Shocking! A.V. Club shares that the SyFy channel may make a TV series out of Costner's terrible flop. "Syfy's reasoning is that Waterworld continues to be a decent performer every time they air it—and as Nielsen boxes are not currently capable of measuring ironic and/or drunk viewing, it's considered a big enough hit to think about revisiting Kevin Costner's postapocalyptic panorama of pee-drinking and jet skis on a weekly basis, despite it being one of the most legendary flops of all time."

131 Responses to “Kevin Costner's Waterworld actually considered for adaptation”

  1. Mike Meyer says:

    I’ve heard worse ideas.   At least Bravo’s not doing it as a reality series.

  2. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Waterworld would have been a fine film if they hadn’t tried to give it a plot.  Kevin Costner just sailing around recycling his urine was amazingly compelling.

    • Shibi_SF says:

      Plus, it was filmed in Hawaii and everyone loves Hawaii… even if Costner is there, swilling his urine, talking to his pet tomato and swimming around in a wig, while wearing gills.  (Yes, I DID watch the movie, more than once). 

    • Charlie B says:

      Wait a minute. “SyFy” has an audience that isn’t drunk and/or ironic?  Who are these people?  Clearly not either of us.

    • gauch0 says:

      Yeah, I actually enjoyed the movie up until his sailboat sank. (Was that in the first 10 minutes?)

  3. Mister44 says:

    With out Waterworld we wouldn’t have Dennis Hopper’s classic line from the film, “Fuck that shit!” used in this song by Combichrist – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T-S2m6kRwY

    So something good came out of Waterworld (which wasn’t a horrible film, IMHO. Not great but not horrible.)

      • Mister44 says:

         Gasp – I think you’re right. WHY did I think it was from Waterworld? Maybe he did say it in both films. I guess I’ll have to rewatch the film ;o)

        • AverageOne says:

          “Heinecken? Fuck that shit! Pabst! Blue! Ribbon!”

          I hope you don’t call yourself a hipster, ’cause you totally flunked your final exam if you do.

          • Vales3 says:

             So the Hipsters are David Lynch’s fault? Seriously though, what’s up with the Pabst Blue Ribbon and the hipsters? Pabst is a beer that men who were born before world war I drink and think it’s almost too flavorful but what are they going to drink otherwise, Ballantine? KIDS, GET OFF MY LAWN!

          • wysinwyg says:

            Hipsters are usually materially poor aesthetes and PBR is the highest-quality American pisswater beer.  Pretty simple.

            Lynch isn’t to blame for hipsters.  Hipsters are an emergent property of youth culture.  But Lynch’s work is inscrutable (or at least difficult-to-scrute) and therefore obscure, and hipsters gravitate towards inscrutable, obscure cultural artifacts.

  4. Stefan Jones says:

    Most evaluations of Waterworld I’ve read add “that actually turned out to be a passable adventure flick” to “Legendary flop “.

    I’d rather watch a Waterworld series than another god-damned thing about zombies, vampires, or werewolves. Or about people pretending to hunt ghosts, or look for crap at garage sales.

  5. Boundegar says:

    “Flop” doesn’t mean a movie is bad – it means it’s a commercial failure.  Plenty of bad movies make bank, and plenty of good ones flop.

    • wazmo says:

      Indeed. After all, how many times has The Rocky Horror picture show been shown since its original release? An even better argument can be made vis-a-vis the reboot of BattleStar Galactica. 

      • Dlo Burns says:

        I feel Electro-Shock hasn’t gotten the recognition it deserves.

        • Donald Petersen says:

          Do you mean Shock Treatment?  Antinous may not agree, but I for one feel that movie’s exactly as famous as it deserves to be.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            You didn’t like Shock Treatment?!?

            ?!?!?

          • spejic says:

            Shock Treatment is beyond awful. It is shown to prospective suicide bombers to make them lose the will to live. It produces boredom so great one viewing will kill 10 French post-modern philosophers. Any device playing the movie emits gamma radiation. Any eye used to see it becomes clouded. Any mind used to understand it becomes dim. And the new actor that plays “Brad” is rather stiff.

