SHAQ: What I learned from the failures of 'Kazaam' and 'Shaq Fu'
With career earnings that totaled $292 million and millions more from endorsement deals and movie roles, Shaquille O'Neal is undoubtedly one of the most successful sports and entertainment personalities of all time. He has, however, had a few stumbles along the way. In 1994, he starred in a video game called "Shaq Fu," which was released on Sega and Nintendo consoles. The magazine Nintendo Power voted "Shaq Fu" to be the third worst of all time.
In 1996, Shaq got his first starring role in a movie as a rapping genie in Disney's family comedy "Kazaam." The movie underperformed at the box office, bringing in around $19 million. It didn't fare well with critics either. It has a rating of only 6% on the movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
We asked Shaq what he learned from these forays into the worlds of video games and entertainment and how it affected him moving forward.
Shaq recently stopped by Business Insider to talk about his collaboration with home security technology company Ring to raise awareness about how homeowners can better protect their property this holiday season. Shaq recently kicked off a campaign with Ring's CEO Jamie Siminoff around protecting holiday package deliveries - specifically as National Package Protection Day approaches on Nov. 29. Following is a transcript of the video.
Shaquille O'Neal: If you watch "Kazaam" as an adult, you should be ashamed of yourself. That movie is for children, but because it was me - "The Shaqster" - you get all these Siskel and Ebert-type guys trying to critique the movie.
[The 1996 movie grossed only $19 million. It has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.]
You know, it was just me taking advantage of an opportunity, doing something for kids. I'm not trying to win Oscars and Emmys and Tonys. You know, think about it. A kid from the projects of Newark, New Jersey gets to do a major motion picture. I'm gonna take it every time, no matter what the script it.
Graham Flanagan: Did you make a lot of money from "Kazaam?"
O'Neal: I sure did.
Flanagan: What was your check for that?
O'Neal: You know I don't like talking about that, but it was - it was nice.
["Shaq Fu" was released in 1994 for Sega and Nintendo consoles. In 1997, Nintendo Power Magazine voted it the 3rd worst video game ever.]
That was on the end of analog and the birth of digital. Like, if I would have met those digital people I would've never approved "Shaq Fu," but again, a kid from the projects of Newark, New Jersey wants to do a video game. People know I like karate. And it was cool, and then, like 30 days later, all these digital games come out. I was just like, "Oh, no."
You learn from mistakes like that. I learned then to do your due diligence. You always have to see what's next, because there's always something next.
[A "Shaq Fu" reboot is in the works.]
It's coming out. I just have to make sure it's perfect. I'm doing something I've never done before, and I'm micromanaging something. They send me updates like every two weeks, and I'm like, "Eh, I don't know yet."
So, you know, the script has to be good. The effects - like, everything has to be perfect.
What people don't understand about me is, growing up with a drill sergeant father, I'm programmed not to have my feelings hurt. I listen to people and I respect them. If you don't like "Kazaam," okay, I understand. I'm not gonna be like, "Forget you!"
It's not my style. You don't like "Shaq Fu?" I understand, but I'm not gonna be wasting my time trying to prove to you that I am a good actor. So, I'm not looking to redeem myself. I'm just looking to put out a pretty good game, and hopefully, the people like it. And if they don't, then I'll just try and come back.