Phantom Thread

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  • Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Written By: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Release Date: December 25, 2017
  • Domestic Distributor: Focus
  • Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville

Box Office Info:
Budget: $35 million Financed by: Focus; Perfect World Pictures
Domestic Gross: $21,023,275 Overseas Gross: $26,233,704

Phantom Thread had its early screenplay development costs fronted by Annapurna Pictures, owned by Megan Ellison, who financed Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2012).  It was announced in September 2016 that Universal’s Focus Features won the worldwide bidding rights to the project, after Anderson’s script went onto the auction market and both Focus and Fox Searchlight were aggressively courting it.  The budget for Phantom Thread was $35 million, which Focus financed and they repaid Annapurna for the development expenses.  Additional coin came from China based Perfect World Pictures, which inked a $500M slate financing deal with Universal in early January 2016.

Phantom Thread received free publicity in June 2017 when Daniel Day-Lewis announced his retirement and that this picture would be his last — though he walked away from movies 20 years earlier after the lukewarm response and commercial failure of The Boxer (1997).

Focus dated Phantom Thread for a limited release on December 25, 2017 and a nationwide expansion set for January 19, 2018 — which was to coincide with the announcement of the Oscar nominations on January 23.  Despite the pedigree of the director and cast and very strong reviews, Phantom Thread had muted awards buzz going into release.  It was shut out of all the major guild awards and was looked at as a dark horse Oscar candidate — even for Daniel Day-Lewis.

Over the holiday frame, Focus booked Phantom Thread into 4 locations, where it pulled in $127,272 with a $31,818 per screen average.  Before expanding wide, it cumed $2,812,729 in its limited run over 3 weeks (at 62 locations in its third frame).  Focus expanded the theater count to 896 locations where it made $3,246,720.  Phantom Thread then landed 6 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress.  The following weekend, most of the pictures that were still in release that landed nominations (The Shape Of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, I, Tonya, Darkest Hour), were able to capitalize off the accolades and saw an uptick in business, but Phantom Thread declined a small 8.2% to $2,981,885.  The following session it fell 28.6% to $2,129,155 and the domestic run closed with a very disappointing $21,023,275.

Overseas numbers stalled at a soft $26.2M, with Italy posting the strongest market gross at $4.6M.  The worldwide total stands at $47.2M and Universal would see returned about $25.9M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which leaves much of the global P&A costs (and expensive awards lobbying) in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.


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