Race

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    [Total: 7 Average: 3.1]
  • Directed By: Stephen Hopkins
  • Written By: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
  • Release Date: February 19, 2016
  • Domestic Distributor: Focus
  • Cast: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, William Hurt

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 millionFinanced by: Forecast Pictures; ID+; Solofilms; Trinity Race GmbH
Domestic Gross: $19,115,191Overseas Gross: $5,864,054

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Race was the first of three Jesse Owens projects to make it into production.  Anthony Mackie had a Owens pic in development at Relativity, but it was setback from their bankruptcy reorganization and Disney had Triumph, which also has not made it into production.  And unlike the other projects that have been in development, Race had the full support and cooperation of the Owens family, the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary Group.  During pre-sales, the film was originally shopped to buyers with John Boyega as the lead, but he exited to star in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Stephan James took over the role.  The budget for Race was just over $30 million and Mister Smith Entertainment handled the pre-sales to distributors in Berlin, which covered the majority of the expenses.  Additional equity was from Forecast Pictures, ID+, Solofilms and Trinity Race GmbH.

Before production began, Focus took US distribution rights for $5 million and Focus CEO Peter Schlessel wanted to use parent company NBCUniversal to tie the pic into the 2016 Olympics, since NBC is the official Olympic broadcaster.  That never materialized and instead Focus partnered with McDonald’s to screen the film in 5 different cities and give away Jesse Owens calendars in many of their locations.  Hopefully those calendars inspired some people to not eat McDonald’s.

Race was originally going to be released on April 8 but was moved to February 19 and on February 4 it was announced CEO Peter Schlessel would be forced from his post and replaced by Peter Kujawski.  Schlessel lasted two years on the job and was originally tasked to make Focus more commercially friendly after they saw many prestige fare flops under the previous administration of James Schamus.  Focus will go back to smaller prestige fare and acquisitions.

Race received mixed reviews and opened against the religious pic Risen and the horror movie The Witch and was tracking for a soft $8 – $10 million weekend and came in just under expectations with $7,353,922 in 2,369 theaters.  It placed #6 when Deadpool led the weekend in its second frame and Race opened behind the two new releases.  The film earned a solid A cinemascore from audiences, but attendance declined 44.2% the following weekend to $4,103,290 and it lost half of its theater count going into its third frame.  Race left theaters with only $19,115,191.  Focus would see back about $10.5 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which is far short of their expensive P&A spend and their acquisition cost.

Race was given a small offshore rollout and Italy has posted $2.2 million in theatrical returns, comprising most of its $5.8 million overseas cume.

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