While adaptations of comic books and other popular brands most often drum up big business at the box office, that isn’t always the case. One of the most infamous flops over the past few years was 20th Century Fox’s Dragonball Evolution, which earned just $9.3 million domestically and $57.4 million worldwide back in 2009, while posting a horrid 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Just over seven years after the movie hit theaters, the movie’s screenwriter, Ben Ramsey is apologizing for such a bad attempt at making something worthwhile.
The screenwriter was contacted by Derek Padula, who runs the fan blog The Dao of Dragonball. Derek Padula had initially called the screenwriter to interview him for a book he’s writing entitled USA DBZ, which will have a chapter devoted to telling the untold story of Dragonball Evolution. Ben Ramsey responded with a heartfelt apology to Dragonball Z fans everywhere, which you can check out below.
“I knew that it would eventually come down to this one day. Dragonball Evolution marked a very painful creative point in my life. To have something with my name on it as the writer be so globally reviled is gut wrenching. To receive hate mail from all over the world is heartbreaking. I spent so many years trying to deflect the blame, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the written word on page and I take full responsibility for what was such a disappointment to so many fans. I did the best I could, but at the end of the day, I ‘dropped the dragon ball.’ I went into the project chasing after a big payday, not as a fan of the franchise but as a businessman taking on an assignment. I have learned that when you go into a creative endeavor without passion you come out with sub-optimal results, and sometimes flat out garbage. So I’m not blaming anyone for Dragonball but myself. As a fanboy of other series, I know what it’s like to have something you love and anticipate be so disappointing. To all the Dragon Ball fans out there, I sincerely apologize. I hope I can make it up to you by creating something really cool and entertaining that you will like and that is also something I am passionate about. That’s the only work I do now.”
The Dragonball Evolution movie starred Justin Chatwin as Goku, Chow Yun-Fat as Master Roshi, Emmy Rossum as Bulma, Jamie Chung as Chi Chi, James Marsters as Lord Piccolo, Randall Duk Kim as Grandpa Gohan and Ernie Hudson as Sifu Norris. Ben Ramsey adapted his script from the original graphic novel series by Akira Toriyama, with James Wong directing. James Wong hasn’t directed a movie since then, but he’s been keeping busy on the small screen, serving as a writer, director and producer on shows such as American Horror Story, Scream Queens and The X-Files.
Ben Ramsey hasn’t had a film produced since Dragonball Evolution either, but he was attached to write the script for a Luke Cage movie several years ago, before the Marvel comic book was turned into the upcoming Netflix TV series. He also wrote The Big Hit starring Mark Wahlberg, and he wrote and directed Love and a Bullet, and directed Blood & Bone, which came out the same year as Dragonball Evolution. It isn’t clear if the writer has any new projects in development at this time, but we’ll keep you posted.