The controversy about film making is just like the way Charlton Heston put it “The trouble with movies as a business is that it's an art, and the trouble with movies as art is that it's a business.” The intricacy of movie production entails the cost of budget which considering our current state of technology, if the theme is science fiction, would most certainly require costly props and special effects to convince the viewers. Choosing the right cast for the play will also determine the success at the box office. Credible,” most sought after” actors and actresses however will demand high pay for the role (which if the publicity and advertisement fails will still not guarantee the success of the film). In short, movie making without the budget to finance all expenses for the cast, set and promotions is a gamble. Just try to consider these films and even though you may be satisfied with it on screen, they sure made a big headache out of their directors and producers.
Cutthroat Island (1995)
A pirate movie which stars Geena Davis (A League of their Own) as a lady pirate, Matthew Modine (Private Joker in Full Metal Jacket) and Frank Langella (Skeletor in Masters of the Universe). This film was listed as the biggest film flop in the Guinness Book of World Records. I have personally watched this film and I was stunned and satisfied at Davis’ performance on the lead role. What could have gone wrong then? Maybe it was just a wrong chemistry as Davis then husband Renny Harlin directed and produced the film.
Film Production Cost : US $ 115,000,000.00 Gross Revenue: US $ 10,017,322.00
Net Losses: US $ 104,982,678
Sahara (2005)An action-adventure film based on Clive Cussler’s bestselling book, it stars Matthew McConnaughey, Penelope Cruz and Steve Zahn. I have no comments about the production of the film as I was quite satisfied how a cannon buried on desert sand for centuries could still fire a cannonball and hit a helicopter gunship.
Film Production Cost : US $ 241,000,000 Gross Revenue: US $ 119,269,486
Net Losses: US $ 121,730,514
The 13th Warrior (1999)A film having Antonio Banderas on the lead role as a Muslim who sought the company of Vikings in travelling to their kingdom battling monsters along the way, based on Michael Crichton’s book “Eaters of the Dead”. I am personally satisfied by this film considering the difficulties of laying out props of dead bodies and human skeletons at the lair of the cannibalistic tribe, “Wendols”. I supposed Michael Crichton’s role in taking over the last phase of the film’s production simply shows that graduating from Harvard Medical School and gaining a name in writing novels doesn’t guarantee another successful directorial role in turning one’s novel into a film. I presume this has the same connection as with Renny Harlin’s directorial role in having his wife on the lead role in Cutthroat Island. Being too personal about a subject tends to lose some aspect of professionalism, a speck of millions in financial loss.
Film Production Cost : US $ 160,000,000 Gross Revenue: US $ 61,698,899
Net Losses: US $ 98,301,101
The Postman (1997)
Based on a novel by David Brin, this film adaptation must have inspired Kevin Costner of earning a role as lead actor and director. Having Olivia Williams as leading lady, this film takes a post nuclear detonation future where governments are wiped out and a few surviving people try to pick up the pieces of starting life anew. Costner plays the role of a postman fighting against the oppressive army of survivors led by Gen. Bethlehem (Will Patton). As in the 3 previous movie flops, one could easily spot Costner’s double role as actor and director which (to me is a breach of the code of professionalism, being too personal with something).
Film Production Cost : US $ 80,000,000 * Gross Revenue: US $ 17,626,234
Net Losses: US $ 62,373,766
Red Planet (2000)
This was basically a sci-fi film based on a future where our planet has gone to the extent of overpopulation and pollution. A team of astronauts were sent to Mars to check the progress of terraforming operations in light of an option of relocating our species. The film stars Val Kilmer (Batman) and Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix). I recall watching this film failing to get into the flow of the story as I slept several times on my seat.
Film Production Cost : US $ 100,000,000 Gross Revenue: US $ 33,463,969
Net Losses: US $ 66,536,031
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)This was one of those Jules Verne-inspired movies which owing to the twist making it a comedy adventure film may have brought a factor of negative critic causing its bad performance in the box office. The movie plot also deviated from the actual story added by inconsistencies that if closely examined by the meticulous viewer shows prop elements in conflict with the time the story took place. Steve Coogan may have been a famous actor in the UK but his international impact may have been a factor to this movies’ failure which Jackie Chan’s wacky performance failed to save. It would have been a fitting chemistry for Robert Downey, Jr. taking the role in the lead having made a 5-fold gross revenue out of Sherlock Holmes ( US $ 516,767,822 out of US $ 90,000,000 budget) despite of negative media critics.
Film Production Cost : US $ 140,000,000 Gross Revenue: US $ 72,178,895
Net Losses: US $ 67,821,105
Stealth (2005)This movie has it all in creating a spectacular scene featuring the peak of UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) technology. Despite the line of hot cast to begin with Jessical Biel, the roles of Josh Lucas and Jamie Foxx may have placed a bed chemistry that didn’t clicked well with the taste of the moviegoers. Or anything not connected with the cast but with the theme of the film being a techno-thriller that adopted the old plot of “man versus machine” when the on board computer “EDI” goes haywire and fights back its operators. The cost of production may have a thing to do with the realistic mock-up of 3 single seat, full scale F/A-37 Talon jets used in the film.
Film Production Cost : US $ 138,000,000* Gross Revenue: US $ 76,932,872
Net Losses: US $ 61,067,128
Full scale mock up of the F/A -37 Talon which looked like the real thing
Catwoman (2004)This movie has the same trademark of other superhero film genres. You have to believe in the impossible and out of this world stuffs in order to buy the idea. If you don’t have the inclination to fantasize and be lost at imaginings, this film will not entertain well. I suppose all the people all over the world were just not at the mood to lose grip of the reality to get entertained the reason why this film has a poor performance during the time it was shown. As for me I could remember well when I have lost track of the flow of the sorry after napping on the cinema seat. This was one of those films where I was tempted to close my eyes a bit while.
Film Production Cost : US $ 135,000,000 Gross Revenue: US $ 82,102,379
Net Losses: US $ 52,897,621
Windtalkers (2002)This film has Nicolas Cage’s credible performance as a marine soldier in fighting Japanese Forces in the Solomon Islands. His assignment in protecting Navajo code talkers became the central focus of this film and gave it a different twist against other war movies. Directed by John Woo who also got the directorial job in having Cage caged at Face/Off, what could have made this movie a failure? Well I suppose it was the same old reason that film making is indeed a gamble. John Woo sure did made quite a profit in Face/Off but this is just the downside of his directorial job.
Film Production Cost : US $ 115,000,000* Gross Revenue: US $ 77,628,265
Net Losses: US $ 37,371,735
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
This film was one of Harrison Ford’s best film performances as a Soviet naval officer in a fact-based fictional movie about the first nuclear powered Soviet submarine launched in 1959. The undersea drama was what made this film unique and compelling when the sub’s captain must maintain control under pressure amidst a brewing mutiny of command and the added pressure of emergency issues when the nuclear reactors powering the sub began to leak exposing the crew who were tasked to fix the problem in radiation poisoning and impending death. Despite of the film’s near perfect cast and performance however, the gross profit didn’t get past the production cost. I suppose the nature of the submarine (from where the story was based) being jinxed has something to do with it (or how you may take it).
Film Production Cost : US $ 100,000,000* Gross Revenue: US $ 65,716,126
Net Losses: US $ 34,283,874
Note: Film Production Cost with asterisk doesn’t include marketing costs
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutthroat_Island http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara_(2005_film) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_13th_Warrior http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Postman_(film) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Planet_(film) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Around_the_World_in_80_Days_(2004_film) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stealth_(film) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catwoman_(film) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windtalkers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-19:_The_Widowmaker