The Rhythm Section

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    [Total: 31 Average: 1.5]
  • Directed By: Reed Morano
  • Written By: Mark Burnell
  • Release Date: January 31, 2020
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 millionFinanced by: Paramount; Ingenious Media; IM Global
Domestic Box Office: Still in releaseOverseas Box Office: Still in release


New Line announced in July 2005 that they had picked up the rights to Mark Burnell’s novel The Rhythm Section (first published in 1999), as the start of a potential franchise.  Burnell was hired to adapt his own work for the screen, but the project never came together.  In July 2017, The Rhythm Section was optioned by James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli’s shingle Eon, with Blake Lively attached to the lead role.  IM Global packaged the project for sales.

The Rhythm Section landed at Paramount on August 16, 2017 and the studio took the majority of international rights for $31 million.  The franchise hopeful was dated for Feb. 22, 2019.  Additional funding was provided by IM Global and Ingenious Media.  The budget for The Rhythm Section was $50 million.

Production was halted in December 2018 for six months after Lively had an on set hand injury that required surgeries.  The release date was then pushed back to the Thanksgiving frame on November 22, 2019 — where Paramount decided to counter-program the picture against Frozen II.  Apparently test screening scores were poor and the film was pushed back to Jan. 31, 2020 with a reduced marketing push (for studio standards, anyway).

Marketing was your standard boilerplate revenge film material, which has been done a million times over and reviews were mixed to poor.  Paramount invested $8.04M into TV ads going into release (plus a few million more after) and with other tradition ad and distribution expenses — the domestic P&A costs were around $25M.  The Rhythm Section bowed against Gretel & Hansel and was tracking for a single digit weekend.

The film was booked into 3,049 locations and was dead on arrival with $2,715,384 — placing #10 for the frame led by the holdover Bad Boys for Life.  The Rhythm Section set the record for the worst wide opening ever in over 3,000 theaters.  Auds gave the movie a rotten C+ cinemascore and it plummeted 62.6% to $1,014,767 in its second session and then set the record for the largest theater drop on record — losing 2,955 theaters going into its third weekend, where it pulled in all of $25,602.  The domestic run looks to close with only $5M.  More after the run ends…

The film has been released in just a handful of offshore markets where the numbers sit at $463,086.  It’s doubtful Paramount will invest much into a theatrical release overseas and numbers will be updated if it actually lands theatrical play elsewhere.

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