Brad Pitt film Margot Robbie won't break even - Deadline

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by Damien Chazelle $80 million Hollywood epic set in the 1920s Babylon caught fire at the domestic box office this past weekend with a terrible $5.3 million start of four days.

BABYLON, Brad Pitt, 2022 © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Say what you will about the harsh winter conditions impacting cinema across the country, however this film, which was given the green light by an earlier Paramount regime and much supported by the new Brian Robbins administration, went against the odds as soon as it was shown to a cynical press. over a month ago at the Academy Theater to lackluster reviews on 56% Rotten Tomatoes. Further burying the picture’s fate were audience outputs, including an awful 74% C+ CinemaScore and PostTrak and 47% definite recommendation, not to mention its 3 hour, 8 minute runtime. Babylon is the lowest opening in the United States for star Margot Robbie at $3.6 million, surpassing amsterdam$6.4 million, as well as Brad Pitt in the lead, down from $4 million in early 1993 True romance.

BABYLON, from left: Kaia Gerber, Li Jun Li, 2022. ph: Scott Garfield / Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

With results like these, no one is making Babylon a choice to see over the holidays, even if there’s a lack of adult competition. According to financial sources, it’s too early to determine how much bleeding will happen here because Robbie-Pitt’s movie doesn’t start releasing overseas until mid-January. That being said, the profit point of this movie revolves around $250 million WW, and that’s with a global marketing spend of around $80 million, the same as its production cost. Paramount, like any studio, will reduce its marketing costs for the film after its failure in the US, I’m told. The film has already won five Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

It’s important to note that in the new era of Covid, whatever a movie does at the box office doesn’t hurt its Oscar chances. And there are numerous examples to prove it, a prime case being Nomadland, Searchlight’s 2021 Best Picture winner, which earned single-digit receipts and in which Disney’s label never reported the film’s official ticket sales.

domestic for Babylon is lucky to hit $20 million, which puts immense pressure overseas to deliver, which means another $230 million, which is mission impossible. That said, Paramount believes the film’s runtime, which is more appetizing to overseas audiences, plus the UK and French reviews, will give Babylon some kind of pulse abroad. “They like that kind of movie,” says a source. Chazelle’s first man made 57% of its total $105M WW overseas. Japan, South Korea, the UK and France were key territories for this film, as well as the multiple Academy Award winner Chazelle. La La Land. Last year, Guillermo del Toro’s $60 million period piece Nightmare Alley it made $11.3 million domestically and $39.6 million on WW.

Before anyone writes an obituary about original movies at the box office in Babylonresults, it is important to distinguish everyone else’s movie. The picture with its tale within the Hollywood period was already a gamble, not to mention its tough ‘R’ story which in the first 30 minutes before the title credit includes an elephant pooping on a human and a Fatty Arbuckle type being defecated by a whore. The Clara Bow-like character of Robbie vomits at a stuffy Hollywood party much later in the film. Who was the audience for this other than critics and award voters? Films about the inner workings of Hollywood have historically been low-grossing. Not to mention, the price of this period piece, as well as the WWI-era set amsterdam, made the project an impossible task to turn profitable for rival studios. So they passed.

CHAPLIN, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., 1992, (c) TriStar/courtesy Everett Collection

Examples of Hollywood movies that didn’t translate for wide audiences: The three-time Oscar nominee Chaplin starring Robert Downey Jr. in 1992, which grossed just $9.5 million in the United States (although it made Hollywood take the SNL alum seriously as an actor) and the winning title of 2x Cannes The player it only grossed $21.7 million that year as well.

Paramount thought they had Wolf of Wall Street and Once upon a time in Hollywood at the Babylon🇧🇷 They don’t: Both films starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Wolf of Wall Street worked ($406.8 million WW) on his appeal of his gripping subject to high-profile audiences about the rise and fall of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, while Once upon a time in Hollywood ($377.6 million WW) had Quentin Tarantino’s electrifying narrative. nannyyfar, which follows the chaos that ensued in Hollywood during the transition from silent to talkies, was in Chazelle’s eyes an allegory of what the industry is experiencing today in the struggle between the big screen and streaming. If the filmmaker had to do Babylon all over again – he would do it for the movies. The question is whether he could do it for a lower price, which is the likely fate of some of these adult-oriented original films.

