For the folks at New Corp's (NASDAQ: NWS ) 20th Century Fox, there's no getting around it: Ridley Scott's The Counselor had a horrible debut at the box office last weekend, bringing in less than $8 million in domestic receipts.
For those of you keeping track, that's not even a third of what the movie cost to make, and was only good for fourth place behind the likes of fellow newcomer Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, fourth week blockbuster Gravity, and third week contender Captain Phillips.
Worse yet, The Counselor's opening weekend barely beat the $6.1 million earned by Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 in its own fifth weekend.
Of course, there's always a chance The Counselor's star-studded cast -- which includes Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt -- could redeem itself with a solid international showing over the coming weeks. But as it stands the movie itself apparently just wasn't compelling enough to pull audiences off their couches and into theaters.
But remember, there's a reason all The Counselor's talent reportedly took significantly lower fees simply to work with Scott. After all, the man can make one heck of a movie, and boasts an enviable track record of winners. Here are four Ridley Scott films, then, which most certainly didn't disappoint in their own respective box office runs.
Why not start with Alien, the 1979 sci-fi horror flick that started it all? In fact, even way back then on its meager $11 million budget, Alien managed to gross an incredible $104.9 million worldwide at the box office. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, that would have amounted to roughly $331.7 million in today's dollars.
What's more, Alien has spawned no less than six sequels, prequels, and spin-offs since then, all of which have collectively grossed over $1.26 billion at the worldwide box office -- and that's not to mention their subsequent merchandising and at-home media sales, which are still going strong. In fact, in addition to the Hugo award Scott pulled in from Alien back in 1980, he also managed to grab a DVDX award for Best Audio Commentary for a re-release of Alien back in 2003.
Let's not forget Scott's violent, heart-wrenching drama that is Gladiator, with which he won a Oscar for Best Director. All in all, Gladiator cost a massive $103 million to produce, but took in almost $458 million during its theatrical run back in 2000.
Better yet, when Gladiator was released on DVD that Thanksgiving, it broke the all-time overall sales record for the format -- held at the time by The Matrix -- by selling more than 2 million discs for a total of $60 million during its first week alone. If that doesn't sound like much, remember VHS was still going strong at the turn of the century.
3. American Gangster
After Gladiator, Scott once again captured audiences' attention with 2007's based-on-a-true-crime-story drama, American Gangster, which earned a solid $266.5 million on the big screen on a $100 million budget.
When the curtains closed, however, and remembering DVDs had firmly taken the reins from their tape-based predecessors by then, American Gangster extended Scott's at-home winning streak by selling a whopping 4 million DVD units during its first week in stores.
Finally, we come full circle to back to the Alien franchise with 2012's Prometheus, which was set roughly eight decades into the future and draws a novel conclusion in the Alien universe of where, exactly, the human race originated.
When all was said and done last year, Prometheus earned an impressive $403.3 million in global box office sales from its equally staggering $130 million budget.
Additionally, and despite hardcore fans' assertions that it didn't adequately respect the original Alien film, Scott ironically confirmed a Prometheus sequel is already in the works during a press conference Monday, which was primarily intended to discuss none other than The Counselor.
All things considered, then, it looks like the folks at News Corp aren't too broken up about The Counselor's subpar performance. As long as Ridley Scott can keep churning out the occasional blockbuster to make up for his laggards, its seems a safe bet 20th Century Fox should have no problem funding his films.
3 stocks to build on
Not every movie will be a blockbuster and not every stock will make you rich, so the best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.