The Gerard Butler Horror Flop On Streaming That’s So Bad It’s Good

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Dracula 2000

Nothing sucks quite like Dracula 2000. This early Gerard Butler film is Y2K absurdity at its finest. Now that Dracula 2000 is streaming on Max, it is time to explore the origins of this vampire flop, which are as confounding as the film itself.

Before he was King Leonidas, Gerard Butler was Dracula in the box office flop Dracula 2000.

This modern take on Bram Stoker’s classic character began in early 2000. Miramax producer Bob Weinstein was wrapping up Scream 3 when he tapped the film’s editor, Patrick Lussier, to direct a movie called Dracula 2000. When asked what the plot was, Weinstein said, “I don’t know.”

Great start.

Gerard Butler, nor any other cast, was attached to Dracula 2000. There was not even a script. All Weinstein had was a title, and that was what was going to sell.

Lussier recruited his screenwriting buddy, Patrick Soisson, to draft a script. The story follows a vampire-hunting priest and explores Dracula’s ties to Christianity, explaining the count’s aversion to religious symbols.

Weinstein was not impressed. He hired Ehren Kruger for a polish, and two weeks before production, he brought on horror writer Scott Derrickson, who would later go on to direct Doctor Strange, and Paul Harris Boardman for rewrites.

As if that were not a tight enough timeline, Gerard Butler did not join Dracula 2000 until two days before production began. The movie started filming in June of 2000 with a script that, after six months of haphazard development and rewrites, Bob Weinstein still did not like. 

Scott Derrickson dared to ask why the movie was still a go with such a poor screenplay. Bob Weinstein’s reply: “Because it’s called Dracula 2000.”

Gerard Butler in Dracula 2000

The film made good on its name. It stars Gerard Butler as Dracula, who has been in a forced slumber in a maximum security chamber designed by the vampire’s nemesis, Abraham Van Helsing. Dracula is awakened in the year 2000 (get it?) when a team of thieves infiltrates the secure facility under the assumption that Van Helsing is hiding treasures.

Gerard Butler wasn’t the big selling point for Dracula 2000, the script didn’t matter, the rest of the cast was important, the studio was fixated on selling a movie with that title.

The thieves unleash the fury and handsomeness of Gerard Butler, and Dracula leaves a trail of bodies and new vampires across America as he travels to New Orleans in search of Van Helsing’s daughter. It all leads to a showdown that reveals Dracula to actually be Judas Iscariot, who, after betraying Christ 2000 years ago, made a failed attempt to hang himself and was cursed by God to walk the Earth forever as a monster.

Wes Craven, the director behind A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, was an executive producer on the project. Though his name was used with great effort by the studio to promote the film, Craven later denounced the rushed approach to filmmaking that marred films like Dracula 2000.

Gerard Butler was around in 2000, but he was not the star he is now. The movie was sold on its title, sexy trailer, and epic soundtrack, which featured the likes of System of a Down, Disturbed, and Slayer. Butler was also joined in Dracula 2000 by a pretty stacked cast, including Christopher Plummer, Omar Epps, Justine Waddell, Jonny Lee Miller, Jennifer Esposito, and Vitamin C.

The $54 million movie failed to recoup its budget at the box office, opening up in December of 2000 against heavyweights like Cast Away, The Family Man, Miss Congeniality, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? That is a grim outlook for a crummy horror movie, but the idea was that Gerard Butler as a sexy, scary vampire would make Dracula 2000 a healthy counterpoint to its competition.

Gerard Butler was a future star, as was most of the cast of Dracula 2000, which included Jeri Ryan, Nathan Fillion, Omar Epps, and Jonny Lee Miller.

Dracula 2000 made up some financial ground after it was released on home video formats, but it never hit with critics. Most reviews panned the film, noting that its fascinating elements ultimately failed to pay off. In the end, the modern take on Dracula turned out to be nothing new.

Gerard Butler has come a long way since Dracula 2000. He made his breakthrough in 2006 as the lead in Zack Snyder’s 300, and has since headlined everything from rom-coms to action franchises.

Patrick Lussier and Joel Soisson have continued to thrive in the low to mid-range horror and action space. Wes Craven passed away in 2015, leaving behind a legacy of incredible horror films that made Dracula 2000 a strange blip in his illustrious career.

Even someone as good-looking as Gerard Butler is not enough to save Dracula 2000, but this horror film is arguably so bad that it’s good. Stream Dracula 2000 today on Max and find out for yourself.