Dream House

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  • Directed By: Jim Sheridan
  • Written By: David Loucka
  • Release Date: September 30, 2011
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 millionFinanced by: Morgan Creek
Domestic Box Office: $21,302,340Overseas Box Office: $18,630,000

dream house 2011

Universal optioned David Loucka’s Dream House spec for $600,000 against $1 million in August 2005.  The project never came together at the studio, but began to move forward at Morgan Creek in 2009.  This project was their first production in nearly three years after the company had suspended operations because of a series of expensive flops.

Let’s look back at the troubled history of Morgan Creek.  The company lost a fortune from abandoning Paul Schrader’s unfinished Exorcist movie ($32 million was spent), which they eventually gave a fleeting release to in 2005 and titled it Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.  Morgan Creek then spent an additional $52 million to redo the movie and ended up with the bomb Exorcist: The Beginning.  Morgan Creek then lost a bundle on the $90 million The Good Shepherd (2006) and had two inexpensive non-performers in 2007 —  Georgia Rule and Sydney White.  Morgan Creek then suspended operations after 2007 and resurfaced in 2011 with the box office disaster Dream House and they also had a major stake in the remake/prequel of The Thing in 2011, which also fizzled.  2011 looked like the end of Morgan Creek.  Nothing was in their pipeline except a gestating Tupac biopic (which would eventually become All Eyez On Me) — and in order to fund that picture, the international rights to the entire Morgan Creek library were sold for $36.75 million, which then went directly into their production fund.

The budget for Dream House was $50 million and it was fully financed by Morgan Creek.   When the film was in post, there was a very negative test screening and reshoots were ordered.  Then Morgan Creek’s co-founder James G. Robinson took control over the edit.  Another round of reshoots were ordered and then director Jim Sheridan went to the DGA to have his name removed from this mess.  The film did reach theaters with Sheridan’s name still credited, but he refused to do any publicity and Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts also refused to promote the film.

Dream House was first dated for February 18, 2011 but the reshoots and tinkering with the edit caused the picture to be delayed until September 30.  Also in May 2011, Morgan Creek’s international distribution arm filed for bankruptcy to stave off creditors circling the US Morgan Creek assets.  The company also finances their stateside marketing campaigns and distributed Dream House through Universal, which received a fee for use of their resources.  With Morgan Creek mostly drained of capital, a lot was riding on the success of this broken movie, which was now abandoned by its director and cast.

Dream House bowed against Courageous, 50/50 and What’s Your Number?.  The film was not screened for critics and the reviews that eventually posted were negative.  It tanked with $8,129,355 –placing #6 for the weekend led by the holdover Dolphin Tale.  Dream House fell 44.9% in both its second and third weekends and bombed with $21,302,340.  Morgan Creek would see returned about $11.7 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below P&A expenses.

Morgan Creek slightly padded its large loss on the picture by pre-selling foreign rights, but the film only mustered $18,630,000 overseas — which would ensure that no profit overages would flow back to them.  It was dumped straight to video in Germany.

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