Posted August 23, 2012 by Myke Friscia in Movies




In the early 1990’s, director/producer Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliff Hanger, Deep Blue Sea), set out to make an epic film that he felt was going to return Hollywood back to it’s “Golden Age”, or a fantasy film for audiences of all ages.  The epic swashbuckling pirate tale called Cutthroat Island began filming on Thailand’s Maya Beach, (the same locale as in Leo’s “The Beach”).  Elaborate sets were constructed for what would be at the time the most expensive film ever made.  Renny Harlin cast his wife Geena Davis as the lead female pirate named Morgan Adams who starred opposite Matthew Modine.

When production completed, the movie cost around 115 million dollars.  It was released in 1995 with very little promotion and flopped miserably.  It’s total world wide gross was  just over $18.5 million for a total loss of $96.5 million.  Percentage loss wise and total dollar loss wise, it became the biggest flop in movie history.  It was listed in the Guinness book of World Records as the biggest box office flop of all time.  Since then, there have been a few movies that have actually lost more.  But If you inflation adjust it’s loss for today’s dollar value, it’s a record that still holds.

Box  office numbers deemed it a failure, but what did people who watched it think of the movie?  Reviews were mixed but heavily weighing on the negative side.  On Rotten Tomatoes, of over 21K reviews, 59% of viewers didn’t like the movie.  On IMDB, 13,500 reviewers gave it an average of 5.4 out of 10 stars, with less than 20% giving it above a 7 out of 10.  On Netflix, 391K reviews netted an average of 2.8 out of 5 stars.  The ones that hated it, really hated it.  But there are many who moderately liked it to loved it.

Some critics in retrospect called it a career killer for Geena Davis, who since then can only brag about the Stuart Little franchise.  Matthew Modine was a bit disappointed and said it caused him to re-examine his career.  Since then he has piled high the screen credits including Weeds, Law and Order SVU, The West Wing, Any Given Sunday, and many, many more.  Look for him in the upcoming Batman movie as Deputy Commissioner Foley.

Here’s a list of Hollywood’s biggest movie disasters.  How many have you seen?  How many will you admit to?  How many of these stinkers starred Academy Award nominees/winners?  I’ve seen 7 of these disasters myself.   Speed Racer was the biggest stinker of all in IMO.   I liked Stealth and the 13th Warrior though.

Movie                            Budget        Revenue      Loss

  1. Cutthroat Island        115              18.5               96
  2. The Alamo                  145              25.8             119
  3. Pluto Nash                 120                7.1              113
  4. Sahara                         241             119.3            121
  5. Mars Needs Moms    175                39              136
  6. The 13th Warrior       160                61.7           98
  7. Town & Country        105                10.4           94
  8. Speed Racer               200                94            106
  9. Heaven’s Gate              44                3.5             40
  10. Stealth                         170.8              77             94

Sahara with Matthew McConaughey was remade for those who loved the original, but wished it was terrible.

Myke Friscia

Screenplay Analyst, Writer, Director of Development for Gallagher Literary Management, Little Monster. "Words are my Passion".