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What was Steven Spielberg’s least profitable movie?

Steven Spielberg’s experimental sci-fi film ‘Firelight’ performed incredibly poor compared to his other box office successes.

Steven Spielberg’s experimental sci-fi film ‘Firelight’ performed incredibly poor compared to his other box office successes.

Steven Spielberg’s Hollywood career has been extensive and incredibly influential, paving the way for future filmmakers and future films. However, he wasn’t successful from the get-go and his first feature-length film made a profit of only $1 at the box office.

Before ‘Jaws’ and ‘Jurassic Park’, Spielberg wrote and directed an experimental sci-fi film titled ‘Firelight’ when he was 17 years old.

The plot of ‘Firelight’

The story takes place in a fictional Arizona town and follows scientist, Tony Karcher (Robert Robyn), and UFO believer, Howard Richards (Clark Lohr), as they investigate a string of disappearances following the appearance of mysterious, colored lights in the sky.

While Spielberg had previously created several short films, ‘Firelight’, his first feature film, runs for 140 minutes.

Spielberg composed much of the music score himself with his clarinet and assistance from his mother, Leah Adler, and the Arcadia High School band.

The movie had a budget of $500, funded by Spielberg’s father, Arnold Spielberg, and made $501 at the box office with film tickets costing $1 each. It screened at a select few theaters in Spielberg’s community starting on March 24, 1964.

To compare this to his later films, ‘Jurassic Park’ pulled in over $1 billion and ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ garnered over $792 million.

Spielberg’s story as told in ‘The Fabelmans’

Spielberg’s story in producing ‘Firelight’ has garnered much attention recently courtesy of his latest film, ‘The Fabelmans’.

Directed and written by Spielberg, the movie is a semi-autobiographical story about a boy named Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle). It has a particular focus on growing up in a Jewish community, discovering a love of filmmaking, and navigating his parent’s divorce.

Alongside LaBelle, it also stars Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Judd Hirsch.

‘The Fabelmans’ was released in November 2022 and has since been amassed to critical acclaim. It received several awards and nominations including, seven Academy Award nominations and five Golden Globe nominations where it won Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Director.


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