Hard Rain

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  • Directed By: Mikael Salomon
  • Written By: Graham Yost
  • Release Date: January 16, 1998
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Randy Quaid

Box Office Info:
Budget: $70 million Financed by: Mutual Film Company; Tele München; BBC; Toho-Towa; UGC PH; Paramount
Domestic Gross: $19,870,567 Overseas Gross: $6,839,503

Hard Rain was developed and filmed under the title The Flood and packaged by Mutual Film Company.  The budget for Hard Rain was an expensive $70 million.   Mutual had 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.  Mutual had a domestic distribution first-look arrangement with Paramount, which boarded the project and also co-financed with Mutual.  After a string of box office losers, Paulie, A Simple Plan, Black Dog, Virus and Hard Rain, France’s UGC PH pulled out of the agreement with Mutual in 2000.

The difficult shoot began in the last week of August 1996 and post-production did not begin until the third week in January 1997.  Paramount then dated the expensive picture for a prime release date on May 2, 1997 and the studio imposed a March 31 deadline to have the movie rushed to completion.  It became clear that the film was would not be ready by that deadline and the studio and producers also began to worry that the title The Flood was misleading to audiences who expected a disaster movie.  The marketplace had become saturated with big budget natural disaster fare like Twister (1996) and audience interest began to wan with Daylight (1996) and Dante’s Peak (Feb. 1997).  Paramount then pulled Hard Rain off their calendar when FOX moved their idiotic disaster movie Volcano to the previous weekend.

The picture was re-named Hard Rain and then pushed back to January 16, 1998.  During the delay, reshoots were commissioned for the ending and then leading actor Christian Slater landed a massive amount of unwanted publicity for going on a violent coke fueled rampage.  After repeatedly punching a woman in the face, biting a man on the chest, kicking a janitor in the stomach and kicking a policeman called to the scene down a flight of stairs, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail — and was required to start serving his sentence by January 10, 1998.  Along with the reduced sentence that most poor people would be spending the next decade in prison for, Slater was also given permission to delay surrendering to authorities so he could attend the premiere of Hard Rain.

Hard Rain received terrible reviews and bowed against Fallen, Half Baked and Star Kid.  It pulled in a poor 7,076,110 — placing #5 for the weekend led by Paramount’s unstoppable Titanic in its 5th frame.  Hard Rain declined 48% to $3,703,706 the following weekend and bombed out of release with just $19,870,567.  Paramount would see returned about $10.8M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which was far below their marketing expenses.

Hard Rain was a box office fiasco overseas as well, where it pulled in just $6.8M across numerous distributors.

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