Blues Brothers 2000
- Directed By: John Landis
- Written By: John Landis, Dan Aykroyd
- Release Date: February 6, 1998
- Domestic Distributor: Universal
- Cast: Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $31 million||Financed by: Universal|
|Domestic Gross: $14,051,384||Overseas Gross: $18,084,000|
“I was very pissed off by what Universal did to me on Blues Brothers 2000 and that was my first experience with the new corporate Hollywood. It’s very different. Everything is by committee now, and they destroyed that movie, though the music is still good. This happens to filmmakers all the time, where producers and studios f-ck with their picture, and when you’re promoting the movie you can’t say that. The directors get blamed for things that are clearly not their fault.”
—Director John Landis
The belated sequel Blues Brothers 2000 to the chaotic and cocaine fueled production of The Blues Brothers (1980) was financed (and micromanaged) by Universal. The budget for Blues Brothers 2000 was $31 million. John Landis, Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman worked for scale (with backend stipulations if the pic reached profit) to keep the costs down. The original picture pulled in a huge $115M worldwide (roughly $400M with today’s ticket prices) and continued to have a strong and growing afterlife in ancillary markets. Aykroyd also had success touring with the Blues Brothers band at numerous venues over the years. Despite a built in adult fan base for this R rated property, Universal demanded Blues Brothers 2000 be retooled for family audiences and a kid added to the Blues Brothers group. The end result was a pointless sequel that alienated the original audience and saw no interest from the uninitiated.
Blues Brothers 2000 was dated for February 6, 1998 and bowed against The Replacement Killers. In addition to an expensive P&A spend, there was a huge corporate tie-in program, that landed about $25M in cross-promotional exposure from: Ray-Ban, Popeyes Chicken, Discover Card, Nascar and more. Despite the effort, buzz was weak, reviews were poor and the sequel pulled in just $6,129,615 — placing #4 for the weekend led by Titanic in its 8th frame. Blues Brothers 2000 declined 41.7% in its second session to $3,572,730 and then sank 64% in frame three to $1,302,350. The domestic run closed with a terrible $14,051,384.
To drum up international appeal for this dud, Universal brought the movie to Cannes in May for a special screening and spent $1M on a lavish publicity party, which did nothing except waste $1M. Blues Brothers 2000 saw just $18M from its international release. The worldwide cume was $32.1M and the studio would see returned about $17.6M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not even cover P&A expenses or any of the budget.