Only The Brave

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    [Total: 15 Average: 3.9]
  • Directed By: Joseph Kosinski
  • Written By: Sean Flynn, Ken Nolan, Eric Warren Singer
  • Release Date: October 20, 2017
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch

Box Office Info:
Budget: $38 millionFinanced by: Black Label Media
Domestic Gross: $18,343,983Overseas Gross: $7,410,591


The budget for Only The Brave was $38 million and it was financed by Black Label Media.   Lionsgate was set as domestic distributor and handled international sales to distributors.  Sales were strong, which would limit Black Label’s exposure to the film’s price tag.  Despite a successful collaboration on Sicario and La La Land, Black Label and Lionsgate disagreed over the marketing approach and release dates for Only The Brave and Sicario‘s sequel Soldado.  Only The Brave was first dated for September 22 and after very strong test screening scores, Black label wanted a different approach to sell the picture.  On April 24, 2017 it was announced that Lionsgate would no longer handle domestic distribution for the two movies, but retain international rights and Sony would take over US responsibilities.

Black Label took the movie in a different direction alright and began by changing the title, which was Granite Mountain and changed it to the hokey Only The Brave.  Whether Lionsgate would have cut a better trailer is impossible to say, but what was released hit every familiar note about a noble profession presented as hero worship.  Considering the heavy dose of saccharine valor on display in the marketing materials, it would be damn near impossible to predict that Only The Brave would actually receive decent reviews.

Along with lousy ads that were focus grouped to death toward the heartland of America, Black Label Media then hired Brad Parscale (Trump’s digital media director for his presidential campaign) to target people who are responsive to Trump and push social media ads of the movie toward them.  This is a textbook example of marketing working against a movie.  Perhaps cutting a trailer that focused on the movie’s qualities and strong cast, instead of employing bullshit data analytics and hired consultants would have brought in more auds.  Then again, as Only The Brave was opening in theaters, a wildfire in California that was roughly the size of New York City was uncontrollably ablaze, claiming lives and displacing hundreds of thousands of people — so maybe this is subject matter that was far too raw and topical.

Only The Brave was dated for October 20 and was predictably tracking for a disastrous $6 to $7 million opening.  The movie opened against a slew of low-rent fare — Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, the long delayed Geostorm, The Snowman and the barely wide release of Same Kind of Different as Me.  Only The Brave was dead on arrival with just $6,002,665.  The movie declined 41.7% to $3,502,095 in its second frame and fell 45.2% to $1,920,075 in its third session.  The domestic run closed with a terrible $18,343,983.  Sony would see returned about $10 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover 1/3 of the P&A expenses.

The international trailer was the US trailer, which had minimal appeal stateside and likely served as audience repellant overseas.  The offshore cume stalled at just $7.4 million.

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