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Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise Box Office: Awards Season Should Help Only 1 Superstar

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Brad Pitt Cate BlanchettThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Directed by David Fincher, the generally well-regarded – and costly – romantic fantasy will need all the awards season help it can get.
  • Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise box office: Pricy star vehicles for Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Cruise (Valkyrie), two of the biggest movie names of the 21st century, have so far underperformed in the domestic market. But some strong awards-season recognition should help Pitt’s generally well-received romantic fantasy.

Brad Pitt box office: Costly romantic fantasy The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will need plenty of awards-season love

Dec. 26–28 weekend box office: Trailing both Marley & Me and Bedtime Stories, Paramount Pictures’ David Fincher-directed romantic fantasy The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt as a man who grows ever younger, earned $26.9 million from 2,988 theaters in North America (U.S. and Canada only) as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com. Its four-day cume stands at a barely acceptable $38.7 million.

But how can nearly $40 million after four days not be a solid figure?

It’s simple: This generally well-received Fincher-Pitt collaboration cost a reported $150 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses). And that means it’ll need all the awards season assistance it can get to break even at the box office – at the global box office, that is, as there’s absolutely no chance The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will achieve that feat domestically.

Besides Oscar nominee Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, 1995), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button also features Oscar winners Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, 2004) and Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, 2007), in addition to Elle Fanning, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas, Mahershala Ali, Jared Harris, Ed Metzger, and Phyllis Somerville.

Oscar winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, 1994) was credited for the screenplay from a screen story by Robin Swicord, itself loosely based on a 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Boosted by the Oscars & other awards

Update: Nominated for 13 Oscars – including Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Adapted Screenplay – the David Fincher-Brad Pitt fantasy The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ultimately collected $127.5 million domestically and a far stronger $208.3 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $335.8 million.

That’s a remarkable figure, though not enough for the $150 million production to break even at the box office alone. Now imagine how big that hole would have been without the eager assistance of international moviegoers.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’s top territories were Japan ($25.4 million), France ($20.8 million), Germany ($20.4 million), Spain ($16.2 million), Italy ($15.8 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($13.3 million), Australia ($11.5 million), South Korea ($10.5 million), Brazil ($8.6 million), and Mexico ($7.2 million).

Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, with veteran Terence Stamp (The Collector, Teorema): In this domestic box office disappointment, Cruise plays Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, a key plotter of the ultimately doomed Operation Valkyrie.

Tom Cruise box office: World War II drama Valkyrie fails to restore superstar’s shine

Trailing Brad Pitt’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, United Artists’ Bryan Singer-directed Valkyrie raked in $21 million from 2,711 sites. Cume after four days: $29.5 million, a hugely disappointing figure considering that this real-life-based World War II action/political drama cost anywhere between $75–$90 million and has at its center Tom Cruise, one of cinema’s biggest stars of the last 25 years.

Looking on the bright side: At least Valkyrie is not bound to become a box office disaster like another recent politically minded Cruise star vehicle, Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs, which last year went on to score a paltry $15 million in the U.S. and Canada. Besides, there’s always the international market, where the Top Gun and Mission: Impossible star remains a major draw.

In addition to three-time Oscar nominee Tom Cruise (Born on the Fourth of July, 1989; etc.), the Valkyrie cast includes fellow nominees Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, 1989; etc.), Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom, 2001; Michael Clayton, 2007), and Terence Stamp (Billy Budd, 1962), plus Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Eddie Izzard, Christian Berkel, Jamie Parker, Tom Hollander, Bernard Hill, Kevin McNally, David Bamber, and Matthias Freihof.

Oscar winner Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, 1995) and Nathan Alexander were credited for the screenplay focused on Operation Valkyrie, a July 1944 plot by German army officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

International Tom Cruise fans to the rescue

Update: The Bryan Singer-Tom Cruise World War II action drama Valkyrie ultimately collected $83.1 million domestically and $118.5 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $201.5 million. That’s a solid figure, but hardly enough for the $75 million production to break even at the box office alone.

Valkyrie’s top international markets were Japan ($12 million), Germany (the movie’s political setting, with $11.4 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($9.6 million), South Korea ($8.5 million), and Spain ($8 million).


“Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise Box Office” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise Box Office: Awards Season Should Help Only 1 Superstar” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should usually be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources.

Comments about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Valkyrie, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, international pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses can be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is accounted for). Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take; however, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett The Curious Case of Benjamin Button movie image: Paramount Pictures.

Terence Stamp and Tom Cruise Valkyrie movie image: United Artists.

“Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise Box Office: Awards Season Should Help Only 1 Superstar” last updated in July 2022.

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