Fierce Creatures

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    [Total: 13 Average: 3.2]
  • Directed By: Fred Schepisi, Robert Young
  • Written By: John Cleese, Iain Johnstone
  • Release Date: January 24, 1997
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin

Box Office Info:
Budget: $27 millionFinanced by: Universal
Domestic Box Office: $9,381,260Overseas Box Office: $31,908,000


After the comedy classic A Fish Called Wanda (1988) pulled in $188.5M worldwide on a $7.5M budget, John Cleese announced a follow up project in 1992 originally under the title Dead Fish 2.  Fierce Creatures was financed by Universal and was initially budgeted at $18M.  Filming began in May 1995 and the production was fraught with cast disagreements that mostly spurred from Cleese being indecisive about his material.  By the time the shoot wrapped, it was $2M over budget.

A spring 1996 release was planned, but in November ’95 the picture began the test screening process and scores were poor.  In February 1996, Universal agreed to massive reshoots, but the cast could not be assembled again until August.  Fred Schepisi was brought in to take over directing duties from Robert Young and 52 pages were reshot over five weeks — adding $7M in expenses and the budget for Fierce Creatures increased to $27 million.

Fierce Creatures was pushed out of 1996 and dated for the dumping ground on January 24, 1997.  It bowed against Zeus and Roxanne and buzz was low.  Despite the troubled production, reviews were lukewarm, but the movie was largely viewed as a major step down from WandaFierce Creatures was dead on arrival with $3,759,480 — placing #8 for the very slow weekend led by the 7th frame of Jerry Maguire.  It declined 38.8% to $2,300,445 in its second session and then sank 62.5% to $861,545 in its third weekend.  The US run closed with a terrible $9,381,260.

There were slight signs of life during the international run, where it pulled in $31.9M.  Universal’s parent company Seagram’s reported that the poor box office performances of Fierce Creatures and Dante’s Peak dented the fiscal quarter.

3 Comments

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  1. I actually like this film a lot. It’s feelgood and better, in my view, than Wanda, which felt quite cold to me. It’s also worth seeing for fans of Fawlty Towers as Cleese’s character is quite Basil Fawlty-esque in several scenes.

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