Ninja Assassin

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  • Directed By: James McTeigue
  • Written By: J. Michael Straczynski, Matthew Sand
  • Release Date: November 25, 2009
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Rain, Naomie Harris, Sung Kang

Box Office Info:
Budget: $40 millionFinanced by: Warner Bros; Legendary; Dark Castle; DFFF; Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
Domestic Box Office: $38,122,883Overseas Box Office: $23,478,397


After the Wachowski’s, Warner Bros and producer Joel Silver had a positive experience mounting the Speed Racer (2008) production in Germany, they set up their next project Ninja Assassin at Germany’s Studio Babelsberg.  The budget for Ninja Assassin was $40 million.  Warner Bros, Legendary and Joel Silver’s Dark Castle financed and they tapped the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), which invested $8.8M and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg invested €651,000 (about $1M).  The Wachowskis and Joel Silver were given a percentage of profits if the picture breaks even, which was a change to the upfront gross points they received on their box office fiasco Speed Racer.

Ninja Assassin was designed as a vehicle to launch Korean pop star Rain into a bankable global actor, but this could barely deliver requisite ninja action — let alone propel an acting career to stardom.  WB dated the picture for the Thanksgiving holiday frame and it was tracking with only one quadrant — young males.  Reviews were atrocious, but it’s unlikely that deterred anyone (this writer included) who wanted to see gory Ninja nonsense on the big screen.

Ninja Assassin bowed against Old Dogs, The Road and the wide expansion of Fantastic Mr. Fox.  It pulled in a solid $21,193,565 for the 5-day day holiday frame ($13,316,158 weekend) — placing #6 when the holdover The Twilight Saga: New Moon led the box office.  Ninja Assassin was predictably front loaded and sank 62% to $5,061,499 the following weekend and quickly burned out with $38,122,883.

Ninja Assassin did abysmal business overseas, with the exception of an $8.7M gross from South Korea and despite major investments from Germany, it made just $850,707 there.  The offshore cume was $23.4M.  The worldwide total was $61.6M and WB would see returned about $33.8M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below P&A expenses and the budget would be all red.

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