A Thousand Words

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  • Directed By: Brian Robbins
  • Written By: Steve Koren
  • Release Date: March 9, 2012
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Clark Duke, Allison Janney

Box Office Info:
Budget: $40 millionFinanced by: DreamWorks
Domestic Gross: $18,450,127Overseas Gross: $3,594,150

a thousand words eddie murphy
A Thousand Words was rushed into production to beat a potential strike date and completed filming in 2008.  The budget for A Thousand Words was $40 million and it was financed by DreamWorks.   Distribution was handled by Paramount, where DreamWorks was housed, but the two companies began their divorce in 2008 and A Thousand Words got pushed back from the split.

The picture was further delayed after early test screenings received poor scores and Paramount also wanted to distance it from recent Eddie Murphy flops Meet Dave (also directed by Brian Robbins) and Imagine That.  A Thousand Words found itself collecting dust on the shelf for four years and racking up considerable interest costs.  A Thousand Words also marked the end of 15 years worth of monstrously awful Eddie Murphy paycheck vehicles he had been churning out, mostly made for family audiences.

Paramount eventually planned a 2012 release and moved A Thousand Words all over the calendar.  It was first dated for January 13 and then shifted to March 23 and moved to April 20 and finally landed on March 9.  With Murphy’s drawing power diminished, the family film opened as counter-programming to the nuclear bomb of flops John Carter and the cheap horror pic Silent House also bowed.  Eddie Murphy did the requisite publicity rounds and despite being a stale product, Paramount did back an expensive marketing campaign.

Reviews were awful and tracking was pointing to a soft $10 million opening, but it tanked with $6,176,280 — placing #6 for the weekend led by holdover Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.  A Thousand Words declined 41.2% the following weekend to $3,632,932 and fell 46.3% in its third session to $1,950,154.  The domestic run closed with $18,450,127.  Paramount would see returned about $10.1 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving much of the P&A spend in the red.

The delayed movie was released in just couple of overseas markets theatrically bringing in just $3.5 million and it went straight to video in the UK. A Thousand Words was the last piece of baggage for Paramount from their DreamWorks years.

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