Way back before he was raising cattle in Montana as John Dutton, Kevin Costner was one of the most recognizable movie stars around. But not all his picks were hits — at least, that’s what we’ve always assumed, anyway.
Yes, Kevin Costner might have starred in some of the best movies of all time (Dances with Wolves, for one), but it’s widely considered that one of his other movies, Waterworld, is one of the worst movies ever made and a major box office flop. Released in 1995, Waterworld ended up costing $175 million, making it the most expensive movie ever made at the time.
The futuristic action movie only ended up making $21 million during its opening, and it’s since been considered a notable loss. But, actually, time has been kind to the Kevin Costner flick, since it’s actually ended up becoming profitable over the years.
Waterworld ultimately ended up making $264.2 million. So, yes, it might not be an eye-watering profit, but this means we can finally put to bed the long-running idea that Costner’s post-apocalyptic tale was a literal disaster.
That said, this is still pennies compared to some of Costner’s highest-grossing movies of all time. He played Jonathan Kent — Superman’s dad — in 2016’s Batman v Superman, which brought in $872 million at the worldwide box office. His first appearance in the role, 2013’s Man of Steel, is a close second at $667 million.
Even his non-superhero movie roles have made bank in the past. Dances With Wolves, which is widely regarded as one of the best Westerns ever made, has brought in $424 million over the years. Not too shabby for a historical drama.
The Bodyguard (an underrated Costner gem, in my opinion) and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves follow closely behind in his filmography, with Waterworld coming in sixth place on the list of highest-earning Costner movies. When you look at it like that, it doesn’t quite seem so bad, does it?
Thankfully, even through think and thin, Costner stood by Waterworld and has always been willing to speak up against its false reputation. “It just is what it is,” he said [via Huffington Post]. “But it stands up as a really exotic, cool movie. I mean, it was flawed — for sure. But, overall, it’s a very inventive, cool movie. It’s pretty robust.”
Robust, for sure. Whether it was back in its flop era or getting a small resurgence, Waterworld is easily one of the more memorable Kevin Costner movies. For wetter or for worse!
For more, see when Costner’s due to return to the small screen with our guide to Yellowstone season 5 part 2. You can also check out our predictions for John Dutton’s fate, or take a look at why Kevin Costner says Westerns are a lot deeper than you think they are. Don’t miss all the new movies soon to come, too!