Gemini Man

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    • Directed By: Ang Lee
    • Written By: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke
    • Release Date: October 11, 2019
    • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
    • Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong

Box Office Info:
Budget: $138 millionFinanced by: Skydance Media; Paramount; Fosun; Alibaba Pictures
Domestic Gross: $48,546,770Overseas Gross: Still in release

gemini man 2019
Darren Lemke pitched Gemini Man to Warner Bros and Disney in 1997 and the project landed at the mouse house.  Tony Scott was attached to direct and while no deals were inked with any actors, there were discussions about moving forward with Harrison Ford and Chris O’Donnell as his younger clone.  Disney then decided to test digital effects that could produce a younger clone of the same actor and over the years $8M were spent on the vfx tests.  During this phase of development, Tony Scott left the project and Mel Gibson was briefly attached.  Jonathan Hensleigh was then brought in to completely rework the script and was paid $1.75 million against $2.25 million.  Millions more were then spent on expensive writers hired to polish the screenplay, which included Brian Helgeland and Andrew Niccol.  The vfx tests never produced the desired results and Gemini Man remained in development hell.

In May 2007, David Benioff was brought in to do another complete reworking of the screenplay and he was paid $2 million, but once again the project never made it before the cameras.  In 2016, Skydance Media purchased the rights from Disney and Skydance CEO David Ellison pitched Gemini Man to Paramount as a co-financing venture.  One week later the studio approved their involvement in the film and Gemini Man finally began to move toward production.  Ang Lee joined the picture in April 2017 and decided to employ the same high speed frame rate of 120fps in 3D that he used on his commercial disaster Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016).

The budget for Gemini Man was $138 million and financing was provided by Skydance Media and Paramount.  When the picture was in post-production in April 2019, China based Fosun and Alibaba Pictures boarded as investors.  Paramount dated the domestic release originally on October 4, 2019 but it was pushed back a week to Oct 11.

Gemini Man was supported with a blockbuster sized marketing spend, with Paramount investing $26.27M in TV ads going into release (as per iSpotTV) and millions more after the opening.  After other promotional and distribution expenses, the domestic P&A costs were well over $50M.  Despite the effort to sell this high concept nonsense, it was tracking soft for a movie with north of $260M in production and marketing coin behind it.

Gemini Man bowed against The Addams Family and Jexi.  Only 14 theaters were equipped to exhibit the movie in Lee’s 120 high frame rate, but about 1,4o0 locations were showcasing it in 60fps.  The movie was booked into 3,642 theaters.  Tracking was pointing to a mid $20M bow to about $30M, but reviews were awful and it disappointed with $20,552,372 — placing #3 for the weekend led by the holdover Joker.  Gemini Man plummeted 59.6% to $8,310,078 in its second frame and continued to post large weekly declines in attendance.  The domestic run closed with $48,546,770.

The picture has also mostly exhausted its overseas run and the numbers are currently at $124M.  The China box office was a very disappointing $33.3M.  The current global gross sits at $172.5M and after theaters take their percentage of the gross, about $94M would be returned — well below global P&A costs and the theatrical receipts would not touch the budget.  Gemini Man is one of the biggest box office flops of 2019.   Skydance and Paramount’s next collaboration was the box office bomb Terminator: Dark Fate, which opened the following month.

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  1. Will Smith’s career has been on the decline over the past decade, although he still sees himself as an action star. Unfortunately, ‘Concussion’, in which he has his best performance, was a box office failure.

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