Glitter (film)

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Glitter Movie Poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Vondie Curtis Hall
Produced by Laurence Mark
Screenplay by Kate Lanier
Story by Cheryl L. West
Starring Mariah Carey
Max Beesley
Terrence Howard
Da Brat
Tia Texada
Eric Benét
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Geoffrey Simpson
Edited by Jeff Freeman
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (US Theatrical)
Columbia Pictures (non-US, US Home Video)
Release dates
  • September 21, 2001 (2001-09-21)
Running time 104 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $22 million
Box office $5,271,666[2]

Glitter is a 2001 American romantic musical drama film starring R&B singer, songwriter Mariah Carey. Produced by 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures and directed by Vondie Curtis Hall, the film centers on the life and times of a struggling singer from the early club music scene in the 1980s. Glitter was a box office bomb, grossing back only $5 million against its $22 million production budget. The film was also universally panned by critics. As of 2013, Mariah Carey said that Glitter is her biggest regret.


In the club scene during the early 1980s, a young biracial girl, Billie, born to a light skinned black mother and white father, grows up in a foster home after her mother abandoned her. Years later, the adult Billie (Mariah Carey) is a club dancer along with her foster-care friends Louise (Da Brat) and Roxanne (Tia Texada). They meet Timothy Walker (Terrence Howard), who offers a contract as backup singers/dancers to the singer Sylk (Padma Lakshmi). Initially, Billie refuses, hoping to achieve stardom on her own terms. After pestering from her friends, Billie relents and the three are contracted. They record the hit single, "All My Life" but Sylk's vocal is sub-standard. To maximize sales based on the sex appeal of Sylk, Timothy asks Billie to sing while Sylk lip-syncs. Later at a nightclub—DJed by Julian "Dice" Black (Max Beesley)—Sylk debuts "All My Life". Dice, knowing that Sylk is an indifferent singer, is shocked but goes backstage to congratulate her. Sylk insults her backing singers in front of a photographer and Billie, not wanting to take the verbal abuse, exposes Sylk by singing "All My Life" a cappella in front of Dice. Impressed, he wishes to produce her but Billie turns him down. When she relents, she raises concerns about her contract with Timothy. Dice threatens to not play any more artists from Timothy in his nightclub unless Timothy surrenders Billie and her friends' contacts. Timothy eventually agrees on the provision that Dice pays him $100,000.

Billie and Dice start working on songs: the first being the hit underground single, "Didn't Mean to Turn You On". Dice advises Billie to play off record companies to secure a bigger deal. Ultimately they sign with a major record label. With success in their hands, Dice asks Billie to dinner. Later, he asks her up to his apartment and they sleep together. Billie's first major single, "Loverboy" is a success. The music video originally features Billie, Louise, and Roxanne. However, the director, dissatisfied with the results, orders Billie to wear more revealing clothing and replaces Louise and Roxanne with professional semi-nude male dancers. When the male dancers are then ordered to dance closely to Billie, this frightens her. Dice intervenes on her behalf, and they leave the set before the music video can be finished.

Dice is denied permission to produce songs on Billie's debut, including "Reflections", which Billie wrote about her mother. Billie is called to perform at the USA Music Awards, where she meets singer/songwriter Rafael. Later at the party, they meet again, and Rafael suggests they write a song. Dice orders Billie and her friends to leave, accusing Rafael of sexual advances towards Billie. Louise and Roxanne give Billie an ultimatum: them or Dice, but leave before she can choose. Billie cries, but is comforted by Dice as she laments "If you didn't believe in me, none of this would have ever happened." The reconciliation is short-lived as Billie gets a threat from Timothy concerning the debt that Dice failed to pay. Billie tells Dice that Timothy was at their apartment about his debt and her contract. She is confused because she thought he had handled her contract properly. She admits to Dice that Timothy threatened her and Dice, in a rage, puts Timothy in the hospital. In the middle of the beating, Dice is arrested, causing Billie to leave her appearance on Late Night Live to bail him out. Billie, upset about how Dice lied about her contract and his arrest, argues with and leaves him. With nowhere to go, she goes back to live with Roxanne and Louise.

Billie tries to deal with the pain by creating the single "Want You", with Rafael (Eric Benet), which is a hit, but her emotional pain leads her to solo songwriting. Dice also misses Billie, and also begins writing a song. Billie goes to Dice's apartment in an attempt to reconcile. He's not home, but the music he has written is and Billie realizes they wrote the same song: "Never Too Far". She kisses the sheet music, leaving a lipstick imprint, which Dice later discovers. Dice plans a reconciliation, but is shot dead by Timothy. Billie's management and support crew see a report of the murder on television. They wonder if Billie was with him, they see that she is there and has seen the report. Billie onstage commands the band to stop playing "Loverboy", tells the crowd never to take someone for granted, and that if you love them, you should tell them, because you might never have the chance to tell them how you really feel. She then starts to sing "Never Too Far".

Afterwards, Billie reads a note Dice had left her, where he tells of his love for her, his plan to see her perform and that he has found Billie's mother. Billie's limo takes her to the secluded rural property where she is united with her mother once again.



Mariah Carey began working on a film and soundtrack project titled All That Glitters.[3] However, during that period, Columbia Records pressured Carey to release a compilation album, in time for the favorable holiday season in November.[3] Consequently, Carey put All That Glitters on hold, and released the compilation in November 1998.[3] Following an additional studio album in 1999, titled Rainbow, the project was delayed. She published some of the material on Rainbow, in which she fully exerted creative control over the album and its sound, and then, Carey completed her contract with Columbia Records. Later, she signed a deal with Virgin Records (EMI Records). Carey has said about the film, "It's in the early '80s, in the club scene of that time. I play a singer, Billie, who's mixed-race, from a white father and a black mother. Billie grows up in a foster home, because her mother abandoned her. Later on she meets a DJ and becomes a star in just one night. The point is, that all this time she waits for her mother to return. As you can see, this is far away from my reality, because I couldn't have a closer relationship with my own mother. When she's not with me, she calls like every five minutes."


Box office[edit]

Glitter opened on September 21 2001 in 1,202 theaters and grossed $2,414,596 with an average of $2,008 per theater and ranking #11 at the box office. The film ended up earning $4,274,407 domestically and $997,259 internationally for a total of $5,271,666, well below its $22 million production budget.[4]

Critical response[edit]

Glitter was universally panned by critics and has a rating of 7% on Rotten tomatoes based on 87 reviews with an average score of 2.8 out of 10. The consensus states "Glitter is a hodgepodge of movie cliches and bad acting that's sure to generate unintentional laughs. Unfortunately, the movie is not bad enough to be good."[5] The film also has a score of 14 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 23 reviews indicating 'overwhelming dislike'[6]

Carey stated in 2002, "It [Glitter] started out as a concept with substance, but it ended up being geared to 10-year-olds."[7][8] The Village Voice proclaimed, "For her part, Carey seems most concerned about keeping her lips tightly sealed like a kid with braces, and when she tries for an emotion—any emotion—she looks as if she's lost her car keys."[9] Roger Ebert spoke relatively well of Carey's individual performance saying, "Her acting ranges from dutiful flirtatiousness to intense sincerity...."[10] However, he ended with, "and above all, the film is lacking in joy. It never seems like it's fun to be Billie Frank."[11] "Total Film" magazine reviewed the film extremely [12] negatively, awarding it just one star and stating, "It can't even scale heights of campy awfulness. This isn't so bad it's good, it's so bad it's actionable...An inept star vehicle that starts out desperately tedious and gets less interesting. Leaves you wishing the Lumiére brothers had said bollocks to cinema and gone down the pub."

In an interview in 2010, Carey stated that she believed that the film's flop at the box office was largely due to the soundtrack's release date being September 11, 2001—the same day as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.[13] The film also suffered a probable loss of promotional opportunities in the week and a half leading to the film's release due to pre-emption of most American entertainment media shows due to sustaining coverage of the aftermath of the attacks.

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

At the 22nd Golden Raspberry Awards, the film received six nominations including Worst Picture and Worst Screen Couple for Carey's cleavage,[15] and one win, for Carey who received the Razzie for Worst Actress.[16]



The accompanying soundtrack, Glitter, became Carey's worst showing on the charts. The first single, "Loverboy", peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, but that was only after Virgin Records spurred sales of the struggling single by dropping the price down to 99 cents. "Never Too Far", the album's second release, was released on October 23, 2001.[17] It failed to impact the main Billboard chart, and achieved weak international charting. Carey was unable to film a music video for the single, as she was still recovering from her collapse.[18] Instead, a video was created using a scene taken directly from the film, where Billie Frank (played by Carey) sings the song at Madison Square Garden during her first sold-out concert. Frank's performance of the song in the film omits its entire second verse, and the song's development runs in parallel with the film's love story.

The album's third single, "Don't Stop (Funkin' 4 Jamaica)", released on December 10, 2001, mirrored the same weak charting as "Never Too Far", although receiving more rotation on MTV due to its video.[18] Directed by Sanaa Hamri, it features the theme of southern bayous and lifestyles, and presents Carey and Mystikal in "southern style" clothing and hairstyles.[19] Some shots feature three versions of Carey singing into a microphone on the screen at one time. The final single released from Glitter was "Reflections (Care Enough)", which received a limited release in Japan on December 15, 2001.[20][19] Following its limited promotional push from Virgin, and the absence of a music video, the song failed to make much of an impact.[19] The album itself struggled to reach gold certification, but since its 2001 release has been certified platinum.[21] Virgin Records dropped Carey from the label due to the poor sales of the album and canceled their $100 million contract with her.

References in other media[edit]

The film, as well as the soundtrack, have been mentioned in several talk shows, television series, books, and films in a comic or mocking way.


  1. ^ "GLITTER (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 2001-08-29. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  2. ^ Box Office Mojo. "Glitter (2001). Accessed July 26, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Shapiro 2001, pp. 97
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Gardner, Elysa (2002-11-28). "Mariah Carey, 'standing again'". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (2003). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2003. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 239. ISBN 0-7407-2691-9. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Mariah blames 9/11 for Glitter flop MSN Entertainment, accessed 01/26/2010
  14. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Never Too Far". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  18. ^ Cite error: The named reference respect was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  19. ^ a b c Thomas, Margy (2001-09-28). "'Glitter' Isn't Golden". Orlando Sentinel. 
  20. ^ "Reflections (Care Enough)". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  21. ^

External links[edit]