Transcendence

  • Transcendence box office
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  • Directed By: Wally Pfister
  • Written By: Jack Paglen
  • Release Date: April 18, 2014
  • Domestic Distributor: Alcon Entertainment (through Warner Bros)
  • Cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy

Box Office Info:
Budget: $100.8 millionFinanced by: Alcon Entertainment; DMG
Domestic Gross: $23,022,309Overseas Gross: $80,016,949


The budget for Transcendence was $100.8 million and it was financed by Alcon Entertainment and this expensive production was given some funding by China based DMG who boarded the film midway through production.  Strong pre-sales to distributors covered the bulk of the production budget.  DMG and Alcon inked a co-financing and China distribution pact that began with this project and would follow with the remake of Point Break.

DMG saw a decent enough $20,280,00 in theatrical receipts from China and that’s where the good news for Transcendence ends.  On paper this was a blueprint for success, a script that was on the black list, a star whose power had yet to fade, produced by heavyweight Christopher Nolan and directed by acclaimed cinematographer Wally Pfister — but the final product was akin to 1990s cyber schlock like The Lawnmower Man.  After Transcendence posted its dismal global box office receipts co-president of Alcon Andrew Kosove saidI can say definitively that Alcon got its ass kicked. We’ve made 28 movies and we’ve never had anything like this happen before and I hope we don’t again.  I’m mortified and I feel terrible for our international partners.  That said, we’ve had quite a few successful movies that have made a lot of money for those people. I’m hopeful that it won’t damage those relationships. I’ve personally reached out to many of them and accepted full responsibility.

Transcendence was first dated for its domestic run on April 25 and then pushed forward a week to April 18.  Alcon paid for the P&A in the US through Warner Bros distribution arm and after a strong marketing spend close to $40 million, Transcendence was tracking only in the high teens.  It bowed against Heaven Is For Real, A Haunted House 2 and Bears.  Reviews were horrible and it tanked with $10,886,386 — placing #4 for the weekend when Captain America: Winter Soldier led the weekend in its third frame.  Audiences gave Transcendence a toxic C+ cinemascore and it sank 60.8% to $4,265,176 in its second weekend and declined a huge 72.5% in its third weekend to $1,173,020 and promptly lost most of its theater count.  The US run closed with $23,022,309.  Alcon would see back about $12.6 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.  Alcon reported losses upwards of $30 million and while Warner Bros fronted the money for the US marketing, Alcon backstopped it — so they covered WB’s loss.

Transcendence pulled in $80 million overseas, $20 million of which was from China and did middling numbers in most markets.  Australian distributor Village Roadshow posted a $2+ million write-down on Transcendence and blamed the film publicly for hurting their 2014 profit projections.  The film opened in Australia with a terrible $1,278,665 coming in #5 for the weekend and closed with just $2,742,123.  Combining Alcon’s loss, with the losses across numerous distributors, Transcendence has bled nearly $75M in red ink — leaving it as one of the biggest flops on record.

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