Inside Hollywood’s Greatest Vanity Project

Never heard of Middle Men until reading this article, which helps explains why the vanity project bombed so badly.

A few weeks after the accident, his movie, Middle Men, had bombed. It had cost him $32 million and would earn a total of just $754,000 at the box office, and it hurt all the more because it was not just his first major production, but was all about him. One of the most brazen vanity projects in Hollywood history, the movie focuses on one man—based on Mallick—and his entrepreneurial genius, his business acumen, and his uncorruptible core, which allowed him to keep his moral bearing amid a sea of sleaze and filth. He’d cast Luke Wilson in the lead—as himself, essentially—and also enlisted James Caan and Giovanni Ribisi. And the movie was good—Variety called it “compelling [and] skillfully made.”

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