Kevin Costner defends his ‘beloved’ 1995 movie ‘Waterworld’

Costner insists the incredibly expensive blockbuster wasn't the career 'low point' some people think

Kevin Costner has defended his notorious 1995 film Waterworld as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Following a series of setbacks, production costs on the post-apocalyptic sci-fi blockbuster spiralled to $172m, earning it the title of “most expensive movie ever made” at the time. Produced by and starring Costner, it opened to mixed reviews in July 1995 and performed disappointingly at the box office, but eventually managed to break even following strong VHS sales.

At the time, Waterworld was branded a disaster, but its reputation has improved somewhat over the subsequent two decades. Asked for his thoughts on the film today, Costner told veteran US film journalist Jeffrey Wells on his Hollywood Elsewhere blog: “I’m not sure you know how beloved the movie is around the world. Being hard [on a film] is really easy if you don’t know the underbelly of what [went into it].

“When you do know the forensics of a movie – the participation and decisions of others that one has to stand in front of – you can’t help but see it differently.”

“I know that people might think of Waterworld as a low point for me,” Costner continued. “It wasn’t. It could have had a better, more obvious outcome. The thing I know is that I never had to stand taller for a movie when most were going the other way. The movie with all its imperfections was a joy for me… a joy to look back upon and to have participated in.”