Spike Lee’s once-highly anticipated remake of the cult Korean classic Oldboy crashed with a thud at the box office this past weekend, earning just $1.3 million in its first five days of release.
This marks the latest cinematic disappointment for Lee, who is coming off two straight flops — 2008′s Miracle at St. Anna and last year’s critically reviled low-budget drama Red Hook Summer.
Oldboy initially had strong buzz thanks to its cast (headlined by Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson) and its popular source material. But apparently friction with the studio producing the film may have compromised the final product, which received mostly tepid reviews from critics.
Even Lee himself has implied that the relationship he had with producers was less than stellar. In fact, the director’s classic “Joint” trademark doesn’t appear on Oldboy, it’s simply called a “Spike Lee Film.”
Slant magazine asked Lee about the change: “The only way I can answer that question is with two words: tough business. I’ll leave it at that.”