Early Man

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    [Total: 64 Average: 3.2]
  • Directed By: Nick Park
  • Written By: Mark Burton & James Higginson
  • Release Date: February 16, 2018
  • Domestic Distributor: Lionsgate
  • Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 million Financed by: StudioCanal; British Film Institute
Domestic Box Office: $8,267,544 Overseas Box Office: $46,355,270

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Stop-motion animation house Aardman’s Early Man project was packaged by StudioCanal, which at the time was releasing the modestly successful Aardman picture Shaun the Sheep Movie The budget for Early Man was $50 million and StudioCanal majority financed and the British Film Institute (BFI) awarded the production £2,000,000.   Canal brought the project to Cannes in 2015 for pre-sales and it quickly sold out in almost every market.  StudioCanal handled distribution duties  in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.  At Cannes in 2017 Lionsgate acquired US rights, after the mini-major had partnered with both Aardman and Canal on Shaun the Sheep.

StudioCanal dated Early Man in the UK for January 26, 2018 which was Aardman’s home and strongest market.  Shaun the Sheep Movie had posted the company’s lowest UK gross with $21.9 million and Early Man disappointed with $15.8 million.

Lionsgate scheduled the US release for February 16 and invested in an expensive marketing campaign, spending $15.84 million on TV ads (as per iSpotTV) and millions more on other traditional advertising and distribution expenses.  The stateside P&A costs were in the usual $30M+ range.  Even with the marketing exposure, Early Man was tracking for a terrible $5 million opening and had the misfortune of being released in the shadow of Black Panther.  Also impacting Early Man‘s box office was a crowded family marketplace with Peter Rabbit released the week prior and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle still going strong in its 9th frame.

Reviews were positive, but Early Man was dead on arrival with $3,190,525 — placing #7 for the weekend led by Black Panther.  Showing weak legs, it declined 44.4% to $1,773,963 the following weekend and then sank 72.6% to $486,262 in its third session.  The US run closed with just $8,267,544.  Lionsgate would see returned about $4.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross.

The overseas numbers stalled at a very troubling $46.3 million across numerous distributors — leaving Early Man as Aardman’s lowest grossing feature.


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  1. Utterly bizarre to release a family film about football in a World Cup year without coinciding it with the World Cup itself.

    That $14m on marketing wasted to try and compete with Black Panther and Peter Rabbit/Jumanji would have been much better spent piggy backing on the WC in the June/July instead, even if that put it up against the Incredibles 2. Surely?

  2. I’m going to be honest, I actually really did want to see this film(especially since I really did love “Shaun the Sheep Movie”(which is also from Aardman)), but I may have been a bit too overwhelmed(since it was coming out the same DAY as “Black Panther”, a film I was REALLY hyped for), and forgot about the film(that may have been due to the POOR marketing this film had) as a result. I’m really disappointed that this film flopped HARD at the box office, especially in the USA. Shame. It deserved to do better.

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