The Sisters Brothers

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  • Directed By: Jacques Audiard
  • Written By: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Patrick DeWitt
  • Release Date: September 21, 2018
  • Domestic Distributor: Annapurna
  • Cast: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal

Box Office Info:
Budget: $38 million Financed by: Why Not Productions; Annapurna; Mobra Films; Atresmedia Cine
Domestic Gross: $3,143,056 Overseas Gross: $9,976,891

When John C. Reilly was filming the indie Terri (2011), which was written by Patrick DeWitt, the writer gave Reilly and his producer wife Alison Dickey a copy of his upcoming novel The Sisters Brothers.  Reilly and Dickey optioned the theatrical rights through their Top Drawer Entertainment company and then spent the next five years setting up the complicated logistics of the French/American/Romanian/Spain production.  The French shingle Why Not Productions was the primary production company for The Sisters Brothers and pre-sales were handled by IMR International.

At Cannes in May 2017, Annapurna boarded the film as co-financier and took on US distribution duties.  The budget for The Sisters Brothers was $38 million and financing came from Why Not Productions, Annapurna, Mobra Films and Atresmedia Cine.  Annapurna’s investment into the picture was $7.5M (plus marketing expenses).

The Sisters Brothers premiered in competition at the 2018 Venice Film Festival in September, landed strong reviews and Jacques Audiard won the Silver Lion for Best Director.  The prestige picture opened two weeks later in France and pulled in a decent enough $6M.  Outside of France, the picture did small business in most markets and the total overseas numbers were just $9.9M.

Annapurna dated the movie for a limited release on September 21 with a wide expansion planned in the upcoming weeks.  It was booked into 4 theaters and pulled in $115,575 with a solid $28,894 per screen average and this is where the good news for The Sisters Brothers ends.  Megan Ellison’s Annapurna had made the expensive transition from financier to a fully formed distributor and the company had struggled since their inaugural release Detroit (2017) lost eight figures after flopping.  Annapurna’s next two releases were smaller films, Brad’s Status and Professor Marston & the Wonder Women and both did abysmal business.  The new distrib then released the low budget Sorry to Bother You, which was a solid indie hit, but with a strong marketing push behind that release, the company is unlikely to see much upside to its $17M gross.  With a large amount of capital drained from the struggling distribution division at Annapurna, two films nearing production were put into turnaround after large development expenses (an untitled movie about the grotesque Roger Ailes and Hustlers) — and The Sisters Brothers was expanded without much marketing support from the company.

The Sisters Brothers expanded into 1,141 theaters on October 19 and bowed in the shadow of Halloween.  The film was tossed into the competitive marketplace with just 248 nationwide TV ad spots (as per iSpotTV) and pulled in $757,975 with a disastrous $664 per screen average for the weekend.  That breaks down to roughly 4 people per showing.  The movie plummeted 63.3% to $278,498 the following frame and then promptly lost most of its theater count.  The US run closed with a dreadful $3,143,056.


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