Net losses, inflation adjusted: $104,542,449
Total cost: $44,000,000
Worldwide theater gross: $3,484,331
Net losses (actual): $40,515,669
Michael Cimino, the Oscar-winning director of The Deer Hunter, followed up his highly regarded movie with an epic western called Heaven’s Gate. To achieve cinematic perfection, Cimino demanded up to fifty takes of individual scenes and would delay filming until a cloud that he liked rolled into the frame. Production fell behind schedule immediately, and the movie exceeded its budget by 400%.
The movie was mercilessly thrashed by critics such as the New York Times’ Vincent Canby, who compared it to "a forced four-hour walking tour of one's own living room." It earned less than $3 million of its $44 million budget, and the studio, United Artists, folded soon after. Cimino, once a promising director with a great career ahead of him, has barely worked since 1980.