December 8th, 2000…

Less than seven months after the release of the epic Gladiator (which went on to win Best Picture for 2000, as well as garner Russell Crowe his Oscar for Best Actor), the Taylor Hackford directed Proof of Life was released in the United States. The movie starred Crowe, along with Meg Ryan, David Morse, Pamela Reed, and David Caruso (Horatio Caine, CSI Miami). 

“An American engineer in Columbia is captured by anti-government forces. When the rebels learn his identity they demand $6 million for his safe return. However, his U.S. employer is on the verge of insolvency and will not provide the ransom. Peter’s wife Alice is forced to deal with the matter on her own. She retains the services of freelance professional hostage negotiator Terry Thorne. With the help of a fellow negotiator, Dino, and a trio of highly trained mercenaries, Terry mounts a bold operation to rescue Peter that could as easily result in disaster as in triumph.” (Moviefone)

Despite the star power of Crowe (thanks in part to the staggering success of Gladiator) and Ryan (then known as ‘America’s Sweetheart’), the movie earned roughly $33 million, while garnering approximately $30 million internationally. The movie’s estimated budget was $65 million. (In comparison, Gladiator grossed $457.6 million worldwide).  

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