Rock of Ages

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  • Directed By: Adam Shankman
  • Written By: Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb
  • Release Date: June 15, 2012
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros (New Line)
  • Cast: Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Russell Brand

Box Office Info:
Budget: $75 million Financed by: Warner Bros
Domestic Gross: $38,518,613 Overseas Gross: $22,513,319

“It was a complete disaster… horrible movie.”
Alec Baldwin

After Mamma Mia! became a global success back in 2008, New Line won the rights in December 2008 to make a big screen adaptation of the stage production of Rock of Ages that was in a bidding war between studios.  After decades of operating with autonomy, New Line was folded into their parent corp Warner Bros in February 2008 and the mini-major would operate in a limited capacity, developing projects that would be released by WB.  The budget for Rock of Ages was $75 million and the jukebox musical was fully financed by Warner Bros.

Adam Shankman was tapped to direct and he was just coming off the musical hit Hairspray (2007) for New Line.  Russell Brand was cast just days after his Arthur remake for Warner Bros bombed and he was also given a first look deal at the studio — but the projects that were being developed for him never materialized.  Tom Cruise’s endless string of hits ended with the release of Lions for Lambs (2007) and while he was still certainly very bankable, his star wattage had dimmed considerably over the five years that lead to Rock of Ages.

The picture was first dated for June 1st, but WB shifted the date to June 15, which was previously reserved for Jack the Giant Slayer, which was sent back for reshoots.  Rock Of Ages was tracking soft in the weeks up to its release and an opening just north of $20 million was expected.  WB booked the pic into 3,470 theaters and primed Rock Of Ages for a limited IMAX run in 35 locations.  It bowed against the moronic Adam Sandler pic That’s My Boy.

Reviews were mixed, leaning negative and Rock Of Ages came in way below expectations with $14,437,269 — placing #3 for the weekend led by holdover Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.  Rock Of Ages declined 47% to $7,655,377 in its second weekend and crashed in its third weekend 62.8% to $2,844,339 and promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with only $38,518,613.

After an expensive overseas rollout, the film was a disaster in almost every market, grossing a total of $22.5 million.  The worldwide cume was $61 million and WB would see returned about $33.5 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — far below the P&A expenses and the budget would not be dented by the theatrical receipts.

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