Miami Vice was a financial slapdown for Universal — it hurt and it stung — and L.A. Times writer Lorenza Munoz examines the details. Michael Mann‘s undeniably entrancing crime pic cost at least $235 million to make and market, and pulled in a lousy $63 million theatrically in this country…not good. “The studio underestimated the inherent challenges of translating ‘Miami Vice’ to the big screen,” Universal chairman Marc Shmuger tells Munoz. “As a commercial proposition, it had a familiar title but not a really deeply appealing connection to the larger audience.”
And then there’s the beef about talent getting overcompensated. “The biggest winner in the case of Miami Vice could be Mann, who will make at least $6 million, plus a percentage of the box-office receipts, before Universal makes a dime, according to people familiar with his deal,” Munoz reports. Miami Vice is symptomatic of a malaise in the industry,” media analyst Harold Vogel contends. “The industry is undergoing a transition in terms of business models. For the first time in many years, they are encountering strong head winds against whatever they throw up against the screen.”