Monday, June 8, 2020

Xanadu!


In 1980, Olivia Newton John was one of the world's biggest stars and Electric Light Orchestra was one of its biggest musical groups. Imagine if these two talents joined forces with a retired Hollywood legend? Universal Studios hoped that these elements would mean big bucks at the box office.


A Movie Made in Hollywood Accountant Heaven

Originally given a low budget, the film became a potential blockbuster as soon as Ms. John, ELO and Gene Kelly became interested in it. Universal increased the budget accordingly and began getting high hopes for its potential. The extra money was all up there on the screen, as expensive visual effects were added to give the movie a more ethereal quality.


Trust us, these were amazing special effects back in 1980!


Um, yeah, amazing...

When all was said and done, Universal discovered that putting Olivia Newton John and ELO together made a hugely profitable soundtrack that broke sales records around the world. Unfortunately, slapping together a film from a low budget script and loosely integrated songs would make a terrible movie even with a popular soundtrack. Even adding a touch of class couldn't help this tragedy.


Easily the classiest thing in a classless movie.

Other than Gene Kelly, only Joe Mantegna would leave this film with his dignity intact, and that was because Joe's scenes were cut from the film.


Sorry, Olivia, you can try to hide your face, but we still know it's you.



Olivia, honey, it would help if you looked in the same direction as the rest of the cast...

The film was so notoriously bad that it, along with the even worse Can't Stop the Music, inspired the creation of the Razzie Awards, which dishonors the worst of Hollywood. It would lose out to the aforementioned Village People picture for worst film, though that was probably an award it was happy to lose. In the end, money was lost, careers were tarnished, but sadly no lessons were learned. 

The vintage Pan Pacific Auditorium was probably the biggest loser in all of this. Having fallen on hard times, the movie's producers hoped that the success of this film would spark interest in the crumbling building. It actually sealed the building's fate. The building remained vacant until it burned down under suspicious circumstances just days after Florida's Disney-MGM Studios had its grand opening, featuring ticket booths inspired by the original auditorium. Sadly, the release of Xanadu would still be the worst thing that ever happened to the building.


Let this be a warning to you kids- drugs are bad, m'kay?