- Directed By: Scott Stewart
- Written By: Cory Goodman
- Release Date: May 13, 2011
- Domestic Distributor: Sony (Screen Gems)
- Cast: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $60 million||Financed by: Sony (Screen Gems)|
|Domestic Gross: $29,136,626||Overseas Gross: $49,172,505|
Sony’s Screen Gems announced in March 2005 that they had purchased the Priest spec script by Cory Goodman, which was based off the Korean graphic novel. It was originally intended as a vehicle for Gerard Butler and set to begin filming on October 1, 2006 but the project fell apart. Director Scott Stewart was in production on the schlocker Legion for Screen Gems, when he became attached to the project in late 2008. The budget for Priest was $60 million. Screen Gems, which normally backed more modestly priced fare, set Priest as their most expensive film, which they fully financed.
Priest was scheduled for an August 20, 2010 release, but then Sony delayed the movie until January 14, 2011 to convert it into 3D. Priest was then pushed back again to March 2011 and finally the date was set for May 13, 2011. It bowed against Bridesmaids and was sandwiched between two tentpoles — Thor the weekend prior and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides the weekend after. Reviews were predictably negative and Sony launched a marketing campaign for Priest that didn’t target anyone except young male fanboys, which led to a weak opening weekend at $14,953,664 — actually coming in above its modest expectations and placing #4 for the weekend led by Thor. Auds gave Priest a poor C+ cinemascore and it was incredibly front loaded, plummeting 68.2% in its second weekend to $4,750,041 and 62.7% in its third frame to $1,772,996. The domestic run closed with $29,136,626.
Sony expected the picture to fare well in its overseas release, but Priest struggled and the offshore cume stalled at $49.1M, with Russia pulling in $10.4M as the strongest market. The worldwide total was $78.3M and Sony would see returned about $43M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover global P&A expenses.