- Directed By: James Wong
- Written By: Ben Ramsey
- Release Date: April 10, 2009
- Domestic Distributor: FOX
- Cast: Justin Chatwin, Chow Yun-Fat, Emmy Rossum
Box Office Info:
|Budget: N/A||Financed by: FOX; Dune Entertainment; Ingenious Film Partners|
|Domestic Gross: $9,362,785||Overseas Gross: $48,134,914|
FOX and Dune Entertainment co-financed this stinker with some capital from Ingenious Film Partners and the budget estimates are all over the place on Dragonball Evolution. First announced as an expensive project produced by international star Stephen Chow for estimates near $100 million, then reported at about $80 million, then $45 million, the number dropped to $30 million and even under $25 million. During filming there were rumors that FOX might scrap the project and seeing what’s left on screen, they probably did indeed scrap most of the budget.
The studio first announced that Dragonball Evolution would be released on August 15, 2008 and then in March 2008, the release was pushed back to April 3, 2009 and reshoots were commissioned. FOX eventually pushed the date back one week to April 10.
Dragonball Evolution had bad buzz and the full rage of fanboys before even a frame of the first trailer was released — starting with the casting of caucasian actor Justin Chatwin as Goku. The toxic buzz continued throughout the marketing campaign. Dragonball Evolution was certainly a contender for the most “this movie raped my childhood” charges from the fanboy community.
FOX opened Dragonball Evolution in the asian market first with mixed results. Japan was the strongest market with an ok $8.4 million and the picture pulled in a soft $48.1 million from its overseas run and was dumped straight to video in Germany.
FOX opened the film in the US against Hannah Montana The Movie and Observe and Report. With Dragonball‘s core demographic raging online, the studio had very low expectations and it was not even expected to reach $10M in its first weekend. Dragonball Evolution was not screened for critics and it flopped with $4,756,488 in 2,181 theaters with a remarkably coincidental and crappy $2,181 per screen average. Audiences gave Dragonball Evolution a poor C+ cinemascore and the film sank 64.6% in its second frame to $1,684,942 and quickly left theaters with $9,362,785.
FOX would see back about $31.5 million after theaters take their cut of the worldwide gross, which would not cover even the P&A costs. Whatever the cost of the actual budget, the audience response and worldwide box office were poor enough to stop FOX from going ahead with a series of films. Director James Wong has not helmed another big screen production after Dragonball Evolution.