Robert Altman

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In 1980, he directed the musical film Popeye. Produced by Robert Evans and written by Jules Feiffer, the film was based on the comic strip/cartoon of the same name and starred the comedian Robin Williams in his film debut. Designed as a vehicle to increase Altman's commercial clout following a series of critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful low-budget films in the late 1970s (including 3 Women, A Wedding and Quintet), the production was filmed on location in Malta. It was soon beleaguered by heavy drug and alcohol use among most of the cast and crew, including the director; Altman reportedly clashed with Evans, Williams (who threatened to leave the film) and songwriter Harry Nilsson (who departed midway through the shoot, leaving Van Dyke Parks to finish the orchestrations). Although the film grossed $60 million worldwide on a $20 million budget and was the second highest-grossing film Altman had directed to that point, it failed to meet studio expectations and was considered a box office disappointment.