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David Fincher’s take on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo recently arrived on DVD and Blu-ray backed by five Oscar nominations (including a Best Actress nom for Rooney Mara) and one Oscar win for film editors Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter. But a new headline is dogging the production, one that suggests MGM took a significant financial hit on the remake.
MGM Holdings CEO Gary Barber told investors (via Deadline) that the studio - which co-financed the production with Sony- "booked a modest loss" on Dragon, which has banked roughly $231M at the worldwide box office. "It is below our expectations," Barber explained, estimating that executives within the company "were hoping we’d do 10% more than we did."
As for the proposed sequels, Barber said that MGM – which retains the option to co-finance with Sony once again – is interested in a partnership "assuming we can achieve better economics."
The Deadline report goes on the map out MGM’s financial partnerships with other studios on projects like 21 Jump Street and The Hobbit, but we’re keeping our focus on the two Tattoo sequels. The proverbial "belt" might have to be tightened to better meet diminished expectations for adaptations of Steig Larsson’s second and third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and The Girl Who Played with Fire. Reports at the time of Dragon's release suggested that Mara and Daniel Craig locked in for sequels, but Fincher had not, and might not be interested in the time commitment if he has to scale down his vision for financial reasons.
There’s no reason to think Sony wouldn’t move forward with Dragon Tattoo follow-ups. The film was successful enough, it seems, and the Oscar recognition only helps a studio when they are contemplating the strength of a franchise. But the remaining two films might now be as polished … which, come to think of it, might fit Larsson’s material even better.