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The Conspirator Movie Box Office: Robert Redford Drama Underperforms

The Conspirator movie James McAvoy Robin WrightThe Conspirator movie with James McAvoy and Robin Wright: Directed by Oscar winner Robert Redford and featuring a star-studded cast – McAvoy, Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Kline – the unenthusiastically received historical drama is a box office flop in the making.
  • The Conspirator movie box office: In spite of its name director (Robert Redford) and cast (James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Kline), Roadside Attractions’ historical drama is an undeniable commercial failure. Mixed reviews were no help.
  • In other domestic box office news, Bertrand Tavernier’s French-made romantic period drama The Princess of Montpensier / La princesse de Montpensier has failed to find much of an audience. Mélanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson, and Gaspard Ulliel star.

The Conspirator movie box office: Starring James McAvoy and Robin Wright, Robert Redford’s historical drama flops domestically

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

April 15–17 weekend box office (cont.): Opening at a modest no. 11 on the North American (U.S. and Canada only) chart, Robert Redford’s historical political drama The Conspirator took in $3.5 million (about $400,000 below Sunday estimates) from 707 theaters, averaging an underwhelming $4,959 per location according to final studio figures found at

Distributor Roadside Attractions will now have to decide how wide – or, more likely, how narrow – to go with this tale about Washington boarding-house owner Mary Surratt, who was tried as a co-conspirator in the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and who would become the first woman to be executed by the U.S. federal government.

Not helping matters, The Conspirator has a so-so 62 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics.”

Reported budget: An all-but-unreachable $25 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses), at least on the domestic front. International prospects aren’t much better, considering that this is a U.S.-focused historical drama and that none of its “name” cast members – James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Kline – are significant box office draws.

Director Redford’s latest commercial underperformer

In fact, director Robert Redford, an Oscar winner for Ordinary People (1980), hasn’t had a box office hit since The Horse Whisperer, in which he also stars opposite Kristin Scott Thomas and Scarlett Johansson. Back in 1998, the psychological drama brought in $75 million domestically, going on to earn an additional (estimated) $111.5 million internationally.

Redford’s two follow-up efforts were far less successful: Its name cast notwithstanding – Will Smith, Matt Damon, Charlize TheronThe Legend of Bagger Vance cumed at $30.9 million domestically in 2000, while Lions for Lambs – starring Redford, Meryl Streep, and Tom Cruise – drew in $15 million in 2007.

Overseas, The Legend of Bagger Vance bombed with $8.5 million (possibly incomplete), while Lions for Lambs pulled in a healthier $49.8 million.

The Conspirator movie cast

More details about The Conspirator cast members: Robin Wright is the doomed Mary Surratt; James McAvoy is her defense attorney, the idealistic Captain Frederick Aiken; Evan Rachel Wood is Surratt’s daughter, Anna; two-time Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom, 2001; Michael Clayton, 2007) is U.S. Senator and Aiken mentor Reverdy Johnson; and Oscar winner Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda, 1988) is Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

Also featured are Alexis Bledel, Danny Huston, Stephen Root, Jonathan Groff, Justin Long, Johnny Simmons, Toby Kebbell (as Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth), Norman Reedus, John Cullum, Marcus Hester, Colm Meaney, Shea Whigham, James Badge Dale, and Jim True-Frost.

Global failure

Update: Robert Redford’s The Conspirator ultimately collected only $11.5 million domestically and $4.1 million (apparently incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $15.6 million.

That was far from enough for the historical drama to break even at the box office.

Among the territories listed at Box Office Mojo, its top markets were Spain ($1.5 million) and Italy ($575,000).

The Princess of Montpensier movie Mélanie Thierry Gaspard UllielThe Princess of Montpensier movie with Mélanie Thierry and Gaspard Ulliel.

Bertrand Tarvernier’s The Princess of Montpensier opens modestly

Also flopping this past weekend was Paul Johansson’s critically lambasted Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 (more details here), based on Ayn Rand’s 1957 “objectivist” novel, while Bertrand Tavernier’s well-regarded French period romance The Princess of Montpensier / La princesse de Montpensier can at best be labeled a “modest” performer, having scored $23,500 from three theaters ($7,818 per site).

Chances of a significant expansion are all but nil.

Based on a 1662 short story published anonymously by Madame de La Fayette, The Princess of Montpensier stars Mélanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson, Gaspard Ulliel, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Raphaël Personnaz, Michel Vuillermoz, and Philippe Magnan.

U.S. flop, but acceptable French figure

Update: Bertrand Tavernier’s The Princess of Montpensier ultimately collected a mere $352,400 in the domestic market.

As found at Box Office Mojo (only about a dozen countries are listed), its two top territories were France ($5.9 million) and Russia/CIS ($409,400).

The Conspirator Movie Box Office” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “The Conspirator Movie Box Office: Robert Redford Drama Underperforms” 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,, etc.).

Comments about The Conspirator 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.

Robin Wright and James McAvoy The Conspirator movie image: Claudette Barius | Roadside Attractions.

Mélanie Thierry and Gaspard Ulliel The Princess of Montpensier movie image: StudioCanal.

The Conspirator Movie Box Office: Robert Redford Drama Underperforms” last updated in February 2023.

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1 comment

Cinema Nostalgia -

That’s a shame about The Conspirator not having a better opening, but I’m not surprised with the prevalent “culture” …or rather lack there of we have at the moment. I saw it this weekend and thought it was EXCELLENT! Solid acting by all players. I know I’m recommending it to everyone I know.


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