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  1. Was "Mame" *Really* a Flop?

    That's all I've ever heard about this movie, that it was a box office flop. I can accept that it was a flop with critics, and I understand full well why critics did not like it, but many years ago I saw a book in my university library that contained a list of 1974 movies ranked by box office numbers. My memory was that, while Mame was not ranked anywhere near the top for the year, it was still far from the bottom. Now I have found this website which confirms my memory. It shows 117 movies released that year, and if you sort by box office earnings, it comes in at 30th place. That puts Mame in the top 26% of movies that year in terms of box office numbers. According to this site, it earned $18,200,000 (or $87,200,000 in today's dollars). That sounds pretty impressive to me. What's more, according to IMDB, Mame had a budget of $12 million. $18.2 million in earnings on a film that cost $12 million means a 52% return! Please sign me up for any opportunity to make 52% on my investment! And look at some of the movies that year that did less box office than Mame. Harry and Tonto, for example, which won Art Carney an Oscar. And The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, which NBC apparently thought was a big enough hit to turn it into a TV series a couple years later. And It's Alive, which spawned a sequel. There are a number of other movies further down the list below Mame that are familiar to me but which I've never heard referred to as bombs. So what gives? Why is Mame repeatedly called a box office bomb? https://www.ultimatemovierankings.com/1974-movies/ Rank Movie Stars Box Office (Millions) Adjusted B.O. (Millions) Review %age Oscar Noms/Wins 1 Blazing Saddles (1974) Gene Wilder & $118.1 $566.5 81 3/1 Mel Brooks 2 The Towering Inferno (1974) Paul Newman & $114.8 $550.9 69 8/3 AA Best Picture Nom Steve McQueen 3 Young Frankenstein (1974) Gene Wilder & $85.2 $408.8 88 2/1 Mel Brooks 4 Earthquake (1974) Charlton Heston & $78.6 $377.2 45 4/1 Ava Gardner 5 Airport 1975 (1974) Myrna Loy & $76.7 $367.8 43 0/0 Charlton Heston 6 Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Ingrid Bergman & $58.0 $278.0 78 6/1 Sean Connery 7 Benji (1974) Peter Breck & $50.9 $244.2 62 1/1 Deborah Walley 8 Herbie Rides Again (1974) Ken Berry & $50.0 $239.8 56 0/0 Helen Hayes 9 The Godfather: Part II (1974) Al Pacino & $47.5 $228.1 95 11/6 AA Best Picture Win Robert Duvall 10 Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) Peter Fonda & $46.1 $220.9 70 0/0 Roddy McDowall 11 The Longest Yard (1974) Burt Reynolds & $43.0 $206.3 76 1/1 Geoffrey Lewis 12 The Great Gatsby (1974) Robert Redford & $43.0 $206.4 49 2/2 Bruce Dern 13 Freebie and the Bean (1974) James Caan & $40.9 $196.2 65 0/0 Alan Arkin 14 Lenny (1974) Dustin Hoffman & $35.2 $168.6 84 6/1 AA Best Picture Nom Valerie Perrine 15 For Pete's Sake (1974) Barbra Streisand $32.3 $155.0 60 0/0 16 The Island At The Top Of The World (1974) David Hartman $30.3 $145.4 64 1/1 17 Chinatown (1974) Jack Nicholson & $29.2 $140.1 94 11/1 AA Best Picture Nom Faye Dunaway 18 The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) Roger Moore $28.5 $136.6 60 0/0 19 The Groove Tube (1974) Chevy Chase $27.9 $133.7 52 0/0 20 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) Jeff