The reason “Hoffa” failed is simple: conceptual! A film made out of its proper time.
If the powers at Fox had checked the box-office receipts of another union flop--Sylvester Stallone’s “F.I.S.T"--it would have been easy to predict “Hoffa’s” certain disfavor with a hip ‘90s audience.
In the ‘50s, when workers made $1 an hour and had few benefits, Teamsters were perceived as good. “Hoffa” would have been a huge hit (“F.I.S.T” was a dud in any case). Today’s young, well-informed moviegoers perceive Teamsters as violent and too powerful and are aware of the strong-arm tactics used by corrupt union leaders like Jimmy Hoffa.
Obvious conclusion: We don’t want to see crooks in a downer subject like “Hoffa” when we’re inundated with society’s cancers of the ‘90s on the daily newscasts: the Levines and Milkens and Charles Keatings.