Quentin Tarantino explains why his ‘Grindhouse’ film failed dramatically
Quentin Tarantino has been reflecting on his career and discussed the topic of Grindhouse, the 2007 double feature which flopped dramatically at the box office.
The project, which comprises the two horror films Planet Terror and Death Proof, arrived as an attempt to pay tribute to a series of 1970s exploitation films and came in collaboration with Robert Rodriguez.
The first film, Planet Terror, was directed, written, scored and co-edited by Rodriguez. The second, Death Proof, was written and directed Tarantino himself and follows a deranged stuntman who stalks young women and murders them with his ‘death proof’ stunt car.
“Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is a professional body double who likes to take unsuspecting women for deadly drives in his free time,” the film synopsis reads. “He has doctored his car for maximum impact; when Mike purposely causes wrecks, the bodies pile up while he walks away with barely a scratch. The insane Mike may be in over his head, though, when he targets a tough group of female friends, including real-life stuntwoman Zoe Bell (who served as Uma Thurman‘s double in “Kill Bill”), who plays herself.”
Despite a whole host of well known Hollywood names being attached and starring in the project, Grindhouse failed to impress and, more specifically, did not perform well at the box office and failed to recoup half of the $60million budget invested in it.
In an interview with Empire Magazine, Tarantino has been answering questions from fans when the conversation turned to the Grindhouse. Reflecting, the filmmaker believed that the audience struggled to understand the concept of the 2007 project: “Well, in America they got Grindhouse,” Tarantino began. “In the UK you got Death Proof. With Grindhouse, I think me and Robert just felt that people had a little more of a concept of the history of double features and exploitation movies.
“No, they didn’t. At all. They had no idea what the fuck they were watching. It meant nothing to them, alright, what we were doing. So that was a case of being a little too cool for school. But as far as the movie playing in England as the movie, I think people took it okay. Although there is a story.”
Tarantino continued: “I’m in London doing press on the film before opening weekend. And I go to Edgar Wright, ‘Hey, let’s you and me and your friends go see it on Friday night in Piccadilly’. So Nira [Park], his producer, and Joe Cornish and the whole Edgar group, we head into the heart of Piccadilly Circus to go see Death Proof on opening day. And we walk in the theatre and there’s about 13 people in there. On the opening 8.30 show, alright? [Laughs] That was a rather humbling experience. But we sat down and watched it and had a good time. Edgar was like [launches into Edgar Wright impression that sounds more like Jason Statham], ‘That was very impressive. I think I would have turned around and walked out of there. The fact you said, ‘Fuck it,’ and sat down, I admired that’.”