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ishtar failed for one reason - too much bad press.  People start to take it
too seriously it after a while. Critics were saying that the movie cost too
much because of Hoffman, Beatty, and (director) Elaine May's salaries.  There
were articles about how Elaine had paid for realistic sand dunes and then
paid alot of money to have them moved around and eventually removed.  These
tales, whether true or not, wind up in the papers and audiences somehow feel
that these problems will somehow manifest themselves in the film. Audiences
feel that a bloated budget on a film will make it an unenjoyable film.
 Waterworld, Heaven's Gate, Howard the Duck, etc, etc...  Personally, I was
not a financier in those films, so I couldn't care less if the film cost a
billion dollars, as long as it was enjoyable.  Back to "Ishtar"  I thought
Hoffman and Beatty singing, "tellin' the truth is dangerous business" was
hilarious.  Once the public's mind is poisoned, however, there's no changing
it.  That's why many big budgeted films with critical disapporoval do so
poorly at the box office.
 
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