Economics, Marketing

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hollywood Bomb

In entertainment as in war, nothing causes more frightened bedwetting than the career killing / actual killing BOMB.


This patent pending technique delivers a gentle shock to the “bladder impaired” helping to encourage proper peeing behavior. (Side effects include night terrors and long term emotional scarring.)

Studio funded movies now sometimes venture into the 300 Million+ range to pay for the actual production.  On top of that, you add the P&A costs (promotion/advertising to the layman) and you’ve got a big fat liability on your hands until you find out if people are actually going to shell out the cheddar to go and see it.  Today we’re going to look at a few classic bombs and I’ll tell you why you should love em!

1.  The Adventures of Pluto Nash


Follow the adventures of Prince Akeem as the Nation of Zamunda starts it’s own space program! (Coming to America reference? YEP!)

Budget: 120M.  Box Office 7M.  Well, I’m no mathematician but I do remember a little something from 3rd grade greater than, less than signs.  120<7?  120=7?  120>7.  Ahh there we go.  Math, it’s like ridin’ a bicycle, you never really forget.  The net losses on this POS adjusted for inflation total up to right around 144M.  And this is important: Despite this total box office abortion they still let Eddie Murphy make movies for another decade+.  Thank God right?  If this had ruined his career we wouldn’t have such classics as: Daddy Day Care, The Haunted Mansion, Norbit, Imagine That, A Thousand Words, or Meet Dave.


Eddie Murphy uses American Sign Language to call me an asshole for talking about his box office fails.

(How do I know the ASL sign for Asshole?  Mr. Holland’s Opus, DUH.  Click HERE for verification and skip to 3:10.  BOOM sources and s#%t. Just like a research paper.)

2.  John Carter


Apparently Martian movie patrons reacted similarly to their Earthling counterparts.

Budget:  350M. Box Office: 283M.  Keep in mind that 350M DOES NOT include promotion and advertising for the film.  So it lost OVER 200M dollars.  At the risk of sounding like an asshole I do want to mention that the designer that designed John Carter’s lovable “monster dog” Woola, needs to be slapped.


50% Pug, 50% Burrito, 100% TURD.  This thing looks ridiculous.

John Carter does have a few things going for it that I think are worthy of mention.

Classic Dialogue:

John Carter LOOOOOVES Beans

Capt. John Carter…AKA Virginia

This girl:


“John! Promise me one thing…” Dejah said with tears in her eyes. “Anything,” John replied. “A state championship,” Dejah said, her Dillon Panther pride ALWAYS on the forefront of her mind.

3.  Willem Dafoe’s Voice.


This is my desktop background. #truestory

Willem Dafoe discusses Firefights in the below clips which isn’t exactly work friendly.

Someone actually took the time to edit this together.

3.  Battlefield Earth


My only regret is that there’s not a complementary video game of which to also make fun of.

Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard.  Both responsible for this classic tale of evil aliens coming to Earth to oppress humanity and steal our resources.  It teaches us several important lessons.  1.  Forest Whitaker’s shit does stink.  Don’t get me wrong.  He’s great but his turn as “Ker” in Battlefield Earth leaves much to be desired.  2.  B.E. introduced “man-animals” into the lexicon.  Who DOESN’T use this term today?

Man Animals? They’re on the hunt they’re after us!

Lesson three:  Star power plus genre film doesn’t equal returns.

You: “But Rivers how big of a bomb was it?!? LOL, Winky face, let’s snapchat!”

Well let me hit you with some numbers:  Production Budget – 103M. Box Office – 30M.  Adjusted loss in todays dollars – 98M.  Yes, they laid a big fat egg.  I wonder…if it hatched would a Thetan pop out?

MORAL OF THE STORY.  We’ve only looked at 3 fails today but why should you love the Hollywood bomb?  Inspiration.  If these movies can get made then so can yours.  Whether you’ve written the great American screenplay or want to make a film adaptation of your 7th grade creative writing assignment entitled “Lobsters Can be Quite Silly,” (This is an actual story.) it can happen for you.


Science Fact of the Day: Certain varieties of crustacean scream when you drop them into a pot of boiling water. Displayed is one of the louder genuses Homarus Puerum.

Finally who doesn’t enjoy watching a train wreck?  It’s almost as much fun to watch Osmosis Jones, Sahara, From Justin to Kelly or Speed Racer as it is a good movie, simply because you can poke fun at it from your high horse.  Even if your high horse is a crumb covered Laz-E-Boy you nabbed off craigslist.

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Follow Rivers on Twitter @duketrivers

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