A British thriller, Take Down, starring Ed Westwick flopped and went straight to DVD. The film, which was funded by the Welsh government through a £3.14 million loan, has only generated £941,000, leaving the taxpayers on the hook for £2 million.
The film was released in cinemas in the United States with a new title, Billionaire Ransom. It was also screened in the Philippines, but it was only released on DVD in Britain, Germany, and Japan, the Sun reports.
The movie tells the story of a group of spoiled rich kids who were sent to a boot camp on a remote island, which was later invaded by kidnappers. It had a total budget of £8 million. It also stars Jeremy Sumpter, Phoebe Tonkin, Sebastian Koch, and Ashley Walters.
While the Welsh government said the amount it earned was “not a true reflection” of the film’s performance, a Welsh Tory culture spokeswoman said these “are not very cheering figures” and taxpayers have the right to question the returns on the film.
The government launched a £11.9 million scheme to boost the “Valleywood” film industry, as well as film and video games. It expects Take Down to be able to pay the loan in full over several years.
One of the main stars of the film, Ed Westwick, is facing sexual assault allegations after two women claimed on social media that the actor forced himself on them. A third woman has also come forward to add her name to the list of his alleged victims.
Westwick, best known for his character as Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl, denied the accusations. He said he does not know actress Kristina Cohen, who first posted the allegation on Facebook and then filed a police report at the LAPD’s Hollywood station.
“I certainly have never committed rape,” the actor wrote on Twitter.
The other two who claimed to be Westwick’s victims are Aurelie Wynn and Rachel Eck.
The investigations are still ongoing, but the sexual assault scandal is having a negative effect on Ed Westwick’s career. BBC has suspended the debut of Ordeal by Innocence “until these matters are resolved.” The drama is supposed to be released during the Christmas period. Filming for the second season of White Gold has also been put on hold after the rape accusations against Westwick emerged.
Westwick’s ex-girlfriend and Gossip Girl co-star Jessica Szohr said the news was shocking for her and hopes it is not true. She said she knows Ed very well after working and being friends with him for years.
“It is disheartening and sad to me that as a result of two unverified … social media claims, there are some in this environment who could ever conclude I have had anything to do with such vile and horrific conduct. I have absolutely not,” the actor said in a statement on Twitter.
Ed Westwick added that he is cooperating with the authorities so that they can clear his name as soon as possible.