Holmes & Watson
- Directed By: Etan Cohen
- Written By: Etan Cohen
- Release Date: December 25, 2018
- Domestic Distributor: Sony
- Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Ralph Fiennes, Rebecca Hall
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $42 million||Financed by: Sony; Mimran Schur|
|Domestic Box Office: $30,573,626||Overseas Box Office: $11,357,862|
Holmes & Watson was first in development in 2008 with Sacha Baron Cohen attached as Sherlock Holmes and Will Ferrell set to play Watson, but the project was put on the backburner when Guy Ritchie’s big budget Sherlock Holmes (2009) picture went before the cameras first. Holmes & Watson was resuscitated in 2014 at Sony, but Sacha Baron Cohen felt the Sherlock Holmes property was no longer fresh after the hugely successful movies and the Benedict Cumberbatch toplined series. Baron Cohen exited and went off to do the godawful The Brothers Grimsby for Sony. Will Ferrell was then swapped to play Holmes and his co-star from Talladega Nights and Step Brothers John C. Reilly was tapped to play Watson and this trainwreck began to move forward.
The budget for Holmes & Watson was $42 million (after a rebate from the UK) and was initially fully financed by Sony. Filming began in late 2016 and a mid to late 2017 release was likely planned, but Holmes & Watson posted disastrous test screening scores and Sony eventually penciled in an August 3, 2018 release. The studio then tried to sell off their unfunny problem picture to Netflix, but the streaming giant declined to acquire the movie. Sony then moved the release to November 9 and then moved it again to December 21 and finally settled for Christmas day — as the holiday frame would be the most potentially lucrative before dire word of mouth would kill the film.
Three weeks before Holmes & Watson was set to open, Sony landed an investment from Mimran Schur into the production of this picture and a Vin Diesel comic book movie Bloodshot. While the capital from Mimran was substantial, it was a minority investment and Sony was certainly exposed to at least $100M in expenses after global P&A costs. Mimran Schur was looking to become a regular financing partner for the Sony slate and one can only assume they had to hold their noses while they wasted capital on this stinker as a good faith gesture.
Holmes & Watson bowed into the highly crowded holiday frame against Vice and Sony did not screen this turkey for critics. John C. Reilly also had the far better received Stan & Ollie open in limited release from Sony Classics. Even with toxic buzz, atrocious reviews (that eventually posted) and a rare and hateful D+ cinemascore from auds — Holmes & Watson opened within its low expectations at $7,411,522 (3 day) and $19,817,930 for the Christmas frame. It placed #7 at the box office led by Aquaman. The movie then sank 55.4% to $3,302,827 the following weekend and the domestic run closed with only $30,573,626.
Holmes & Watson was a non-performer during its offshore release and tanked with $11.3M. The worldwide cume was $41.9M. Sony would see returned about $23M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving tens of millions worth of P&A costs in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.