How Red Planet ended Val Kilmer’s acting career

“Red Planet” takes place in the year 2056, when the Earth is on the brink of environmental collapse due to excessive pollution and overpopulation. To combat this crisis, expeditions to Mars have begun the process of terror multiplication so that humanity can soon live on the famous uninhabitable planet. Inexplicably, their otherwise successful efforts fail, prompting an interdisciplinary astronaut team to investigate, but things quickly go south in the worst way. At the end, it is left to engineer Robby Gallagher (Kilmer) and Commander Kate Bowen (Carrie-Anne Moss) to solve the mystery and avoid a certain death at the hands of their alien enemies.

To this day, “Red Planet” is the only directorial effort by Antony Hoffman, and apart from its stunning visualization, it is still considered a colossal failure. As far as viewer reception goes, its 14% rotten critical score is on Rotten tomatoes accompanied by a consensus that it “suffers from a lack of energy and interesting characters.” Overall moviegoers were not much more forgiving, as evidenced by the still not impressive 24% audience score, but what about its financial record? Well, it only earned approx. $ 33.5 million on a budget of $ 80 million and landed it in the box office bomb area.

To put it mildly, Kilmer’s leading male state deteriorated after the “Red Planet”, and his coming years would be earmarked by limited releases and direct to video projects. There have been a few diamonds in rough, like 2005’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and the upcoming sequel “Top Gun: Maverick”, but the stigma of “Red Planet” combined with his mid-2010s cancer diagnosis put a big damper on the presence of his already dwindling big screen. Fortunately from this point on, Val Kilmer is cancer free and looking forward to the premiere 2021 biographical documentary “Elections” – put his best foot forward and live life to the fullest.

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