Perhaps this is the first evidence of the “Just Say No” campaign’s success, but instead of smoking, drugs or alcohol, it’s refusing crappy movies. For whatever reason, UIP has cancelled the Japan release of Universal’s Evan Almighty. Though the film was scheduled for a September release, UIP has dropped it from the schedule with no reason or explanation. Though it would be nice to think that this is a company standing up and saying “no” to a shit film, chances are slim that’s the case.
It’s more likely that the film’s Christian subject matter and Carell’s subtle comedy (“The Office” also hasn’t aired on Japanese television) is mismatched for Japanese culture. Additionally, Universal announced that it will turn over its Japan slate to Toho Towa in February of 2008. Culture and bruised business egos are the most likely culprits of the film’s Japanese demise, but it looks like Universal will be the only one taking a hit.
Universal is going to need a miracle from the Almighty himself to make back Evan’s budget. According to Deadline Hollywood, the film’s budget crept up to $210 million and claims that the film would need about $500 million to be “really profitable.” Universal spins this as a $175 million budge with a profit at $250 million world-wide. Still, $250 million is a painful benchmark when Box Office Mojo is reporting a take of approximately $92 million worldwide. As Hollywood’s most expensive comedy ever made, the absence of a Japan release is another hole in the film’s haul. It looks like nothing will keep this one afloat.
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