- Directed By: Nima Nourizadeh
- Written By: Max Landis
- Release Date: August 21, 2015
- Domestic Distributor: Lionsgate
- Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $28 million||Financed by: PalmStar Media; Merced Media Partners|
|Domestic Box Office: $14,440,985||Overseas Box Office: $12,698,539|
This project was announced to buyers at the 2013 American Film Market and the budget for American Ultra was $28 million. Financing came from PalmStar Media, Merced Media Partners and FilmNation pre-sold the pic to distributors, which sold very well. A month before filming began Lionsgate acquired US distribution for $7 million and had hopes to franchise the property. American Ultra became another failed franchise attempt for Lionsgate in 2015, which had high hopes in creating a series for the trainwreck Mortdecai, Child 44 and The Last Witch Hunter.
To drum up interest, Lionsgate screened some footage at Comic-Con and partnered with Real Care Inc. which is a medical marijuana delivery service, to deliver a free sample of a special strain of ‘American Ultra‘ weed to patrons who have a legal cannabis card. We think it’s safe to say people showed up for the free weed and not to view a few minutes of footage from the movie. Lionsgate dated American Ultra for August 21st, during the end of summer dumping ground — where it would open against Hitman: Agent 47 and Sinister 2, all of which cannibalized each other at the box office. Action holdovers Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and The Man From U.N.C.L.E were also crowding the marketplace.
American Ultra was booked into 2,778 theaters and reviews were mixed. It pulled in a terrible $5,454,284 — placing #6 for the weekend, behind all of the openers and the action holdovers. Perhaps free samples of weed with a ticket purchased could have helped. American Ultra declined 47.7% in its second weekend to $2,851,916 and then fell 56% to $1,255,918 in its third frame. It closed its domestic run with just $14,440,985. Lionsgate would see returned about $7.9 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which leaves much of the P&A spend in the red and their acquisition costs uncovered. Lionsgate posted a $42.1 million loss for its quarter, citing the poor domestic box office and expensive marketing costs of American Ultra and The Last Witch Hunter.
Overseas, American Ultra was a non-performer for the many distributors who overspent on the title during pre-sales and has grossed $12.6 million. The film somehow made it past the censors and landed a belated April 2016 China release, where it pulled in $3 million.