Tombstone (1993) vs. Wyatt Earp (1994)

2. Tombstone (1993) vs. Wyatt Earp (1994)

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Tombstone: $56.5 million domestic, ($25 million budget according to True West Magazine)

Wyatt Earp: $25 million domestic, $63 million budget

Here’s a real barn-burner of a competition. Both films featured mythical lawman Wyatt Earp for a protagonist. Each film had a bona fide star for the Earp role in Kurt Russell (Tombstone) and Kevin Costner (Wyatt Earp).  Doc Holliday featured prominently in both films, and one could argue that the performances of both Hollidays (Dennis Quaid in Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer in Tombstone) stole their respective show.  Tombstone specifically featured Earp’s career and involvement in the settlement of Tombstone, Arizona, where Wyatt Earp followed the character from childhood to death.  A competition waged so bitterly between these two films, as a matter of fact, that Wyatt Earp delayed production because Tombstone’s production team had purchased all the period clothing in the area where both pictures were filming.  Kevin Costner reportedly passed on Tombstone in order to tell the entire life story of Wyatt Earp due to creative conflict with Tombstone scribe/ fired director Kevin Jarre. Did the delay give Tombstone the edge to make more money, or Wyatt Earp’s bloated runtime scare audiences?


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