As chief operating officer of Promenade Pictures, Cindy Bond had high hopes for The Ten Commandments, the first in a projected 12-part series of computer-animated "Epic Stories of the Bible," when it opened in theatres last October. But the film failed to make much of a splash, opening well out of the Top 20 and grossing less than a million dollars—on a project that cost $11.6 million to make.
The movie released to DVD last week, and Bond spoke to CT Movies about what went wrong—and how things might be different with their next film, a comedy about Noah's Ark due sometime around Easter 2009.
The Ten Commandments didn't do very well at the box office. Is it fair to say it bombed?
Bond: I don't think that's the case at all. You know what "bomb" has to do with? It has to do with how much it costs to produce the movie, and then how much they make at the box office and then the DVD. I mean, comparing our budget to what we made at the box office and what we're going to make on DVD, this movie will profit. Very few movies can boast that. A movie starring Brad Pitt [The Assassination of Jesse James] opened about the same time we did, that was made for a budget in $30 million range, and they only made I think north of $3 million. [Actually, Jesse James earned $4 million at the box office, and almost another $11 million at the foreign box office for a total of $14.7 million. The Ten Commandments, meanwhile, only earned $42,000 overseas, according to Box Office Mojo.]
Also, we didn't have an enormous amount of money in our marketing campaign, and we didn't have a lot of time. We only had about three months to market the movie, and our big focus was the grassroots side of the campaign, through the churches, and it takes a long ...1
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A Box Office Exodus?
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