Skip to main content Skip to footer site map



What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?

Ebonic_Singer Profile PhotoEbonic_Singer Profile Photo
Ebonic_Singer
Broadway Legend
joined:8/18/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/18/04
What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#0
Posted: 8/20/06 at 3:15am
Which show has lost the most money--Broadway or otherwise? In My Life comes to mind, but I'm unsure, whether it is converted into today's standards or not--what show has lost the most money ever?
Updated On: 8/21/06 at 03:15 AM
musicman89 Profile Photomusicman89 Profile Photo
musicman89
Stand-by
joined:4/30/05
Stand-by
joined:
4/30/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#1
Posted: 8/20/06 at 3:29am
SUNSET BOULEVARD cost Webber and his Really Useful Group millions.
"I'm just a musical prostitute, my dear." ~ Freddie Mercury
The Distinctive Baritone Profile PhotoThe Distinctive Baritone Profile Photo
The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/28/04
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#2
Posted: 8/20/06 at 4:51am
"Big: The Musical" was the biggest loser at one point, it has since been surpassed, but I forget by what show. I think "The Capeman" and "Sunset Blvd." (as musicman 89 mentioned) are also up there.

In actuality, the majority of Broadway musicals lose money or barely break even, the rare exceptions being long-running shows like "The Lion King," "Phantom," "Les Mis," etc.
jimnysf
Broadway Legend
joined:9/10/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
9/10/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#3
Posted: 8/20/06 at 5:04am
One of the biggest money losers was "Via Galactica"...

"Directed by Sir Peter Hall and starring Raul Julia and Irene Cara, the musical opened the new Uris Theater (now renamed the Gershwin Theater) on Broadway. Filled with wild special effects, the play was pummeled by reviewers and closed after 4 performances, becoming at that time the biggest money loser in Broadway history."

http://nefertitithemusical.com/chris_bio.html
"I've lost everything! Luis, Marty, my baby with Chris, Chris himself, James. All I ever wanted was love." --Sheridan Crane "Passions" ------- "Housework is like bad sex. Every time I do it, I swear I'll never do it again til the next time company comes."--"Lulu" from "Can't Stop The Music" ----- "When the right doors didn't open for him, he went through the wrong ones" - "Sweet Bird of Youth" ------------ --------- "Passions" is uncancelled! See NBC.com for more info.
exedore
Broadway Legend
joined:4/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/20/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#4
Posted: 8/20/06 at 10:17am
I believe the most recent giant loser was CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, which supposedly lost its entire $15 million investment. DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES lost $12 million, CARRIE was the biggest loser at its time with $8 million, and may still be up there if you adjust for inflation.

It's really getting ridiculous to mount a musical these days...why does it cost two to three times what it used to, even a few years ago?
Mr Roxy Profile PhotoMr Roxy Profile Photo
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/17/03
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#5
Posted: 8/20/06 at 10:25am
I would guess, at the time ( in todays dollars ) Kelly
Poster Emeritus
WiiCKED x3
Broadway Legend
joined:2/18/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/18/06
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#6
Posted: 8/20/06 at 10:43am
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
WickedGeek28 Profile PhotoWickedGeek28 Profile Photo
WickedGeek28
Broadway Legend
joined:6/19/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/19/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#7
Posted: 8/20/06 at 10:43am
Sunset was the biggest flop. But this season, Lestat lost almost its entire investment.
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
To Kill A Mockingbird
WiiCKED x3
Broadway Legend
joined:2/18/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/18/06
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#8
Posted: 8/20/06 at 10:51am
Oh yeah, I forgot about Lestat.
mominator Profile Photomominator Profile Photo
mominator
Broadway Legend
joined:4/10/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/10/04
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#9
Posted: 8/20/06 at 10:56am
As they sang in Forbidden Broadway...
"Glenn Close left. Another star took over,
and I lost all my money!!!!"
"All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." Conan O'Brien
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#10
Posted: 8/20/06 at 11:41am
I remember when I was in New York (in the '80s) that "Into the Light" was the most expensive musical to date, at that point, costing $8 million.

It closed after 6 performances, losing its entire investment.

(Yes, I know it's been dethroned as The World's Biggest Flopper since then.)

I saw it in previews and thought it was fascinating. Not a total turkey by any means. And Dean Jones was great!

