To this day, one of my all-time favorite movie-going experiences was seeing Grindhouse on the big screen with my entire family back in 2007, a double-bill of Quentin Tarantino‘s Death Proof and Robert Rodriguez‘s Planet Terror that featured faux trailers that were sandwiched in-between and directed by the likes of Eli Roth, Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright.
It was pure bliss, quite frankly, a wild and crazy throwback experience that worked like a charm on the right crowd. The problem? Well, the target audience wasn’t a very big one. The Grindhouse experiment was a total flop here in the States, grossing just $25 million at the box office on a reported production budget of at least $53 million. So what happened?
Answering fan questions for Empire, Tarantino reflected on Grindhouse‘s box office and offered up the cold hard truth about the concept: it just never had mass appeal to begin with.
“With Grindhouse, I think me and Robert just felt that people had a little more of a concept of the history of double features and exploitation movies. No, they didn’t. At all. They had no idea what the fuck they were watching,” Tarantino admits. “It meant nothing to them, alright, what we were doing. So that was a case of being a little too cool for school.”
These comments were originally published by Empire back in July 2019, we should note, but Empire Online only published the full Q&A session with Tarantino this week.
Regardless of how much money Grindhouse did (or didn’t) make at the box office, there’s no denying that the experiment’s influence was massive. Grindhouse spawned a whole new crop of throwback-style films that were cut from a similar cloth, notably including Machete and Hobo With a Shotgun – both of which were direct Grindhouse spinoffs.
It’s a legacy that many box office success stories could only dream of having.