John Travolta's vanity gets him a gigantic flop

Critics regard his new film "Battlefield Earth" as the worst of the century

Berlin, Germany
May 16, 2000
Berliner Morgenpost

At $25 million a film, he is indeed one of the highest paid film actors in history, but now John Travolta, 46, has also provided us with one of the greatest film flops in history: his "Battlefield Earth" has been shredded as hardly any film before, and on its premier weekend - although it ran in over 3,300 U.S. movie theaters - it took in on $12.3 million.

"Battlefield Earth," is based on the science fiction novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. John Travolta, professed member of Scientology, does not only play the lead role, but he also co-produced the $80 million film. After a catastrophic start, experts estimate that the film will not return even a fraction of its production costs.

The film is set in the year 3000, when the earth will be ruled by extraterrestrials called "Psychlos." With the help of platform boots and dreadlocks, Travolta plays the 8 foot tall security chief of the Psychlos called Terl. Barry Pepper ("Saving Private Ryan") is his human opponent.

On Sunday, America's most well-known TV critic, Roger Ebert, described the work by Travolta as "one of the most gruesome films I have ever seen." The Los Angeles Time made fun of the "ridiculous dialogue" and described the film as a "totally awful experience."

John Travolta, who was once became famous with "Saturday Night Fever", was not greatly upset. "The film," he said, "symbolizes the power I have. I can start things which a studio would not normally take on. If I cannot use my power today, what is it all for?" This is also what America's Scientology opponents are asking. They accuse Travolta and the Warner Brothers distribution company of subliminally advertising in the film for the sect. Internet pages like Cultwatch and Factnet even assert that the film had been secretly financed by the Scientology sect and that the sect intends to recruit new adherents with the film. That could backfire however, if, as the New York Times writes, Battlefield Earth "turns out to be the worst film of the century."

For one film producer who does not want to reveal his name, the film is simply "an $80 million shell for John Travolta's vanity."

German Scientology News