Dean played a scientist working on proving the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. It challenged his character's basic principles and religious beliefs, as he got more involved and obsessed with it. I thought it was pretty daring and much better than most shows back then. The high production cost was due to the (then state-of-the-art) special laser effects that shot out into the audience and all around the theatre. Nothing that you haven't seen in the latest Cher concert, but it was "brand spankin' new" back then.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
Updated On: 8/20/06 at 11:41 AM
WithoutATrace Profile PhotoWithoutATrace Profile Photo
WithoutATrace
Broadway Legend
joined:11/27/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
11/27/04
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#11
Posted: 8/20/06 at 11:52am
I think the answer is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Wow, B12B, you saw INTO THE LIGHT??? I wish I could have seen it!
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/20/04
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#12
Posted: 8/20/06 at 12:07pm
"big - the musical" actually LOST more than it originaly COST. They kept it open for nine months, most weeks not even earning their weekly running costs. The producers kept pouring more money into it, believing that sales would improve. "So we got zero Tony awards and business sucks - summer is coming and business will pick up!... So business didn't really improve - the holidays are coming and business will pick up!"

If they had closed in May they only would have lost their original $10 million investment. By running through December, they ended up losing $12 million.
frontrowcentre2 Profile Photofrontrowcentre2 Profile Photo
frontrowcentre2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/20/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#13
Posted: 8/20/06 at 12:33pm
When it closes Sept 3, LORD OF THE RINGS will have lost its entire $27 million investement, though by selling the set to the London producers they will offeset that a little and there is the (very small) chance the London production will be a success and send money back.

SUNSET BLVD is the title most often cited for cumulative loss when you add the losses from the London, Broadway, Toronto and touring productions. $30 million at least.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

WithoutATrace Profile PhotoWithoutATrace Profile Photo
WithoutATrace
Broadway Legend
joined:11/27/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
11/27/04
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#14
Posted: 8/20/06 at 12:39pm
I just found out my friend's mother was a supporting character in INTO THE LIGHT!!! I have to talk to her about it!!!
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#15
Posted: 8/20/06 at 12:41pm
WAT---Very cool. I enjoyed the show quite a bit, as I said. It was fascinating.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
sundaymorning6am
Broadway Star
joined:5/23/06
Broadway Star
joined:
5/23/06
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#16
Posted: 8/20/06 at 12:58pm
what about BROOKLYN?
TomMonster Profile PhotoTomMonster Profile Photo
TomMonster
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/28/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#17
Posted: 8/20/06 at 1:31pm
I was at opening night of INTO THE LIGHT! The only celebrity to show up was Joanne Whorley. You just knew the show was in trouble...

In todays dollars, though, Chitty has to be close to the record. Taboo lost it's 10 mil, and I think most of it was out of Rosies pocket.
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
MargoChanning
Broadway Legend
joined:4/5/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/5/04
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#18
Posted: 8/20/06 at 2:30pm
I feel that no thread about flops would be complete without a mention of Frank Wildhorn. His Jekyll & Hyde, Scarlett Pimpernel (all three or four versions), The Civil War and Dracula all were massive flops on Broadway (though some later recouped on the road and internationally) and collectively lost more than $30 million. That must be some sort of record for one composer.
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
TomMonster Profile PhotoTomMonster Profile Photo
TomMonster
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/28/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#19
Posted: 8/20/06 at 3:03pm
I love you Margo! Shameful record...maybe he'll get the hint?
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#20
Posted: 8/20/06 at 3:08pm
No, he keeps coming back for more... like Jason in the "Friday the 13th" movies.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
Ebonic_Singer Profile PhotoEbonic_Singer Profile Photo
Ebonic_Singer
Broadway Legend
joined:8/18/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/18/04
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#21
Posted: 8/20/06 at 3:23pm
Hasn't it been the case that though Sondheim may be popular now, his shows were flops when they opened? They didn't necessarily lose a lot of money, however.


I wasn't aware what a huge flop Sunset Blvd was. Hm.
TomMonster Profile PhotoTomMonster Profile Photo
TomMonster
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/28/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#22
Posted: 8/20/06 at 3:26pm
All of Sondheim's shows have lost money, except Forum and the current Sweeney. However, they have rarely had HUGE budgets. Passion was done for $4 mil instead of the normal $10 mil at the time.
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
MargoChanning
Broadway Legend
joined:4/5/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/5/04
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#23
Posted: 8/20/06 at 3:43pm
As Tom Monster said, with the exception of Follies, none of Sondheim's shows had particularly large budgets to begin with and most of his shows that flopped, managed to repay a decent percentage of the capitalization. Forum, Company, A Little Night Music, Side By Side By Sondheim, the original Sweeney (though it took 11 years), the original Into the Woods and the 90s Forum revival all recouped eventually. Anyone Can Whistle and Merrily both lost their entire investments, but neither cost much to begin with.
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
TomMonster Profile PhotoTomMonster Profile Photo
TomMonster
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/28/05
re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#24
Posted: 8/20/06 at 3:47pm
True, true, Margo. Thanks, as always, for the additional info. I was strictly referring to the original Broadway runs. re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx