‘Hail, Caesar!’ Box Office Struggles in Opening Weekend

Hail, Caesar
Hail, Caesar! struggled at the box office in its opening weekend after being released on Feb. 5, 2016. The comedy had a budget of $22 million and only grossed approximately $11.4 million in its first weekend.


Hail, Caesar! is a comedy that follows Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) in Hollywood during the 1950s. Mannix works for Capitol Pictures as a Hollywood fixer, and his job consists of maintaining the clean reputation of both the company as well as the stars that they represent. He is mostly known for solving problems for the industry’s best stars and to also keep them away from controversy. Biard Whitlock (George Clooney), who is one of his clients, disappears from work during their working production of Hail Caesar, a Tale of Christ’s Life. Mannix, despite having assumptions that Whitlock might have spent the night drinking, finds himself having to solve this problem. He must do so without it being made known to the media. He soon finds out that Whitlock was kidnapped by communists, and they have requested a ransom for the trade of the actor.

Hail, Caesar! Cast Information

Hail, Caesar! was released in 2,222 theaters nationwide but still only brought in a low revenue. In comparison to this comedy, the animated film, Kung Fu Panda, was released the previous weekend. It still brought in double the revenue with $21 million in their second week. Hail, Caesar! was written and directed by Hollywood’s directing brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen. The Coen brothers chose an A-List cast. Despite this, however, Hail, Caesar! still struggled at the box office and had an unexpectedly low opening weekend.

Cast List

  • Josh Brolin – Eddie Mannix
  • Alden Ehrenreich – Hobie Doyle
  • George Clooney – Baird Whitlock
  • Ralph Fiennes – Laurence Laurentz
  • Tilda Swinton – Thora Thacker / Thessaly Thacker
  • Scarlett Johansson – DeeAnna Moran
  • Channing Tatum – Burt Gurney
  • Frances McDormand – C.C. Calhoun
  • Jonah Hill – Joseph Silverman

The all-star cast was all featured in the preview that was played in both theaters and on television. Tatum and Hill have previously worked and acted together in 21 Jump Street and its sequel, 22 Jump Street. They are considered to be a comedic duo in Hollywood, and most fans would expect similar characteristics in any film they would act in together. In Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL, Tatum dances in scenes without his shirt on and this tactic was also used in Hail, Caesar! when he breaks out in song and dance in a scene. Johannsson and Clooney both make appearances in the film, as they portray significant roles. Johannsson plays against type as a young and innocent, pregnant actress. She has usually portrayed similar, vixen-like roles in her previous films.

Joel and Ethan Coen

Other movies that were directed by the Coen brothers include Blood Simple (1984), Barton Fink (1991), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), True Grit (2010), Gambit (2012), Unbroken (2014), and Bridge of Spies (2015). They also directed Fargo (1996), which was adapted and recreated into the FX television series. It began airing in 2014.

The Coen brothers have limited movies that had significant opening weekend debuts, which also brought in large revenues. Hail, Caesar! was not the only film that struggled in box office revenue during its opening weekend. The Big Lebowski (1998) made $5.5 million and was released in 1,200 theaters. In 2004, The Lady Killers was released in 1,500 theaters and had a total opening weekend revenue of $12.6 million. Clooney also starred in a previous film directed by the Coen brothers, Intolerable Cruelty (2003), which debuted in 2,564 theaters, and despite having Clooney in the cast, it only brought in $12.5 million in its opening weekend.

By Tricia Manalansan
Edited by Leigh Haugh

CNN: Box office: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ fumbles with $11.4 million
IMDb: Hail, Caesar! (2016)
The Washington Post: Why ‘Hail, Caesar!’ lost in the weekend box office battle
Image Courtesy of Tom Blunt’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

One Response to "‘Hail, Caesar!’ Box Office Struggles in Opening Weekend"

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