BPS 085: From Legendary Flop to a Moneymaking Machine with Waterworld’s Peter Rader

Please Note: Once you press play it will take a few seconds for the episode to start playing.

From Legendary Flop to a Moneymaking Machine with Waterworld’s Peter Rader

Today on the show we have the writer and creator of the legendary film Waterworld Peter Rader. I wanted to bring Peter on the show to discuss what it was like to be a part of one of the biggest budget films in Hollywood history at the time.

After the melting of the polar ice caps, most of the globe is underwater. Some humans have survived, and even fewer still, notably the Mariner (Kevin Costner), have adapted to the ocean by developing gills. A loner by nature, the Mariner reluctantly befriends Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and her young companion, Enola (Tina Majorino), as they escape from a hostile artificial island. Soon the sinister Smokers are pursuing them in the belief that Enola holds the key to finding the mythical Dryland.

For those of you who may not know Waterworld was considered one of the biggest box-office flops in history. The production was plagued with production issues, the script was re-written too many times to count and the budget soars from $100 million to $172 million. The film was a punching bag for the press. Waterworld ended up making $265 million at the box office. That with the revenue generated over the years from television rights, VHS, DVD, special editions Blu-rays the film turned out to be one of the most valuable films in the Universal library.

Where the money machine really gets turned on is from the Waterworld: A Live Sea Stunt Spectacular attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. The show has been a mainstay at the park for over 20 years, replacing the Miami Vice Stunt Show. The attraction has also been duplicated four other times around the world including Universal Studios Japan and Singapore and has generated Universal hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.

Peter Rader has worked as a film and television writer for 20 years. He has developed numerous projects for other studios, and industry leaders such as Steven Spielberg, Dino De Laurentiis, and John Davis.

He has worked as a cinematographer, editor, and producer on a number of award-winning documentary projects, including AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, which THE GUARDIAN dubbed the Indie sleeper hit of 2014, following its extensive worldwide theatrical run.

Peter was raw and candid with me about his amazing journey with Waterworld, which is celebrating its 25-year anniversary this year, and his other Hollywood adventures. Enjoy my eye-opening conversation with Peter Rader.

Right-click here to download the MP3
Download on Apple Podcasts Direct
Watch on YouTube



  1. Bulletproof Screenplay Script Coverage Service – Get Your Screenplay Covered by Industry Pros
  2. The Foundations of Screenwriting: Story Development
  3. The Foundations of Screenwriting: Formatting
  4. BPS Presents: Writing for Emotional Impact (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
  5. Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) FREE AUDIOBOOK
  6. Rise of the Filmtrepreneur™ (FREE AUDIOBOOK)


  1. Indie Film Hustle TV (On-Demand Real-World Screenwriting Education)
  2. Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
  3. The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
  4. The Script Lab Workshops
  5. How to Write a FAST Screenplay
  6. WGA Presents: The Art of Screenwriting
  7. Screenwriting Masterclass: Crafting Complex Characters



  1. Download FREE Screenplay Collections
  2. FREE 3 Part Screenwriting Video Series Taught by Oscar® Winners
  3. Download Your FREE Screenwriting Audiobook
  4. Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind™ Podcast
  5. Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
  6. Filmtrepreneur® Podcast

Gain Access to On-Demand Screenwriting Courses

If you liked From Legendary Flop to a Moneymaking Machine with Waterworld’s Peter Rader,
then you’ll love: 

Enjoyed From Legendary Flop to a Moneymaking Machine with Waterworld’s Peter Rader? Please share it on your social networks FacebookTwitter, or YouTube) by using social media buttons at the bottom of the blog. Or post anywhere else you feel it would be a good fit. Thank you!

We welcome thoughts and remarks on ANY of the content above in the comments section below…

Get Social with Bulletproof Screenwriting™:
Facebook: Bulletproof Screenwriting

YouTube: Bulletproof Screenwriting™ Show
Twitter: @bpscreenplay

Podcasts To Open Your Mind:
Podcast: Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind™
Podcast: Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
Podcast: Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
Podcast: The Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
IFH Podcast Network: Discover the Best Screenwriting and Filmmaking Podcasts

Additional Resources:
IFHTV: Indie Film Hustle TV
Indie Film Hustle Academy: Premium Online Screenwriting Courses
Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
Book: Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
FREE 3 Part Screenwriting Video Series Taught by Oscar® Winning Screenwriters

Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase or use a service. Understand that I have experience with all of these services, products, and companies, and I recommend them because they’re extremely helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I earn if you decide to buy something.