- Unstoppable movie box office: Costarring Chris Pine, the latest Tony Scott and Denzel Washington action thriller – following Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Deja Vu (2006), and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) – is destined to become a costly flop in the domestic market. Will international moviegoers care to save it?
- In other domestic box office news, former crowd-magnet Harrison Ford has laid another big egg: The romantic comedy-drama Morning Glory, costarring Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, and Patrick Wilson. Roger Michell directed.
Unstoppable movie box office: The latest Denzel Washington & Tony Scott collaboration has failed to pack ’em in
Nov. 12–14 weekend box office: As predicted, last weekend’s champ, DreamWorks/Paramount’s computer-animated supervillain 3D comedy Megamind, easily beat 20th Century Fox’s runaway freight train thriller Unstoppable in the North American (U.S. and Canada only) market.
Featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and two-time Oscar nominee Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, 1995; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008), the Tom McGrath-directed Megamind topped the chart with a respectable $29.1 million from 3,949 theaters (down 37 percent on its second weekend out) according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
Reuniting for the fifth time (see further up) director Tony Scott with two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington (Glory, 1989; Training Day, 2001) – working alongside Star Trek’s Chris Pine – Unstoppable debuted with a barely acceptable $22.7 million from 3,207 theaters.
That’s a particularly unimpressive amount for a production that cost a reported $100 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).
Unstoppable vs. The Taking of Pelham 123
For comparison’s sake: The previous Tony Scott-Denzel Washington collaboration, the Sony Pictures-distributed The Taking of Pelham 123 (as it happens, revolving around a subway train), opened with $23.4 million in mid-June 2009, ending its run with a mediocre $65.5 million domestically and $84.7 million internationally. The worldwide total ($150.2 million) was far less than the amount needed to cover the thriller’s hefty $100 million production budget.
Despite the sure-to-come assistance from foreign moviegoers – big-budget action flicks perform especially well overseas – Unstoppable is undoubtedly about to suffer the same money-losing fate as The Taking of Pelham 123.
Besides Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, the Unstoppable cast includes Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Dunn, Kevin Corrigan, Kevin Chapman, T.J. Miller, and Jessy Schram.
Update: The Tony Scott & Denzel Washington collaboration Unstoppable ultimately collected a – relatively speaking – mediocre $81.6 million domestically and $86.2 million internationally. Worldwide total: $167.8 million.
That global cume was far less than the action thriller needed to break even at the box office.
Its top international markets were Japan ($12.8 million), China ($9.9 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($7.2 million), Australia ($6 million), France ($4.9 million), Spain ($4.2 million), Mexico ($4 million), and Russia/CIS ($3.2 million).
Unstoppable turned out to be Tony Scott’s final directorial effort. He killed himself at age 66 in August 2012.
Harrison Ford stars in one more box office dud
For the record, rounding out the Top Five movies on this past weekend’s domestic box office chart were:
- At no. 3, Todd Phillips’ road comedy Due Date with $15.4 million (down 53 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $58.9 million. Cast: Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis.
- At no. 4, Greg and Colin Strause’s alien invasion thriller Skyline debuted with $11.7 million from 2,880 venues. Cast: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, and Brittany Daniel. Distributor: Universal Pictures. Budget: A modest $10 million, which should make Skyline’s earthbound debut somewhat less painful.
- At no. 5, Roger Michell’s romantic comedy-drama Morning Glory, which debuted the previous Wednesday, is an outright flop after taking in $9.2 million from 2,518 venues. Cume: $11.8 million. Cast: Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson, and Jeff Goldblum. Distributor: Paramount Pictures. Budget: $40 million.
There was a time when Harrison Ford could do no wrong. Following Hollywood Homicide ($11.1 million debut), Firewall ($13.6 million), Extraordinary Measures ($6 million), and now Morning Glory, it looks like that’s no longer the case.
And just in case you’re wondering, the 2010 Morning Glory has no connection to the 1933 movie of the same name that earned Katharine Hepburn the year’s Best Actress Academy Award.
Update: Harrison Ford’s Morning Glory ultimately collected a disastrous $31 million domestically and $29 million internationally. Worldwide total: $60 million.
That means the romantic comedy-drama was an all-around box office bomb.
Morning Glory’s top international markets were Australia ($5.8 million), Russia/CIS ($3.1 million), Japan ($2.2 million), Spain ($2 million), France ($2 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($1.9 million), Germany ($1.8 million), and South Korea ($1.4 million).
”Unstoppable Movie Box Office” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “Unstoppable Movie Box Office: Latest Washington + Scott Thriller 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, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Unstoppable, Skyline, Morning Glory, 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.
Chris Pine Unstoppable movie image: Robert Zuckerman | 20th Century Fox.
Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford Morning Glory movie image: Macall Polay | Paramount Pictures.
“Unstoppable Movie Box Office: Latest Washington + Scott Thriller Underperforms” last updated in February 2023.