Movie-goers can be fickle (great movies that should've enjoyed huge box-office success)
Just thought I'd start a thread about this topic.
John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) was a great film, one of his best IMO. For me, it's right up there with Alien (1979) as one of the greatest sci-fi horror films ever made. And yet one film made anything between $100 - 200 million at the box office whereas the other made only $19 million. Carpenter's classic was unlucky to be released at roughly the same time as E.T.
Here's another example: Near Dark (1987). It's a vampire film without fangs, crosses, holy water, garlic, stakes, coffins ... even the word 'vampire' isn't said in the entire film. Although I don't have much experience of the vampire sub-genre - the only vampire films I've seen are Dracula (1958), Fright Night (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), Near Dark (1987), Fright Night Part 2 (1988), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) & John Carpenter's Vampires (1998) - I feel ND is right up there with the best. For me it's the best vampire film I've ever seen. Lance Henriksen is very good as Jesse. And Bill Paxton's performance as Severen - wow!
Those of you who've seen it will know what I'm talking about.
Near Dark was made on a budget of $5 million; it made only $3.5 million at the box office. This was perhaps another case of two very good films being released at roughly the same time - in this case it was The Lost Boys. I like The Lost Boys but I feel it's a tad overrated.
At least The Thing and Near Dark have enjoyed great success in video rentals and VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray releases.
The Star Wars prequel trilogy. Oh wait, they were commercially and critically successful.
I think Donnie Darko was originally a box office flop but is a cult classic.
Dune was terrible but brilliant.
Agree with you about Near Dark. The cast is almost a who's who of James Cameron's stable of actors (it also features Jeanette Goldstein, who has been in Aliens, Titanic, and T2.) It was directed by Katherine Bigelow (who later married Cameron).
It was originally supposed to be a Western, and I can see how it would have worked as such. I guess Jesse (the leader) had been around since the American Civil War, so he had been cruising the Wild West for many decades.
It was much better than Lost Boys.
I enjoyed the original (1984) Blade Runner, but it I don't think it even broke even.
The Star Wars prequel trilogy. Oh wait, they were commercially and critically successful -
Dune was terrible but brilliant - yeah, I sometimes find it difficult to believe that Dune & The Elephant Man were directed by the same person.
I think Donnie Darko was originally a box office flop but is a cult classic - I've just been reading a bit about it. According to Wiki, it suffered because it was released so closely after 9/11 happened.
I first saw Donnie Darko round a JW friend's house. Me and 3 or 4 JW friends were round his house, drinking wine and trying to figure out the plot. With Donnie Darko, 10 people could see it and there could be 10 different plot explanations afterwards. In that respect it is like other great works of fiction, such as Eraserhead (1977) and The Bible.
Agree with you about Near Dark. The cast is almost a who's who of James Cameron's stable of actors - yeah Jenette Goldstein, Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen were all in Near Dark and Aliens. You get the feeling that they really work well together and so having them play a 'vampire' family/gang works so well.
It was much better than Lost Boys - well I don't wanna rip on The Lost Boys (I think it's a good film) but whenever I watch people on youtube who are fans of the vampire sub-genre, they all rave about The Lost Boys as if it's the be-all-and-end-all. It's a good film but, for me, Fright Night (1985) and Near Dark are better. I had a mate who was two years older than me and he showed me Near Dark when I was 12. I have recently rediscovered it. I tried looking in DVD stores like HMV and couldn't find it on DVD. So, I bought a good condition copy on ebay for £3.00.
I've always liked Fright Night. I bought a VHS copy when I was 12, then I bought it on DVD 10 years later. That got thrown out when my dad moved house - he didn't ask me which things of my stuff I wanted, he just threw the whole lot out.
So, again, I bought myself a DVD of Fright Night from ebay.
I enjoyed the original (1984) Blade Runner, but it I don't think it even broke even - I think it may have been released at the same time as ET, like The Thing.
Ah yes here's another film: Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994). It made $19 million at the box office on a budget of $8 million. Not bad, but ...it was the least successful of all the Nightmare on Elm Street films in terms of tickets sold. Unbelievable - some films in that franchise (e.g. films 5 & 6) were pure dogshit.
I remember sitting down to watch New Nightmare when it was first shown on terrestrial TV (1998?). I was about 18 or 19 and home alone late at night. I was expecting another crappy sequel but I was pleasantly surprised.
There were no lame jokes, plus gore and jump scares were kept to a minimum. In their place was lots of tension, an intelligent plot and great acting by Heather Langenkamp.
The film wasn't exactly a flop but it should've made much more. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Freddy's Dead (1991) was commercially more successful.
I'm a sucker for a horror/ill fated love story. THE DEAD ZONE fits the bill for me. My favorite lines from the movie are:
" 'Blessed me'? Do you know what God did for me? He threw an 18 wheeled truck at me and bounced me into nowhere for 5 years! When I woke up, my girl was gone, my job was gone,my legs are just about useless........Blessed me? God's been a real sport to me!" - Johnny Smith