            I have never walked out of a movie theatre. But (and this is the non-existent God’s honest truth!) I walked away from a hot tub full of naked women in order to stop watching Shock Treatment. My one and only time I’d be in a hot tub full of naked women. And my only regret is that I stayed in too long.

          • Boundegar says:

            Lies!  Nothing can kill French post-modern philosophers!

    • Finnagain says:

      Donny Darko, a fantastic film, had the misfortune of premiering something like three days after 9/11. So, it flopped.

      Actually, a weekly Donny Darko episode would be pretty ok.

      • Dlo Burns says:

        Combine DD and WW and you get Lost!

      • vonbobo says:

        I’m the only person in the world that dislikes that piece of crap Donnie Darko.

        • Itsumishi says:

          No, no you’re not. That film was rubbish. It has exactly one thing going for it, a soundtrack with one (admittedly, extremely) good song. Everything else was complete garbage. It was just weird for the sake of being weird. Incomprehensible for the sake of being incomprehensible. 

          • vonbobo says:

            That’s how I felt about it too. It’s like a lazy Ashton Kutcher tried to make a David Lynch movie.

          • Finnagain says:

            You guys are missing, like, 35 dimensions of meaning, man. I mean, what could be incomprehensible about a plot involving time travel and meds-induced psychosis?

          • vintermann says:

            Well, I think David Lynch is mostly weird for the sake of being weird, and I suspect a lot of his weirdness came from making up stuff uncritically as he went along. 
            I still liked Twin Peaks, though.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Clearly, you didn’t understand it.  Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion.

        • DewiMorgan says:

           Nope. I watched it, twice, but it sucked both times. There was no extra depth. Just new levels of crapness.

          Then again I also despised Brokeback Mountain and There Will Be Blood, which are in my humble opinion tied for worst movie ever; so apparently I just don’t get good cinema.

          • IronEdithKidd says:

            I take it you haven’t seen Monster’s Ball then.  That is a pile of shit I still want my 2 hours back from.

          • Donald Petersen says:

            One never knows.  I loved Brokeback Mountain, hated There Will Be Blood, enjoyed 3,000 Miles to Graceland, couldn’t find anything to enjoy in Fargo except the woodchipper, adore The Apartment and City of Lost Children, and the only movie I’ve ever actually walked out on was Shakes The Clown.

            I suspect we’re all different flavors of Philistine.

    • Robert Moser says:

      Case in point: Blade Runner was a box office flop when it was released.

  6. Brainspore says:

    That doesn’t sound right. Since when does SyFy want anything that bears a passing resemblance to Science Fiction?

  7. sethgodin says:

    Actually, the ‘bomb’ label is not based on fact (worldwide gross was slightly more than it cost to make and market the film) but it has stuck nonetheless. Probably worth thinking about how humans are quick to label…

    Surely, there have been far worse films, and there’s no doubt that there have been films that have lost far more money.

  8. Takashi Omoto says:

    Geez, next you’ll tell me they want to make a TV show out of that old “Stargate” stinker.

  9. Mike Husted says:

    I don’t understand how it was a flop?  Wikipedia pegs it as making $264,218,220 in box office receipts out of a $174 Million budget.  Is Wikipedia wrong?

    • CodyTesnow says:

      Exactly. Not only is a more than passible sci-fi action adventure, it’s worldwide sales more than made it’s money back. 

    • Doc Arkham says:

       Don’t you know that only ‘Merican dollars count toward whether a thing is successful or not?

    • Ignatz Homenez says:

       I think it took a long time to make that money back, and I think it made it mostly overseas.  I’ve noticed that the Hollywood media tend to label movies as flops which don’t earn their money back several times over through the domestic box office in a relatively short time period, i.e. first run of a few months.  Those stories inevitably say that the investors expect to eventually break even or earn a modest profit through overseas revenues, DVDs, etc.  It seems only a relative few big Hollywood movies truly lose money.

      Put another way, that’s not a great return on that kind of bank if it took a few years to trickle in.  They want bank and they want it this quarter, otherwise they could be buying t-bills or something.

