The Sorcerer's Apprentice

  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice box office
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  • Directed By: Jon Turteltaub
  • Written By: Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard
  • Release Date: July 14, 2010
  • Domestic Distributor: Disney
  • Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina

Box Office Info:
Budget: $150 million Financed by: Disney
Domestic Gross: $63,150,991 Overseas Gross: $152,132,751

Hoping to spark another success from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Jon Turteltaub and Nicolas Cage, whose collaboration on the National Treasure films pulled in huge worldwide numbers — Disney greenlit The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with a $150 million price tag and hoped to launch a franchise.  None of that massive budget appears to have gone to that ridiculous scraggly carpet perched on top of Cage’s bald head.  The project was based off of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment from Fantasia (1940).

Bruckheimer, who was no stranger to bloated budgets and huge box office rewards for more than 25 years — began a downward trend the year prior with the disposable mega-budget kiddie pic G-Force (2009) and then the expensive flops Prince of Persia, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and The Lone Ranger, which led to his contract not being renewed at the mouse house in 2013.

Disney dated the expensive tentpole for the prime summer frame on July 16, 2010.  The Disney/Bruckheimer team suffered a loss from Prince of Persia just a month and a half earlier and alarm bells were going off at the mouse house when The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was tracking even worse than Persia.  In the weeks before its release, the marketing machine at Disney revamped their ads and the studio moved the movie forward to Wednesday July 14th, to get a head start on the weekend.  Even with a massive marketing blitz and very high audience awareness, audience interest in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was soft and tracking was pointing to an opening near $30M.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice bowed against Inception, which was cutting into Sorcerer’s potential audience and reviews were mixed, leaning negative.  In a last minute attempt to spark interest in the film, Disney offered buy one get one free tickets through Fandango, but The Sorcerer’s Apprentice opened with a very troubling $17,619,622 — coming in a distant #3 for the weekend led by Inception.  It declined 45.2% the following frame to $9,651,495 and then sank 53.7% to $4,465,524 in its third session.  The domestic run closed with $63,150,991.

Overseas, the film fared a bit better better with a $152.1 million cume, but those numbers were not strong enough to pull the weak domestic numbers into the black.  After theaters take their percentage of the worldwide $215.2M gross, Disney would see back about $118.3M, which would likely cover only the pricey P&A spend — and the theatrical receipts would not dent the budget.

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