Kevin Spacey's Flop 'Billionaire Boys Club' Made $618 This Weekend
In the trailer for Billionaire Boys Club, a finance drama starring Ansel Elgort and Kevin Spacey, we see the titular "boys" celebrating their newfound wealth. They drive fast cars, attend wild parties, and wear suits that look like they were plucked from Men's Wearhouse's American Psycho collection. It's got a triumphant vibe that's likely not being shared by the film's producers and distributors after the movie crashed at the box office this weekend, making $618 in 11 theaters across the country.
The film, which is inspired by a true crime story of financial malpractice and misbehavior in Los Angeles during the '80s, actually debuted on VOD last month, where the Hollywood Reporternotes it managed to reach No. 13 on iTunes. Presumably, curious fans of Baby Driver could watch two of its stars -- Elgort and Spacey -- reunite on screen without having to actually walk up to the theater and purchase a ticket for the new Kevin Spacey movie. On the movie's opening day, it posted earnings of only $126, which is a tiny fraction of the film's reported $15 million budget.
Judging from the trailer alone, Billionaire Boys Club looks like it rips off Martin Scorsese's hit The Wolf of Wall Street with the same tacky glee that this summer's mafia flop Gotti swiped from Goodfellas. (Gotti and BBC even share a distributor, Vertical Entertainment.) Like Gotti, Billionaire Boys Club got brutal reviews, earning an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition to the negative criticism, Billionaire Boys Club also had to contend with the allegations against its disgraced star Kevin Spacey, who faces multiple accusations of sexual abuse.
Though some of the press materials, like the poster, have attempted to deemphasize Spacey's involvement, the studio isn't attempting to hide his presence in the film, which was shot well before the allegations went public. “We hope these distressing allegations pertaining to one person’s behavior -- that were not publicly known when the film was made almost 2.5 years ago -- do not tarnish the release,” read a statement from Vertical Entertainment to The Wrap earlier this summer.
The question of what to do about projects featuring Spacey has been challenging for movie and television companies ever since the allegations against him first arose. In an act of production prowess, director Ridley Scott removed Spacey from his role as John Paul Getty III in the kidnapping drama All the Money in the World, earning laudatory press and an Oscar nomination for Spacey's replacement, Christopher Plummer, in the process. Similarly, Netflix cut ties with the actor midway through the production of the final season of House of Cards, announcing that the show would instead center around Robin Wright's character.
However, absent the deep pockets of a major studio or a giant tech behemoth, smaller distributors are left in a tricky situation. What do you do with a completed movie featuring a disgraced star? Actors can't simply be recast as Christopher Plummer every time an awful story breaks. In the case of Billionaire Boys Club, the answer seems to be to just release the movie and hope nobody notices. In this case, the ticket sales indicate nobody noticed anything at all.