Today's Epic Fail list is a variation on a theme; we're taking a look at things that everyone thought would be epic failures, but turned out to be huge successes, in other words, games, movies and TV shows that manages to succeed in spite of impossible odds.
Crackdown: Originally known as "the game you have to buy for the Halo 3 beta", Crackdown very quickly came into it's own. The day it was launched millions of Halo and Microsoft fanboys rushed stores to get their copy for a Halo 3 beta code. However, the beta wasn't open on day one, so people actually had to PLAY Crackdown to entertain themselves.
They soon discovered that not only is Crackdown fun, but it is a great game. Nothing complicated or high concept, just free-roaming, super-powered, non-stop destruction. It was a thing of beauty. The addition of hop in/out co-op made things even sweeter, and with future downloadable content like new characters, weapons, vehicles, and mini-games, Crackdown quickly moved from a game that everyone wrote off before they had even seen it to a must own for anyone with an Xbox 360.
The American Office: As a huge fan of the British version of The Office, I was extremely wary of NBC trying to recreate the show for American audiences. The original is a different type of humor than we normally see here, and the shows were a full 30 minutes, instead of the 22 we get here.
The first few episodes were painful as they tried to make them as close to the British version as possible. Things weren’t looking good, but then the show went in its own direction and developed its own characters. Now, the show is incredibly funny for different reasons.
It can also get pretty uncomfortable at times, too.
Dancing With The Stars: We know you probably don't watch Dancing with the Stars, but a lot of people do. It's become one of those ubiquitous cultural landmarks, but If you think aback to when season one was announced, it's hard to believe this show lasted past the first episode. First off, some of the cast of season one really stretch the definition of the word "star"-- Trista Sutter, Kelly Monaco Joey McIntyre? Seriously? And secondly, the show is about ballroom dancing! What 21st Century person would watch that? But, even though this series was covered with the stink of failure, it managed to become a huge success. We're not sure why, of course.
Titanic: Not the boat, which was one of the great epic fails of all time, but the movie Titanic, which turned out to be the highest grossing film of all time. When it was first announced, everyone thought that Titanic was a pretty bad idea. Add to that the fact that no one had heard of Kate Winslet or Leonardo DiCaprio before that film, and that the biggest star in it was Kathy Bates, and you had a recipe for disaster.
Then, the film started shooting, and cost more money than any film ever made to that point. The numbers, in fact, were staggering. Now, I worked on the film, and I can tell you that it was a joke among the people who weren’t producing it that it was going to have to make $500 million to make back its money, and that there were no stars in it. Little did we know that it would make so much money that James Cameron has been able to, essentially, retire from the business. You might not like Titanic, but it’s pretty damn epic.
Australia - It started out as a gigantic prison for the virtuous, sprawling nation of Great Britain; a depository for their insane, criminal, and criminally insane. No one thought Australia would pan out. And yet here we are in 2008 and Australia has unleashed some of the greater things we now know and love; The Outback Steakhouse (subsequently the Bloomin' Onion,) Crocodile Dundee (only part 2, though,) Men at Work (the band not the movie, though the movie was great,) Nicole Kidman (hello,) Steve Irwin (goodbye,) and a long list of "Big" roadside landmarks including “The Big Bench” at Broken Hill (pictured above with people in semi-matching shirts.) So, yeah Australia turned out pretty damn good.