Chazelle and the photo’s producers, Olivia Hamilton and Matthew Plouffe, took Babylon to Paramount, where Wyck Godfrey was then president of the Motion Picture Group. Godfrey was producer of Chazelle’s First man. Godfrey’s move at the time was to find and make movies for awards season like Babylon for the Melrose lot🇧🇷 not Transformers films🇧🇷 Chazelle had been developing the project for some time; Plouffe first learned of this as a former Focus Features executive when the two met at Sundance some 13 years ago.

“He responded and became the champion,” Chazelle told us of Godfrey’s support of the Babylon on the Deadline Team Call. “He fought really hard to get the film to the studio. Without him, I’m not sure it would be a Paramount movie.”

After Godfrey left, former Paramount head of production Emma Watts took over oversight of Babylon and intended to get him in shape before leaving in September 2021.

Courtesy, United Artists

Babylon originally planned to start production in March 2020, but the pandemic hit and filming didn’t begin until July 2021 in Santa Clarita. The area remains a hotbed of Hollywood filmmaking, dating back to the silent film era when Chaplin filmed Modern times in the highlands area, 25 miles north of LA Late western star William S. Hart’s mansion was home to Pitt’s movie star character in the film, Jack Conrad.

Plouffe told us on Crew Call, “There was something essential for us about making the movie the way movies were made in the ’20s, in the places where they made movies and not faking it.”

Despite California tax credits and filming locally, filming a production in California comes at a cost, due to the higher rate of unionized labor. Not to mention the beginning and end of making a film during Covid, which also impacted the cost of production for the worst of amsterdam🇧🇷 Emma Stone originally had the female lead before leaving due to a scheduling conflict in December 2020. That’s when Robbie’s attachment was announced, as Deadline first reported.

Brian Robbins, President and CEO, Paramount Pictures, Daria Cercek, Co-President, Paramount Motion Picture Group, Michael Ireland, Co-President, Paramount Motion Picture Group, Olivia Wilde, Karolina Szymczak, Damien Chazelle, Eric Roberts, Olivia Hamilton, PJ Byrne, Margot Robbie, Flea, Tobey Maguire, Li Jun Li, Rory Scovel, Brad Pitt, Jovan Adepo, Max Minghella, Lukas Haas, Diego Calva and Jean Smart attend the Global Premiere Screening of Paramount Pictures’ “Babylon” at the Museum of Academy of Motion Pictures on December 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)

Typically, films from a previous studio regime are orphaned as new masters emerge, but this was not the case with Babylon. Godfrey departed in June 2020 as Watts was arriving. She left shortly after the firing of Jim Gianopulos as chairman and CEO in September 2021, when Robbins took over. He has been nothing but supportive Babylon and Chazelle, awarding Oscar winner La La Land director an initial production deal for his Wild Chickens label at Paramount.

Babylon will arrive at Paramount+ before its Epix pay TV window. Exhibitor sources tell me it’s in a 45-day theatrical window. The studio fired the venture from Toronto-based co-financier C2 Motion Picture Group, led by Jason Cloth, who, I’m told, owns a sizable piece of the film. With an international box office of $230 million and an estimated $20 million domestically, this would generate revenues of $114 million from theater rentals, $10 million from home entertainment and streaming, $28 million from international entertainment, US$2 million in domestic free TV, US$4 million in pay TV and US$40 million in international pay. That’s $198 million in revenue against $188 million in costs that include interest, residuals, and interest for a profit of $10 million (but that shouldn’t happen). Note: neither producer nor Dwayne Johnson provided us with these numbers (stars and producers don’t have access to studio profit and loss statements, duh). These estimates come from film funding sources and are in line with all the P&L calculations and research we’ve done over the years.

Says an insider linked to production defending Babyloncompany’s cost of production: “We moved so fast to get what we needed. We didn’t have the luxury of an extra dollar. It was Paramount’s incredible belief that moved mountains to achieve this film and Damien’s vision.”

“The movie became a spiritual quest, so different from Marvel’s green screen movies,” adds our source, “We didn’t have a lot of money and there wasn’t a lot of money coming in.”

As far as Paramount, and awards season prospects for Babylon, it’s not even close to dark.