When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.


The Cinderella story has been told onscreen close to 10 times, if you include the Jerry Lewis version. Disney, which told the best version in the classic 1950 animated film, went back to the well after the success of Alice In Wonderland, to tell the story for the umpteenth time, this time in live action. Kenneth Branagh directed, Lily James played the title character and Cate Blanchett played the deliciously evil stepmother. Would the wish-fulfillment tale capture a new audience of young girls?

Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

Disney played this one smartly, from pre-launching the film at the global venue that is the Berlinale to preceding it with a short film featuring the characters from its smash franchise Frozen. A reasonable $95M budget, made possible by the subject matter being public domain and therefore free. Limited participations, and a $542M global gross meant big time profits for Disney. The studio realized a net profit of $164M, and a Cash on Cash Return of 1.53. The only way this could have worked out better is if there was an easy sequel. An easier route is for Disney to find other public domain tales, dust them off, and watch them find new audiences.