Paramount really, really wants to have the last laugh on World War Z. The far-too-expensive PG-13 zombie movie was picked in advance as one of the dogs of the summer, on account of it costing so much, having so many production problems and generally looking like shit. But the film performed, and it made some money. It may even be profitable, when the global totals are added up. Every pundit had to eat some crow.
But there's one milestone that World War Z has yet to hit and Paramount is scrambling like crazy to get there: $200 million. It's the new domestic version of $100 million, and it's a meaningless number. Most big movies cost over $100 million to make, and then you have marketing costs (often upwards of $50-70 million) and then theaters take their bite and etc etc etc; a movie that cost $120 million to make that earns $200 million at the box office lost money*. But $200 million domestic is, nonetheless, a bragging rights amount. It's enough to secure you a spot in the annual top ten.
UPDATE! A smart person in distribution contacted me and explained exactly why $200 million is so important, and it's more than bragging rights. It's pay TV! If World War Z passes 200, Paramount gets to ask a lot more money for it from HBO or whoever! It's a huge difference, like tens of millions of dollars more. Basically if Paramount bought all the seats at every show of this double feature they'd still make a bunch of money on the TV deal. The more you know!
And World War Z is $1.1 million away from it. It's so close Paramount can brush it with the tips of their fingers. And the studio will do anything to get there.
Earlier in the summer they rereleased the movie in IMAX, where it failed to do any business. The latest maneuver: they're rereleasing it on a double bill with Star Trek into Darkness. One ticket, two movies, one complete script between them.
This is a slow weekend at the box office, so Paramount is clearly hoping to coax people with bargain prices (although the films are in 3D, so there's a surcharge). I'm assuming all receipts will be counted for World War Z. Perhaps the studio thinks that the nerds who stayed away from World War Z because it bastardized Max Brooks' book will come in to see Star Trek again, despite that bastardizing Star Trek... and being available on VOD right now.
If they can't squeak out that extra million bucks expect World War Z to rise from the dead yet again at Halloween.
* In release. There's still cable sales, home video, licensing, etc. It's a complicated black art.