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The Kids Are All Right Box Office: Lesbian Comedy Will Not Reach Brokeback Mountain Heights

The Kids Are All Right Annette Bening Julianne MooreThe Kids Are All Right with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore: In the lesbian comedy-drama and modest box office hit, two moms meet the man of their nightmares.
  • Lesbian comedy-drama vs. gay cowboy romance: Following a significant – and underwhelming – domestic expansion, it’s now clear that The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, is not going to become the lesbian Brokeback Mountain at the domestic box office.

The Kids Are All Right box office: Lesbian family movie’s major domestic expansion likely to be its last one

July 30–Aug. 1 weekend box office (cont.): At the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office, this past weekend was dominated by Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Way down the domestic box office chart, however, one could find another noteworthy title: At no. 12, cowriter-director Lisa Cholodenko’s lesbian family comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right – a likely Academy Award contender in several categories – grossed $3.5 million as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com. Cume after four weekends: $9.6 million.

That’s not bad at all for a $4 million production. Having said that, keep in mind that the official budget doesn’t include distributor Focus Features’ marketing and distribution expenses, which, considering The Kids Are All Right’s big-name cast – Annette Bening, Julianne Moore – has likely been steeper than usual for such a “small” movie.

Now for the bad news: Following its expansion from 201 to 847 locations, The Kids Are All Right – which boasts the year’s highest per-theater average ($70,281 at seven locations on its July 9–11 debut weekend) – experienced a dramatic per-theater drop, plummeting from $12,909 to $4,162.

Not the ‘lesbian Brokeback Mountain

For comparison’s sake: When Focus Features’ Ang Lee-directed Brokeback Mountain – starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as cowboyish lovers – expanded to 683 theaters on weekend no. 6 (early January 2006), its per-theater average remained an impressive $8,499. By then, the romantic Western had already amassed $30.8 million.

As it stands, The Kids Are All Right may still have room for some further expansion, but a more modest one and not for very long. In fact, there’s no chance that the lesbian-focused movie will get even close to matching the success of Brokeback Mountain – Focus’ top commercial hit to date – which raked in $83.4 million (not adjusted for inflation) domestically.

Besides Oscar nominees Annette Bening (Being Julia, 2004; etc.) and Julianne Moore (Far from Heaven, 2002; etc.) as lovers, The Kids Are All Right features Mark Ruffalo as the slob who happens to be the biological father of the lesbian couple’s children, played by Josh Hutcherson and Alice in Wonderland star Mia Wasikowska.

Four Academy Award nominations

Update: Nominated for four Oscars – Best Picture, Actress (Annette Bening), Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), and Original Screenplay – The Kids Are All Right ultimately collected a no more than acceptable $20.8 million domestically and $13.9 million (likely incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $34.7 million.

Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($2.6 million), Italy ($1.9 million), Australia ($1.5 million), Spain ($1.3 million), and Germany ($1.3 million). France’s figure ($298,000) is likely incomplete.

For comparison’s sake: Budgeted at $14 million, Brokeback Mountain reached $178.1 million at the global box office.


The Kids Are All Right Box Office: Lesbian Comedy” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “The Kids Are All Right Box Office: Lesbian Comedy Will Not Reach Brokeback Mountain Heights” 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 The Kids Are All Right, Brokeback Mountain, 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.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore The Kids Are All Right movie image: Focus Features.

The Kids Are All Right Box Office: Lesbian Comedy Will Not Reach Brokeback Mountain Heights” last updated in October 2022.

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