- Green Zone box office: Reuniting Oscar-nominated filmmaker Paul Greengrass (United 93, 2006) with his The Bourne Supremacy/The Bourne Ultimatum star Matt Damon (Best Original Screenplay Oscar co-winner for Good Will Hunting, 1997), Universal Pictures’ big-budget Iraq War-set thriller is the studio’s latest commercial bomb.
Green Zone box office: Reuniting the Bourne movies’ Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass, Universal’s Iraq-set thriller lands with a loud thud
March 12–14 weekend box office: Reuniting Bourne movie franchise star Matt Damon with The Bourne Supremacy/The Bourne Ultimatum filmmaker Paul Greengrass, Universal Pictures’ Baghdad-set thriller Green Zone had a dismal domestic (U.S. and Canada) debut in relation to its hefty $100 million budget: $14.3 million from 3,003 locations – or a mediocre $4,765 per theater – as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
Also landing with a thud were Allen Coulter’s romantic melodrama Remember Me ($8.1 million), starring Twilight Saga actor Robert Pattinson in his first de facto showcase, and two romantic comedies: Jim Field Smith’s She’s Out of My League ($9.8 million), with Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve, and Rick Famuyiwa’s Our Family Wedding ($7.6 million), with Best Actor Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, 2006) and America Ferrera.
And that leaves Tim Burton’s record-breaking blockbuster Alice in Wonderland as the one bright spot on the domestic box office chart: The fantasy adventure starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp grossed $62.7 million (down 46 percent) this past weekend, for a domestic total of $209.3 million to date.
Boosted by 3D/IMAX surcharges, Alice in Wonderland’s per-theater average was $16,822 – or more than three times that of its nearest Top Ten competitor, Green Zone.
Written by Brian Helgeland – from The Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s 2006 nonfiction book Imperial Life in the Emerald City – Green Zone features Matt Damon as the leader of a U.S. Army team who uncovers a (U.S.) government conspiracy in Baghdad around the time of the American-led invasion of Iraq.
English-language critics have generally been less than enthusiastic about the political thriller, while American and Canadian moviegoers apparently couldn’t care less about the goings-on in West Asia (whether on screen or in real life).
Green Zone’s $14.3 million opening-weekend take was not only slightly below studio estimates made public on Sunday but also several million less than Universal and partner Relativity Pictures had been expecting.
Iraq War dramas = Box office poison
Something else to keep in mind: Green Zone is the latest Iraq War-related flop at the domestic box office, following, among others, Brian De Palma’s Redacted, Paul Haggis’ In the Valley of Elah, and Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Picture Oscar winner The Hurt Locker.
Besides Matt Damon (whose two previous collaborations with Greengrass were sizable hits), the Green Zone cast includes Oscar nominees Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, 2007) and Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, 1997), plus Jason Isaacs, Brendan Gleeson, Khalid Abdalla, and Omar Berdouni.
Universal & Forest Whitaker have two flops each
Update: A box office disaster, Green Zone ended its domestic run with a measly $35.1 million. Internationally, the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon action thriller brought in $78.3 million, for a worldwide total of $113.4 million.
And that means Green Zone’s global take barely surpassed its production budget (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses). Its top territories were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($8.3 million), Japan ($8 million), Australia ($6 million), and France ($5.9 million).
It gets worse for Universal: Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, and featuring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, the late March release Repo Men ended its domestic run with a dismal $13.8 million. Internationally, the futuristic action thriller raked in an even more dismal $4.6 million, for a worldwide total of $18.4 million. Budget: $32 million.
Speaking of Forest Whitaker, Fox Searchlight’s Our Family Wedding – the Oscar winner’s other early 2010 box office dud – ended its domestic run with $20.3 million. Internationally, it took in $1.1 million, for a worldwide total of $21.4 million. Budget: $14 million. In other words, a big-screen money-loser despite its modest production cost.
“Green Zone Box Office: Damon + Greengrass Thriller Bombs” notes
Unless otherwise noted, “Green Zone Box Office: Damon + Greengrass Thriller Bombs” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Green Zone, Our Family Wedding, Repo Men, 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, domestic/international sales/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 may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – 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.
Matt Damon Green Zone movie image: Jasin Boland | Universal.
Regina King and Forest Whitaker Our Family Wedding movie image: Scott Garfield | Fox Searchlight Pictures.
“Green Zone Box Office: Damon + Greengrass Thriller Bombs” last updated in October 2023.