The Eagle

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  • Directed By: Kevin Macdonald
  • Written By: Jeremy Brock
  • Release Date: February 11, 2011
  • Domestic Distributor: Focus
  • Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong

Box Office Info:
Budget: $24 millionFinanced by: Focus; Film4
Domestic Box Office: $19,490,041Overseas Box Office: $18,493,549

the eagle 2011
Producer Duncan Kenworthy optioned the rights to the 1954 children’s novel The Eagle of the Ninth in 2004 and landed interest from Kevin Macdonald to direct the project.  During development, Macdonald went off to helm State of Play (2009) and after spending two years on that picture, he returned to The Eagle.  The Universal owned specialty division Focus Features, had a business model of financing niche arthouse fare for $6 – $8 million and $20 million for projects with more commercial appeal.  The Eagle came in on the expensive end for Focus, with a $24 million budget and UK based Film4 contributed some capital to the production for UK broadcast rights.  Focus retained all other worldwide rights and Focus Intl. pre-sold the movie to every territory except Japan, which would very much reduce their exposure to the budget.  Pre-sales kicked off at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and the hot project sold out every major market.

Focus handled domestic distribution and first dated The Eagle for September 24, 2010 and then pushed it back to February 25, 2011 and finally settled on February 11.  The Eagle opened against Just Go With It, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and Gnomeo and Juliet.  The modestly priced period pic was tracking soft going into release and received mixed reviews — and was toplined by Channing Tatum who was not yet a box office draw, but would hit the A-list the following year.

The Eagle opened within expectations at $8,684,464 — placing #4 for the weekend led by Just Go With It.  Audiences gave The Eagle a troubling C+ cinemascore and it sank 58% the following weekend to $3,645,485.  The film declined 56.5% in its third frame to $1,587,177 and promptly lost most of its theater count.  The Eagle closed its stateside run with a poor $19,490,041.  Focus would see returned about $10.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would leave much of the P&A costs in the red.

The Eagle did not fare any better overseas, where it stalled with an $18,493,549 cume, across the many distributors who snatched up the pre-sales rights.  The highest offshore gross was $4.5 million from the UK.

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