Greatest films that flopped on release - Oddetorium

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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Greatest films that flopped on release

Greatest films that flopped on release

 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The archetypal sleeper hit, 'The Shawshank Redemption' was buried by the competition on its release in September 1994. Though critically acclaimed, it opened across the US on the same weekend as 'Pulp Fiction', and also took a beating from money-spinners 'Forrest Gump' and 'Stargate' in following weekends. It took just £9.7 million for the year, not even making the box office top 50. Though it scored a little more cash when re-released during Oscar season in 1995, making just over £17 million in total, it only recouped its budget plus £1.8 million.
Raging Bull (1980)

 Though it's considered by many as Martin Scorcese's magnum opus, 'Raging Bull' gave the director more than a few sleepless nights. Both the film's violence and the lack of a decent advertising campaign meant that it took some time to recoup its £10.9 million budget. Coupled with decidedly mixed reviews, Scorcese feared that it could have spelled the end for his career, particularly after its predecessor 'New York, New York' lost money. It eventually made £14 million theatrically, not a percentage that would impress today's studio money men.

Vertigo (1958)

 Vertigo is often cited as being one of the greatest films of all time, but its opening in 1958 was far from celebratory. The box office takings were average and the reviews were, at best, mixed. Fans of Alfred Hitchcock were said to be disappointed at the director's departure from his previous 'romantic thrillers', and Hitchcock himself later blamed the film's failure on the fact that his lead man Jimmy Stewart, who was 50 at the time, looked unconvincingly old to be 25-year-old Kim Novak's love interest. Its acclaim only arrived after it was re-issued in the early 80s.

Blade Runner (1982)

 Ridley Scott's film may have become hugely influential, but the 'Blade Runner' story couldn't have got off to a worse start. It grossed a bitterly disappointing £3.9 million on its opening weekend (considering its $28 million budget), primarily because its release coincided with sci-fi hits 'The Thing', 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' and 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial' which were also released in the summer of 1982. It also split critics who thought that its flashy special effects stood in place of a discernable plot, with the Los Angeles Times famously dubbing it 'Blade Crawler'.

Citizen Kane (1942)

 Orson Welles's 1942 masterpiece Citizen Kane became a cinematic benchmark, but it also enraged the powerful media mogul it based itself upon. William Randolph Hearst used his influence to cut it from a chain of 500 cinemas in the US, and even offered the studio behind it, RKO, £490,000 to destroy the negative. He also banned any mention of it from any of his publications. As such, and despite critical applause, it became a relative failure, losing £91,000 on its first run. It wouldn't receive its proper due until its revival in the 50s. It eventually only made double its budget.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Coen Brothers' follow-up to the dark and brooding 'Fargo' proved to be a bit of a dog at the box office (it eventually made just £1.2 million in profit), and there were reportedly even walk-outs during its first showing at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Early reviews were also lukewarm. Since then, it has become a bona fide cult classic, spawning various dedicated festivals across the world, and even The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, an online religion preaching the gospel of the film's lead character The Dude, played to the hilt by Jeff Bridges.

Harold & Maude (1971)

 Hal Ashby's bitter-sweet odd couple comedy about the relationship between a young man obsessed with death and a 79-year-old holocaust survivor was never going to be a hit from the outset. And true to form, it flopped at the box office thanks to the peculiarity of the relationship at its core, the subsequent bewilderment of a studio who had no idea how to market it and some scathing reviews. It has since, of course, become a cult hit, initially with the US college crowd and then the world over.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

 Though it is yet to become a classic, Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is an example of how everything can go right, until you reach the box office. Though it was hyped to the max and critically acclaimed, the likes of Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino declaring themselves fans before its release, it made an eye-watering loss of £7.9 million. Some critics noted the 'Comic-Con' effect as the issue, with the studios taking too much risk on the opinion of a marginal group of tastemakers unrepresentive of the US film-going public. Others, including some of its stars, said it was marketed poorly.

Source: Yahoo


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