Conan the Barbarian

  • CONAN THE BARBARIAN box office
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  • Directed By: Marcus Nispel
  • Written By: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Sean Hood
  • Release Date: August 19, 2011
  • Domestic Distributor: Lionsgate
  • Cast: Jason Momoa, Rose McGowan, Ron Perlman

Box Office Info:
Budget: $90 millionFinanced by: Millennium Films
Domestic Box Office: $21,295,021Overseas Box Office: $42,061,112


The rights to Conan the Barbarian was acquired by Paradox Entertainment in 2002 and the company landed a deal to set the project up at Warner Bros, but it languished in development hell.  Once the option expired at WB, Paradox left with Conan.  In 2007, Millennium Films purchased the rights for $1 million with a one year option and an additional $1 million for each year’s renewal for the property, if it were not fast tracked into production.  A revolving series of directors led to Marcus Nispel — best known for his hilarious ego blown 64 pages of written demands on his commercial shoots where he refers to himself in the third person.

The budget for Conan the Barbarian was $90 million and it was financed by Millennium Films and very strong pre-sales covered the bulk of the expenses.   Lionsgate landed US rights for $25 million and sank a considerable amount into a marketing campaign for what was expected to be a new franchise.  Conan the Barbarian was dated for the sleepy end of summer frame on August 19, 2011 and bowed against Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, One Day and would have competition with the genre pic Fright Night.  Lionsgate was hoping for a $20+ million opening, but tracking was pointing to a low teens weekend and reviews were horrible.

Conan tanked with $10,021,215 — placing #4 for the weekend led by the holdover The Help.  It sank 68.2% in its second frame to $3,185,094 and continued to post large weekly declines and closed with just $21,295,021.  Lionsgate would see returned about $11.6M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below their P&A expenses.  The mini-major posted a quarterly loss between $40 million – $50 million from the failures of Conan the Barbarian and Warrior.

The picture pulled in weak numbers from most overseas markets, with an ok $9,812,098 from Russia as the strongest gross, where sword and sandal pics play best.  The overseas total amounted to a soft $42M across numerous distributors who overpaid during pre-sales.

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