The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Swept away from Britain

London, Nov. 10: Madonna’s first film directed by her husband Guy Ritchie, Swept Away, lived up to its title last night.

The star, who earned £36 million last year for her music, was told by Columbia Tristar that the film will not be released in Britain. Instead, the tale of a rich heiress marooned on a desert island, described by Roger Friedman, a New York critic, as “one of the biggest turkeys in history”, is to go straight to video.

Carefully avoiding mention of the bad reviews in America, Columbia, owned by Sony, blamed “disappointing box office results”. In its first weekend, the film took just £250,000, in contrast to Red Dragon, the latest Hannibal Lecter feature, which made more than £11 million.

The box office gross is barely £377,000, meaning that Sony will have to write off most of the £7 million cost.

USA Today tipped the film as a contender for a Razzie or Golden Raspberry — the “anti-Oscar” awards given to the year’s worst films.

The film’s failure has apparently not deterred Madonna. She is said to be writing an autobiographical comedy for her next screen appearance. Her film Shanghai Surprise, made with first husband Sean Penn, sank George Harrison’s HandMade Films.

Who’s That Girl' and Body of Evidence were also flops.

Ritchie has previously scored hits. With his partner Matthew Vaughn, husband of Claudia Schiffer, he is noted for frugal budgets and big profits. He spent £960,000 on Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which made £36 million plus another £25 million from video, DVD and television sales.

However, the Washington Post said Swept Away was “as bad as you’ve imagined” with “laughable” acting.

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