Fox Searchlight stands to lose anywhere up to just over $10 million on Nate Parker’s slave-rebellion drama “The Birth of a Nation” according to box-office prognosticators.
The specialty distributor purchased the film for a record $17.5 million at the Sundance Film Festival, and spent an estimated $18 million more on marketing. Opening to $7.8 million earlier this month, it plummeted 60% at the box office in its second weekend – too sharp a decline for a film hoping to play throughout awards season.
The film is now looking to top out at no more than $16 million or $17 million domestically and without Oscar attention is expected to only gross $5-10 million overseas. Revenue from U.S. home entertainment will offset the loss and is hoped to equal that of the domestic box-office gross.
Parker’s film was considered an Oscar frontrunner out of Sundance, and Searchlight presidents hoped for a repeat of “12 Years a Slave” which won best picture and grossed over $300 million worldwide. Now it’s expected Searchlight will pin much of its awards hopes on Pablo Lorrain’s “Jackie”.