Quentin Tarantino Cinema Speculation tour – director speaks out about Death Proof blow to confidence

Posted on 17 April 2023
By Pierce King
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Pulp Fiction mastermind Quentin Tarantino has spoken out on one of his Cinema Speculation book tour appearances to confide that the poor box office performance of Death Proof impacted his confidence.

The 2007 stunt car slasher movie stars Big Trouble In Little China hero Kurt Russell as stuntman Mike, a psycho who kills young women with classic cars, modified for murder.

The film, which was released in the States as a special themed double bill Grindhouse with pal Robert Rodriguez taking the other half of the movie bill with Planet Terror.

But the lengthy flick which paid tribute to the 70s grindhouse movies, and included unique trailers in the middle, crafted just for the films, took only $31million (£24.9m) at the box office on a budget of $30million.

Speaking on the tour for his first movie criticism book Cinema Speculation, the director explained how the film’s poor reception led to him receiving more project proposals from Hollywood.

Quentin said: “I have been lucky enough to write stories that have connected with many people, and this has allowed me to practise my art without restrictions that most filmmakers have.

“Now, a funny thing happened: for a while I was getting a lot of project proposals, until the studios ended up assuming that I do my stories and it wasn’t worth the effort.

“But after Death Proof, which didn’t do well at the box office and was a bit of a shock to my confidence, I started getting proposals again.”

He added: “They must have thought, ‘Perhaps now he’s touched and his temper has gone down, now is the time.’

And there’s nothing wrong with making commissioned movies for Hollywood. They always offered me interesting projects. But I preferred to reinvest in myself and made Inglourious Basterds.”

Death Proof was one half of double feature Grindhouse, alongside Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror which was produced by Tarantino.

The director’s follow-up, Inglourious Basterds, went onto gross over $321.5million worldwide on a production budget of $70million.