Broadway Brawler (lost production material from unfinished Bruce Willis film; 1997)

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Bruce Willis in 1997.

Status: Lost

Broadway Brawler is the title of an unfinished film starring Bruce Willis and Maura Tierney. Willis also acted as co-producer.

The film was set to be a family-friendly romantic comedy set in the world of hockey. Willis played the part of Eddie Kapinsky (the titular “Broadway Brawler”) a retired hockey player romancing Maura Tierney’s character.

After twenty days of shooting, production was halted as the result of Willis’ dissatisfaction with director Lee Grant, co-producer Joe Feury, and director of photography William Fraker. They were all fired, along with an unknown number of cast and crew members. In an effort to salvage the film, which had already lost $15-17 million of its $28 million dollar budget, Dennis Dugan was brought on by Willis to replace Lee Grant as director, but filming never resumed.[1]

The failure of Broadway Brawler had some interesting consequences. Bruce Willis’ was left with legal problems with the Walt Disney Company. To avoid this, producer Joe Roth persuaded him to accept a three-picture deal with Disney.

To offset the loss on Broadway Brawler, Willis took his next role as Harry Stamper in the 1998 film Armageddon at a greatly reduced salary—$3 million instead of his then-expected $20 million. Willis reportedly replaced Sean Connery in that role. The other two films in that deal were M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense (1999) and The Kid (2000).