10 Actors Unfortunately Self-Financed Box Office Flops

For all the romance that surrounds important stories and the technical efforts of filmmaking, at the end of the day Hollywood is as much a business as any, and that means that money is usually more than good intentions. This steamy fact has seen a number of actors shell out their own money to get a movie they’re passionate about.

Related: 10 big-budget box office flops, ranked by how much money was lost

While this sometimes leads to great success with the actor making millions of dollars in profits, it often backfires with disastrous consequences. From sentimental projects that audiences aren’t excited about to flamboyant listeners betting on themselves and losing, there have been plenty of actors who have helped finance their own movies and never seen their money back.

1 John Wayne – The Alamo (1960)

the_alamo_john Wayne
Image via United Artists

like John Waynepassion project, Alamo It was conceived as early as 1945 but took years to hit the ground running the way Wayne envisioned. It was later concluded that he himself would direct and produce the film through his production company, Batjac Productions, but was adamant that he would not appear in it.

When Wayne tried to enlist financial support, it became clear that he would only get the coveted money if he starred in the picture. Wayne eventually struck a deal with United Artists He contributed $1.5 million to it from his own pocket to make the movie. While Alamo Just enough to pay off United Artists, Wayne’s investment failed to reap the financial rewards.

2 Kevin Costner – “The Postman” (1997)

Image via Warner Bros.

Kevin Costner He is no stranger to financing his own films. It worked when he put $3 million in dancing with the wolves which made nearly twenty times its budget, and managed to pull off a financial disaster on water world Thanks to post-theatrical revenue streams, but he wasn’t so lucky Postman.

Costner directed, acted and produced the three-hour post-apocalypse epic on a whopping $80 million budget. Whatever luck the decade had started with though had clearly dried up Postman It made just $20.8 million after being marred by a terrible opening weekend and a disastrous critical reception.

3 John Travolta – Battlefield Earth (2000)

Terl with his Battlefield Earth hood.
Image via Warner Bros.

It is widely considered one of the worst films ever madeAnd battle field – Based on the novel Battlefield Earth: The Epic of the Year 3000 By Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard – Become john TravoltaPassion Project during the 1990s. A scholar in his own right, Travolta was given a signed copy of the book from Hubbard upon its publication in 1982 and used the resurgence of his career to try to adapt it by a major Hollywood studio.

While she struggled to find studio interest due to her Scientology ties, the film was eventually picked up with Travolta contributing millions of dollars of his own money, And sacrifice a large part of his salaryto get the movie. Against a budget of $73 million, battle field Earning $29.7 million, the planned sequel was never made.

4 Tommy Wiseau – Room (2003)

Tommy Wiseau Room
Image via TPW Films

As far as cult films go, the room It is such a huge hit Famous hero of Breaking Bad cinema. Unfortunately Tommy WiseauPeople didn’t quite see it as a pop culture phenomenon upon its theatrical release as the movie only made $1,900 against a budget of $6 million.

While the exact nature of how he obtained this amount of money remains somewhat of a mystery, Wiseau contributed the entire budget In order to maintain creative control. Despite its disastrous initial run, the influence of popular culture has seen the film’s earnings soar to $4.9 million, and who knows, it might prove to be a moneymaker.

Related: 10 Box Office Bombs That Are Now Considered Classics

5 Matthew McConaughey – Sahara 2005

Desert Team
Image via Paramount Pictures

One of the most famous and controversial production processes, the desertThe company’s budget started at a modest $80 million but ballooned to over $160 million by the time filming ended, with an additional $61 million tied to distribution expenses. Based on Cliff CusslerNovels by Dirk Pitt, the action-adventure film is planned as the first in a series.

This apparently never happened, as the film’s $119 million box office earnings account for just over half of its total outgoings. Matthew McConaughey He even blogged a promotional road trip in an effort to market the film He invested his own money in itbut it proved to be useless.

6 Brad Pitt – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford Ford Brad Pitt
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Solid evidence that not all actor-financed box office movies are bad movies, The assassination of Jesse James at the hands of the coward Robert Ford star and producer Brad Pitt I admit it Working on the movie cost him money. A revisionist Western epic It details Jesse James (Pete) and the break-up of his gangThe film won acclaim from fans and critics alike for its performance and portrayal of 1880s America, and Roger DickensThe cinematography is breathtaking.

However, the movie flopped, becoming a box office bomb even with its restricted budget of $30 million. After making just under $4 million with its theatrical release, it has since boosted that figure to $15 million with DVD sales and amassed a huge fan following.

Related: 12 box office flops that are actually worth watching

7 George Clooney – Leatherheads (2008)

Leatherheads Cast
Image via Universal Pictures

After winning gold in 2005 Good evening and good luckin which George Clooney Mortgaging his house to help fund the $7 million budget (the film grossed $54.6 million), Clooney attempted to replicate his success with leatherheads. A sports comedy with a loose foundation in history, it was far from a terrible movie, but it didn’t do very well at the box office.

Clooney was clearly excited about the movie, as he served as writer, director, and star, and produced it through his production company, Smokehouse Productions. It proved to be an expensive gamble, though leatherheads It made only $41.3 million, failing to break even by some margin.

8 Mel Gibson – Get the Gringo (2012)

Mel Gibson in Get the Gringo
Image via 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

until 2012, Mel Gibson He has had an impressive record when it comes to making financial contributions to the films in which he has been involved. He helped fund his administrative efforts at the The passion of Christ And Apocalypto with massive financial success, but the well ran out when he produced and starred Get Gringo.

While the 2012 action movie played well with critics, it was released at that time Gibson has been criticized for making antisemitic comments. Made on a $20 million budget, it was also marred by a demand-release strategy video and ended up only making $8.8 million.

Related: 2022 box office bombs that deserve better

9 Will Smith – “After Earth” (2013)

Jaden Smith and Will Smith in After Earth
Image via Columbia Pictures

With an ambition to be a massive sci-fi adventure spectacle, after Earth a saw will Smith and his son Jaden Smith Share the screen as a father-son duo crash-land on Earth a thousand years after humanity was forced to flee the planet. The movie made $243.8 million through its theatrical release which sounds impressive, but against a $150 million budget and an additional $100 million poured into the marketing campaign, it fell short of expectations.

While Will Smith himself did not contribute any money to the film’s massive production, his production company, Overbrook Entertainment, did. Smith described on the back the film’s critical and commercial failure after Earth As the ‘most painful failure’ [his] career” in an interview with Respected He regretted having led his son into the project.

10 Tina Fey – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)

Image via Paramount Pictures

A bold effort to mix comedy with war drama, Tango Foxtrot Whiskey It cannot be handled by anyone who lacks sensitive poise and comedic finesse Tina Fey. Based on Kim ParkerDiary Dodge the Taliban: Strange Days in Afghanistan and PakistanThe comedy star launched the pre-production process in 2014 with her production company, Little Stranger, in charge.

With a budget of $35 million and Margot Robbie And Martin Freeman Among the notable cast members in the movie, it seemed as though he would easily surpass that number. Despite positive reviews, it was hobbled by a poor opening weekend and never recovered, earning just $25.4 million.

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