Hollywood Flops

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in "Gigli", 2003. COLUMBIA PICTURES

So there were wagging fingers and cackling galore in the wake of the
release of the film "Gigli" starring Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.

Produced at a cost of $54 million dollars, Gigli took in just $3.8 million during its first weekend. Some movie observers expect that by the time the smoke clears, Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures will lose $30 million on "Gigli".

Genuine disasters like "Gigli" are enough to make studio
executives wonder what the world and their careers would have been like
if the movie had never been made.

Well, if it's any consolation, there have been plenty of high-profile
flops with big name stars before.

Consider "Cleopatra" with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, whose
real-life love story had far more popular appeal than the story they
acted out on the screen. That 1963 movie cost $44 million to make, but
took in just $26 million at U.S. box offices.

Gallop forward to 1980 and "Heaven's Gate", a title which has become
virtually synonymous with box-office failure. Produced at a cost of $36
million dollars, "Heaven's Gate" had a domestic gross of just $3
million.

Surely no studio mogul would wish to add "Ishtar" to his or her credit.
In 1987, Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman's travelogue burned up $55
million, but took in just $12.7 million.

And, however Arnold Schwarzenegger does as a first-time political
candidate, he must hope he does better than he did as "The Last Action
Hero". In 1993, the movie cost $80 million to make, while drawing in just
$26 million at the box office.

Two years later, no studio executive seemed capable of cutting
"Cutthroat Island's" $100 million budget. Moviegoers were more
economical, shelling out just $9.9 million.

Last year, Eddie Murphy showed just how out-of-this-world movie
expectations can be, when his "Adventures of Pluto Nash" raked in just
$4.4 million on a $100 million outlay.

But before studio executives wish too hard that these movie projects had
never been born, they should remember the story of Frank Capra's "It's A
Wonderful Life." That 1946 movie went too much over budget and despite Jimmy Stewart as the star, it was a box-office bust.

Yet, many years and many TV revivals later, it's a wonderful classic.
So there may be hope for a movie like "Gigli" yet.

All it needs is a guardian angel who's looking to earn his wings.

  • Violet Feng

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