Fox 2000‘s The Fault In Our Stars just crossed $100M domestically to become one of the most profitable films released in 2014. On a $12M negative (not counting marketing and distribution costs), the film based on the best-selling John Green book is also besting Twilight’s opening in the UK and in Brazil. In fact, in Brazil, where the World Cup is in full swing, the tearjerker is on fire and remains the top market for overseas where it has earned $18.2M to date. And, how surprising is this? In Brazil, in 11 days it surpassed the lifetime gross of not only Twilight, but also The Hunger Games and Divergent (which featured Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as brother and sister). Fox can thank their international distribution team of Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus and their staff.
The international cume is now $64.9M a for a worldwide cume of over $165M. How cool is that for these two young actors? Elgort and Woodley’s stars have been rising and now they are certified international presences. Great news for the filmmakers who just signed Elgort in Van Cliburn. As my colleague Mike Fleming reported exclusively yesterday, Elgort will star in a movie about the famous Texas-born pianist who rose to prominence during the Cold War between Russia and the U.S. It’s also great news for Lionsgate Films, where Woodley and Elgort are currently shooting the Divergent sequel Insurgent. Elgort will next be seen in Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children opposite Adam Sandler.
So how did it all happen? Best-selling book, well-done marketing and distribution and those twentysomethings who live and breathe on social media made it soar. Not only did Green have a best-seller, but he had own following from his YouTube channel, the Vlogbrothers, which he has been doing with his brother, Hank, for the past seven years. It has over 2.1M subscribers, which my colleague David Bloom reported on as social media engagement for Fault was tracking off the charts. So from that, Green already had millions of followers on social media.
Next, the filmmakers producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey (who are also behind Van Cliburn) did some nudging to Fox 2000 exec Elizabeth Gabler. Yes, she had a best-selling book to work with but it was a love story with about kids dying from cancer. It was a risk. She hired director Josh Boone and smartly kept the budget in line and pushed it forward with a very good adaptation by writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. Seriously now, why bring in Stacey Snider when the studio already has Gabler? The exec is already known for her great taste in movies which have proven to be of high quality and commercial (Life Of Pi, The Devil Wears Prada). Erin Siminoff was the day-to-day production person who watched over this little film.
Then there was that perfectly devised trailer done by Cami Sargent. Fox knew a good thing when it saw it and kept the same trailer in play for a long while. If it ain’t broke, you know. Credit must go to those in Marc Weinstock’s marketing staff, including George Dewey’s digital team and Heather Phillips and Robin Davids in publicity. Those in distribution include Chris Aronson and Spencer Klein. Great job all around.