Peter Jackson will be crossing his fingers for a drastic US box office improvement from his costly epic King Kong this week.
The director has a personal stake in the movie's financial performance, and last week that was not good.
King Kong cost more than $US200 million ($293m) to make - a Hollywood record - and that does not include millions in marketing costs.
Industry insiders were predicting the film would rival Titanic as the biggest box office hit in history, but the film has not come anywhere near that since it opened two weeks ago.
This is being blamed on the film's three-hour running time, insisted on by Jackson and partner Fran Walsh during production. They spent about $22.5 million of their own money after the length blew the budget.
There were hopes Kong would hit $US100m in its first five days, but the Los Angeles Times reported it made $US66.2m.
Around the world, it has made $US272.3m, and Fox News critic Roger Friedman said it was a "catastrophe in the making".
King Kong could turn into a "king-sized headache" for Universal, he said, probably because it was too long and had a slow middle section that should have been cut.
Jackson negotiated a $20m fee plus 20 per cent of gross profits, so his movie's failure to reach expectations will hit him in the back pocket.
Even Universal representatives have conceded the film is doing worse than expected.
Universal's vice-chairman, Marc Shmuger, blamed the slow start on the long running time.
He said the studio was expecting that US children would start buying tickets when their winter holidays began.
The film was still on track to be a blockbuster.