After the critical and commercial success of 1978’s The Deer Hunter, director Michael Cimino was given carte blanche for his next film, Heaven’s Gate. Cimino took the studio’s money and ran with it, funneling cash into his compulsive attention to detail and more than 1.5 million feet of film. Cimino and United Artists famously and publicly clashed over the production of the film, and the director reportedly kept armed guards outside the editing room to keep execs from fussing with his vision. When all was said and done, critics despised the film, and the fans didn’t come out to see it either. As Vincent Canby of The New York Times put it, the film, “fails so completely that you might suspect Mr. Cimino sold his soul to the Devil to obtain the success of ’The Deer Hunter,’ and the Devil has just come around to collect.” Inflation-adjusted, the film lost a whopping $114,281,677.
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