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The Roommate Movie Box Office: Low-Budget Thriller Beats James Cameron-(Co-)Produced Actioner

The Roommate movie Minka Kelly Leighton MeesterThe Roommate movie with Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester: Low-budget box office underperformer.
  • The Roommate movie box office: Featuring Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester, Christian E. Christiansen’s critically lambasted low-budget thriller had an unimpressive domestic debut. Yet it still managed to beat the far costlier 3D action-thriller Sanctum, directed by Alister Grierson and co-executive-produced by Avatar’s James Cameron.

The Roommate movie box office: Featuring Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester, poorly received low-budget thriller tops underwhelming domestic chart

Feb. 4–6 (Super Bowl) weekend box office: Christian E. Christiansen’s critically excoriated thriller The Roommate was the no. 1 movie on the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart this past Super Bowl weekend, grossing a modest $15 million from 2,534 theaters according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.

Adding insult to (for a no. 1 movie) letdown, that final figure was about $600,000 less than distributor Screen Gems/Sony Pictures’ estimates published on Sunday.

Oh, c’mon. It was Super Bowl weekend in the United States, so what do you expect?

For comparison’s sake: During last year’s Super Bowl weekend, Lasse Hallström’s romantic drama Dear John, starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, debuted with $30.5 million from 2,969 locations.

Look for…

The silver lining: The Roommate was budgeted at only $16 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses). In other words, the thriller could turn out to be profitable at the end of its global run – but definitely not at the end of its domestic run. (Update: See below.)

The story of a young woman who develops a weird obsession with her Iowan college roommate, The Roommate features Leighton Meester as the off-kilter title character, Minka Kelly as the Iowan transplant, Twilight actor Cam Gigandet as Kelly’s romantic interest, Matt Lanter (of the Twilight spoof – and domestic box office dudVampires Suck), Nina Dobrev, Billy Zane, Danneel Harris, Aly Michalka, and Alex Meraz.

Elusive box office profits

Update: Christian E. Christiansen’s The Roommate ultimately collected $37.3 million domestically and a puny $3.2 million (likely incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $40.5 million – not quite enough to make the thriller profitable.

Its top international market was the United Kingdom/Ireland ($517,000).

Sanctum movie Ioan GruffuddSanctum movie with Ioan Gruffudd: Domestic box office flop eventually saved by the overseas market.

Co-executive-produced by James Cameron, 3D action-thriller Sanctum sinks domestically

The weekend’s other major new release, Universal Pictures’ Sanctum, fared far worse than The Roommate.

Executive produced by James Cameron (among others) and directed by Alister Grierson, the poorly received $30 million 3D underwater action thriller earned an abysmal $9.4 million from 2,787 venues. With a per-venue average of a mere $3,390 – despite 3D surcharges – Sanctum should be gone from theaters soon.

The story of a deep-sea cave expedition gone awry following a major tropical storm, Sanctum features Ioan Gruffudd, Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie, and Allison Cratchley.

For Sanctum, the 3D-loving international market is its only hope.

Enthusiastic international moviegoers lift Sanctum

Update: Alister Grierson’s Sanctum ultimately collected a measly $23 million domestically and, as expected, a far more solid $85.4 million (likely incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $108.6 million, which should have been enough to make the action thriller profitable.

Its top international markets were Russia/CIS ($8.6 million), Brazil ($5.5 million), Japan ($4.8 million), Spain ($4.6 million), Italy ($4.5 million), South Korea ($4.3 million), Australia ($3.8 million), and the United Kingdom/Ireland ($3.2 million).

Box Office Mojo’s French figures seem to be incomplete.

Top Five movies: Portman-Kutcher romantic comedy passes $50 million mark

Rounding out the Top Five movies on this past weekend’s domestic box office chart were:

Last weekend’s two wide releases – Mikael Hafstrom’s horror thriller The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins and Colin O’Donoghue, and Simon West’s action thriller The Mechanic, starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster – are no longer among the Top Five movies.


The Roommate Movie Box Office” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “The Roommate Movie Box Office: Low-Budget Thriller Beats James Cameron-(Co-)Produced Actioner” 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 Roommate, Sanctum, 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.

Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester The Roommate movie image: Jaimie Trueblood | Sony Pictures.

Ioan Gruffudd Sanctum movie image: Universal Pictures.

The Roommate Movie Box Office: Low-Budget Thriller Beats James Cameron-(Co-)Produced Actioner” last updated in November 2022.

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