Black Dog

  • Rate Movie
    [Total: 13 Average: 3.4]
  • Directed By: Kevin Hooks
  • Written By: William Mickelberry, Dan Vining
  • Release Date: May 1, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Patrick Swayze, Meat Loaf, Randy Travis

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 million Financed by: Mutual Film Company; Tele München; BBC; Toho-Towa; UGC PH; Universal
Domestic Gross: $12,951,088 Overseas Gross: $4,854,000

black dog 1998 swayze
The trucksploitation movie Black Dog, was setup by Universal to be the second of a three picture deal for Kevin Sorbo, who the studio was trying to prime as a big screen action star.  He landed a $3M payday.  Universal partnered with the newly formed Mutual Film Company for a five picture co-financing and domestic distribution arrangement, but only four movies materialized and just one money maker The Jackal.  Virus, Black Dog and Primary Colors were all box office flops. 

The budget for Black Dog was $30 million.  Universal handled domestic distribution for Black Dog and Mutual took overseas rights.  The company had also inked an equity and distribution arrangement with four overseas companies (Germany’s Tele München, UK based BBC, Japan’s Toho-Towa and France’s UGC PH), for their slate of movies and each would invest and distribute in their countries.   All other remaining markets would be pre-sold to distributors.  At the November 1997 MIFED movie mart, Mutual brought Virus, Primary Colors, Black Dog and A Simple Plan and sold out almost every overseas market for each picture.  Each movie was a non-performer for distributors.

A few days into the production on Black Dog, Sorbo dropped out after his reps said he had an “aneurysm in his left shoulder.”  His departure came just three weeks after his first picture for Universal, the godawful Kull the Conqueror (1997) opened to abysmal business.  There was no third movie.  Patrick Swayze, whose career was in the gutter, was quickly hired to replace Kevin Sorbo.  After Swayze’s back to back hits Ghost (1990) and Point Break (1991), he toplined a series of flops that derailed his career — City of Joy (1992), Father Hood (1993), Tall Tale (1995), Three Wishes (1995) and after it bombed, Black Dog marked the last studio vehicle built around Swayze.

Universal dated the pic for May 1, 1998 and it bowed against He Got Game and Les Misérables.  The studio did not screen this for critics and the reviews that eventually posted were rock bottom.  Black Dog opened with a terrible $4,809,375 — placing #5 for the slow weekend led by He Got Game.  Auds gave the movie a poor C+ cinemascore and it sank 52.5% to $2,285,705 the following frame.  The domestic run closed with an awful $12,951,088.

The picture was dumped overseas and the reported numbers were just $4.8M across numerous distributors.


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  1. Hooks single-handedly decimated this attempt at film. About the only thing Hooks got right was the Dragon’s Tail is a cool road, and in the correct hands, and a wonder to film on. The trucking industry mis-repped once again by Hollywood and to add a TV guy directing, well, there’s your financial jackknife *sigh*. Only because of Swayze does thing still live on. Otherwise, this Razzie slamdunker would be eviscerated from the world wide web.

    Somewhere, somehow, Dominic Toretto is uttering while wrist-flipping to the sentence “You never had a movie, you never had script”

  2. Black Dog’s far from garbage. It’s a fun throwback to the road style action genre huge back before then. Not every movie’s made to be a well acted classic; get over yourself.

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