Spice World Premieres, And Everyone Hates It, Making It A Cult Classic


Spice World was a number-one hit out of the gate

December 15, 1997 is a day that will live in infamy forever. Theaters across the country were invaded by Spice World, a film that followed the madcap adventures of the Spice Girls on their quest for worldwide domination. More visual collage than film, this cockney fever dream sends up the larger-than-life celebrity of the Spice Girls without ever committing to a narrative. It gave fans of the girl group something to experience between albums and tours, but despite its success, the film wasn't a critical darling by any means. It was panned across the board as pop music fluff, but somehow, the film has persevered.

In the decades since its release, Spice World has taken on a new life. Kids who grew up with the film have only doubled down on their love, and pop culture historians have noted the film's surrealism and avant-garde nature that have bolstered its status as a camp classic. 

Source: Universal Pictures

This isn't the story of a film that failed at the box office only to garner a meager cult audience decades after the fact. The film was a huge hit on both sides of the pond, grossing $151 million against a $25-million budget and breaking the U.S. record for box office sales during Super Bowl weekend.

Whether they knew it or not at the time, 1997 was the apex of the Spice Girls' career. The film hit theaters one month after the album of the same name hit music store shelves, which is about as close as the British get to total world domination. By the end of its initial theatrical run, Spice World was number 53 at the worldwide box office in 1998 with $56,042,592 in ticket sales. By comparison, The Big Lebowski only made $46 million, and Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas only made $13 million.