Bruce Willis Once Defended His Most Infamous Box Office Flop

If asked to name their favorite Bruce Willis movies, fans would probably have a variety of different answers. Sure, some common responses would likely include Die Hard, Armageddon, and The Sixth Sense. But for all the widely beloved movies Willis has starred in, the actor has endured his fair share of box office flops. However, he once spoke up and defended perhaps the most egregious addition to his impressive filmography.

David Caruso holds a gun to Bruce Willis as James Coburn watches in 'Hudson Hawk'
David Caruso holds a gun to Bruce Willis as James Coburn watches in ‘Hudson Hawk’ | TriStar

Bruce Willis became a movie star in the late 1980s

As much success as Willis has had in movies, he started his career as the charismatic lead of TV’s Moonlighting. It wasn’t until 1988’s Die Hard that he crossed over into A-list movie stardom. And within just over a decade, Willis had landed a wild assortment of projects that included everything from comedies to horror films, action to drama.

Some of his highlights include not only blockbusters like Armageddon and the Die Hard sequels. Willis also earned critical praise for his performances in award-winning movies like Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, and The Sixth Sense. He even demonstrated comedic range in 1992’s Death Becomes Her and 1989’s Look Who’s Talking.

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But he starred in a notorious flop a few years later

Willis’ penchant for comedy did not translate, however, to 1991’s Hudson Hawk. The movie — directed by Michael Lehmann (Heathers) — stars Willis as the titular cat burglar, who gets caught up in a nefarious plot. But the blend of action and comedy didn’t work for critics or audiences. On a reported $65 million production budget, Hudson Hawk earned only $17 million in theaters, according to Box Office Mojo. But Willis stands by the film.

“I really like [Hudson Hawk],” he said in a 2005 interview with the Mirror. “I just get the feeling that, at the time, it might have been a little too hip for the room.” Willis notably carries a “story by” credit on the film as well. So it stands to reason why he’d be proud of it despite how it was received.

What are Bruce Willis’ biggest hit movies?

Hudson Hawk — along with 1990’s Bonfire of the Vanities — still stands among Willis’ biggest misfires. But what about the films of his that connected with audiences. Even with five movies from the Die Hard franchise under his belt, Willis exceeded their box office grosses with a pair of iconic hits from the late 1990s.

With a worldwide box office total of $673 million, The Sixth Sense remains Willis’ biggest hit, according to The-Numbers.com. That puts it ahead of all five Die Hard movies, Unbreakable, and the actor’s second-biggest movie, 1998’s Armageddon. The Michael Bay film earned $555 million during its initial theatrical run.

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