• nine box office 2009
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  • Directed By: Rob Marshall
  • Written By: Michael Tolkin, Anthony Minghella
  • Release Date: December 18, 2009
  • Domestic Distributor: The Weinstein Company
  • Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard

Box Office Info:
Budget: $80 million Financed by: The Weinstein Company; Relativity
Domestic Box Office: $19,676,965 Overseas Box Office: $34,321,841

Nine was financed by The Weinstein Company and Relativity for $80 million and this commercial disaster ended with a lawsuit between the two companies.  In the lawsuit filed by Relativity, they wrote of the financing arrangement, “Under the Nine Term Sheet, the parties agreed that the total production budget for Nine was to be $80 million. The manner in which the investments were to be made was $60 million by TWC against the foreign distribution rights, and $20 million by Relativity against all other rights.”  The Weinstein Company pre-sold the film to overseas distributors, which also according to the lawsuit, covered TWC’s entire investment.  It was contractually stated that Nine would be released during the Thanksgiving holiday frame and the P&A budget (which was to be entirely footed by TWC) would be no less than $35 million — and $25 million of that ad budget would have to be spent before the opening day.  In addition, the picture could not be platformed from a limited release to a wide release and would have to play on 2,500 screens.

The cash strapped Weinstein Company could not ready the movie in time for the Thanksgiving release date and pushed it back to December 18 as a limited release and it would expand wide over the Christmas frame.  This move infuriated Relativity, as they would also have another film courting similar adult auds released on Christmas It’s Complicated.  As for the wretched marketing campaign for Nine, here’s Relativity’s lawyers saying it best: Taken together, TWC’s deceitful and bad faith actions, including its concealment of its lack of financial wherewithal, its unfocused, disorganized, inadequately funded advertising and marketing campaign that fell far short of TWC’s $35 million commitment under TWC’s contract with Relativity, and TWC’s unilateral, ill-founded decision regarding the film’s release date, directly resulted in the movie Nine being a commercial disaster and caused Relativity to lose nearly its entire investment in the film.”

This “unfocused, disorganized” ad campaign also involved an expensive deal with Disney/ABC Unlimited, which handled cross media sales, to promote Nine across numerous platforms.  An episode of Dancing With The Stars was set to a musical number in the film called “Be Italian.”  More inexplicably, Nine would be written into random episodes of day-time soaps “All My Children,” “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital.”  This was an aggressive pandering and pathetic attempt to make Nine a household name.

Harvey Weinstein did his usual awards blitz for this lousy movie, despite reviews being mixed to negative.  The Weinstein Company opened the film in 4 theaters to $257,232 with an excellent $64,308 per screen average and expanded the film wide the next weekend to terrible numbers.  Nine expanded to 1,412 theaters (also breaking from the contractually required 2,500 screen release) with $5,452,513 — placing #8 in the crowded holiday market led by the second weekend of Avatar and new opener Sherlock Holmes.  Nine saw a modest 28.5% decline over the New Year frame to $3,901,203 but fizzled out of theaters with just $19,676,965 — leaving the Weinstein Company with about $10.8 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.

Overseas, the picture posted mediocre to poor numbers across numerous distributors who overpaid for the film, with Japan having the strongest showing at $7.5 million.  The overseas total came to a weak $34.3 million, which would leave most distributors in the red.

Relativity sued The Weinstein Company for $20 million plus interest, for botching the release of Nine and released the statement, “In fact, it is now believed that TWC never had the financial capability to fully fund Nine’s P&A budget.”  In 2012 both companies who were also suing each other over the rights for The Crow remake, dropped their suits.  Nine was also the first movie that was supposed to launch a co-financing collaboration between Harvey Weinstein’s company and Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity.  It’s also difficult to imagine a more grotesque human being than those two.

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