Valkyrie is recovering reasonably well from the crippling stroke of bad publicity that nearly killed it earlier this year. But only part of that is due to slightly better-than-average word on the street.
MGM is paying dearly for the rest according to the NY Post, which reports today that the studio has spent $70 million marketing the Tom Cruise thriller in advance of its Christmas opening. That's about twice the average promotional budget for a studio opening expected to gross less than $100 million, putting Valkyrie's total cost at close to $160 million. Remedial Hollywood math thus suggests that MGM and Cruise's United Artists require at least a $275 million theatrical gross to break even after exhibitors take their cut, which seems... unlikely, however much better the film is than we initially feared.
MGM tells the paper its spending is in line with the average, and the campaign will doubtless also trickle down to DVD and the studio's waning output deal with Showtime. Still, for what UA takes from MGM's coffers versus what it puts back, the Valkyrie returns hint that Cruise may yet have a $15 million Sundance entry in his future just to even things out. More on Valkyrie — including pinpoint-accurate opening-gross predictions, as always — in tomorrow's Defamer Attractions weekend preview.