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John Travolta Got Buried For A Fred Durst Film That Barely Made Over $3,000 At The Box Office

TheThings 1/24/2023 Daniel Rugunya

There are fewer more recognizable faces in Hollywood — perhaps in the world — than that of John Travolta. The actor is known for his roles in some of the most iconic films of modern cinema. His career began in the 1970s, with appearances on popular TV shows such as Welcome Back Kotter and The Rookies. However, it wasn’t until the release of the disco-themed film Saturday Night Fever in 1977 that he really rose to prominence in the industry.

Travolta’s career continued to soar with the release of Grease in 1978. The movie, in which he starred Danny Zuko, a high school student and leader of a greaser gang, was an even bigger hit, grossing over $396 million at the box office and becoming the highest-grossing film of 1978.

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Travolta went on to experience more success in the ensuing decades, starring in hits like the action film Blow Out in 1981, and the critically acclaimed crime-drama Pulp Fiction in 1994. Yet even this two-time Academy Award nominee is not without his share of bad movies. One of those was directed by Fred Durst in 2019, and only made $3,000 at the box office.

John Travolta Starred In Fred Durst’s The Fanatic In 2019

John Travolta Fred Durst The Fanatic © Provided by TheThings John Travolta Fred Durst The Fanatic

The psychological thriller film The Fanatic was written by Dave Bekerman and Fred Durst, with the latter also taking up directorial duties. Durst is otherwise best known as the lead vocalist of the nu metal band Limp Bizkit. The film starred John Travolta as Moose, a mentally unstable man who becomes obsessed with his favorite action movie star Hunter Dunbar. This part was played by Final Destination star Devon Sawa.

Moose, an avid fan of Dunbar, stalks the actor in an attempt to get closer to him, but his behavior becomes increasingly erratic and dangerous. As Moose’s obsession spirals out of control, Dunbar becomes more and more alarmed by his behavior, eventually leading to a confrontation between the two men.

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The Fanatic explored the darker side of celebrity culture, and the impact it can have on fans. It also delved into the complex nature of mental illness and the consequences of untreated mental health issues. Other cast members in the film included Degrassi: Next Class’ Ana Golja, as well as Jacob Grodnik, James Paxton and Denny Méndez.

The Fanatic Was A Serious Box Office Flop

The Fanatic was released on August 30, 2019, by Quiver Distribution, a company that specializes in the distribution of independent films. The film had a limited theatrical release in select theaters in the United States, which is a common distribution approach for independent films that might not have a wide appeal.

The distribution strategy for The Fanatic was focused primarily on a VOD (Video on Demand) release, which allowed the movie to be made available to audiences through streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu. This strategy allows independent films to reach a wider audience, as it is more accessible and convenient for viewers to watch the film at home.

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However, despite the VOD release, the film was an absolute commercial failure.

The Fanatic grossed only $3,153 at the box office, a very meager amount compared to the original production budget. The picture also struggled to impress with critics, and was even nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture and Worst Director for Fred Durst.

What Did Critics Say About John Travolta’s Performance In The Fanatic?

John Travolta © Provided by TheThings John Travolta

While John Travolta was seen by some as perhaps the only saving grace for The Fanatic, he did not escape the negative reception that the film generally received. In fact, he was also nominated — and eventually won — a Razzie Award for Worst Actor following his performance in the movie.

It was the critics who went in hardest, on Travolta as much as they did on the picture itself. Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times was scathing in review, writing: “With his inexplicably choppy hairstyle and boyish speaking voice, Travolta in particular comes across like a grown man trying to imitate a first-grader.”

Katie Rife of The AV Club did not offer any respite either, saying that Travolta’s performance was “constructed entirely out of loud printed shirts and acting tics lifted from a community-theater production of Of Mice And Men.

Even The New York Post’s Johnny Oleksinski — who somehow sympathized with the actor — was still damning enough: “I’ll give Travolta this: He commits. This is not a flattering project for him, and the actor is obviously deeply invested in the material. He produced it. But he needs a director who will tell him to rein it in.”

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