    • spejic says:

      Budgets don’t include things like advertising or distribution, do they? They still may have lost money on it, especially if they were trying hard on the international markets.

    • jandrese says:

      As I understand it, a movie has to make at least 2x its budget back to be profitable to the original investors (everything else is lost in distribution, advertising, the theater’s cut, etc…).  So by that metric, the movie is still 84 million bucks in the hole. 

      So most people came out alright on the movie, but some probably lost money.

  10. Rob says:

    I will watch the fuck out of that show. Literally.

  11. Timothy Krause says:

    Pee-Drinking and Jet Skis is one compelling title.

  12. pauljames says:

    ‘Waterworld’ has grossed $265 million. Some flop. Bad books make good movies. Bad movies make good tv shows. All true. I read it on the internet. People call it a flop because Costner and Hopper are just really terrible.

  13. dbergen says:

    He trades a pot of dirt for a tomato plant… which is in a pot… with dirt in it… more dirt than he traded in the first place… #Postapoconomics?

  14. graymerica says:

    I really love the movie, and will watch it almost any time it is on TV.   

  15. Ashen Victor says:

    I just don’t understand why people revile so much Waterworld, it´s not a great movie, but is metric tons of fun and cheesy. 

  16. Tom Leo says:

    Not going to lie I love that movie. I love starwars. Come to think of it most scifi movies are very cheesy and yet enourmously entertaining. Dont think waterworld deserves this hate. Save the hate for honey boo boo

  17. John Donohoe says:

    Many attribute the much of the movie’s weakness was due to two opposing creative leaders on the project.

    Kevin Reynolds (who directed Costner before in the greatly under-appreciated “Fandango”) wanted the movie to be an action-explosion-over the top popcorn movie. Thus, Dennis Hopper as the villan.

    Costner wanted it to be an exploration about his character. His isolation as a human that wasn’t really human (water breathing mutant), inability to connect with others, his exploration of the flooded Earth.

    I guess they fought through the whole production. Personally I’m curious what the movie would have been like if Costner controlled the whole thing. I think there is some interesting science-fiction ground to explore with his character.

  18. Andrew Singleton says:

    I’ll admit. If we see the ‘on the water settlement atolls’ as opposed to ‘people trying to colonize the few specks of land that exist’ I’d be interested. Invintive setting that a lot can be done with. Also it’s a break from zombies and green night vision cameras and odd house settling noises.

  19. Ramone says:

    Waterworld as a TV series sounds really intriguing actually. But since it’s on the SyFy channel it will likely involve professional wrestlers who catch ghosts so I will likely skip it.

  20. Timmo Warner says:

    Waterworld had a lot of good going for it that was overshadowed by a cartoony badguy and generic action stuff. If the TV show explores the basic concepts of life on that world I think it will be pretty interesting!

  21. I enjoyed Waterworld, and I don’t understand why it’s consistently held up as being terrible. I mean, I like me some terrible movies, but I tend to understand why others don’t like them. But I don’t see it for Waterworld.

    • Dlo Burns says:

      I think it was hype-aversion? Also it didn’t make it’s profit cut and people love to rag on movies about that.

    • Anon_Mahna says:

       There was too much of a head butting between the ‘seriousness’ and the ‘Bay-onnaise’  sides that most people didn’t take to it that well. And as others have mentioned people seem to love to rag on anything that doesn’t regenerate it’s investment in the first few weeks.

      Personally I like it.

      • Andrew Singleton says:

        I liked the hammy villain. Hell he had charisma. He had a plan. Other than having a BAD plan the likes of badness has never seen before…. Reasonable villain.

        Pirate/religious nutcase raided an atol and found a girl that supposedly could get them to Dry Land. I like the concept.

  22. al o says:

    I have no problem watching Waterworld or The Postman. Seems like many elements of NBC’s Revolution are grabbed whole-cloth from Postman. If Waterworld were made today, with way less budget thanks to CGI, it would be a decent idea.

    • Dlo Burns says:

      If you can read the Postman books, they’re really quite good.

