Friday, January 07, 2005

Sinking Like A Stone

So I see that Oliver Stone is blaming the epic failure of his most recent piece of egomaniacal bloat on "raging fundamentalism" in the U.S.

Evidently, Alexander, a three hour film which portrays Alexander the Great as a bisexual, has only grossed $34 million domestically on a $150 million budget, making it a huge flop, and Oliver's looking to point fingers.

But is fundamentalism really to blame? Let's look at some of the box office figures for Stone's last few films, according to Box Office Mojo. In order to be considered a big hit, most movies these days have to break the $100 million box office barrier. How have Stone's films done?
  • Any Given Sunday, Stone's last major film, grossed $75 million domestically, which, while respectable, falls far short of "blockbuster" status. It's the closest Stone has come to a "hit" in more than a decade.
  • U-Turn, starring Sean Penn and Jennifer Lopez, among others, grossed all of $6.6 million in 1997.
  • Nixon, his feverish and conspiratorial account of Richard Nixon's presidency that cost $44 million to make and starred Anthony Hopkins, grossed $13 million.
  • Natural Born Killers pulled in only $50 million despite the biggest media controversy between Scorcese's Last Temptation and Gibson's Passion.
  • And before that, Stone directed something called Heaven and Earth in 1993, which cost $33 million to make and raked in $6 million at the box office in wide release.
In other words, there are very few people directing major films that more consistently flop than Oliver Stone. In his entire career, he's had exactly one film that's broken the $100 million box office barrier: Platoon in 1986.

So which is more likely? That fundamentalism wrecked Alexander? Or that the name "Oliver Stone" has become synonymous with "bloated, over-directed films that suck."

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