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10 movie classics that failed at the box office

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Sometimes when a work (be it a movie, book, series, etc.) is badly received by critics or the public, it has become common to hear from its advocates that such content is ” ahead of its time”. Over the years, the statement has taken on an ironic air on the Internet, especially with the nickname “misunderstood legend”. However, the history of cinema shows us that sometimes the idea is not so far removed from reality.

If the Seventh Art is full of stories of films that have been a total failure, it also proves that time can be a great ally in proving that, yes, every now and then box office failure will be rewarded with recognition. late. Therefore, we have listed 10 movie classics that the audience did not like at first.

Citizen Kane

Launched in 1941 and revered today as a landmark work in cinema, “ Citizen Kane ” is Orson Welles’ first feature film, then at the age of 26. Upon release, the film was a box office failure despite positive reviews.

This happened because, when mogul William Randolph Hearst found out that Charles Foster Kane’s story was a free-to-play adaptation of his own life, he banned mention of the film in his vehicles. Many cinemas chose not to show it, fearing retaliation. So the film, with a budget of $ 840,000, made an initial loss of $ 160,000.

“Citizen Kane” won 9 Oscar nominations, but only won the award for Best Original Screenplay. Eventually, he returned to the public eye when he began to be hugely praised by leading critics, such as André Bazin. After its relaunch, it hit a total of $ 1.6 million at the box office.

Happiness cannot be bought

Happiness cannot be bought

Only the story of the resurgence of “Happiness does not buy” would already make a film. Doomed when it was launched in 1946, the film was quickly forgotten, even sinking the career of the director, Frank Capra, and leading the production company, Liberty Films, to bankruptcy.

The turnaround took place in 1974 when, under the Copyright Act of 1909, Republic Pictures’ rights to the film were won. Whether by mistake or negligence, the rights were not renewed and the film fell into the public domain.

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It was then that he finally emerged from the ashes and became an unprecedented success. And, since distributors and exhibitors could stream it for free, it was really everywhere.

In 1991, Republic Pictures managed to recover the rights to the feature film, when its success was more than consolidated.

The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford

With a budget of $ 30 million, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Cowardly Robert Ford” only raised $ 15 million at the global box office. This is because the movie was the reason for a clash between Warner Bros. and the director, Andrew Dominik, who disagreed on the cut and length. The film had been finished since 2005, and in 2007 the studio gave up the commercial potential of the work, released on a limited circuit.

The film received excellent reviews from critics, but failed to expand its circuit enough to generate a profit. In the US it has managed a maximum of 301 rooms, a very low number, and in some international markets it has gone straight to DVD.

Despite this, it received two Oscar nominations and appeared on dozens of 2007 Best Film lists. Over the years, its fan base has only grown.

The informant

With a budget of $ 68 million, “The Informant” raised a total of $ 31.2 million. Michael Mann’s feature film starring Al Pacino, Russell Crowe and the late Christopher Plummer was Disney’s bet for awards season, but was the target of a retaliatory campaign that ultimately caused its financial failure.

The film is the fictionalized version of a segment of the CBS show “60 Minutes,” which attempted to discredit Jeffrey Wigand, a tobacco industry informant, and reporters who denounced the story published in 1996 by Vanity Fair. .

“The Informant” received excellent reviews from critics, but due to the public campaign, it did not reach the public. Despite this, he received seven Oscar nominations and eventually found his place in the sun.

Blade Runner, the Android hunter

Blade Runner, the Android hunter

Now considered a masterpiece of science fiction, “Blade Runner the Hunter of Androids” had a budget of $ 30 million and ended its stint in the cinema with a modest gain of $ 41 million. dollars.

Adapted from the work of Philip K. Dick, the film initially received mixed and negative reviews, indicating a storyline that was losing room for exaggerated visual effects, or extremely slow and problematic pacing.

In addition, it ran into competition issues at the time, as it released the same year as “ET – The Extraterrestrial”, “Star Trek II” and “Conan the Barbarian”. While the public was interested in fantasy and science fiction films, works with a more universal and simpler message ended up winning over the majority of the public.

Fight Club

Despite being considered one of the most iconic films in David Fincher and Brad Pitt’s careers, ‘Fight Club’ only made $ 100 million at the total box office, out of a budget of $ 63 million. of dollars.

The big problem seems to have been the distribution strategy used by Fox, who chose to sell it as a wrestling film, from a big studio and with big stars, instead of accepting the suggestion of Fincher, who idealized a marketing that presented the work as a psychological thriller, and create word of mouth before the premiere.

In 2019, Edward Norton reinforced this theory in an interview with PeopleTV (via EW). He said the cast refused to sell the film with the idea of ​​a work critical of capitalism and toxic masculinity.

Donnie Darko

Costing just $ 4.5 million, “Donnie Darko” barely paid for itself, with a total turnover of $ 7.5 million. Although it was well received by critics, the film struggled to score theaters due to the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11. The feature includes a plane crash, which crashes into a house, leading its distributor, Pandora, to limit the circuit and postpone the international release.

Ultimately, the film built its loyal fan base and built its reputation to this day.

The Wizard of Oz

Although it is now part of the pantheon of classics, “The Wizard of Oz” had a budget of $ 2.7 million and, when initially launched in 1939, raised only $ 3 million.

Despite being widely received by critics since then, the film only gained popularity with re-releases and home video displays, especially when CBS acquired its television broadcast rights and began showing it frequently. holidays and celebrations from the 1950s.

‘A dream of freedom’

Given the popularity of “A Dream of Freedom”, it’s hard to even imagine a time when the film failed in theaters. However, the drama didn’t even hit $ 1 million over the opening weekend, having opened with empty rooms according to a report from Vanity Fair. Eventually, he left the circuit after raising a total of $ 16 million, not even close to the $ 25 million budget. With the raise alone, it hit US $ 28 million.

Among the initial failure theories is the complicated-to-talk-and-remember original title, “The Shawshank Redemption,” and competition from another movie that hit the big screen at the same time: “Pulp Fiction.” . “A Dream of Freedom” will regain its cultural status only with the release on VHS.

‘The portal to paradise’

Launched in 1980, “Portal do Paraíso” raised only US $ 3 million, out of a budget of US $ 44 million. The reaction to the film was so negative that some critics began to rethink ‘O Franco Atirador’, the previous work by Michael Cimino which won 5 Oscars in 1979.

The big problem is that Cimino’s original cut was past 5 hours, and the theatrically shortened version was 2:29. It was the version that failed.

In 1982, a 3:39 version started airing on cable TV, and the reception was different. Eventually, some analysts began to regard it as a masterpiece, although its reception to date has been quite contradictory.

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