Bridges & $27.6 $132.3 78 1/1 Clint Eastwood 21 Macon County Line (1974) Alan Vint $27.6 $132.3 68 0/0 22 That's Entertainment! (1974) MGM Film Clips $26.9 $129.0 73 0/0 23 Death Wish (1974) Charles Bronson $26.7 $127.9 68 0/0 24 The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge (1974) Charlton Heston & $26.6 $127.4 74 1/1 Faye Dunaway 25 Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) Ellen Burstyn & $23.9 $114.8 84 3/1 Directed by Martin Scorsese 26 The Front Page (1974) Jack Lemmon & $23.8 $114.3 69 0/0 Walter Matthau 27 Uptown Saturday Night (1974) Sidney Poitier & $22.4 $107.6 67 0/0 Richard Pryor 28 The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) Tom Laughlin $21.5 $103.2 47 0/0 29 A Woman Under the Influence (1974) Gena Rowlands & $18.5 $88.9 86 2/1 Peter Falk 30 Mame (1974) Lucille Ball $18.2 $87.2 54 0/0 31 Beyond the Door (1974) Juliet Mills $17.1 $81.9 45 0/0 32 Return of the Dragon (1974) Ramon Zamora $15.8 $75.6 68 0/0 33 S*P*Y*S (1974) Donald Sutherland & $15.8 $75.7 38 0/0 Elliott Gould 34 Harry and Tonto (1974) Art Carney $13.9 $66.9 80 2/1 35 The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (1974) Dan Haggerty $12.7 $61.1 68 0/0 36 Bootleggers (1974) Paul Koslo & $12.7 $61.1 59 0/0 Slim Pickens 37 McQ (1974) John Wayne & $12.4 $59.6 57 0/0 John Sturges 38 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Marilyn Burns $12.1 $58.1 85 0/0 39 California Split (1974) George Segal & $12.1 $58.1 78 0/0 Elliott Gould 40 The Bears and I (1974) Patrick Wayne $12.1 $58.1 58 0/0 41 Emmanuelle (1974) Sylvia Kristel $12.1 $58.1 50 0/0 42 Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) H.B. Halicki $12.1 $58.1 38 0/0 43 The Yakuza (1974) Robert Mitchum & $10.9 $52.3 61 0/0 Brian Keith 44 Mr. Majestyk (1974) Charles Bronson $10.6 $50.9 67 0/0 45 The Lords of Flatbush (1974) Sylvester Stallone $9.4 $45.0 65 0/0 46 Claudine (1974) Diahann Carroll & $9.1 $43.6 74 1/1 James Earl Jones 47 Buster and Billie (1974) Jan-Michael Vincent $9.1 $43.6 69 0/0 48 Three The Hard Way (1974) Jim Brown & $9.1 $43.6 64 0/0 Fred Williamson 49 The Odessa File (1974) Jon Voight $8.5 $40.7 70 0/0 50 The Tamarind Seed (1974) Julie Andrews & $8.0 $38.4 70 0/0 Omar Sharif 51 The Land That Time Forgot (1974) Doug McClure $7.6 $36.3 59 0/0 52 The Castaway Cowboy (1974) James Garner & $7.6 $36.3 43 0/0 Vera Miles 53 The Sugarland Express (1974) Goldie Hawn & $7.5 $36.0 78 0/0 Directed by Steven Spielberg 54 Foxy Brown (1974) Pam Grier $7.3 $34.9 64 0/0 55 Seven Alone (1974) Aldo Ray $7.2 $34.8 56 0/0 56 It's Alive (1974) John P. Ryan $7.1 $34.2 60 0/0 57 Truck Turner (1974) Isaac Hayes $6.8 $32.4 71 0/0 58 Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) Skip Hinnant $6.2 $29.7 52 0/0 59 Conrack (1974) Jon Voight $6.1 $29.1 73 0/0 60 Abby (1974) William Marshall $6.1 $29.1 55 0/0 61 Zardoz (1974) Sean Connery $5.5 $26.5 50 0/0 62 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974) Richard Dreyfuss $5.2 $24.7 71 1/1 63 Phantom of the Paradise (1974) Directed by Brian De Palma $4.8 $23.3 78 1/1 64 The Parallax View (1974) Warren Beatty $4.8 $23.3 77 0/0 65 Pardon My Blooper (1974) Kermit Schafer $4.5 $21.4 66 0/0 66 Big Bad Mama (1974) Angie Dickinson & $4.5 $21.8 59 0/0 William Shatner 67 Juggernaut (1974) Anthony Hopkins & $4.5 $21.8 56 0/0 Richard Harris 68 