MGM Posts A Loss On David Fincher’s ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

Although not quite in the same league as JOHN CARTER and it’s big hit on Disney, the MGM remake of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO didn’t pull in the numbers that the studio had expected. Posting a worldwide gross of circa $230 million on a $90 million budget + marketing and advertising –  MGM representative Gary Barber says:

“…it is below our expectations and we booked a modest loss… [we] were hoping we’d do 10% more than we did.”

It’s widely reported that the U.S. book sales of the novel were north of 18,000,000 copies and awareness for the trilogy, with thanks to the preceding Swedish films, were high. People knew the brand. So what does this all mean? What else do we know? Well looking into the production history it was known that the casting of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander was a battle director David Fincher fought and fought to win, she wasn’t a bankable star and both Sony and MGM expressed reservations in her casting. (But hey lookout she got an oscar nomination for it). We also know that the original cut of the film Fincher turned in ran over 3 hours long and anyone in the movie business knows that the longer it runs, the less sessions you can get which minimises the opportunity for ticket sales. The film got cut down to a hefty 158 minutes. It also received a hard R rating in the states (Aussie – MA) which, on a $90m budget, is a baulking prospect to return sales – this wasn’t so much of an issue as everyone knew, with the subject matter of the novel, you couldn’t get away with anything less than that. There was also the famed Studio and Fincher headbutting throughout the production. Fincher is an auteur and has a reputation for delivering critical hit after hit but with that comes his temperament – conflicts cause delays, delays cause increases in spending and concerns in the marketplace.

As the film is due to hit home entertainment in the coming months, all eyes will be watching on rentals and sales to see how it performs. Why? Well remember there are 2 sequels in the pipeline for it and the big question will be – Will THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE go ahead? And if so, will Fincher be on board to direct it?