Gigli

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  • Directed By: Martin Brest
  • Written By: Martin Brest
  • Release Date: August 1, 2003
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha

Box Office Info:
Budget: $75.6 millionFinanced by: Revolution Studios; Sony
Domestic Gross: $6,087,542Overseas Gross: $1,178,667


“It’s turkey time … Gobble gobble.”  The infamous Gigli was financed by Revolution Studios, who had a financing slate deal with Sony, which would contribute 42.5% of the budget and 100% of the marketing costs.  The budget was reported at $54 million at the time of release and when Revolution Studios went bust and its library was up for sale, the actual cost was listed as $75.6 million.  Revolution head Joe Roth had landed one of the greatest studio deals ever with Sony, who had more to lose on each project than Roth’s Revolution — and had originally envisioned his company making filmmaker friendly fare with A-listers and then squandered Revolution’s reserves on mostly lousy movies.  As awful as Gigli is, this was actually a filmmaker friendly picture for Revolution and awarded director Martin Brest (fresh off the fiasco Meet Joe Black) final cut privilege.

After Gigli tested very poorly, there were heated debates between Brest and Joe Roth, who demanded the film be recut and scenes reshot.  Despite having the contractual right to deliver his edit, Brest did relent and agreed to some reshoots and re-editing, but no amount of tinkering could save this stinker.  Roth never again awarded final cut privilege to directors after his experience on Gigli.  Veteran director Martin Brest torpedoed his career with this mess and hasn’t worked since.  Ben Affleck’s career quickly derailed after Gigli.  No career can withstand the trauma caused by back to back releases of Gigli, PaycheckJersey Girl and Surviving Christmas.  He took a short Hollywood leave and re-emerged a few years later with a bit better quality control at choosing projects.

Toxic buzz trailed the film for months into release and Gigli became a PR nightmare for Sony’s marketing department, who were left with the impossible task of convincing audiences to pay money to see this.  The relationship between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez was media fodder that received so much annoying coverage, that it became a liability to the promotion of the movie.  Any movie would have been dwarfed and hurt by the couple’s tabloid exposure, but it certainly did not help that this movie was crowned by critics as one of the worst of all time.

Sony booked Gigli into 2,215 empty theaters, where it opened against American Wedding and was dead on arrival with $3,753,518 — placing #8 for the weekend led by American Wedding.  Audiences slapped Gigli with a hateful D- cinemascore and at the time of release, Gigli set the record for the biggest second weekend decline at 81.9% to $678,640.  The film was then pulled from all but 73 theaters and sank 97.2% in its third weekend to $18,702 and was promptly yanked out of release with an embarrassing $6,087,542.

Sony dumped Gigli straight to video in almost every market overseas and in its brief theatrical run, pulled in an anemic $1,178,667.  Joe Roth said the 2003 failures of GigliHollywood Homicide and Tears of the Sun were “humiliating.”  More expensive flops continued in 2003 for Revolution with The Missing and Peter Pan.

When Gigli aired on the Starz network months later, their promos posted review quotes saying how awful the movie was and Starz Encore’s publicity head Steve Belgard said: “If we promoted it like a good film, our credibility would be shot.”

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