• mother! box office
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  • Directed By: Darren Aronofsky
  • Written By: Darren Aronofsky
  • Release Date: September 15, 2017
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 million Financed by: Paramount
Domestic Gross: $17,800,004 Overseas Gross: $26,716,995

In early 2014, just after the completion of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, he landed a three year first look deal at New Regency — which had co-financed Noah with Paramount.  Aronofsky became attached to a few projects, one of which was an Evel Knievel biopic at Sony, but he ended up passing on that and he also had a family film setup at New Regency.  New Regency eventually passed on that project.  Apparently frustrated with getting projects off the ground and the poor state of the planet, he wrote the first draft of mother! in five days.  He attached an A-list star and this project, which is basically a giant middle finger to its audience, suddenly had life.  mother! went onto the market for studio bids and while New Regency had the first look option, they did not match Paramount’s offer and the major studio won the rights to this mid-budget arthouse movie.  The budget for mother! was $30 million.

Paramount had initially dated mother! for October 13, but moved it forward to September 15 to keep it away from Happy Death Day.  mother! first premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 5 and divided audiences, but ultimately won critical acclaim.  Paramount knew they had a controversial picture on their hands, top-lined by a bankable actress and hoped extreme reactions to the movie would spark continued interest at the box office.  The studio went ahead with a strong and expensive domestic marketing campaign that was at least the cost of its production budget.  The marketing kept the premise shrouded in mystery and despite solid reviews, the film was tracking for an opening just north of $10 million.  In a last minute attempt to attract auds, Paramount attached a marketing stunt before the horror smash It, where a brief mother! ad says: “In one week, in this theater, one movie will mess you up for life…You will never forget where you were the first time you saw Mother! After the movie, visit the box office to get your tickets.”  It does not appear that many It patrons fell for that.

mother! bowed against American Assassin and both titles would have to compete for box office scraps with the second weekend of It claiming most of the market to itself.  On friday mother! pulled in a very soft $3,091,084 and general audiences hated the movie so much, it was given a rare F cinemascore — though booking this movie into malls across America was bound to elicit an angry response.  The sour word of mouth spread quickly and it declined 11.3% on Saturday to $2,742,085 and the weekend numbers came in below its modest expectations with $7,534,673.  It placed #3 for the frame led by It.  Paramount tried to capitalize off the controversial nature of the movie with new ads and a poster, but mother! sank 56.3% the following weekend to $3,290,780.  It fell another 56% in its third session to $1,449,378 and then promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with just $17,800,004.  Paramount would see returned about $9.7 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.

mother! also pulled in soft numbers during its overseas rollout and the UK $3.1 million gross is the highest offshore tally.  The offshore gross stalled at $26.7 million.


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