      • OtherMichael says:

        What? I love Brin to pieces, but the Postman worked much better as a film.

        Do you _really_ want to see that whole scients-as-high-priests-to-a-fake-computer thing?

        Okay, okay, The Postman was an homage to a much-early form of SF writing. And it succeeds in that respect.

        • Dlo Burns says:

          “”Do you _really_ want to see that whole scients-as-high-priests-to-a-fake-computer thing?”"

          Well not to WarHammer 40k levels, but I’d rather see science worship rather than the finance mass-cult we have now. Plus they were rather affable chaps in the end (from what I remember).

          Also we kind of have that now, like the average man couldn’t operate a satellite or a DNS server (or like my dad, a damn cellphone).

    • Donald Petersen says:

      My biggest beef with Waterworld and The Postman has always been that Costner spent waaaay too much money on both.  His star power alone wasn’t enough to attract enough first-run eyeballs to justify their enormous cost.  (Waterworld was made for around $175 million, at the time the most expensive movie ever until Titanic, and The Postman cost around $80 million, which was nowhere near small change.)    Waterworld failed to meet box office expectations, and The Postman lost oceans of money, and thus Kevin Costner more or less singlehandedly destroyed the Big-Budget Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Spectacle for a generation, and I can’t forgive him for that.

      That said, both movies are pretty fun, if bloated and overlong, and would have been great little ~$20 million movies with b-list casts and a canny director.

      So I’d totally watch a remake.

    • Chesterfield says:

      Oh man, I wanted to like Revolution so much. Great premise and decent cast but what a let down. 

  23. Dlo Burns says:

    I bet this will ‘bomb’ the same way the movie did by going overbudget. Filming on the water seems like it’s always a disaster. And SyFy will probably use endless greenscreen with PS2 level wave graphics.

    Unless they stay mostly on land, which will probably become Terra Nova / Lost knock-off.

  24. Crashproof says:

    I, too, enjoyed that movie.  It was not brilliant, but it was a lot better than a lot of other things I also paid to watch.

  25. Marc Mielke says:

    Stargate the movie was pretty crappy too, and look how that turned out. 

  26. Daemonworks says:

    Why not? The idea behind Waterworld was, in itself, fine. The world, etc worked well enough. 

  27. Rob says:

    I’ve seen this move like 10 times. This and the Postman. They are lovably horrible. 

  28. vonbobo says:

    That movie is terble, just terble. Now, however, I never pass it up when it is on, much like Roadhouse.

    • bcsizemo says:

      I watched Battleship recently and that pretty much sums it up.  It’s like any of the Fast and Furious movies…from all kinds of angles they suck, but I’d watch just about any of them if they are on TV.

  29. Nathan Hodges says:

    I loved waterworld. great movie, great premise, dirt as money! genius! and with the new ocean rise predictions we’re seeing for the next 500 years it should be required watching for policy makers! ha!

  30. e says:

    I think the basic premise of Waterworld could make a good to great television show, but… hey it’s SyFy doing it so there is virtually no hope of THAT happening.
    Main problems with the movie? 1. Costner can’t act his way out of a paper bag, never has, never will 2. It was overthunk and overproduced. 1/2 the budget a cleaner storyline and someone other than Costner and the thing would have popped.

  31. Gabriel Meister says:

    What in god’s name is “ADAPTION”?  Isn’t it “adaptation”?  Or have I been doing it wrong all these years?  I’m having sad feel.

  32. Gabriel Meister says:

    Although it’s not a BAD word — sort of a mash of “adoption” and “adaptation,” as if Waterworld were an orphan and they’re going to both adopt and transform it.  Neologize me!

  33. The premise of Waterworld is solid eco-fantasy, and could be done well. Seeing as how it’s Syfy developing it though, it’ll be C list actors reading wooden lines against poorly done CG backdrops.

  34. robcat2075 says:

    Jared Wesenberg should do some more research on what is a “flop” before he applies the term again.

    Waterworld was an entertaining movie, opened at #1 at the boxoffice, and eventually turned a profit.  I would like to be involved with flops like that.

