Green Zone

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  • Directed By: Paul Greengrass
  • Written By:  Brian Helgeland
  • Release Date: March 12, 2010
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Matt Damon, Brendan Gleeson, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan

Box Office Info:
Budget: $130 millionFinanced by: Working Title; Relativity; Antena 3
Domestic Gross: $35,053,660Overseas Gross: $59,828,889


Green Zone went into production with a budget originally under $50 million with financing from Working Title, (which is owned by Universal) and Relativity Media.  Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 also contributed 10% of the budget when the pic was being organized for $50 million.  Green Zone was a troubled production that saw multiple reshoots balloon the original under $50 million budget upwards of $130 million — and it ended as one of the biggest flops on record.  The picture was based off the acclaimed book Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone and the prestige project was greenlit to keep Paul Greengrass in the Universal fold so he could follow this up with another Bourne movie.

Universal first planned on releasing Green Zone in late fall of 2009 as a possible awards contender, but the final product was not awards material and it was moved to March 12, 2010.  With a reductive take on the Iraq invasion, that reshoots turned into an action film, Green Zone would find itself in a commercial dead zone.  Most movies about the Iraq war were ignored at the box office and mixed reviews certainly did not help.  It bowed against She’s Out of My League, Remember Me and Our Family Wedding.

The budget of Green Zone had reached a number where after a marketing spend, breaking even would be an insurmountable task.  Indeed, the film was a disaster, grossing $14,309,295 opening weekend and continued audience rejection of ‘War On Terror’ themed films in the marketplace, especially after costly duds Body Of Lies and The Kingdom.  Green Zone sank 57.3% in its second weekend to $6,113,105 — when Universal also unloaded Repo Men into theaters, which was another delayed pic from ex-chairman Marc Shmuger’s stint at the studio.  The pricey pic closed its run with a disastrous $35,053,660.

Green Zone pulled in mediocre to poor numbers overseas with $59.8 million in receipts.  The worldwide gross was $94.8M and after theaters take their percentage of the gross, Universal would see returned about $52.1 million — which would not even cover P&A expenses.

After the Green Zone fiasco, Universal, director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon split, scrapping the fourth Bourne picture and Universal went with Tony Gilroy’s take on the series with The Bourne Legacy.  They eventually re-teamed for Jason Bourne in 2016.

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