The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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  • Directed By: Harald Zwart
  • Written By: Jessica Postigo, Cassandra Clare
  • Release Date: August 21, 2013
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony (Screen Gems)
  • Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers

Box Office Info:
Budget: $60 millionFinanced by: Constantin; Mister Smith Entertainment
Domestic Box Office: $31,165,421Overseas Box Office: $64,231,152


The budget for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was $60 million and it was co-financed by German based Constantin and Mister Smith Entertainment — which was founded by former Summit co-founder David Garrett, who left Summit after the company merged with Lionsgate and Garrett started this financing and sales entity.  Mister Smith pre-sold the potential YA franchise starter at Cannes, where it sold out every territory to distributors overpaying for another Twilight type success.  Constantin was so primed on this property, that they began to court buyers for the sequel The Mortal Instruments: City Of Ashes at Cannes, three months before the first installment opened.

Sony took US rights and prepped the film for an IMAX release with a heavy marketing spend.  Sony dated the movie for release on Wednesday August 21, to give it a head start before the weekend and let word of mouth spread.  It was booked into 3,118 theaters and received awful reviews.  The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones bowed against The World’s End, You’re Next and the wide expansion of Blue Jasmine.  The five day opening was tracking for about $18 million, but it disappointed with $14,088,359 — and $9,336,957 for the three day weekend.  It placed #3 for the weekend led by holdover The Butler.  The Mortal Instruments saw a 41.4% second frame decline to $5,475,416 and then sank 59.7% in its third session to $2,207,000.  The US run closed with just $31,165,421.  Sony would see returned about $17.1 million after theaters take their percentage of the box office, far less than their P&A and acquisition spend.

For the overseas release Constantin reported that they invested $60 million into marketing City of Bones. The offshore rollout saw slightly better results with $64.2 million, but not nearly enough to save this as a series.  Constantin pulled the plug on the big screen sequel and eventually went ahead with a TV series.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was yet another would-be YA franchise that failed to start a theatrical series, after Beautiful Creatures and The Host tanked earlier in the year.

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