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Amsterdam has been sent packing.
David O. Russell’s new movie — featuring a star-studded cast led by Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington — opened to a dismal $6.4 million in North America over the Oct. 7-9 weekend despite a wide release by New Regency and Disney in more than 3,000 theaters.
Amsterdam ultimately stands to lose anywhere from $80 million to $100 million, according to box office analysts and financing sources surveyed by The Hollywood Reporter. The film’s target audience — older adults — are unfortunately a no-show in terms of the numbers needed following poor reviews.
New Regency fully financed the quirky period comedy, which cost at least $80 million to produce, and also spent $70 million on the global marketing campaign (some suggest the campaign cost closer to $80 million).
“This is a high-risk movie that is based entirely on execution,” says another source. “Why would they try to thread this needle at this price?”
Insiders say the movie’s original budget was $50 million, but that tens of millions were tacked on as a result of having to move the production from Boston to Los Angeles just before shooting was to begin because of the pandemic. (As with many other movies during the COVID-19 era, the production start date was ultimately delayed.)
At this pace, Amsterdam may only earn $18 million domestically and shy of $40 million globally.
Disney distributed Amsterdam via its deal with New Regency, the storied production company founded by Arnon Milchan that was based for years at 20th Century Fox before Fox was gobbled up by Disney.
New Regency’s long list of box office wins includes Oscar winner The Revenant.
And while Amsterdam is a bomb, the same can’t be said of New Regency’s recently released horror-thriller Barbarian, which has grossed nearly $40 million at the worldwide box office against a $4 million budget.
Amsterdam was a risky bet from the start, considering the flight of older adults from the multiplex even before the COVID-19 crisis struck. And the pandemic further stoked fears that streaming has become headquarters for older-skewing fare.
Earlier this year, Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis was likewise a risk, but it clicked with the older set and turned into a box office win. On its opening weekend, 56 percent of the audience was 35 or older, compared to 44 percent for Amsterdam. And 57 percent of all ticket buyers were females, compared to just 44 percent for Amsterdam.
Warner Bros.’ Elvis cost a reported $85 million to make before marketing, and topped out at $286 million worldwide. It earned $31 million in its domestic debut, and boasts a 77 percent critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Amsterdam currently rests at a 34 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, by far the worst ranking of Russell’s feature film career.
It’s unclear how much the movie’s high-profile stars were paid, although many assume they lowered their fees in exchange for getting the chance to work with Russell. Thanks to the filmmaker’s influence, he was able to assemble a cast that also included Rami Malek, Taylor Swift, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Robert De Niro and Michael Shannon, among others.
In the weeks leading up to its opening weekend, Amsterdam was tracking to open in the mid-teens, but projections were dampened once reviews came in.
New Regency declined comment for this story.
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