Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery is a 1992 American historical adventure film directed by John Glen. It was the last project developed by the father and son production team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind (best known for the Superman films that star Christopher Reeve in the title role). The film follows events after the fall of the Emirate of Granada (an Arab principality which was located in the south of Spain), and leads up to the voyage of Columbus to the New World in 1492.

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
Christopher columbus the discovery.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byJohn Glen
Produced byAlexander Salkind
Ilya Salkind[1]
Screenplay byJohn Briley
Cary Bates
Mario Puzo
Story byMario Puzo
Music byCliff Eidelman
CinematographyAlec Mills
Edited byMatthew Glen
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
21 August 1992
Running time
120 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million[2]
Box office$8.2 million[3]

Its behind-the-scenes history involved an elaborate series of financial mishaps, which later brought about an emotional falling-out between Alexander and Ilya; as a frustrated Alexander would later lament in a November 1993 interview with the Los Angeles Times, "I know, after this, that I'll never make movies again."[4]

The film was released for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage.[5][6] The premiere took place at almost exactly the same time as 1492: Conquest of Paradise, which has often led to confusion between the two films.


The titular Genoese navigator overcomes intrigue in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and gains financing for his expedition to the West Indies, which eventually leads to the European discovery of the Americas.



Timothy Dalton and Isabella Rossellini, originally chosen to star in the picture, backed out when director George Pan Cosmatos was replaced by John Glen shortly before shooting began.[7] Dalton later filed a lawsuit against the producers for breach of contract and fraud, stating that they did not provide a bank guarantee for his $2.5 million salary.[8] Glen had previously directed Dalton in both of his appearances as James Bond: The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill.


The film was not a commercial success, debuting at #4[9][10] and grossing $8 million against its $45 million budget.

The film received mostly negative reviews,[11][12] with a rotten 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 29 reviews, with the website's critical consensus reading "Ironically, for a biopic about a voyage many associate with people accepting that the world is round, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery falls completely flat." [13] Brando's performance in particular was singled out as his "worst".[14] Roger Ebert agreed with this sentiment while giving the movie 1 out of 4 stars, stating "This movie takes one of history's great stories and treats it in such a lackluster manner that Columbus's voyage seems as endless to us as it did to his crew."[15] It is also on his “Most Hated” list.[16]

Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "C" on scale of A+ to F.[17]


Tom Selleck won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor. Marlon Brando was also nominated for Worst Supporting Actor and the film received another four Golden Raspberry Award nominations including; Worst Picture, Worst DirectorJohn Glen, Worst New StarGeorges Corraface and Worst ScreenplayMario Puzo.[18] At the 1992 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, it received a nomination for Worst Picture.

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on VHS and LaserDisc formats from Warner Home Video in 1993. It has not been released on DVD in North America, but is available in other format regions on DVD.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Columbus: A Filmmaker's Odyssey". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  2. ^ "EPIC '1492' FILM CAPTURES ENERGY OF EXPLORER'S TIMES BEDEVILED VISIONARY Series: DISCOVERING COLUMBUS: 1492 – Second of Three Parts". Morning Call. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  3. ^ Christopher Columbus: The Discovery at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ Brennan, Judy (24 November 1993). "A Family Feud in Wake of 'Columbus' : Movies: Ilya Salkind has sued Alexander, his father and producing partner, for breach of contract, fraud and racketeering". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  5. ^ Willman, David (6 May 1992). "Christopher Columbus Sails Right Past Bankruptcy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  6. ^ Mathews, Jack (15 May 1991). "Can Two Columbus Projects Stay Afloat?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  7. ^ "Timothy Dalton". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  8. ^ Davidson, Casey (8 November 1991). "Dalton's Discovery". Entertainment Weekly.
  9. ^ Fox, David J. (25 August 1992). "Weekend Box Office 'Unforgiven' at Top for Third Week". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Revenues of Summer Movies Never Quite Fired Up Box Office". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  11. ^ Rainer, Peter (24 August 1992). "Columbus: Adrift at Sea With No Paddle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  12. ^ Canby, Vincent (22 August 1992). "Review/Film; It's Goodbye, Columbus, As Torquemada Waves". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  13. ^ "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992)". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  14. ^ Brenner, Paul (n.d.). "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery". ArtistDirect.
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery Movie Review (1992) - Roger Ebert". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Ebert's Most Hated - Roger Ebert's Journal - Roger Ebert". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 20 December 2018.
  18. ^ "'Bodyguard' tops Razzie noms". Variety. 15 February 1993. Retrieved 13 October 2019.

External linksEdit