According to The Wrap, Annapurna Pictures has run into financial difficulties as of late, culminating in the “jettisoning of two upcoming films with marquee talent” and the exit of its film division head.
In the past 18 months, Annapurna has released a slate of politically left-leaning films, from Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” to the Lakeith Stanfield vehicle “Sorry to Bother You.” More from The Wrap:
The studio has produced or co-produced many prestige projects that have won accolades — from Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’ to Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ to David O. Russell’s ‘American Hustle’ — but insiders say that Ellison has overspent on many of them.
The challenges have been exacerbated by Annapurna’s decision to launch its own distribution division last year instead of working with the majors as co-producers and distribution partners and spreading the risk.
‘Detroit,’ a prestige 2017 project by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, cost $40 million, but made only $16 million at the box office and lost the company tens of millions of dollars after a major marketing spend, according to two knowledgeable individuals.
Most recently, “The Sisters Brothers,” starring John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix, earned just $730,000 after the studio purchased the North American rights for $7.5 million.
Coming in December, Annapurna will be releasing the Christian Bale star vehicle “VICE,” in which Bale plays former Vice President Dick Cheney opposite Sam Rockwell playing President Bush. The film is reported to have cost a “bloated $60 million to produce” when it should have cost only half that. Factor in marketing cost and the film hasn’t got a prayer.
“There is a financial issue going on,” a source told The Wrap. “Her dad has put a lot of money into the company and I don’t think he wants to support her behavior and what’s been going on. There are restraints — the money is not flowing.”
Annapurna also recently dropped its slated film about Fox News founder Roger Ailes just three weeks away from starting production. It had been approved for a whopping $35 million budget.
A source close to Megan Ellison says she has been making political passion projects with zero regards for financial cost or box office potential.
“She makes bad decisions,” the source said. “She wanted to chase all these expensive movies that weren’t going to make money, and she said, ‘I don’t care whether they make money.’ That’s not how you run a company.”