Kull the Conqueror

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    • Directed By: John Nicolella
    • Written By: Charles Edward Pogue
    • Release Date: August 29, 1997
    • Domestic Distributor: Universal
    • Cast: Kevin Sorbo, Tia Carrere, Thomas Ian Griffith

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 millionFinanced by: Universal
Domestic Gross: $6,112,613Overseas Gross: $212,516

“Both Dragonheart and Kull the Conqueror fell far short of where I had originally intended them to go. Two lauded scripts that were diminished in the long process that it took to get them to the screen. Dragonheart is a disappointment. Kull is a disaster. Both lost their poetry, panache, and power.”
–Screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue

kull the conqueror 1997
Charles Edward Pogue’s screenplay was originally a Conan The Barbarian entry, but once it became clear that Schwarzenegger would not reprise his role, the project was quickly changed into another Robert E. Howard character Kull the Conqueror.  Universal signed Kevin Sorbo for a three picture deal, who the studio was trying to prime as a big screen action star and attached him to Kull.  Pogue has stated that Sorbo refused to star in the picture if it was R rated and the studio relented to the demands of an imbecile and turned this very adult Robert E. Howard property into a family friendly film.

The budget for Kull the Conqueror was $30 million and it was financed by Universal.   It was dated for the end of summer dumping ground on August 29, 1997 and bowed against Hoodlum and Excess BaggageShe’s So Lovely was booked into moderately wide release that weekend.  Reviews were poor and Kull was dead on arrival with $2,697,385 (the 4-day Labor Day holiday frame numbers were $3,450,145) — placing #9 for the weekend led by G.I. Jane.  It nose-dived 68% the following frame to $1,118,695.  The domestic box office for Kull the Conqueror closed with only $6,112,613.  The picture was a dumped straight to video in most overseas markets and a brief theatrical run pulled in all of $212,516.

In their quarter financial report Universal’s parent corp Seagram announced unspecified, but large write-downs on Kull the Conqueror, A Simple Wish and Leave It to Beaver, all of which offset the massive profits from The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

The trucksploitation movie Black Dog was to be the second of the three picture deal for Kevin Sorbo at Universal, but a few days into the production he dropped out after his reps said he had an “aneurysm in his left shoulder.”  His departure came just three weeks after Kull opened to abysmal business.  There was no third movie.  Patrick Swayze, whose career was in the gutter, was quickly hired to replace Sorbo.

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