The Master

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  • Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Written By: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Release Date: September 14, 2012
  • Domestic Distributor: The Weinstein Company
  • Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Box Office Info:
Budget: $42 million Financed by: Annapurna Pictures
Domestic Box Office: $16,377,274 Overseas Box Office: $11,880,786

The Master was first in development at Universal, but the studio put the project into turnaround after they could not come to terms with the $35 million price tag.  Megan Ellison’s newly minted finance and production company Annapurna Pictures rescued The Master from development hell.  Annapurna was funding high risk projects that all the major studios wouldn’t touch, which gave her the street cred to attract some of the best A-list talent in the business.  

The budget for The Master was $42 million after the expense and logistics of shooting parts of the picture on 65mm drove up the costs.  Annapurna Pictures fully financed.  CAA held an auction for rights and The Weinstein Company won worldwide rights.

TWC first dated The Master for October 12 and then bumped it up to September 14 for a limited release and a nationwide expansion set for the following weekend.  The Master was booked into 5 theaters and set the year’s best per screen average record with an incredible $147,262 — pulling in $736,311 for the weekend.  The Weinstein Company expanded the film in its second weekend to 788 theaters, which raised many eyebrows that the film didn’t have enough time to build hype and spread word of mouth.  It bowed against End Of Watch, House At The End Of The Street, Trouble With The Curve and Dredd.  It pulled in an ok $4,391,092 — placing #7 over the very slow weekend led by End Of Watch.  The movie expanded to 856 theaters in its third session with diminishing returns, declining 39% to $2,680,554.  The domestic run closed with only $16,377,274.  TWC would see returned about $8.9 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far below their P&A spend.

Overseas, The Master pulled in poor numbers in most markets with $11.8 million across numerous distributors.

While promoting The Master, director Paul Thomas Anderson announced his followup project Inherent Vice, which Megan Ellison said she would finance, but after The Master pulled in poor numbers worldwide that lost much of her investment, she pulled out of the project.

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