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Weird WikiLeaks movie crafted by Domscheit-Berg is year's biggest box office flop. And then some.

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TINSELTOWN (Rixstep) — It's official, says Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes, the DreamWorks fiasco The Fifth Estate has gone down in flames as few films before it.

Based on a new rewrite by Daniel Domscheit-Berg of his own earlier rewrite of recorded history, the turkey was so 'out there' and ridiculous that even those unfamiliar with the background story found it ridiculous. And that says a lot.

DreamWorks bought the rights to DDB's book a mere 16 days after publication in 2011, but long before the critics laughed at it worldwide.

Scrambling into damage control mode again, DDB got himself hired on as a script consultant and began rewriting his own apocryphal history a second time.

It didn't work.

DDB had screenwriter Josh Singer transplanting DDB's 'wife and equal' Anke Domscheit from Berlin to Wiesbaden, moved DDB from Wiesbaden to Berlin, put Anke at DDB's employer EDS in Rüsselsheim, and gave her a Hollywood fountain of youth potion that reduced her age from early 40s to early 20s and suddenly made her 'stunning'.

Then he had the famous WikiLeaks submission system turned from a bunch of bits and bytes into a vast office room with no horizon (but with a sand floor) and a physical mail slot where electronic submissions dropped through in plain brown envelopes.

Perhaps best of all is how - strictly under DDB's guidelines - he transformed DDB's notorious fits of destructive rage into heroic acts to save all of mankind.

But absolutely best of all is how DDB got Singer to put DDB back in the centre of the action for all of 2010 when in fact DDB was nowhere to be seen.

Tinseltown may be famous for sugar-coating the truth, but The Fifth Estate wasn't a coating.


The Fifth Estate did miserably in the UK on opening weekend 11 October, and even worse in the US a week later. DreamWorks and Disney waited out a second week, then pulled the flop from nearly 2,000 screens and sent it straight to pay-per-view and DVD. The full appreciation of how bad the movie fared is not easy to comprehend.

Dorothy Pomerantz at Forbes sums it up today.

  • TFE had a budget of $28 million. (Pretty cheap actually.)
  • DreamWorks and Disney are estimated to have spent an equal amount on promotion. (Anyone suffering through the October media blitz can testify to this.)
  • Studios get only about 50% of the box office anyway.
  • TFE opened at 1,769 screens in the US but closed after only two weekends, pulling in all told $6 million.

That means that DreamWorks and Disney made back possibly $3 million on outlays of over $50 million.

Karma indeed.

See Also
Forbes: 2013's Biggest Turkeys: The Films That Flopped

The Technological: Anke Domscheit Time Traveler
The Technological: The WikiLeaks Submission System
The Technological: The Life and Times of the Leberkäse Kid

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