Box Office Bomb: Budget plus marketing costs? A cool $120 mil, which is roughly what a studio back then would sink in to a film whenever they're expecting a blockbuster. But how much did this movie rake in at the box office? Seven-point-one million dollars… worldwide. To be precise, they lost $112,896,027 on this film, which amounts to a 94.08% loss. Adjusted for inflation, its net loss is the fifth largest in film history. As far as box office bombs go, this one is nuclear. Kaboom.
The screenplay was originally written in 1985 and it passed between various producers, directors, and actors over the next fifteen years, with some twelve uncredited rewrites by different writers.
Principal photography was hampered by constant bickering between Eddie Murphy, director Ron Underwood, and the producers, with Murphy often overruling Underwood and making on-the-fly rewrites, causing the film to go over-schedule and over-budget.
The workprint version of the film ran nearly three hours, and Oscar-winning editor Alan Heim was brought in to try and fix the film. After viewing the available footage, he determined that a large portion of the film needed to be reshot, and whole new scenes added including an opening and closing sequence, and introductory sequences for both Pluto and Dina. Eddie Murphy ultimately financed many of the reshoots while the film languished in post-production, writing and directing many of the new scenes himself.
Eventually Village Roadshow, which had been in a multi-picture financing deal with Warner Bros., stepped in to cover the costs of the increasingly costly reshoots and editing, but necessitated that the production move to Canada to earn a local tax credit, as Roadshow was at the time busy with the production of The Matrix Reloaded. All the while, Underwood and original editor Paul Hirsch (of Star Wars fame) was locked out of having any input in the film's final cut.
Murphy ended up losing interest in the film, and left to work on other projects. Since production on the film had technically ended months prior, Warner Brothers had no legal precedent to have him finish the film, which at this point had ended up costing around $100,000,000 (not including promotional costs). Heim took over post-production and did his best to turn the some-five hours worth of disparate footage into a coherent film. The result of this is a film where characters are introduced only to suddenly disappear without explanation, with lengthy Exposition Dumps to fill in important plot points.
The film was finally released two years after principal photography had officially wrapped, at which point it bombed at the box-office and sent both Underwood and Murphy's careers into a downward spiral. Heim later admitted he only stuck with the film to avoid for the sizable paycheck.