The Dilemma

  • The Dilemma box office
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  • Directed By: Ron Howard
  • Written By: Allan Loeb
  • Release Date: January 14, 2011
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Channing Tatum

Box Office Info:
Budget: $70 millionFinanced by: Universal; Spyglass Entertainment
Domestic Box Office: $48,475,290Overseas Box Office: $21,246,676


Universal and Spyglass Entertainment footed the $70 million bill for The Dilemma and this Ron Howard seriocomedy should have been a blueprint for success — with Vince Vaughn coming off a slew of box office successes and Kevin James coming off his first solo outing Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Howard returning to the comedy genre after years of dramatic turns.  The Dilemma turned into a major critical and commercial misfire and sliding the picture further into the red was Imagine Entertainment’s lucrative deal at Universal.

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment had an arrangement with Universal where they pocket 7.5% of the gross of any movie they develop, so Imagine was the only entity that saw a return on The Dilemma.  Vince Vaughn would have a very quick decline in his star power after The Dilemma, who followed this turkey with the 2012 flop The Watch and the 2013 flops The Internship Delivery Man.

The Dilemma was dated for the MLK holiday frame on January 14 and it also marked the first release from Universal Chairman Adam Fogelson’s greenlit slate of pictures after he took over from Marc Shmuger’s disastrous run.   The Dilemma was positioned against The Green Hornet and months earlier when the two films were scheduled to open on the same weekend, it was expected that Dilemma would siphon most of the auds away from Hornet.  After the trailer dropped, the film began to track soft when it became mired in controversy.

The Dilemma‘s trailer set off a firestorm of criticism over gay jokes, which followed the movie into release.  Mixed to poor reviews certainly did not help entice auds and the marketing never seemed to be clear if this was a broad comedy or drama and the tonal shifts were also a frequent complaint from critics.  The Dilemma came in slightly below estimates at $17,816,230 — placing #2 for the weekend led by The Green Hornet.  It declined 48.9% in its second frame to $9,108,890 and had a modest 37.8% third weekend decline to $5,665,730 but the domestic run closed with a disappointing $48,475,290.

Overseas The Dilemma performed poorly pulling in just $21,246,676.  The worldwide cume was $69.7M and Universal would see returned about $38.3M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below global P&A expenses and the theatrical receipts would not touch the budget.

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