Ben Affleck’s Live by Night joins list of costly film flops

Ben Affleck with Zoe Saldana in Live by NightImage copyright
Warner Bros

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Zoe Saldana appeared alongside Ben Affleck in the period gangster thriller

It was written and directed by the guy who plays Batman, but in terms of box office receipts, Live by Night was more of a Joker.

According to Variety, the Ben Affleck crime drama is set to lose the Warner Bros studio $75m (£60m).

The film cost an estimated $65m (£52m) to make but has only made $16.5m (£13m) of it back.

Factor in the costs of marketing and distribution and the period gangster thriller looks like it’s firing blanks.

It’s a galling comedown for Affleck, whose last film as director was the Oscar-winning Argo.

It also came off the back of the stinging reviews he received for both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and another thriller calledThe Accountant.

Yet the 44-year-old should perhaps take heart from the fact that Live by Night will occupy a fairly lowly position on any rundown of expensive film flops.

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Getty Images

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27 Ronin cast the Canadian Reeves as a half-English, half-Japanese swordsman

Indeed, it would have had to lose more than twice as much to challenge 47 Ronin, a 2013 martial arts fantasy starring Keanu Reeves.

With worldwide grosses of $151m (£119.4m) set against an estimated budget of £225m (£179m), the film is believed to have left Universal with a $149m (£118m) hole in its coffers.

Variety called it “one of the costliest box office flops of 2013”, citing rewrites, reshoots and a “novice” director as factors in its downfall.

Then there is Mars Needs Moms, a 2011 Disney fantasy that made use of the performance capture technology popularised by 2004’s The Polar Express.

Estimated to have cost $150m (£119.3m) to make, Simon Wells’s film took just $38.9m (£30.9m) at cinemas – landing the House of Mouse with an estimated write-down of $130.5m (£103.7m).

Image copyright
AFP

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Johnny Depp played Tonto in Disney’s expensive comedy western

Other Disney offerings that had their bean-counters running for cover include 2012’s John Carter – estimated to have lost the company $125m (£99.4m) – and 2013’s The Lone Ranger, thought to have accrued losses of around $150m (£119.5m).

Yet even these may be dwarfed by The 13th Warrior, a 1999 action fantasy that is rumoured to be the biggest box office disaster ever.

We say “rumoured” because it has never been accurately ascertained exactly how much Antonio Banderas’s Viking saga cost to produce.

Could it be as high as $160m (£127m)? If so, its adjusted for inflation losses can be calculated to be around $183m – an eye-watering £145m in UK currency.


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