Taking Woodstock

  • Taking Woodstock box office
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    [Total: 4 Average: 2.3]
  • Directed By: Ang Lee
  • Written By: James Schamus, Elliot Tiber, Tom Monte
  • Release Date: August 26, 2009
  • Domestic Distributor: Focus
  • Cast: Demetri Martin, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Emile Hirsch

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 millionFinanced by: Focus
Domestic Box Office: $7,460,204Overseas Box Office: $2,515,533


The budget for Taking Woodstock was $30 million, which Focus financed and this Ang Lee picture had most of its investment returned from strong foreign pre-sales.  Taking Woodstock was heavily marketed in the US, trying to build hype from the approaching 40th anniversary of Woodstock and landed tie ins with VH-1, the History Channel and Sirius radio.  Focus released the film in 1,393 theaters over the slow Labor Day frame as counter-programming to two horror pics opening — The Final Destination and Halloween II. 

Taking Woodstock landed mixed reviews and was dead on arrival with $3,457,760 — placing #9 for the weekend led by The Final Destination.  The movie sank 57.1% in its second frame to $1,483,183 and promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with only $7,460,204.  After theaters take their percentage of the gross, Focus would see back about $4.1 million, which barely puts a dent in their P&A spend.  In 2013 Focus’s parent company Universal replaced the head of Focus James Schamus (who also wrote Taking Woodstock‘s screenplay) and cited the costly flops Promised Land and Taking Woodstock as some of the reasons for his removal.  Focus was to be retooled as more commercially friendly, instead of handling specialty fare.

Taking Woodstock had even less interest outside of the US, with the film posting terrible numbers everywhere to just a $2.5 million overseas total across many presumably unhappy distributors who overpaid for the film.

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