The International

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    [Total: 6 Average: 2.3]
  • Directed By: Tom Tykwer
  • Written By: Eric Warren Singer
  • Release Date: February 13, 2009
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 millionFinanced by: Sony; Relativity; German Federal Film Fund
Domestic Box Office: $25,450,527Overseas Box Office: $34,710,864

the international 2009
Director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) became loosely attached to The International in 2003 and as the script was being refined, he exited the project for a few years to helm the big budget Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006).  He then returned to The International and had screenwriter Eric Warren Singer change the original 1970s period setting to contemporary times, as a plot about evil banking shenanigans was more befitting to the current economic meltdown.  The International was budgeted at $50 million and was majority financed by Sony and received some capital from Relativity and the German Federal Film Fund contributed €5.8 million ($7.9 million).  Budget estimates go higher when the film was allegedly ordered back into reshoots to add more action, though Tykwer denies that reshoots took place.

Sony handled global distribution duties and first dated The International for September 12, 2008.  The movie was then moved forward to August 15 and then delayed to February 20, 2009 and finally Sony settled on February 13, 2009.  Buzz was very low going into release and the last two pictures carried by Clive Owen had both flopped — Children of Men and Shoot ‘Em Up.  Mixed reviews did little to bolster the film’s appeal.

The International bowed against the remake of Friday the 13th and Confessions of a Shopaholic and would have competition with the third frame of the surprise smash Taken.  The commercial appeal of bankers getting mowed down by bullets only led to a poor $9,331,739 — placing #7 over the Valentine’s Day frame led by Friday The 13th.  Audiences gave The International a toxic C+ cinemascore and since the pic was targeting adult audiences, Sony hoped it would have strong legs, but it fell 52.2% in its second weekend to $4,463,916.  The domestic run closed after just six weeks with $25,450,527.

Overseas, The International didn’t fare much better, grossing a disappointing $5.8 million in Tom Tykwer’s home country Germany, which was the strongest market.  The offshore total stalled at $34.7 million.  The worldwide numbers were $60.1 million and Sony would see returned about $33M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving tens of millions worth of P&A expenses in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.  One month later Clive Owen would see his second release in 2009 Duplicity flop, which marked the end of studio movies built around him.

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