Big budget productions that bombed

Big budget productions that bombed BLOG 3rd July 20182018


Big budget productions that bombed

 I spotted this item on the MSN site which I found interesting and opened my eyes. I always, quite wrongly, think that high profile items are always successful, apparently not. Read on:

Millions of dollars are piled into creating theatre productions, films, albums and books in the hope that they will become global hits, but they don’t always pull in the expected audiences. We take a look at 12 of the biggest entertainment flops of all time.

  1. Pippa Middleton’s book sells just 2,000 copies

She might be sister to the Duchess of Cambridge, but Pippa Middleton isn’t immune to failure. Her 2012 book Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends was much mocked and suffered from surprisingly poor sales, despite Pippa’s worldwide fame following her sister’s marriage.

Banking on Pippa’s royal links ensuring the book would be a big hit, she received a $557,000 (£400,000) advance for it. Embarrassingly it sold just over 2,000 copies in its first week and its cover price was soon slashed by 75% from $35 (£25) to $9 (£6.25).

  1. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography is also a flop

Another publication that didn’t fly off the shelves was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. First published in 2012, in the first week it sold just 21,000 copies and by the second week this was down to a lowly 6,000 sales.

Schwarzenegger set out on an intense publicity tour for the book, even attending the 2012 Frankfurt Bookfair, but sales remained flat and were certainly not enough to recoup the several million dollar advance that Arnie was believed to have received.

  1. Spice Girls musical loses $7 million (£5m)

It might have been called Viva Forever!, but the musical about the global success of the all-girl pop group the Spice Girls didn’t last long at all. It closed in 2013 after just six months on stage.

Written by British comedian Jennifer Saunders (pictured on the left), the reviews were not complimentary and ticket sales weren’t as high as anticipated. When the show closed early it was reported to have lost its backers $6.9 million (£5 million).

  1. Taboo: The Boy George Musical lost $10 million (£7.1m)

Taboo was a Broadway musical produced by actor and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell, featuring songs by Culture Club singer Boy George, both shown here at the opening. The show closed on 8 February 2004, less than three months after it debuted.

O’Donnell is reported to have invested $10 million (£7.1 million) of her personal fortune in the production. It’s unlikely she would have recouped much of this cash, however, as the show was losing money week after week.

  1. Carrie: The Musical lost millions

It was a best-selling novel for author Stephen King and the movie adaptation was a huge hit, but the stage musical of the horror story Carrie turned out to be nowhere near as popular. In fact Carrie: The Musical has gone down in history as arguably Broadway’s most infamous flop.

Carrie opened on Broadway on 12 May 1988 and just three days later it closed for good. Its backers are said to have lost around $7 million (£5 million) from the failed venture, around $11 million (£9 million) today.

  1. Lord of the Rings musical didn’t make its money back

A musical version of The Lord of the Rings ran for about a year at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London’s West End in 2007. Costing $34.8 million (£25 million), including $1.3 million (£1 million) spent on a revolving hydraulic stage, it was expected to run for a lot longer than a year to pull in a return on its investment.

The Lord of the Rings musical is billed as one of the most expensive flops in the history of London’s theaterland. It was hoping to fly on the coattails of the phenomenal success of the book’s film franchise, but it was panned by critics and ticket sales couldn’t sustain the stage production.

  1. Michael Jackson’s Invincible didn’t repeat past successes

Michael Jackson’s Thriller, released in 1982, still holds the title of the best-selling album of all time, selling around 65 million copies. His other albums Bad, released in 1987, and Dangerous, released in 1991, also sold 45 million and 32 million copies respectively. Understandably, the artist had high hopes for Invincible when it was released in 2001.

Invincible ended up selling six million copies, which most artists would be happy with, but going by Jackson’s previous sales history it was a massive flop. It is also one of the most expensive albums ever made, costing around $31.6 million (£22.6 million) to make at the time, around $41 million (£32 million) today, which wouldn’t have done anything to sweeten the blow.

  1. Gigli lost millions

The 2003 movie romcom Gigli, starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, which tells the story of two kidnappers who fall in love, reportedly didn’t even take enough to cover the two co-stars’ combined fees of $25 million (£17.9 million).

In total it’s estimated that the movie cost $54 million (£38.7m) to make, but it only grossed $7 million (£5m) from global sales at the box office. And while Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez did become a couple as a result of the movie, their relationship proved to be unsuccessful too.

  1. Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark lost $60 million (£45.1m)

U2 frontman Bono wrote the music for the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Spiralling production expenses led to it costing a reported $75 million (£53.8m) to produce, but the show’s backers were betting that it would be as successful as its film franchises.

What is thought to have been the most expensive theatrical production ever closed after three years on New York City’s Broadway. Despite grossing around $203 million (£145.6m), the musical’s running costs were an eye-popping $1 million (£720,000) a week, meaning it never made a profit. Ahead of the closure in January 2014 losses were estimated to be $60 million (£45.1m).

  1. Ben Affleck’s film Live By Night loses $75 million (£53.8m)

Sadly for Ben Affleck Gigli wasn’t his last big flop. The actor wrote, produced, directed and starred in the gangster movie Live By Night in 2016. Warner Bros, the studio behind it, is said to have lost $75 million (£53.8m) from the picture.

Despite being a passion project for the Oscar-winning Affleck, the mobster movie was panned by critics for its goofs and continuity errors. And DVD sales didn’t help make a dent in the deficit with sales totaling just $1.5 million (£1m).

  1. Bionic Woman reboot costs NBC $64.4 million (£50m)

Starring Michelle Ryan, who made her name in British TV soap EastEnders, NBC ploughed millions of dollars into its 2007 TV remake of the 1970s show The Bionic Woman. The pilot alone cost $7.4 million (£5.3m) to make and each additional episode a further $6 million (£4.3m) to produce.

NBC spent a further $15 million (£10.76m) promoting its Bionic Woman TV series, but the viewers didn’t get on board. The series was further blighted by a Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike mid-production and filming was never resumed once the strike was over. It was only on screen for eight episodes.

  1. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword loses $150 million (£107m)

Now legendary for all the wrong reasons, the movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, starring Charlie Hunnam, pictured, was a spectacular fail. The ‘flopbuster’ was released in May 2017 in 51 countries, none of which were wowed by the film, which has been criticized for its generic special effects and a clunky celebrity cameo from David Beckham.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword loses $150 million (£107m)

Directed by Guy Ritchie, the movie had a phenomenal $175 million (£125m) production budget but is reported to have a lost a jaw-dropping $150 million (£107m) for Warner Bros, making it one of the biggest and most expensive movie flops of all time.


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