The Way Back

  • The Way Back box office
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  • Directed By: Peter Weir
  • Written By: Keith R. Clarke, Slavomir Rawicz, Peter Weir
  • Release Date: January 21, 2011
  • Domestic Distributor: Newmarket Films/Wrekin Hill Entertainment
  • Cast: Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan

Box Office Info:
Budget: $29 millionFinanced by: Spitfire;Imagenation Abu Dhabi; National Geographic Entertainment; Polish Film Institute; Monolith Films
Domestic Box Office: $2,701,859Overseas Box Office: $17,646,390


The Way Back was co-financed by Imagenation Abu Dhabi and National Geographic Entertainment, which formed a $100 million fund for a series of movies that kicked off with The Way Back.  Spitfire also financed and additional coin came from the Polish Film Institute and Monolith Films.  The budget came in at $29 million.  After the poor international box office numbers, Imagenation Abu Dhabi took a $12 million loss on The Way Back.

Spitfire’s parent company formed a distribution and sales company, Exclusive Film Distribution and The Way Back would be their first effort, which they pre-sold to many international distributors.  No domestic distributor was attached as the film went into production and it had trouble landing a release in the US.  No major label picked up the prestige picture and Spitfire’s parent company decided to distribute the movie themselves.

To handle the US release, Wrekin Hill Entertainment was formed and they co-distributed with Newmarket Films.  They had ambitious plans for the movie, but after an awards qualifying run and campaign that earned only a Best Makeup Oscar nomination and solid, but not great reviews, The Way Back opened with little interest from movie goers.  The newly formed company booked the movie into 678 theaters on January 21, 2011 where it grossed a not very successful $1,218,868 — with a per screen average of $1,798 which killed its chance for an expansion.  The Way Back sank 57% in its second frame to $523,600 and the stateside run closed with only $2,701,859.  Large theater chains like Regal only pay out 34% of the ticket price to small distributors and the companies saw back just less than a million dollars from their first solo output.  Their awards campaign was probably more expensive than what the box office returned to them, leaving the modest marketing spend entirely in the red.

The Way Back posted weak numbers overseas, grossing $17.6 million across numerous distributors and decent $7.1 million from France was the film’s most profitable market.  Newmarket Films has not distributed another picture after The Way Back.

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