"Lions for Lambs" fails to roar for United Artists

Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:22pm EST
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Lions for Lambs," the star-studded first film from United Artists since Tom Cruise and his longtime producing partner took over the fabled studio, has so far generated more yawns than roars at box offices.

After three weeks in theaters, the antiwar drama directed by Robert Redford with an A-list cast featuring Redford, Cruise and Meryl Streep, has grossed a meager $14 million in North American ticket sales and about $26 million more overseas.

That tally surpasses the $35 million reportedly spent to make the film, which was distributed domestically by UA parent company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and internationally by News Corp subsidiary 20th Century Fox.

Entertainment trade paper Daily Variety said the film was unlikely to gross more than $60 million in theatrical revenues worldwide and reported some industry watchers projecting the movie could lose as much as $25 million.

The film's anemic performance coupled with mostly negative reviews marked a disappointing start for the reconstituted studio that Cruise and onetime agent Paula Wagner took over after ending their producing deal at Paramount Pictures.

Their installation at UA, with Wagner as CEO, was touted a year ago as a revival of the storied but then-moribund studio, founded in 1919 by silent era stars Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and director D.W. Griffith.


Wagner acknowledged that "Lions for Lambs" failed to live up to expectations but defended the movie as worth making, both commercially and artistically.   Continued...

<p>Robert Redford (L) and Meryl Streep, stars of the film "Lions for Lambs", pose as they arrive for a screening of the film directed by Redford at the opening of the AFI Fest 2007 film festival in Hollywood November 1, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>