The Change-Up

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  • Directed By: David Dobkin
  • Written By: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
  • Release Date: August 5, 2011
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann

Box Office Info:
Budget: $52 million Financed by: Universal; Relativity Media
Domestic Gross: $37,081,475 Overseas Gross: $38,753,649

“The script was incredible, but unfortunately it didn’t have a lot of box office success.”
Jason Bateman

Universal picked up Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s The Change-Up screenplay, after the duo had penned the huge hit The Hangover (2009) and fast tracked the project into development.  Universal financed the $52 million production, with some capital from Relativity — which was far too expensive for a silly R-rated body switching comedy.  Director David Dobkin had helmed the smash hit Wedding Crashers (2005) and followed that with the mega-flop Fred Claus (2007) and after this picture tanked, he had another commercial failure with the adult drama The Judge (2014).

The Change-Up was dated for August 5, 2011 and after testing very well with audiences, the studio gave the picture an expensive marketing push.  Despite the ad blitz, The Change-Up was tracking softly and to drum up interest Universal held 350 nationwide screenings to spread word of mouth.  Tracking did not improve and as a last ditch effort, they offered discounted $6 tickets through DailyCandy to attract viewers.  There was also a glut of comedies in the marketplace, including Horrible Bosses which also toplined Jason Bateman and had opened only 4 weeks earlier.  Crazy, Stupid, Love. was released the weekend prior and Friends with Benefits was released two weeks earlier.  Ryan Reynolds had a rough summer between The Change-Up and his mega-budgeted Green Lantern bombing.

The Change-Up bowed as counter-programming to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and landed terrible reviews.  It pulled in a poor $13,531,115 — placing #4 for the weekend led by ApesThe Change-Up sank 53.4% in its second frame to $6,306,645 and fell 55.2% in its third session to $2,824,945.  The domestic run closed with $37,081,475 — hardly a terrible number for a gross out comedy, but a terrible number for a gross out comedy that cost $52 million plus a stateside marketing spend far over $35 million.

The Change-Up did mediocre business for a comedy overseas, pulling in $38.7M.  The worldwide total was $75.4M.  Universal would see returned about $41.4M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving much of the P&A expenses in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.

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