- Box Office: $2,308,467 (so far)
- Budget: $10 million
John Travolta heads this biopic about crime boss John Gotti, in a production history which might have more twists and turns than the actual finished film. Shifting actors, directors, and focus since development kicked off in September of 2010, Gotti finally released last weekend under peculiar circumstances, a Rotten Tomatoes zero-score, and a paltry $1.9 million opening, a distant reach from a $10 million budget.
That budget — or that box office take — leaves out a lot of details, though. For instance, Joe Pesci sued Fiore Films after being recast and handed a pay-cut, and the mysterious sum they settled for out of court can probably be functionally added to the final Gotti cost. Lionsgate famously dropped the film late last year and sold back its rights, a mere two weeks prior to its originally intended release date. And then you factor in MoviePass, who has an equity stake in Gotti, and apparently accounted for 40% of movie tickets “sold.”
All in all, a documentary about the making of Gotti might possibly see a better opening weekend.
- Box Office: $32,732,301
- Budget: $40 million
Adapted from writer Jeff VanderMeer’s resplendent, unnerving science fiction novel (the first entry in a trilogy) and helmed by fan-favorite filmmaker Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Dredd), Annihilation did not end up a successful collaboration of talents. The film was very possibly doomed from the start with its documented on-set frustrations, the total lack of overseas theater distribution, and some heady subject matter which eventually took significant script detours from its source material.
Prior to coming out in the U.S., Annihilation rights were sold to Netflix for overseas streaming, completely dodging an international theater release. Rumors described a testy relationship between Garland and Paramount, and the film drew a few “white-washing” critics when Natalie Portman was cast as the lead (VanderMeer’s trilogy describes the main character as Asian-American, though this is not articulated in the first novel).
Failing to match its $40 million budget with a $32 million domestic gross, a speedy transition to digital home media may eventually float Annihilation into a reasonable profit point. Critics loved it, CinemaScore gave it a C, but time will tell if Garland’s relative financial dud will result in an eventual cult classic.
4. Death Wish
- Box Office: $48 million
- Budget: $30 million
Eli Roth’s Death Wish might’ve been the remake nobody wanted, at a time when firearm-toting vigilantes were losing more and more value as cinematic heroes in the public eye. With a script penned by Narc’s Joe Carnahan and a lean $30 million budget, it was the perfect storm for a dud with a firm 18% Rotten Tomatoes score.
Death Wish’s box office may have eventually landed on a respectable-sounding $48 million, but after factoring in marketing costs, things look a lot less rosy. It’s all a far cry from Roth’s Hostel in 2006, an early torture-porn film which grossed $80.6 million to its $5 million budget, riding a number one opening weekend.
While Death Wish’s release date was jockeyed around due to the increase in U.S. school shootings, it was possibly never going to find the right time to launch in 2018. Whether the film would’ve been better received in a different year, or era, remains a mystery.