- Season of the Witch box office: Following Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Bangkok Dangerous, Knowing, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Nicolas Cage can be seen in another domestic commercial dud. (Admittedly, we’re leaving aside the hugely successful sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets.)
- In other domestic box office news, Shana Feste’s country music drama Country Strong is performing moderately well after going wide. Gwyneth Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, and Tim McGraw star.
Season of the Witch box office: Nicolas Cage action-adventure is the Oscar winner’s latest commercial bomb in the domestic market
Jan. 7–9 weekend box office: On its third weekend out, Paramount Pictures’ acclaimed Western True Grit topped the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart for the first time, while Universal Pictures’ lowbrow comedy Little Fockers was the runner-up title. (More details further below.) Yet this past weekend’s big story was the debut of the latest Nicolas Cage clunker, the supernatural period action-adventure Season of the Witch.
Released by Relativity Media, Season of the Witch landed at no. 3 on the chart, collecting $10.6 million from 2,816 theaters according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com. That’s a dismal opening for a production with a reported $40 million price tag (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).
Directed by Dominic Sena (who had previously worked with Cage on Gone in 60 Seconds), Season of the Witch wasn’t screened for critics before its domestic launch. That’s invariably a (very, very) bad sign. In fact, the movie currently has a less-than-bewitching 4 percent approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Besides Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995) as a Teutonic knight escorting an accused witch to a distant witchcraft health center (i.e., a monastery), Season of the Witch features Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Claire Foy, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Robert Sheehan, Brian F. O’Byrne, and veteran Christopher Lee (Dracula, The Wicker Man).
International moviegoers give Season of the Witch a much-needed boost
Update: The Nicolas Cage period action-adventure Season of the Witch ultimately collected $24.8 million domestically and an estimated $66.8 million (likely incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $91.6 million – far better than its abysmal domestic take, but far less than it needed to break even.
Its top international markets were Russia/CIS ($11.3 million), France ($8.8 million), Brazil ($8 million), Mexico ($5 million), Italy ($4.4 million), and Spain ($3.4 million).
Box Office Mojo figures for the United Kingdom/Ireland are incomplete, while Australia isn’t listed.
Country Strong exposes its less-than-sturdy legs after going wide
At no. 6 on the domestic chart, Shana Feste’s country music drama Country Strong drew in $7.3 million after expanding from two to 1,424 locations.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, the Screen Gems release was heavily marketed in U.S. areas where locals are into that sort of music genre. If so, the strategy was no failure. But then again, it was no success either. The $12–$15 million production (depending on the source) averaged a good – though hardly outstanding – $5,144 per venue. Cume on its third weekend out: $7.5 million.
On the plus side, this past weekend Country Strong provided costar Garrett Hedlund with a second Top Ten movie. (TRON: Legacy is the other one; see further below.)
A sort of less sprawling Nashville, Country Strong also features Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love, 1998) as a country singer and recovering alcoholic attempting a musical comeback, real-life country singers Tim McGraw and Marshall Chapman, Leighton Meester, Lari White, and Jeremy Childs.
Update: Shana Feste’s Country Strong ultimately collected a disappointing $20.2 million domestically. Overseas, Box Office Mojo lists an absurdly low cume: $310,000 in a handful of European countries.
Now, American country music may not have much of a following abroad, but surely more international moviegoers would have been curious to check out such an exotic musical scene. For comparison’s sake: Robert Altman’s folksy 2006 musical A Prairie Home Companion grossed $5.6 million internationally.
Eclectic Top Five titles
As discussed further up, Season of the Witch was the no. 3 movie this past weekend. Below are the other four top titles on the domestic box office chart:
- At no. 1, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Western True Grit grossed $14.6 million (down 40 percent on its third weekend). Cume: $110 million. Cast: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Steinfeld.
- At no. 2, Paul Weitz’s comedy Little Fockers grossed $13.5 million (down 48 percent on its third weekend). Cume: $123.7 million. Cast: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, and Owen Wilson.
- At no. 4, Joseph Kosinski’s sci-fi actioner TRON: Legacy grossed $10.1 million (down 46 percent on its fourth weekend). Cume: $148.2 million. Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges, and Olivia Wilde.
- At no. 5, Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller Black Swan grossed $8.1 million (down a minuscule 9 percent on its sixth weekend). Cume: $61.2 million. Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Barbara Hershey.
”Season of the Witch Box Office: Nicolas Cage” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “Season of the Witch Box Office: Nicolas Cage Delivers Another Major Bomb” 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 Season of the Witch, Country Strong, 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.
Nicolas Cage Season of the Witch movie image: Relativity Media.
Garrett Hedlund Country Strong movie image: Screen Gems | Sony Pictures.
“Season of the Witch Box Office: Nicolas Cage Delivers Another Major Bomb” last updated in November 2022.