While the scrappy determination that led independent animation house Fathom Studios to bring an animated feature to the big screen is admirable, the box-office results were not so commendable. It turns out that Delgo bares the distinction of having the worst wide opening in box-office history. Over the weekend, it earned just $511,920 in 2,150 theaters for a dismal per-theater average of $237. The record was previously held by last year’s parking-garage thriller P2, which bowed to $2.1 million in 2,131 venues.
Several factors play into Delgo’s poor theatrical performance. The film was essentially self-distributed through Freestyle Releasing, a for-hire distributor, a costly endeavor which apparently left little money for marketing as the film slipped into theaters with a whisper. The producers made good use of free publicity by stringing out their casting announcements with a series of press releases a few years ago, but there was little ink for the movie in the days leading up to the release. Reviews were largely unkind, and it didn’t help that it had to compete with big-studio animated releases Bolt from Disney and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa from DreamWorks Animation, which are still drawing in family audiences.
The first feature from Atlanta, Georgia-based Fathom, the fantasy-adventure tale takes place in a magical land where two civilizations are brought together by an outlawed romance and the heroics of some unlikely friends. The star-studded voice cast includes Freddie Prinze Jr. (Scooby-Doo), Jennifer Love Hewitt (Garfield: The Movie), Anne Bancroft (The Graduate), Val Kilmer (Batman Forever), Chris Kattan (Monkeybone), Kelly Ripa (Fly Me to the Moon), Eric Idle (Monty Python’s Flying Circus), Michael Clarke Duncan (Planet of the Apes), Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek Generations), Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights) and Lou Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman). Aside from its opeing box-office figures, the film will be most notable for boasting the final performance of Bancroft, a screen legend who died in 2005.