Me and Orson Welles

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  • Directed By: Richard Linklater
  • Written By: Robert Kaplow, Holly Gent, Vincent Palmo Jr.
  • Release Date: November 25, 2009
  • Domestic Distributor: CinemaNX; Hart/Lunsford Pictures (through Freestyle Releasing)
  • Cast: Christian McKay, Zac Efron, Zoe Kazan, Claire Danes

Box Office Info:
Budget: $23 million Financed by: CinemaNX
Domestic Box Office: $1,190,003 Overseas Box Office: $1,146,169

The Isle of Man film fund, set up a new production company CinemaNX and set Me and Orson Welles as its first production.  CinemaNX invested £12m ($23 million — 2008 exchange rate) into Me And Orson Welles and in 2011 The Isle Of Man film fund announced they had only received back £2m in returns from this picture.

In 2008, footage of the movie was shown to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival, but it did not land distribution.  In September 2008 Me And Orson Welles premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and it was one of the more high profile movies the studios and specialty labels were circling.  Between director Richard Linklater and star in grooming Zac Efron, the film was expected to land a major deal, but even after it received positive reviews it left without a buyer.

Over half a year passed without securing a theatrical release and the few offers to distribute Me And Orson Welles from studios were only for home entertainment.  CinemaNX then launched a campaign to distribute the film theatrically themselves.  They got Hart/Lunsford Pictures to pay for $4 million in prints and advertising and the rent-a-distributor Freestyle Releasing would secure theaters and handle other distribution logistics.  A deal was brokered with Warner Bros to distribute on home video and the studio would also include a trailer for Me And Orson Welles on the DVD release for the Zac Efron hit 17 Again for additional exposure.

The ambitious release began in 4 theaters with a $63,638 opening weekend and a decent, but unspectacular $15,910 per screen average and moved to 5 theaters in its second weekend to $39,587.  Me And Orson Welles expanded to 64 theaters in its third frame to $154,754 and a troubling $2,418 per screen average and saw its widest expansion in week four to practically no growth in 134 theaters to $156,420.   Me And Orson Welles closed its US run with just $1,190,003.  After theaters take their percentage of the gross, most of the P&A spend would be in the red.

Overseas, the film also had trouble finding its way to theaters and was released in 7 countries to $1.1 million and half of that was from the terrible numbers it posted in the UK with $557,602.  Me And Orson Welles went straight to video in most markets.

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