“Billionaire Boys Club” isn’t living up to its name.
Vertical Entertainment’s crime drama starring Kevin Spacey, Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, and Emma Roberts picked up an anemic $618 when it debuted in 11 theaters across the United States. It reportedly launched with a disastrous $126 on Friday. “Billionaire Boys Club” played in various smaller cities, including the San Francisco area, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Detroit, New Orleans, the Hartford/New Haven area, Miami and Sarasota, Florida.
James Cox directed the film, which is based on the real-life Billionaire Boys Club that was active in Southern California in the ’80s — their get-rich-quick ponzi scheme collapsed in spectacularly bloody fashion. The film was first released through video on demand on July 17, which likely further depressed box office. However, allegations that Spacey sexually abused multiple people didn’t help matters.
Earlier this summer, Vertical Entertainment put out a statement defending its decision to release the film. It read, “We hope these distressing allegations pertaining to one person’s behavior — that were not publicly known when the film was made almost two-and-a-half years ago and from someone who has a small, supporting role in ‘Billionaire Boys Club‘ — does not tarnish the release of the film.”
“Billionaire Boys Club” marks one of the first times that someone accused of sexual harassment has had a starring role in a theatrical release. Jeffery Tambor, who was accused of sexual misconduct by two women, had a small role in Armando Iannucci’s satire “The Death of Stalin,” though his participaction was minimized in promotional aspects of the film.
After Spacey was first accused of sexual harassment by Anthony Rapp, he was fired from the final season of Netflix’s “House of Cards.” He was intended to appear in Ridley Scott’s film “All the Money in the World,” though once allegations surfaced, his scenes were cut and Christopher Plummer replaced him in reshoots. Plummer went on to earn an Oscar nomination for his work, though the film lost money at the box office.
Vertical Entertainment has had a rough summer. The studio released John Travolta’s mob biopic “Gotti” earlier this year, which picked up a paltry $4 million during its theatrical run and some truly bruising reviews. It holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Though it’s easily a career-low opening for Spacey, it’s not the first film to bow with under $1,000. Magnolia Pictures’ “Higher Power” and Icarus Films’ “The Other Side of Everything” are just a few titles from the past year that each debuted with less than $500. However, none of those movies had a call sheet with four A-list actors. That distinction belongs entirely to “Billionaire Boys Club.”