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The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Box Office: Nicolas Cage Stars in Another Dud

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Nicolas Cage Alfred MolinaThe Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Nicolas Cage and Alfred Molina: Costly box office misfire.
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice box office: Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel star in Disney’s pricy fantasy, which has turned out to be the Oscar winner’s latest commercial (and critical) dud.
  • In other box office news, Universal Pictures finally has a hit: The computer-animated feature Despicable Me.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice box office: Nicolas Cage stars in one more commercial flop

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

July 16–18 weekend box office: On its North American (U.S. and Canada only) debut weekend, Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller Inception was the no. 1 movie with $62.8 million, including an estimated $3 million from Thursday midnight screenings, as per final studio figures found at

Trailing both Inception and the computer-animated hit Despicable Me (last weekend’s champ [see further below] brought in $32.8 million), Walt Disney Pictures’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice grossed $17.6 million from 3,504 locations. Having opened the previous Wednesday, the poorly received Jerry Bruckheimer production almost matched the studio’s expectations for its first five days out ($25 million), taking in a total of $24.7 million.

Sounds acceptable?

Ain’t no wizard powerful enough

Minor detail: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice reportedly comes with a $150 million price tag. With some luck it’ll reach half that amount in the domestic market; international prospects are better for the special-effects-laden fantasy, but no wizard is powerful enough to make this Disney release profitable.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice stars How to Train Your Dragon voice actor Jay Baruchel and Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995) – who, apart from the Turteltaub-handled National Treasure flicks, has taken a box office beating of late (Bangkok Dangerous, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, etc.).

Also in the cast: Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Toby Kebbell, Monica Bellucci, Alice Krige, and Omar Benson Miller.

International market provided some much needed box office assistance

Update: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ultimately collected $63.2 million domestically and $152.1 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $215.3 million.

That was hardly enough for Disney’s costly production to break even, but the international market did help to make The Sorcerer’s Apprentice less than an all-around commercial disaster.

Its top territories were Russia/CIS ($13.6 million), France ($12.9 million), Japan ($10.6 million), Italy ($9.6 million), Mexico ($9.5 million), Spain ($9.3 million), and China ($9 million).

Universal finally has a hit: Despicable Me eclipses competition

July 9–11 weekend box office: Following a number of disappointments and outright bombs (Green Zone, The Wolfman, Repo Men, Leap Year), Universal finally has a bona fide hit in its hands.

Despite a number of unenthusiastic reviews, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud’s animated 3D feature Despicable Me easily beat David Slade’s summer blockbuster The Twilight Saga: Eclipse at the domestic box office this past weekend, raking in a remarkable $56.4 million from 3,476 locations.

Bonus: Unlike fellow computer-animated 3D features like Pixar/Disney’s Toy Story 3 and DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek Forever After and How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me was budgeted at “only” $69 million – or between one-third and half of the production cost of these other movies.

In the Despicable Me voice cast: Steve Carell (of the upcoming Dinner for Schmucks) as the egocentric supervillain Gru, Jason Segel as a youthful supervillain in the making, Russell Brand as Gru’s elderly assistant, Miranda Cosgrove, and veteran Oscar winner Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, 1964), whose voice can also be heard in Shrek Forever After.

Update: Universal’s Despicable Me ultimately collected $251.5 million domestically and an estimated $291.6 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $543.1 million.

Its top territories were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($32.3 million), France ($28.5 million), Germany ($26.9 million), Australia ($21.8 million), Mexico ($19.8 million), Italy ($17.1 million), Spain ($14.3 million), Japan ($14.2 million), Brazil ($13.7 million), and Russia/CIS ($11.1 million).

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Box Office: Nicolas Cage” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Box Office: Nicolas Cage Stars in Another Dud” 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 Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Despicable Me, 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.

Alfred Molina and Nicolas Cage The Sorcerer’s Apprentice 2010 movie image: Walt Disney Studios.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Box Office: Nicolas Cage Stars in Another Dud” last updated in January 2023.

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1 comment


Inception isn’t going to be a huge box office champion because it’s too smart for most audiences and it’s not a sequel. Nolan did great with TDK because it was Batman. Without the recognizable Batman and Joker characters, that movie would have tanked. I liked Inception, but I think it will be lucky to make $200 million domestically. It may play better overseas.


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