The last handful of weekends have seen something unusual happen at the box office: the top prize — and indeed most of the Top 5 — has gone to a non-franchise film, including Barbarian and Smile. It’s a big deal considering franchises have all but devoured the multiplexes. Still, there was one wholly original film that really didn’t click, despite a wealth of stars: Amsterdam, David O. Russell’s star-studded ‘30s romp, which opened in third but only scraped together $6.5 million. Problem is, the film’s budget was near-blockbuster-sized, and its underperformance may cost its production companies a lot of money.
As per Deadline, Amsterdam cost a reported $80 million, but right now it’s only slated to bring in a global total of $35 million. Throw in an estimated $70 million for advertising, and this film — which could have been a sleeper hit like Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook or American Hustle — stands to lose about $100 million.
How did Amsterdam wind up costing so much? For one thing, it’s period. For another, there’s the stars. (It seems like every role, even small ones, is filled by a big name, including a certain pop star.) It was also plagued. Deadline reports that a lot of the high cost was due to a change in location, moving from Boston to Los Angeles. It was also one of numerous productions that were delayed due to the beginning of the pandemic. Then there were the lackluster reviews — key to outside-the-box movies like this.
In any case, it’s not a great sign for big-budget original work from established auteurs. But if you want to check out what the guy who made Three Kings and Joy is up to, you might want to head to the theaters but quick.