American Ultra

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  • 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

american ultra 2015
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.

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