Playing For Keeps

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  • Directed By: Gabriele Muccino
  • Written By: Robbie Fox
  • Release Date: December 7, 2012
  • Domestic Distributor: FilmDistrict
  • Cast: Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman

Box Office Info:
Budget: $25.4 million Financed by: Nu Image/Millennium
Domestic Box Office: $13,102,272 Overseas Box Office: $17,859,063

The screenplay for Playing For Keeps began as a Little League baseball romantic comedy, but after Gerard Butler attached himself in 2009 to the project, it was switched to soccer.   The gross budget for Playing For Keeps was $33,968,895 and after a large Louisiana tax credit, the net cost was $25.4 million. Nu Image/Millennium financed the picture and their exposure to the budget was offset by international sales to distributors.

New (and short lived) startup distributor FilmDistrict acquired domestic rights at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and committed to a wide release.  Playing For Keeps was dated for December 7, which was just seven weeks after Gerard Butler’s box office bomb Chasing Mavericks opened.

Variety interviewed director Gabriele Muccino who regretted the experience making Playing For Keeps.  He blamed the film’s commercial failure on bad marketing by FilmDistrict and the abysmal quality of the film because of interference from 13 producers(!) “each wanting a different movie.”

Playing For Keeps was the only wide release set for the very slow weekend and FilmDistrict booked it into 2,837 theaters.  The movie received atrocious reviews and was tracking for an awful $6 million opening and managed to come in below its low expectations with $5,750,288 — placing #6 for the weekend led by the holdover Skyfall.  Playing For Keeps declined 45.3% to $3,146,443 in its second frame and then sank 86.5% in its third weekend to $424,105.  The domestic run closed with just $13,102,272.  FilmDistrict would see back about $7.2 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, leaving most of their marketing and acquisition costs at a loss.

Overseas, the picture pulled in only $17.8 million across numerous distributors, making a respectable $6 million in Muccino’s home country Italy and playing poorly just about everywhere else.

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