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MFF Special: John Travolta, Cigarettes and Box Office Data

April 21, 2017

Post-workout cigarettes are the best.

John Travolta had a beautiful run playing villainous men who maniacally smoked tobacco products. Beginning in 1994 with Pulp Fiction and going all the way to 2004’s The Punisher no man has smoked so villainously. What I love most about his smoking is how the various smoking styles differed.

Pulp Fiction – Stylish but not over the top

Broken Arrow – Full on addiction

Face/Off – Kinda cool

Swordfish – Looks like he is always about to facepalm himself

The Punisher – Dude smoked a pipe……

I wrote a post a couple years back about the smoking and now I’ve returned to breakdown the box office and critical data.

Sidenote: This data features zero correlation, causation or major calculations. It is dumb data intended to put a smile on your face.

1. The Average Rotten Tomatoes critic score is 59.2%

I love that Face/Off currently has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes because it is wildly insane. Travolta went full overacting villain and the result was glorious, strange and awesome. It is only two points below the much beloved Pulp Fiction which has a 94% rating. If it wasn’t for The Punisher 29% and Swordfish 26% Travolta would be the king of all smoking villains (I think).

I’m kinda bummed that the Thomas Jane Punisher movie didn’t do well. What I love is how Travolta was in the cigar land of Tampa and chose to smoke a damn pipe. Tampa finally gets put on the map and the dude doesn’t go with the obvious (maybe that is brilliant).

Excuse me while I prepare this pipe while you sit there…..

2. The Average IMDb score is 7.04

7.04 is a very good average for Travolta. Pulp Fiction has a crazy 8.9 score but the others carry their weight and prove that people love movies that feature Travolta chain smoking. Broken Arrow and Face/Off were legit events and they were carried in part by Travolta’s smoke inhalation. My theory is that he looked awesome in Pulp Fiction so he just kept doing it until he didn’t (Punisher). 


3. The Average inflated domestic box office is $120,357,903

$120 million is nothing to blow smoke at. During his smoking run Travolta put people in the seats and undoubtedly taught people how to smoke cigarettes incorrectly. I remember being 100% stoked to watch Face/Off, Broken Arrow and Swordfish. Travolta was a cool villain who wasn’t afraid to rock funky haircuts and do weird face waterfalls all over people’s faces and that made $$$$.

Nowadays R-rated action fests have a tough time breaking the $100 million mark. John Wick 2 is unbelievably awesome and it only made $91 million (which is really good). Both Face/Off and Broken Arrow made over $100 million domestically and Swordfish came close with $96 million. That doesn’t really happen anymore when it comes to original R-rated properties.

Travolta loves showing off his cigarettes.

Conclusion: Travolta should’ve smoked cigarettes in Battlefield Earth

Battlefield Earth is pure unbridled garbage. However, if Travolta would’ve been smoking cigarettes his character would’ve looked cooler (I have no proof of this). Also, the smoking might’ve helped him in The Taking of Pelham 123, Mad City and The Killing Season. My theory is that without the prop he couldn’t channel a properly evil character and he floundered in massive prosthetics and overly-manicured facial hair.

Make sure to check out the following posts and podcasts!

  1. Jet Ski Action Scenes Are the Worst
  2. A Closer Look at Movies That Feature the Words Great, Good, Best, Perfect and Fantastic
  3. An In-Depth Look At Movies That Feature Pencils Used as Weapons
  4. Cinematic Foghat Data
  5. Explosions and Movie Posters
  6. The Fast & Furious & Corona
  7. Nicolas Sparks Movie Posters Are Weird
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