Captive State

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    [Total: 37 Average: 2.2]
  • Directed By: Rupert Wyatt
  • Written By: Erica Beeney, Rupert Wyatt
  • Release Date: March 15, 2019
  • Domestic Distributor: Focus
  • Cast: John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Vera Farmiga

Box Office Info:
Budget: $25 million Financed by: Participant Media
Domestic Gross: $5,958,315 Overseas Gross: $2,850,296

captive state 2019
Press releases went out on August 24, 2016 that director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Gambler) would helm Captive State as his next project.  The rights went out for bids and after a heated auction, Captive State landed at Participant Media.  Participant was apart of Amblin Partners and the picture was distributed in most major markets through the companies that invest into Amblin (Reliance Entertainment, Entertainment One, Alibaba Pictures and Universal Pictures).  Universal’s specialty label Focus handled domestic distribution.

For all other remaining markets, Lionsgate was tapped to pre-sell the project.  In Jan 2017, Participant inked a sales arrangement with Lionsgate, which would handle up to five of Participant’s features per year and Lionsgate introduced the pre-sale rights to Captive State at the European Film Market in Berlin in February.

The budget for Captive State was a modest $25 million and financing came from Participant. Strong pre-sales reduced their exposure to the budget.  Focus dated the movie for March 15, 2019, where it bowed against Wonder Park and Five Feet Apart.  Buzz was very low and Focus basically dumped the picture into the marketplace with little care.  Captive State was supported with a small P&A spend (by studio standards anyway), with $6.71M worth of TV ads (as per iSpotTV) and after other advertising and distribution expenses, the domestic P&A costs were about $20M.

Focus clearly had little faith in Captive State, which appeared to be no more than a contractual requirement to release the thing and cancelled the critics screenings.  Bearing all the signs of a total turkey, tracking was pointing to a dismal $3.5M opening.  Surprisingly, the reviews that did post were mixed and not overwhelmingly negative, but Captive State couldn’t even reach the forecasted weekend tally and it was dead on arrival with $3,131,525 — placing #7 for the frame led by the holdover Captain Marvel.  Those that showed up gave Captive State a dreadful C- Cinemascore and the picture plummeted 69.4% to $959,165 in its second session and then promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run ended after a mere 3 weeks with $5,958,315 — marking one of the shortest theatrical runs for a studio picture.

The overseas run has just began and the tally sits at a mere $315k.  Markets are set to open through the beginning of the summer, but after the atrocious stateside run, distributors are likely to dump the film just as Focus did.  More as the offshore numbers come in…


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  1. It’s a dark movie, and in 2019 we were dealing with COVID and restrictions. I think that was an unfortunate disadvantage, The cast was fabulous, but the paranoia aspect was too heavy.

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