- Gulliver’s Travels movie box office: Directed by Rob Letterman and starring Jack Black as the titular character, 20th Century Fox’s big-budget, big-screen version of Jonathan Swift’s classic sociopolitical/fantasy novel has been excoriated by U.S. critics and bypassed by domestic audiences.
Gulliver’s Travels movie box office: Starring Jack Black, Rob Letterman’s mega-budget fantasy adventure bombs with critics and audiences alike
Dec. 24–26 (Christmas) weekend box office (cont.): Far behind Universal’s lambasted comedy Little Fockers and Paramount’s acclaimed Western True Grit, 20th Century Fox’s critically derided Gulliver’s Travels landed at no. 8. on the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart after opening to mediocre figures on Christmas Day (Saturday).
On its first two days out, the 3D fantasy adventure directed by Rob Letterman and starring Jack Black grossed $6.3 million from 2,546 theaters as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
How bad is that?
Around How Do You Know bad ($7.5 million on its first weekend).
After all, Gulliver’s Travels reportedly cost a hefty $112 million. (Initial estimates ranged from $80–$100 million; and as always, the production budget doesn’t include marketing and distribution expenses.) So a 3D-surcharge-boosted $6.3 million in two days is dismal indeed.
Question for the Ages: Where did Fox’s dumbed down Jonathan Swift go wrong?
The puzzling thing is: Considering that Gulliver’s Travels has been dismissed as a dumbed down version of Jonathan Swift’s 1726 sociopolitical fantasy adventure – one that relies on cheesy, juvenile humor – why hasn’t it attracted a much larger domestic audience?
Really, why hasn’t the Rob Letterman-Jack Black collaboration turned out to be as successful as the Paul Weitz-Ben Stiller collab Little Fockers?
We don’t have the answer, but we do know that besides Jack Black as the titular character, Gulliver’s Travels also features Jason Segel as Gulliver’s Lilliputian friend Horatio, Emily Blunt as the Lilliputian Princess Mary, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Chris O’Dowd, T.J. Miller, James Corden, Catherine Tate, and Olly Alexander.
International moviegoers to the rescue!
Update: Jack Black’s Gulliver’s Travels ultimately collected $42.8 million domestically and a far more impressive $194.6 million internationally. Worldwide total: A respectable – even if not profitable – $237.4 million.
Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($24.7 million), Japan ($18.9 million), Russia/CIS ($17.1 million), Australia ($16.2 million), South Korea ($14.5 million), Mexico ($11.6 million), Spain ($11.5 million), Germany ($10.1 million), Brazil ($8 million), France ($6.5 million), and Italy ($5 million).
Rounding out the weekend’s Top Five
For the record, trailing Little Fockers and True Grit on the Christmas weekend box office chart were:
- At no. 3, Joseph Kosinski’s sci-fi adventure TRON: Legacy grossed $19.2 million (down 57 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $87.4 million. Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges, and Olivia Wilde.
- At no. 4, Michael Apted’s fantasy adventure The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader grossed $9.5 million (down 24 percent on its third weekend). Cume: $62.6 million. Cast: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, and Ben Barnes.
- At no. 5, Eric Brevig’s computer-animated comedy Yogi Bear grossed $7.9 million (down 52 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $35.9 million. Voice cast: Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake.
”Gulliver’s Travels Movie Box Office” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “Gulliver’s Travels Movie Box Office: Costly Jack Black Fantasy Bombs Domestically” 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 Gulliver’s Travels 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.
Jack Black Gulliver’s Travels movie image: hy*drau’lx | 20th Century Fox.
“Gulliver’s Travels Movie Box Office: Costly Jack Black Fantasy Bombs Domestically” last updated in November 2022.