gatchaman, which also incurred an impairment charge in the millions.

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  1. A Hong Kong adaptation of a 50+ year old Japanese manga for an American audience. I remember seeing the trailer and knowing it wouldn’t make money. It wasn’t a bad movie, but nothing about it was memorable.

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