Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, whose Swedish-made The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo became an international blockbuster, and starring Colin Farrell, whose box office standing has suffered a series of major setbacks in recent years, the revenge thriller Dead Man Down has become the latest 2013 box office bomb. Oplev's R-rated thriller, which also features the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Noomi Rapace, debuted with a dismal $5.35 million at 2,188 theaters, averaging $2,445 per venue according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. (Photo: Colin Farrell Dead Man Down, with Noomi Rapace.)
Expect the FilmDistrict-distributed Dead Man Down to disappear from North American screens in the very near future; in fact, the Colin Farrell action vehicle will be very lucky if it reaches $15 million at the domestic box office. For comparison's sake: Directed by Bruce Robinson, and starring Johnny Depp, FilmDistrict's The Rum Diary, which opened with $5.13 million at 2,273 locations in October 2011, cumed at $13.1m. Last December, the Gabriele Muccino-directed romantic comedy Playing for Keeps, starring Gerard Butler, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Jessica Biel, topped at $13.1 million after debuting with $5.75 million at 2,837 sites.
Considering that Dead Man Down cost a reported $30m, not including marketing and distribution costs, there's no way this latest Colin Farrell movie will match its production budget at the domestic box office -- let alone recover it. International prospects for this particular effort are unclear at this stage, though Farrell's box office pull outside North America could hardly be considered strong. (See below.)
Colin Farrell movies' box office
If studio estimates are on target, Dead Man Down had the very worst opening weekend ever of any Colin Farrell movie playing at more than 1,500 North American theaters -- and without the need to factor in inflation for all but one title, American Outlaws, which took in $4.85 million at 2,348 locations back in 2001, or about $6.9 million in 2013 dollars.
No solo Colin Farrell star vehicle has grossed more than $60m at the domestic box office since Miami Vice back in 2006, even when taking inflation into account. True, Seth Gordon's Horrible Bosses collected $117.53 million in 2011, but that was an ensemble piece (co-starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, and others). Total Recall's global take was a not unimpressive $198.46 million -- but of which only $58.87 million came from the U.S. and Canada. (More on the box-office performance of Colin Farrell's movies.)
Colin Farrell joins Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, et al.
This year, Colin Farrell has joined a whole array of action stars whose movies have bombed in the domestic market. FilmDistrict's own Parker, directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Jason Statham, has to date grossed $17.45m. Lionsgate's The Last Stand, directed by Kim Jee-woon and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, has earned $12.05m (plus a marginally better $19.27 million internationally, including most top markets). And worst of all, Warner Bros.' Bullet to the Head, directed by Walter Hill and starring Sylvester Stallone, has taken in an embarrassing $9.47m (plus approx. $6.5 million internationally; its best territory is Russia / CIS with a so-so $1.59m).
When compared to Dead Man Down and the other titles listed above, Bruce Willis' A Good Day to Die Hard seems like a blockbuster: $63.34 million to date -- the worst performance by far of any Die Hard movie. Note: The Last Stand and Bullet to the Head had, respectively, the worst opening of any Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone movie in more than three decades.
Dead Man Down cast
Besides Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, the Dead Man Down cast includes Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert, and Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus). Screenplay by J.H. Wyman, who is also one of the film's producers.
Dead Man Down Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace photo: FilmDistrict.