Trivia: Battlefield Earth

The Book

The Film

  • All Men Are Perverts: Hilariously enough, Shapiro admits in his apology letter that he got involved at first because he read that the Scientology centre was "a great place to pick up women", and it snowballed from there.
  • Billing Displacement: The film was supposed to be about Jonny's quest to save Earth, but advertisements heavily focus on Travolta, who plays the antagonist Terl.
  • Box Office Bomb: The film made $29.7 million on a budget of $44 million, not counting marketing or Franchise Pictures' embezzlement, which pushed it to $75 million.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • J. D. Shapiro, the first screenwriter, openly apologized for this film, and even personally received the film's Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Movie of the Decade, 2000-2009.
    • Barry Pepper (Jonny) said that had he known he was going to win the Worst Supporting Actor award at the Razzies, he would have shown up to accept his trophy in person, too.
    • Forest Whitaker (Ker) has also gone on record saying that he regrets appearing in the movie. Apparently even the lure of money wasn't enough to justify it in his eyes.
    • Even the film's cinematographer has gone on record as saying that the overuse of color filters and Dutch angles wasn't his idea, and that he was given the smallest lighting budget he had ever worked with.
  • Creator Killer: In addition to the film grossly underperforming in all areas, the egregious case of Hollywood Accounting involved in the production led to Franchise Pictures being sued into bankruptcy.
  • Deleted Scene: Plenty of 'em here.
  • Doing It for the Art: The production could be seen as a Deconstruction of this trope. Travolta poured so much money, time and passion into a project that wound up being considered one of the worst films ever and turned him into a laughingstock.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • It's been pretty much stated that John Travolta was in charge of everything.
    • Before that, J.D. Shapiro, the first screenwriter was fired because the original studio (MGM) wanted to change his script too much (which he knew he would be a bad decision...). He practically disowned the film, and even decided to accept his Razzies.
    • This was the last movie Franchise Films helped finance. According to the lawsuit and federal investigation afterward, this studio made a living forcing movies to be severely under budget and taking the leftover as pure profit. In this case, the $75 million budget-film only got $44 million.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
  • Just Plane Wrong: Oh, so many examples. Nothing should be working after about a millenium, it takes years, not weeks to learn to fly one, none of them have flight-suits and yet they're all stunt dogfighter material. On the positive side, they do mention that Harrier jets can hover.
    • Harriers are so unreliable that the fact that they can even be repaired is almost ridiculous.
  • The Merch: Yes, it's true: Battlefield Earth actually had a toyline. It was one of Trendmasters' last ones, in fact.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Forest Whitaker did it for the pay gig.
  • Real-Life Relative: Travolta's wife, Kelly Preston, plays Terl's girlfriend.
  • Re Cut: The version on VHS and DVD removes a few scenes, adds a scene of the heroes discovering the instructions for the nuclear warhead, and the opening crawl that states the bloody obvious. The versions aired on TV and streamed on Netflix are the original theatrical cut. For those scenes, see Deleted Scenes.
  • Springtime for Hitler: The film was the subject of a $121.7 million judgement, possibly being an attempt to deliberately profit from a bomb.
  • Star-Derailing Role: For EVERYONE. Forest Whitaker would eventually bounce back with The Last King Of Scotland.
  • Stillborn Franchise: There were originally going to be sequels based on the rest of the book. It also indirectly killed Franchise Pictures as well.
  • Vanity Project: The film is considered Travolta's baby through and through, with him sticking with the film through it's Development Hell, and using his post-Pulp Fiction Career Resurrection in order to get it bankrolled.
  • Wag the Director: The DVD Commentary makes it clear that Travolta, not the director, was in the driver's seat. Considering his status as driving force behind the project and probable writer of the script though, perhaps the wonder is that he wasn't actually the director.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Travolta had both a sequel and an animated series planned even before the film was released.
    • On another note, J. David Shapiro's first draft for the film.
    • Travolta has wanted to make this movie for quite a while, but he wanted to star as the rebellious human Jonnie. By the time he got funding, he decided he was too old to fit the role.