- Hereafter box office: Featuring Matt Damon, Cécile de France, and Bryce Dallas Howard, Clint Eastwood’s mix of psychological drama and paranormal activities is the filmmaker’s most recent commercial underperformer in the domestic market.
Hereafter box office: Metaphysical psychological drama is the latest Clint Eastwood flop in the domestic market
Oct. 22–24 weekend box office (cont.): With an impressive $40.7 million, Tod Williams’ supernatural thriller Paranormal Activity 2 topped the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart this pre-Halloween weekend as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com. With a far more modest $12 million, Clint Eastwood’s supernatural-ish psychological drama Hereafter – featuring three parallel stories about communications with the dead – landed at no. 4 (see further below) on the chart after expanding to 2,181 theaters on its second weekend out.
A Warner Bros. release starring Matt Damon, Cécile de France, and Bryce Dallas Howard, Hereafter is the latest Eastwood-directed movie to underperform in the domestic market, following the “inspirational” South African-set political drama Invictus, the mystery drama Changeling, and the World War II dramas Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. (Starring Eastwood himself – seen in the poster with an assault rifle about twice his size – the blockbuster Gran Torino was an exception to the rule.)
Mixed reviews were no help to Hereafter; the $50 million production (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses) has a so-so 64 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics.” The overall consensus, in fact, is even less enthusiastic: Hereafter is at only 51 percent, as it seems most critics’ tastes veer more toward stuff like the fall hit Jackass 3D (63 percent).
Hereafter vs. other recent Eastwood-directed titles
For comparison’s sake: Starring eventual Academy Award nominees Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, Warner Bros.’ Invictus opened with $8.6 million late last year, ending its run with a mere $37.5 million domestically (and a far better $84.9 million internationally). Budget: $60 million.
Here’s another comparison: Starring eventual Oscar nominee Angelina Jolie, Universal Pictures’ Changeling raked in $9.3 million on its first weekend in wide release, ending its run with $35.7 million domestically (and a far better $77.7 million internationally). Budget: $55 million.
The far more successful Gran Torino – like Hereafter and Invictus, a Warner Bros. release – scored $29.5 million after going wide, ending its run with $148.1 million domestically (and a somewhat less impressive $121.9 million internationally).
Would savvier marketing strategies have helped?
When it comes to the domestic market, Warners should have learned from Gran Torino’s success. For the American Hereafter poster, they should have pictured Matt Damon holding a mountain-sized bazooka. Tagline: “First, he’ll dispatch you to the hereafter. Next, he’ll try chatting with you.”
Had they been that creative, I guarantee you that this past weekend Hereafter would have raked in more cash than Paranormal Activity 2.
Also in the Hereafter movie cast: Frankie and George McLaren, Jay Mohr, Thierry Neuvic, Lyndsey Marshal, Richard Kind, and veteran Marthe Keller (And Now My Love, Marathon Man), in addition to Derek Jacobi in a cameo as himself. Two-time Oscar nominee Peter Morgan (The Queen, 2006; Frost/Nixon, 2008) penned the screenplay.
Domestic dud, but stronger overseas
Update: Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter ultimately collected a meager $32.7 million domestically and a far better $74.2 million (likely incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $106.9 million – a good figure, though far from enough for the movie to break even at the box office.
Hereafter’s top international markets were France (where the Belgian Cécile de France is a major name, with $16.7 million), Spain ($14 million), Italy ($11.2 million), Japan ($8.4 million), Brazil ($3.6 million), and Mexico ($2.6 million).
Box Office Mojo figures for the United Kingdom/Ireland ($2.2 million) and Australia ($2.5 million) are likely incomplete.
Weekend’s other Top Five movies
For the record, the other Top Five movies on this past weekend’s box office chart were:
- At no. 2, Jeff Tremaine’s lowbrow comedy Jackass 3D with $21.3 million (down a whopping 58 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $86.9 million. Cast: Johnny Knoxville.
- At no. 3, Robert Schwentke’s action comedy RED with $15 million (down a relatively modest 31 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $43.5 million. Cast: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich.
- At no. 5, David Fincher’s Facebook drama The Social Network with $7.3 million (down 30 percent on its fourth weekend). Cume: $72.9 million. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer.
“Hereafter Box Office: Latest Clint Eastwood Misfire” notes
Unless otherwise noted, “Hereafter Box Office: Latest Clint Eastwood Misfire” 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 Hereafter 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 Hereafter movie image: Ken Regan | Warner Bros.
“Hereafter Box Office: Latest Clint Eastwood Misfire” last updated in October 2023.