The big picture

  • The decision to shoot “Waterworld” on open water led to significant production complications, despite Steven Spielberg’s warning against it.
  • Waterworld experienced inflated production costs, unpredictable weather, and inflated prices from local contractors.
  • Accidents on set and personal setbacks contributed to the negative perception of the film.

Here’s a joke for you: What’s big, expensive and flops in the water? Kevin Costner‘S Water world. The 1995 film’s production costs were a then-record $175 million, making it the most expensive film of all time at the time, and an opening weekend of a paltry $22 million didn’t help. Water world was sunk before it began, as experts called it Fishtar, Kevin’s goal (a humorous reference to the colossal box office flop, Heaven’s Gate) and “the most expensive gamble in film history”. The making of the film is a story full of debacles, suffering, egregiously bad decisions and the lack of toilets. Without further ado, the catastrophe is behind us Water world.

Water world

In a future where the polar ice caps have melted and the Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutant sailor battles hunger and outlawed “smokers” and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl find dry land.

Release date July 28, 1995

director Kevin Reynolds, Kevin Costner

Pour Kevin Costner, Chaim Girafi, Rick Aviles, RD Call, Zitto Kazann, Leonardo Cimino

Evaluation PG-13

Duration 135

Genres Action, adventure, science fiction, thriller

Steven Spielberg warned Kevin Reynolds about filming Waterworld

Accordingly Peter RaderThe spectacular behind-the-scenes problems stemmed from a poor creative decision: filming on open water. Rader says, “The complications of producing this film in a practical setting were breathtaking.” The decision to do so was even made after director Kevin Reynolds turned to a relatively unknown director named Steven Spielbergwho have their own problems with filming the blockbuster Jaw on the open sea were legendary.

According to Rader, Reynolds spoke to Spielberg on the phone before production and said, “Steven, I’ll do it.” Water world Film, and we shoot on the water. Do you have any advice for me?” Spielberg didn’t mince his words. “Do it not Shoot the water! You’ll need a few shots on the water, so use the second unit for that. Do all your reporting in one tank or on one stage.” But what does the most successful director in Hollywood history know? Whether it was an artistic decision or plain old hubris, Reynolds and Costner ignored Spielberg’s words of wisdom and set sail Water world into dangerous tides.

“Waterworld” blew its budget

Rader completed a first draft of the script for the film in 1989 Lawrence GordonBought ‘s Largo Entertainment. In 1991, the script came to Costner, who called Gordon and told him he was interested. The rights to the script were taken over by Universal Chairman Thomas P. Pollock, and as part of the deal, Gordon became a producer and in return brought in Costner. The first step was to hire a director, and the studio was looking for a name who had experience with large-scale projects. They were committed to it Robert Zemeckis. Costner didn’t. Costner refused to endorse Zemeckis, insisting that Reynolds, with whom he had worked Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, be the director. Costner laid it out: either Reynolds was the director or Costner was out. The studio blinked and Reynolds was in. Water world was greenlit, with a budget of $100 million and a shooting schedule of just over three months… without a finished script. Others such as Joss Whedon were brought in to rewrite the script, and the water made shooting the simplest scenes difficult as the waves pulled the boats carrying Reynolds and the camera crew away from the action.

It turned out that both the budget and the shooting schedule were extremely optimistic. The schedule did not take into account unpredictable weather, including a tsunami scare that shut down production for half a day, the need to transport the makeup team back and forth, and the effects of seasickness on the team, including director Reynolds . The budget was huge: the Mariner’s trimaran cost $500,000 (for one… two were built), a floating “slave colony,” and the Atoll, a hideous, 1,000-ton metal atrocity a quarter-mile in circumference This created a steel shortage in Hawaii, requiring more steel to be shipped from California at a cost of $5 million (and no toilets, by the way). Additionally, local builders took full advantage of being the only game in town and increased their prices, as previously mentioned Weekly entertainment. And one set sank, making it costly to salvage in order to continue filming. Ultimately, the shoot took 166 days and cost $175 million.

“Waterworld” cost Costner a lot of time

Accidents on set also complicated the production of Water world. Tina Majorino, the child actress who plays Enola, was repeatedly stung by jellyfish. Due to an incident with an underwater cable, a crew member was hospitalized where he received 20 stitches in the stomach. Norman HowellCostner’s doppelganger suffered a potentially fatal embolism when he returned to the surface too quickly after an underwater dive. While Costner himself was filming a scene in which he was tied to a mast 40 feet up, he was stuck there for 30 minutes when the wind kicked up, slamming him against the mast and hitting him relentlessly with seawater before the crew got him safe could catch back down.

It would be Costner who probably gave the film its greatest success. Yes, he had access to the luxurious motorboat Universal rented for him, as well as the private pool and butler that came with his $1,800-a-day oceanfront villa, but it wasn’t all sunshine and pineapples for Costner. The personal trainer who assisted him in dealing with the physical demands of the role was arrested and illegal steroids were confiscated from his room. He gave up 15 percent of the film’s gross to keep executives from firing Reynold. Costner’s once-glowing public image has borne the brunt of negative press, particularly after his divorce from his first wife, who was awarded around $80 million in the divorce settlement. The film’s behind-the-scenes drama led to wildly speculative rumors, including one from Newsweek It reported that Costner demanded that “the special effects department add ‘computer-generated hair’ to hide his baldness.”

Water world crawled into theaters in July 1995 on a wave of scathing negativity and decidedly mixed reviews and fell into infamy. But was it really that catastrophic? Forbes points out that despite its poor reputation, the film grossed $175 million overseas, contributing to a respectable worldwide box office total of $266 million. Coupled with home video and cable sales, the film made a modest profit and has a college stunt show. Ultimately, Costner survived the film’s criticism and enjoyed a career boost thanks to his role as John Dutton Yellowstonewhich will air the second half of its fifth season in November 2024. But if the history of its creation Water world Which teaches us one thing: When Steven Spielberg gives you advice, take it.

Waterworld is can be rented on Amazon Prime

Watch on Amazon Prime

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