Box Office Info:
|Budget: $98 million||Financed by: Starlight Culture Entertainment Group; RuYi Media; Bona Film Group|
|Domestic Gross: Still in release||Overseas Gross: Still in release|
Roland Emmerich’s production company Centropolis Entertainment had landed a three year first look development deal at Sony in 1998 and he pitched Midway to the studio as his follow up feature to his terrible Godzilla (1998) picture. Sony film executives had to get corporate approval for budgets over $90M and Midway was expected to cost at least $130M and the project was rejected. Emmerich then helmed The Patriot (2000) and the only other picture to emerge from the Sony/Centropolis deal was the flop The Thirteenth Floor (1999). Once Pearl Harbor (2001) was released and covered similar material, the Midway project went dormant.
Emmerich resurrected Midway in 2016 after he helmed (and has since publically regretted) the rubbish that was Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). He began to pitch the project to studios and expected the $125M budgeted film to be picked up by one of the majors at auction. The studios had no interest in the picture, especially with that price tag and CAA Film Finance began to package Midway themselves to pre-sell at Cannes in May 2017. CAA partnered with the sales outfit AGC Studios to handle the pre-sales. Over $25M had to be stripped from the initial $125M budget and the expected 90 day shooting schedule was cut down to 65 days. The budget for Midway was $98 million.
Midway was unveiled to buyers at Cannes 2017 and it nearly sold out in every market. The pre-sales picked up $24M from Chinese investors Starlight Culture Entertainment Group, RuYi Media and the Bona Film Group — which were the main investors on the project. The pre-sales amounted to $76M in cash and the rest in equity. In September 2017, Lionsgate boarded as domestic distributor and committed a minimum of $35M for P&A.
Lionsgate positioned Midway for the Veteran’s Day frame and it opened on November 8, 2019. It bowed against Doctor Sleep, Playing With Fire and Last Christmas. The picture was tracking soft for an opening frame around $13M and like most of Emmerich’s output, the reviews were mixed to poor. Midway came in above its modest expectations at $17,897,419 — winning the slow weekend. Despite an A Cinemascore, Midway sank 52.2% to $8,505,531 in its second session. The domestic run looks to close in the mid $50M range. When factoring in ancillary sales, the movie will either be a wash for Lionsgate (which was not an investor and only has exposure to the P&A spend) or even generate slight overages.
Midway has nearly exhausted its overseas run and has so far pulled in an underwhelming $67.2M for the many distributors that overpaid for the expensive pre-sale rights. The bulk of the offshore numbers are from China with $37.3M at the box office and the film has been a poor performer in most markets. More as the numbers come in…