Patriots Day

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  • Directed By: Peter Berg
  • Written By: Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer
  • Release Date: December 21, 2016
  • Domestic Distributor: CBS Films/Lionsgate
  • Cast: Mark Wahlberg, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon

Box Office Info:
Budget: $40 million Financed by: CBS Films; Lionsgate
Domestic Box Office: $31,886,361 Overseas Box Office: $20,585,000

The budget for Patriots Day was $40 million after a 25% tax credit and it was co-financed by CBS Films and Lionsgate and both companies split domestic distribution duties.  There was a competing Boston Marathon bombing project in development at FOX called Boston Strong, but Patriots Day made it into production first and that other pic did not moved forward.  And in a real head scratching move, Lionsgate also decided to co-finance another Boston Marathon bombing project called Stronger with Jake Gyllenhaal and both movies were in production at the same time in April 2016.  Lionsgate did eventually pull out of financing duties for Stronger, but remained as co-distributor.  Both movies were commercial failures.

This project began when CBS Films purchased the life rights of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and partnered with their corporate sibling 60 Minutes for research and development on the attack.  An awards qualifying run was set for December 21 and a nationwide expansion dated for January 13.  Patriots Day would also mark the third collaboration between director Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg, who also had the expensive ripped from the headlines movie Deepwater Horizon released not even three months earlier to atrocious business .

One month before its limited run, Patriots Day premiered at the AFI Festival and received decent notices from critics.  Going into its end of the year limited release, awards buzz was non-existent, but Patriots Day managed to pull in respectable enough numbers.  It was booked into 7 theaters and grossed $161,306 with a $23,044 per screen average.  It remained in 7 locations for three weeks and cumed $924,082 before expanding into 3,120 theaters.  Patriots Day went wide over the very crowded Martin Luther King frame and bowed against The Bye Bye Man, Monster Trucks, Sleepless (also co-starring Michelle Monaghan) and the wide expansion of Live By Night and the semi-wide expansion of Silence.

The film was heavily marketed, with $27.71 million in TV ads (as per iSpotTV) and that number was announced 4 days before its opening, plus millions more on other traditional means of marketing and distribution expenses — with a domestic P&A spend about the price of the picture’s budget.  Tracking was pointing to a 4-day holiday frame between $18 – $20 million, but it disappointed with $13,753,384 — and $11,613,765 for the 3-day weekend.  Topical films like this are a tough sell and many have a built in resistance factor from audiences — who do not want to re-experience real life horror still fresh in their minds.  Even with an as good as it gets A+ cinemascore from audiences, stellar word of mouth did not help Patriots Day and it declined 50.5% to $5,753,016 the following weekend.  In its third session, the pic fell 51.8% to $2,774,772 and the domestic run closed with $31,886,361.  Troubling numbers for a picture with a premise that is designed strictly for the US market.  Lionsgate would see returned about $17.4 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.

Patriots Day pulled in $20,585,000 from its international run, including a belated release about one year later from China.


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  1. I watched it on Netflix in 2019 and it’s a shame it flopped. But the write up makes a good point that producing & releasing this within the years of the actual events was probably too soon.

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