The Conversation (1974) Gene Hackman & $4.4 $21.2 91 3/1 AA Best Picture Nom Harrison Ford 0 69 Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) Warren Oates & $4.3 $20.5 78 0/0 Isela Vega 70 The Teacher (1974) Jay North $4.2 $20.4 45 0/0 71 Law And Disorder (1974) Ernest Borgnine $3.9 $18.9 54 0/0 72 TNT Jackson (1974) Jeannie Bell $3.9 $18.9 45 0/0 73 Where the Lilies Bloom (1974) Julie Gholson $3.6 $17.4 71 0/0 74 Busting (1974) Elliott Gould & $3.6 $17.4 64 0/0 Robert Blake 75 The Black Godfather (1974) Rod Perry $3.6 $17.4 42 0/0 76 Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) Walter Matthau & $3.3 $16.0 85 0/0 Robert Shaw 77 Huckleberry Finn (1974) Paul Winfield $3.3 $16.0 56 0/0 78 Cockfighter (1974) Warren Oates & $3.0 $14.5 79 0/0 Harry Dean Stanton 79 The Gambler (1974) James Caan & $3.0 $14.5 78 0/0 James Woods 80 11 Harrowhouse (1974) James Mason & $3.0 $14.5 69 0/0 Candice Bergen 81 The Little Prince (1974) Gene Wilder $3.0 $14.5 67 2/1 82 Our Time (1974) Pamela Sue Martin $3.0 $14.5 66 0/0 83 Policewomen (1974) Sondra Currie $3.0 $14.5 63 0/0 84 Daisy Miller (1974) Cybill Shepherd $3.0 $14.5 60 0/0 85 Gold (1974) Roger Moore & $3.0 $14.5 54 1/1 Ray Milland 86 Golden Needles (1974) Joe Don Baker $3.0 $14.5 49 0/0 87 Bank Shot (1974) George C. Scott $3.0 $14.5 49 0/0 88 Lovin' Molly (1974) Susan Sarandon & $3.0 $14.5 39 0/0 Anthony Perkins 89 The Arena (1974) Pam Grier $2.9 $13.8 45 0/0 90 Zandy's Bride (1974) Gene Hackman & $2.9 $13.8 40 0/0 Liv Ullmann 91 The White Dawn (1974) Warren Oates $2.8 $13.4 73 0/0 92 Ginger In The Morning (1974) Sissy Spacek $2.7 $13.1 54 0/0 93 Black Christmas (1974) Olivia Hussey & $2.6 $12.4 72 0/0 Margot Kidder 94 The Spikes Gang (1974) Lee Marvin & $2.6 $12.4 52 0/0 Ron Howard 95 Thieves Like Us (1974) Keith Carradine & $2.4 $11.6 74 0/0 Directed by Robert Altman 96 The Terminal Man (1974) Jill Clayburgh & $2.4 $11.6 58 0/0 George Segal 97 The Girl From Petrovka (1974) Anthony Hopkins & $2.4 $11.3 43 0/0 Goldie Hawn 98 Klansman (1974) Lee Marvin & $2.4 $11.6 39 0/0 Richard Burton 99 Rhinoceros (1974) Gene Wilder $2.0 $9.4 59 0/0 100 The Savage Is Loose (1974) George C. Scott $2.0 $9.4 49 0/0 101 Phase IV (1974) Nigel Davenport $1.9 $9.2 70 0/0 102 The Midnight Man (1974) Burt Lancaster $1.8 $8.9 63 0/0 103 The Internecine Project (1974) James Coburn & $1.8 $8.7 56 0/0 Lee Grant 104 Conversation Piece (1974) Burt Lancaster $1.6 $7.5 75 0/0 105 Mama's Dirty Girls (1974) Gloria Grahame $1.6 $7.6 56 0/0 106 The Black Windmill (1974) Michael Caine $1.6 $7.6 45 0/0 107 Open Season (1974) William Holden & $1.4 $6.6 61 0/0 Peter Fonda 108 Mixed Company (1974) Basketball Movies & $1.4 $6.6 44 0/0 Barbara Harris 109 Soft Beds Hard Battles (1974) Peter Sellers $1.3 $6.0 47 0/0 110 Billy Two Hats (1974) Gregory Peck & $1.2 $5.8 49 0/0 Jack Warden 111 The Last 4 Days (1974) Henry Fonda $0.9 $4.4 48 0/0 112 Shanks (1974) Marcel Marceau $0.8 $3.7 55 1/1 113 Dark Star (1974) Directed by John Carpenter $0.5 $2.4 70 0/0 114 The Destructors/The Marseille Contract (1974) Anthony Quinn & $0.5 $2.3 56 0/0 Michael Caine 115 Seizure! (1974) Oliver Stone $0.2 $0.7 37 0/0 116 Celine & Julie Go Boating (1974) Juliet Berto $0.0 $0.2 78 0/0 117 The Second Coming of Suzanne (1974) Richard Dreyfuss $0.0 $0.1 29 0/0
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