a complete failure
What constitutes as a flop in Hollywood? Obviously it's lost money and not just a few million dollars but multi-million dollars have to be lost. What also makes a movie a flop? Bad script, worst acting, backstage turmoil, a actor's pet project? After reading James Robert Parish's book 'Fiasco: A History of Hollywood Iconic Flops' it's all of above.
Parish investigates exactly what makes a flop, the turmoil most of them are made under, how much money they lose, and why they flop. And they all have many different reasons for flopping but these seem like the main reason for many flops.
1. Many rewrites from the script
2. Cost overruns that don't just go past the estimate of the budget but blow past the estimate
3. Hubris and ego
There are of course many other different reasons for a movie flop. An example Parish presents is an actor's "dream project". John Travolta desperately wanted to make L. Ron Hubbard's books 'Battlefield Earth' into a movie without realizing that Hubbard's book was full of sci-fi ideas that were out of date. Well you know what happened next. 'Battlefield Earth' was made at a huge cost, despite looking very cheaply made on screen, and it bombed at the box office.
Paring real life lovers on film sets is not always the best of ideas as well. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and Sean Penn and Madonna on "Shanghai Surprise" and Geena Davis and Reny Harlin on "Cutthroat Island" were all massive bombs.
"The Cotton Club" chapter was worth the price of this book alone. That Robert Evans picture became a nightmare before it was even off the ground. Not only did this movie have many rewrites, cost overruns, and ego in it's way, it bombed because the financial backers weren't exactly honest people.
Evans made the mistake of financing this film on his own away from Paramount. Substance abuse problems led Evans to a woman who was a drug dealer and a arms dealer to finance this picture. There was a murder, trial, and trust fund drained just to finance this film. And I haven't even gotten to Francis Ford Coppala's ego and big spending habits.
William Goldman infamously said about making movies, "nobody knows anything". Well one thing we do know is that there is a pattern for making flops. James Robert Parish provides evidence upon evidence of how flops are made. So stay away from little known directors, stay away from directors who spend money like lottery winners, stay away from script rewrites, stay away from actor dream projects, and stay away from celebrity couples.