Regardless of whether it eventually turned a profit, the movie certainly cultivated a reputation for being a massive failure. For years and years afterwards, whenever anyone would bring up the topic of biggest movie flops, Cleopatra was the immediate go-to example. At least until Heaven's Gate came along.
In Hollywood, perception is more important than reality, and everyone's perception was that Cleopatra was a bomb.
I've never seen it mentioned or reported that CLEOPATRA was a massive failure except by certain critics in reviewing the film. Certainly FOX expected/wanted it to be a huge hit but that wasn't meant to be. To compare it to Heaven's Gate box office failure is downright wrong.
Edited by Paul Rossen, June 28 2013 - 11:43 AM.