‘Office Space’ Actor John C. McGinley Blames Film’s Box Office Disaster On One Terrible Marketing Poster

In 1999, Office Space hit theaters. Writer/director Mike Judge made a black comedy that pokes fun at office life in the 1990s. The story follows Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), who works at a software company. However, he and his co-workers have grown tired of their job and insufferable boss. The Office Space cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, John C. McGinley, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, and Diedrich Bader. The film wasn’t immediately recognized for what it is today.

John C. McGinley was excited to film a comedy

'Office Space' actor John C. McGinley visiting SiriusXM Studios
John C. McGinley | Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

McGinley plays a business consultant named Bob Slydell, who was tasked with downsizing the company. Bob works alongside Bob Porter (Paul Willson), which is why the pair are called “the Bobs.”

McGinley spoke with Brobible in an interview about Office Space. McGinley was known for making serious movies, but Office Space was his opportunity to switch things up. “Up to that time, all I’d done was serious movies,” the actor said. “From Platoon all the way to Point Break. Everything was ‘Mr. Screamy Meanie Serious Guy.’ And then in this, I get to play all these comedy notes, which I had in my back pocket, but nobody had let me use them yet. And so I was like, ‘Yes! This is a f—ing outstanding showcase. This’ll be great.'”

Office Space has a marvelous cast of talented performers. They breathe life into the humor that Judge wrote and directed. However, not everything went as planned upon release.

‘Office Space’ bombed at the box office

Office Space played in theaters on February 19, 1999, and was considered a box office failure. It made $12.2 million against a reported $10 million budget. McGinley blamed the failure on the studio for the marketing poster that they chose to put in newspapers to advertise for the film.

“Some genius at whoever produced Office Space…the full-page ad was Milton covered in Post-Its,” McGinley recalled. “Well, if you cover a man in Post-Its, he looks like f—ing Big Bird. So, the ad looked like an R-rated Big Bird movie. And so it tanked the tank of all-time because no one wants to see an R-rated Big Bird movie. Nobody gives a s—. “

He continued: “And so some genius in publicity at one of those companies decided, ‘I got a way to break through with this movie! We’ll cover Milton in f—ing Post-Its, and that will get people out to the theaters. Well, it did the opposite. So Office Space died after a two-week run in theaters…It s— the bed in the movie theater.”

‘Office Space’ hit big from home

Despite Office Space bombing at the box office, it found success in its home video release and through airing on Comedy Central. The film ultimately gained a cult following.

“And it was right at the time when VCRs and DVDs and shit were starting to get a foothold for a different way to watch a movie other than going to the movie theatre,” McGinley said. “So, people started watching Office Space on those two pieces of hardware. And it started to get some traction.”

Now, it’s strange to think of Office Space as a failure, given how much of a following the film has gained over the years. It has successfully become a part of pop culture.

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