Firestorm

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  • Directed By: Dean Semler
  • Written By: Chris Soth
  • Release Date: January 9, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: FOX
  • Cast: Howie Long, Scott Glenn, William Forsythe

Box Office Info:
Budget: $19 millionFinanced by: FOX
Domestic Gross: $8,165,212Overseas Gross: N/A


Savoy Pictures had purchased the Firestorm script from Chris Soth for $750,000 and in 1994, Savoy brokered the biggest deal on record with an actor, offering Sylvester Stallone an unheard of $20M salary to star in an undetermined action movie — Firestorm was one of the potential pictures.  One year later Savoy had major cash-flow problems and the project never materialized.  They went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly after.

Firestorm was then picked up by FOX and developed as a vehicle for NFL player Howie Long, who was being molded by FOX into the next action superstar.  FOX signed Long to a 3 picture deal that began with his supporting turn in Broken Arrow (1996) and after the dismal box office performance of this movie, there was no third picture.  The budget for Firestorm was $19 million and FOX fully financed.

Oscar winning cinematographer Dean Semler (Dances with Wolves) was hired to direct this schlocky actioner as his first feature.  After finishing his first directing assignment, he went off to helm the wretched Steven Seagal vehicle The Patriot, which was dumped straight to video in 1999 and ended his directing career — he successfully returned to cinematography.

Firestorm was filmed in 1996 and then scheduled for the January dumping ground on Jan. 9, 1998.  It was the only new release that weekend, which also saw the wide expansions of awards fare Good Will Hunting and Wag The Dog.  FOX booked Firestorm into 2,037 theaters and reviews were awful.  It was dead on arrival with $3,849,308 — placing #7 for frame led by the 4th weekend of Titanic.  Audiences gave Firestorm a terrible C- cinemascore and it declined 44.6% the following session to $2,132,917 and then promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with just $8,165,212.  FOX would see returned about $4.4M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far below their P&A expenses and the budget would not be touched by the theatrical receipts.

Overseas numbers have not been reported.  Firestorm was dumped straight to video in the UK.

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