Promised Land

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  • Directed By: Gus Van Sant
  • Written By: John Krasinski, Matt Damon
  • Release Date: December 28, 2012
  • Domestic Distributor: Focus
  • Cast: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand

Box Office Info:
Budget: $18 million Financed by: Participant Media; Focus; Image Nation Abu Dhabi
Domestic Box Office: $7,597,898 Overseas Box Office: $3,442,000

The budget for Promised Land was $18 million (after a 30% tax credit from the state of Pennsylvania) and it was co-financed by Participant Media with capital from a fund they formed with Image Nation Abu Dhabi.  Focus owned worldwide rights and distributed in the US.

Focus dated the pic for a limited award qualifying run for December 28 and a nationwide expansion the following weekend.  Following Participant Media’s model of financing social issue films, the marketing for Promised Land was never able to shed its ‘issue film’ limitations.  Mixed reviews also killed off any award buzz and left the picture in a commercial dead zone.

Promised Land was booked into 25 theaters and into a very crowded end of the year marketplace, with better reviewed fare targeting similar auds.  It pulled in $173,915 with a soft $6,957 per screen average.  Focus expanded Promised Land the following weekend to 1,676 theaters and it was dead on arrival with $4,049,911 — placing #10 for the frame led by new opener Texas Chainsaw 3D.  Promised Land collapsed a huge 68.5% the following weekend to $1,274,909 and was promptly pulled from all but 134 theaters.  It ended its brief theatrical run after just 4 weeks in release (two weeks in wide release) with $7,597,898.  Focus would see returned about $4.1 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, barely denting the modest P&A spend and leaving the budget in the red.

The head of Focus Features James Schamus would be replaced in October 2013 by parent Universal, citing the disappointing returns of Promised Land and Taking Woodstock as some of the reasons Focus would be rebranded as a more commercial enterprise.

Overseas, Matt Damon’s star power did little to appeal to audiences and the film managed only $3.4 million across numerous distributors that Focus sold the pic off to.

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