Contrary to its reputation. Waterworld was not the all-out flop we often remember it to be at the time of its release in 1995. It opened #1 at the box office, managed to make back its budget in the end, and even got some critical support. Still, many people remember it as a terrible movie, and I personally remember it as a mostly boring attempt at Mad Max on the waves with a few interesting setpieces thrown in. Don’t try to tell Kevin Costner that, though.
Speaking with Jeffrey Wells a few weeks after the infamous film’s 20th anniversary, Costner declared that, despite what you might think, Waterworld is “beloved.”
“I’m not sure you know how hard people work [on films],” he said. “I’m not sure you know how beloved the movie is around the world.”
Costner went on to reference the film’s historically rough production, which included a hurricane, massive budget increases, and a grueling shoot that kept Costner on the set for more than 150 days. Despite all of that, he’s still happy with the film.
“I know that people might think of Waterworld as a low point for me. It wasn’t. It could have had a better, more obvious outcome. The thing I know is that I never had to stand taller for a movie when most were going the other way. The movie with all its imperfections was a joy for me…a joy to look back upon and to have participated in.”
Digs at Waterworld aside, Costner makes a fair point there. The Hollywood press savaged the film for its production woes, and despite all of the public disappointments that came with making the movie, he then still had to hit the promotional trail and do his best to get people to see it. Two decades later, he could view the film the way George Clooney views Batman & Robin and issue tongue-in-cheek apologies, but he’s standing by his hard work, and I respect that.
Still…Waterworld’s just not good.