  35. zen says:

    watch it turn into terra nova on water…

  36. rocketpjs says:

    I’d like more television SF if it didn’t always seem to spend so much time with awkward and improbable romance plotlines.

    Waterworld as a TV show would only work if they did it on the water, which is expensive and thus likely to be done with crappy CGI – and therefore suck.  They will balance the cost of water filming by over-emphasizing and over-writing micro-interactions between key characters, and it will become yet another story about power struggles, misunderstandings, teenage rebellion and all the rest of the crap that rules the TV.

    Outcasts on the water.

    Now, make a movie or television show out of the pirate city in ‘The Scar’ and you might just suck me in forever.

  37. peregrinus says:

    I liked Waterworld – the ‘suckiness’ theme came out of Hollywood, not audience reaction, because they hated Costner’s independence.

     A TV show eh?!  Maybe an online game like DayZ, but a series … 

  38. McGauth925 says:

    People enjoy it when other people fail.  Not always, and not everyone.  But, people really do like to criticize the faults of others.  Look into yourself, and see what’s really going on, if you do that.  I’m one of those, often enough.  It’s all about my ego.

    For instance, the post we’re all responding too.  I’ve seldom seen such *enjoyment* of denigrating the efforts of others.

    The biggest reason the film was a flop was that it was extremely expensive to film on water.  It couldn’t make all that money back.  But, I’ve watched it many times; if it hadn’t been so expensive, it would’ve been considered an interesting action film.  Dennis Hopper was a little over the top as the half-crazed warlord, but do you have any idea how many post apocalyptic plots feature unreasoning warlords?

    • wysinwyg says:

       Compared to Humungous or the Toecutter Hopper’s character was a pretty reasonable guy.  And more believable than Tina Turner.

  39. Jeremy Wilson says:

    If they’ve got money to spare to make this, why not bring back Stargate Universe?

  40. oswarez says:

    Actually the film didn’t flop at the box office. World wide earning were over 260 million dollars. The main reason the media railed against it at the time was because of its bloated budget and troubled production.

  41. ddh819 says:

    Me and my dennis hopper Deacon action figure will definitely watch a Waterworld series.

  42. b1nman says:

    I would definitely watch it, it is one of my all time favourite movies ever. Its a classic in my opinion, the pinnacle of 90′s post apocalyptic cinema….featuring Kevin Costner.

    I have always thought how well it would suit a game adaptation. Sort of sandbox (waterbox even) with crafting from salvage, sailing elements, boat repair, submersible elements were you explore submerged cities looking for items to trade. Stealth elements were you lurk underwater for an indefinite amount of time( gills will help). The lore in the movie itself if you look at it closely enough is quite rich, plus it has a really unique aesthetic.

    I think marketed correctly it would be a real success, its sort of everyone’s guilty pleasure. The movie they were told they weren’t meant to like, just look at the many comments above defending it. If a tv adaptation was done correctly it could be a genuine success, the only problem I can see here is SyFy messing it up.

    • rocketpjs says:

      It would run into a serious realism problem.  The thing about sailing in a big ocean is that it takes a long time.  Weeks.  So sailing in my mmorpg for 2 weeks to get to another character would be boring as hell.

      Which would require a shortcut of some sort, which would in turn kill the realism and interest of the game.

  43. profstrongman says:

    Fuck that shit!  That movie was awesome!

    Also, it looks like ‘fuck that shit’ was a consistent motif throughout Hopper’s acting portfolio:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snhiofL2Rh4

  44. bryan rasmussen says:

    Waterworld was at least as entertaining a post-apocalyptic wasteland as the Walking Dead, when I watched it I didn’t spend a lot of time wondering what happened to make our band of survivors morons. The reason that Waterworld was such a turkey was not that it was god-awful, but rather that it didn’t make anywhere near enough money to justify its cost. Hell of a criteria to judge a popcorn flick by.

    Man I can’t believe I just stood up for Waterworld,

    • Donald Petersen says:

      You’re not the first, nor the last.  It was entertaining enough to replace the old Miami Vice Action Spectacular on the Universal Studios Tour.

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