Grace of Monaco

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  • Directed By: Olivier Dahan
  • Written By: Arash Amel
  • Release Date: May 25, 2015
  • Domestic Distributor: The Weinstein Co.
  • Cast: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Frank Langella, Parker Posey

Box Office Info:
Budget: $35 million Financed by: YRF Entertainment; Stone Angels; uMedia; Silver Reel; Canal+; TF1; Lucky Red; Od Shots
Domestic Box Office: $0 Overseas Box Office: $26,576,000

grace of monaco kidman
The Grace of Monaco project was introduced to distributors at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for pre-sales by Inferno (later rebranded as Lotus Entertainment).  With the attachment of Nicole Kidman, director Olivier Dahan and a highly regarded screenplay that was on the Black List, nearly all global markets were sold out by the end of the festival and Grace of Monaco was expected to be a major prestige picture with awards potential.

The budget for Grace of Monaco was $35 million and YRF Entertainment organized the complicated financing on the picture and the company co-financed with Stone Angels.  Additional production coin came from uMedia, Silver Reel, Canal+, TF1, Lucky Red and Od Shots.   Strong pre-sales mitigated much of the risk to the investors.  Filming began in October 2012 and a sizzle reel was brought to the European Film Market in Berlin in Feb 2013.  After viewing the footage, The Weinstein Co began negotiations for US rights, which were repped by CAA.  TWC closed the deal in March for $5M with a $10M P&A commitment for at least an 800 theater release.  Grace of Monaco was immediately dated for a limited awards bow on December 27, 2013 and just as the movie was shaping up to be the big Oscar bait movie of 2013, problems began to brew from Harvey Weinstein.

After Olivier Dahan delivered his cut in Spring 2013, Weinstein had problems with the picture and demanded changes.  He sent notes to the director and then TWC began to commision their own edit, but the financiers backed the director and his cut.  Once Dahan was made aware of the dueling TWC version of Grace of Monaco, he went public with claims of blackmail by Harvey into signing off on the new version, saying: “Either you say ‘Go figure it out with your pile of sh-t’ or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn’t as violent … If I don’t sign, that’s where the out-and-out blackmail starts, but I could go that far. There are two versions of the film for now: mine and his … which I find catastrophic.”

With the drama between the filmmakers and The Weinstein Co playing out in the public sphere, the financiers decided to incorporate some of Weinstein’s suggestions and dubbed the new version “the French version.”  Dahan’s cut was tossed aside.  Even after changes were made, TWC negotiated a new deal that granted them the right to release their own cut, which was light in tone like a fairy tale.  The ‘French version” was far more dark and melodramatic.  For a very brief moment, tensions subsided, but then TWC delayed the movie from its March 2014 release, which disrupted the European rollout.

Grace of Monaco was arranged to have its stateside release first and then the international rollout would begin, but TWC pulled the picture.  Distributors kept their Spring dates as they were and then the financiers landed Grace of Monaco the coveted opening night out of competition slot at the Cannes Film Festival in May.  Most European markets opened the picture just after the Cannes premiere, which aided the release with tons of publicity — none of which turned out to be good.

With the movie headed toward Cannes, TWC became furious that “the French version” would be screened and TWC then tried to renegotiate the terms of deal.  Harvey wanted the acquisition price reduced to $3M or TWC would abandon the film and not release it.  Grace of Monaco was turning into a typical case of filmmaker vs Harvey Weinstein, but this time it was under the microscope due to the high profile Cannes screening.  Days before the screening, TWC successfully shaved $2M off the domestic rights and a new deal was to be reached between Harvey and the director — where they would collaborate on another edit for US auds.  Once again, tensions had subsided.

Grace of Monaco had its Cannes premiere and it was a disaster.  The movie was savaged by critics and audiences, with many calling it melodramatic and unintentionally hilarious.  Grace of Monaco went from prestige pic to toxic in an instant.  TWC pulled the movie off its calendar and gave no indication if it would be released or buried.

Grace of Monaco disappointed or outright bombed in most markets.  It did reasonably well in Japan with $5.4M and that was highest offshore gross.  The international cume was $26.5M across many distributors.

TWC sat on the picture until they decided to dump it on the Lifetime Channel.  There was speculation about which edit would air, since there so many different cuts — the director’s aborted cut, “the french version,” TWC edit and the writer also tried to recut the picture to be closer to his script.  Surprise, surprise, TWC edit was aired.  From Cannes to the Lifetime network — Oscar bait can not misfire much worse than Grace of Monaco.

One Comment

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  1. Honestly, the Weinstein scandal was a total win-win.
    A rapist was exposed and brought to justice, and movies won’t have to get screwed over like this anymore.

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