The Big Lebowski—as shocking as it may seem today—was not a smash hit upon its release in March of 1998. Far from it, in fact.
On a budget of $15 million, it grossed barely over $17 million domestically. Its worldwide cume was a shade over $46.
Written and directed by the Coen Brothers, The Big Lebowski's box office struggles are sort of surprising. After all, it was their follow up to Best Picture nominee Fargo (which was actually nominated for seven Oscars). And in the aftermath of its release, they've gone on to win Best Picture (No Country for Old Men) and be nominated for it two other times (A Serious Man and True Grit).
Perhaps, the public just wasn't sure what to make of our beloved, apathetic hero. Lebowski, the other Jeffrey Lebowski, is a complicated case. There are a lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of what have yous.
But regardless of its odd path to success, the numbers for this movie are inconsequential. It has become iconic, even spawning an annual festival in its honor.
As for the movie itself, it is infinitely quotable; exceptionally casted; written and acted so well it is beyond any measure of reason; and boasts a soundtrack that even the Dude himself would approve of. So bleeping far out, man!
So sit back, mix yourself a fine White Russian, and shine those bowling shoes! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, Chumpzilla, and a special guest are exploring the merits of nihilism because it's just so much damn simpler to believe in nothing!
This Week’s Segments: