An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn

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An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn
Alan smithee film burn hollywood burn.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byArthur Hiller (as Alan Smithee)
Written byJoe Eszterhas
Produced byBen Myron
CinematographyReynaldo Villalobos
Edited byL. James Langlois
Music by
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures (North America/South America)
Cinergi Productions (International)
Release date
  • October 1997 (1997-10) (Mill Valley)
  • February 27, 1998 (1998-02-27) (United States)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million
Box office$59,921

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (stylized on-screen as Burn Hollywood Burn) is a 1997 American mockumentary film directed by Arthur Hiller, written by Joe Eszterhas and starring Eric Idle as a director unfortunately named Alan Smithee, a traditional pseudonym used in Hollywood for directors disowning a project. The film follows Smithee as he steals the negatives to his latest film and goes on the run.

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn was universally panned by critics and tanked at the box office. It "won" five awards (including Worst Picture) at the 18th Golden Raspberry Awards. The film's creation set off a chain of events which led the Directors Guild of America to officially discontinue the Alan Smithee credit in 2000 after its use for decades when an American director disavowed a film.[1] The plot, about a director attempting to disown a film, ironically described the film's own production; Hiller requested that his name be removed after witnessing the final cut by the studio, and he is credited as Alan Smithee.


Director Alan Smithee, has been allowed to direct Trio, a big-budget action film starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan. The studio recuts the film, and when Smithee sees the results (which he describes as being "worse than Showgirls"), he wants to disown the film. However, since his name is also the pseudonym used by Hollywood when someone does not want to have their name attached to a bad film, he steals the film and flees, threatening to destroy the film by burning it.


Cameos as themselves


Development and writing[edit]

The film was written (and produced, though he was not credited for it) by Joe Eszterhas, who became the first person to win four Golden Raspberry awards for a single film: Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay and both Worst Supporting Actor and Worst New Star for a brief cameo appearance (he also received a co-nomination for the Worst Screen Couple award, since An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn was nominated for "any two people appearing together onscreen"; however, the movie did not "win" in this category). The released film credits the Alan Smithee pseudonym as director because Arthur Hiller, the film's real director, objected to the way Eszterhas recut the film, and as a result, had his name removed (however, in his autobiography, Hollywood Animal, Eszterhas claims that Hiller still sat in the editing room with him to make certain suggestions). In his entry on An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn for his "My Year of Flops" column in The A.V. Club, pop culture critic Nathan Rabin sarcastically commented that Hiller's decision to use the Alan Smithee credit was "very transparently not a stupid, stupid gimmick to raise interest in a terrible film".[2]


Box office[edit]

The film had an estimated budget of $10 million and grossed at least $52,850, as it was released in only 19 theaters.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Film critic Roger Ebert, reviewing for the Chicago Sun-Times, gave An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn a score of zero stars, his lowest possible rating.[4] The film was not merely bad but "incompetent", Ebert wrote, and also seemingly represented a lapse of judgment for Eszterhas who "is sometimes a good writer".

The film currently holds an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 40 reviews, with a weighted average of 2.7/10. The critical consensus calls it "A witless Hollywood satire whose hammy, obvious jokes are neither funny nor insightful of the movie business."[5] Eric Idle himself said in various interviews meant to promote the film that "this is rather dreadful".


Award Subject Nominee Subject
Razzie Award Worst Picture Ben Myron Won
Joe Eszterhas Won
Worst Screenplay Won
Worst New Star Won
Worst Supporting Actor Won
Sylvester Stallone Nominated
Worst Actor Ryan O'Neal Nominated
Worst Original Song "I Wanna Be Mike Ovitz" Won
Worst Screen Couple Any combination of two people playing themselves Nominated
Worst Director Arthur Hiller as Alan Smithee Nominated
Stinker Award Worst Picture Hollywood Pictures Nominated
Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy Nominated
Worst Sense of Direction Arthur Hiller Nominated
Worst On-Screen Hairstyle Joe Eszterhas Won


  1. ^ Wallace, Amy (January 15, 2000). "Name of Director Smithee Isn't What It Used to Be". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  2. ^ Rabin, Nathan. "My Year Of Flops: Inside Hollywood Edition, Case File #109: An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn". The A.V. Club, May 14, 2008. Retrieved November, 2011.
  3. ^ An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger. "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (review)," Chicago Sun-Times, Friday, February 27, 1998.
  5. ^ An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn at Rotten Tomatoes

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Postman
Razzie Award for Worst Picture
19th Golden Raspberry Awards
Succeeded by
Wild Wild West