MGM: We Got Nicked On ‘Dragon Tattoo’

When is a 231% profit a loss? Apparently when MGM says it is. At least that is the implication one could draw from this recent report in the Los Angeles Times:

Returns of $231 million in worldwide box office wasn’t enough to turn a profit on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer disclosed in financial results released this week that it is booking what Co-Chief Executive Gary Barber called a “modest loss” on the film. On a conference call with shareholders, he said the independent studio, which covered 20% of the approximately $100-million production budget for the movie co-financed and distributed by Sony Pictures, needed “Dragon Tattoo” to collect about 10% more revenue in order to break even.

As a result, he said that while talks with Sony are ongoing for a potential sequel based on the second book in the “Millennium” trilogy by author Stieg Larsson, MGM would participate only “assuming we can achieve better economics” — Hollywood-speak for a lower budget.

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5 Responses to MGM: We Got Nicked On ‘Dragon Tattoo’

  1. Marilyn says:

    Well good for MGM. If the franchise continues here’s how to make money: (a) hire an actress to play the lead character and not a ‘walking costume’ (b) watch the Swedish films and copy as closely as possible (c) fire Fincher and hire someone with talent beyond a music video or a car commercial.
    That’s a start.

  2. kenney says:

    It has nothing to do with the superb cast. Just don’t have the movie open during Christmas or the beginning of the summer. Release it in Feb like they did with the Silence of the Lambs.

  3. SHC says:

    Achieveing “better economics” shouldn’t be that difficult since the Swedish wera able to make a far superior film for between 6 and 7 million. I agree with Marilyn, although Rooney had a few good moments. Fincher and Zallian were predominantly clueless on this one.

    Take a lesson from “John Carter.” A quarter billion dollars to produce absolute garbage. More money does not a good film make. With good source material assumed, the final factor is Ability.

  4. kenney says:

    Please, the Swedish version looked like an extended version of Law and Order. The only good cast was Noomi except that she was too attractive for the part. But her toughness and fierceness in portraying Lisbeth was exceptional. Fincher’ take was also exceptional because it stayed closely to the book. I despise all with their noses in the air trying to pretend to be so culturally superior. Did you like the original book that was published in Swedish or was the English translation a poor substitute. I got some cheese stamped from France but it’s really just from Wisconsin. I bet you guys wear designer labelled jeans instead of Wranglers because in your worldview, anything American is less than. Get off your snooty high horse.

  5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a masterwork of fine craftsmanhip. When I reached the final page I was disappointed that there was no more to read. I did not want the story to end. The characters are too intriguing for this to be the end. Lisbet’s story would have made an incredible novel on its own. She has Aspergers and is trapped in an awful school /social system with no advocates and non-existent mental health services. It is really dark in its themes somewhat like the Kite Runner. The complex mystery, thriller aspects are really good, and then the whole other aspects of the novel which is also a social comment on society in Sweden, journalistic ethics, misogyny, and gut-wrenching sexual violence. So prepare to be disturbed by the darkness it depicts.

    All in all, its one of the best mystery /thrillers I’ve read from the last decade. In fact comparing it to the Da Vinci Code, the characters are not simplistic one dimensional cut outs at all. The rich characterizations and explorations of dark behaviour remind me of Elizabeth George. This is a superb novel and impossible to put down.

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