BLOWN AWAY (1994) — Blown Away was to be MGM’s big summer film with an estimated $50m budget and the troubled studio, which saw a recent management change, saw its biggest opening in almost a decade with a soft $10,424,873. Blown Away, which featured an almost identical mad bomber plot as Speed, opened #4 for the weekend, behind Speed in its fourth weekend of release. Poor reviews and word of mouth saw Blown Away quickly disappear from the box office and it lost about half of its audience in its second week and grossed $5,721,805 and saw a 55.7% third weekend decline to $2,532,659. The film left theaters with a weak $30,156,002.
LIFE STINKS (1991) — Life Stinks was left in release limbo when MGM-Pathe was on the verge of bankruptcy and their slate of films had no money for P&A. Life Stinks was financed by MGM-Pathe and some capital by Mel Brooks and distribution was shared by MGM and FOX. MGM did get enough cash to release the film, which opened to poor reviews and flopped opening weekend with $1,920,215, coming in #12, when Terminator 2 led the weekend in its fourth week of release. Life Stinks quietly left theaters with a terrible $4,102,526.
REAL MEN (1987) — United Artists financed Real Men for an unreported amount and the film went through a heavy re-editing process and its rating lowered from a R to PG-13 and after the studio tinkering the film opened in 150 theaters in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. In a quote from the LA TIMES Tony Thomopoulos, chairman/CEO of UA said, “If you think we’re dumping the picture, you’re wrong. And if you want a list of movies that have opened regionally, like this, I assure you it’ll be a long one. With a lot of successful titles.” Real Men was dumped and the film pulled in $241,258 in its opening weekend and left theaters with an anemic $873,903.
RUSH (1991) — MGM was at the brink of bankruptcy just a few months prior to the release of Rush when its creditor, Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland installed Alan Ladd Jr as head of the studio and gave the ever troubled MGM the barest minimum to produce and market films. Originally in development at Paramount, who balked at the film’s $17m cost, Ladd took on the film at MGM and Rush was positioned as MGM’s holiday film over the christmas frame. The well received film opened in limited release in 8 theaters to a weak $36,890 with a $4,611 per screen average. Rush added 1 screen in its second weekend and saw a huge increase to $124,005 and a much more healthy $13,778 per screen average. In its fourth week of release Rush expanded to 528 theaters where it struggled with $1,724,059 and expanded the next weekend to 664 theaters with diminishing returns at $1,245,261. Rush left theaters with 7,241,350.
THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER (1981) — This notorious disaster which is known for a PR debacle about the producers suing Clayton Moore who played the Lone Ranger on television, banning him from touring America wearing the mask and also when it was leaked that the lead actor Klinton Spilsbury’s (his first and last film) voice was dubbed by a different actor. The Legend of the Lone Ranger was financed for $18m by ITC and JWC and during pre-production ITC released the box office bomb Raise the Titanic and to stay solvent, ITC sold off distribution rights to Universal — where Universal would get 30% of every dollar grossed and once the film was heading for disaster after the bad buzz, Universal invested very little in marketing. Universal opened the film wide in 1,018 theaters to a poor $2,945,600 and the film quickly flopped out of theaters with $12,617,845. 32 years later Disney would release the Johnny Depp staring The Lone Ranger and report a $190m loss.