Fantastic Mr. Fox

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  • Directed By: Wes Anderson
  • Written By: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach
  • Release Date: November 13, 2009
  • Domestic Distributor: FOX
  • Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman

Box Office Info:
Budget: $40 million Financed by: FOX; Indian Paintbrush; Regency
Domestic Box Office: $21,002,919 Overseas Box Office: $25,468,104

Fantastic Mr. Fox was first optioned by Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios in 2004 and Wes Anderson began developing the project as a co-directing effort with Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas).  Revolution shuttered soon after and Fox Animation president Chris Meledandri acquired the property in October 2006.  Then Selick landed a greenlight for his fabulous stop-motion project Coraline and he exited Fantastic Mr. Fox.  The film was financed by FOX, Indian Paintbrush and Regency for $40 million.

Wes Anderson was an absentee director on the set of Fantastic Mr. Fox and it irritated so much of the crew that they publicly humiliated the director by venting to the LA Times.  Anderson directed most of the project via email from Paris and his few set visits were documented for PR purposes to make it look like he was a literal hands on director.

Wes Anderson not actually directing a scene.

Fantastic Mr. Fox was dated for November 13, 2009 with a two week limited arthouse engagement and a nationwide expansion set over the Thanksgiving holiday frame.  FOX consulted with their sibling Fox Searchlight for marketing tips to bring in the hipster crowd and the studio was also heavily marketing the picture toward families.  Despite the unwanted publicity from the irate crew that threw the director under the bus, critics championed Fantastic Mr. Fox.

It was booked into 4 theaters during its limited release and pulled in $265,900 with a very strong $66,475 per screen average.  It grossed $608,315 from those 4 locations before expanding into 2,033 theaters.  Over the holiday frame it bowed against Old Dogs and Ninja Assassin.  Crowding the family marketplace was the holdover fare A Christmas Carol and Planet 51.

Fantastic Mr. Fox struggled with $6,965,267 — placing #9 for the frame led by The Twilight Saga: New Moon.  The film sank 58.1% to $2,918,331 in its second wide session and fell 52.2% to $1,396,148 the following weekend and then promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with a terrible $21,002,919.

Fantastic Mr. Fox posted a solid $14.3M from the UK run, but the movie tanked in most markets and cumed just $25.4M offshore.  The worldwide total was $46.4M and FOX would see returned about $25.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below global P&A expenses and the budget would not be dented from the theatrical receipts.

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