• the bfg box office
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  • Directed By: Steven Spielberg
  • Written By: Melissa Mathison
  • Release Date: July 1, 2016
  • Domestic Distributor: Disney
  • Cast: Mark Rylance, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader

Box Office Info:
Budget: $140 million Financed by: Disney; Walden Media; Reliance Entertainment
Domestic Gross: $55,483,770 Overseas Gross: $127,861,819

the bfg 2016
Disney has been successful releasing 5 types of properties: Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, in-house animation and library titles with built in brand awareness like The Jungle Book.  When the mouse house strays from what is familiar, the results can be staggering, near record breaking losses — like The BFG, Tomorrowland and The Finest Hours.

The budget for The BFG was $140 million and it was co-financed by Disney, Walden Media and the India based Reliance Entertainment, which was the main equity source for DreamWorks’s slate of pictures.  Disney handled domestic distribution and select overseas territories, Mister Smith Entertainment secured distribution in most of Europe, Africa and the Middle East and Reliance distributed in India.  The BFG was to be the final release between Disney and DreamWorks’ distribution pact that began in 2009, but Disney delayed The Light Between Oceans from 2015 to September 2016, which became the final release.  The BFG would also mark the first movie produced by Walden and Disney, since Walden CEO Phil Anschutz and the mouse house had a bitter breakup after The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in 2008.

To drum up international hype on the film, The BFG premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to a decent audience and critic response.  Disney positioned the opening on the prime summer slot of July 1st, but the seemingly winning combination of Steven Spielberg and Roald Dahl was tracking soft up to its release.  The BFG would open against The Legend of Tarzan and the horror counter-programming The Purge: Election Year.  The BFG would have direct competition with Tarzan for family auds, as well as Disney’s Finding Dory in its third frame.

The expensive pic was tracking for an opening near $30 million, but came in far below expectations with $18,775,350 — placing #4 for the holiday frame behind Finding Dory, Tarzan and The Purge.  The following weekend The Secret Life of Pets entered the saturated family market and The BFG sank 58.4% to $7,809,384.  It saw a 51.5% third frame decline to $3,789,434 and then lost most of its theater count the next weekend when Ice Age: Collision Course added even more clutter to the family market.  The BFG closed its domestic run with a very disappointing $55,483,770.  Disney would see returned about $30.4 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not cover the pricey P&A spend or dent the large budget.

For its offshore rollout, the UK posted the strongest numbers with a $40.2 million cume.  The overseas total stalled at $127.8 million.  After ancillary sales are factored in, The BFG ended as a loss of at least $70 million — leaving this as the biggest box office disaster of Spielberg’s career.


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