The film’s original title was Bug Hunt at Outpost Nine, but eventually became Starship Troopers when the producers and screenwriter found the novel of the same title by Robert A. Heinlein. Feeling that it was a better title, they licensed the book and took the name for their own. The film is about a future state that is defending itself from the threat of a bug race called “Arachnids” throughout the galaxy. The journey follows citizens from recruitment through battle and working their way up the ranks of the army. The lead role for the film was offered first to Mark Wahlberg, who turned it down. It later went to Casper Van Dien.
Director Paul Verhoeven says that he played with fascist themes and imagery in order to point out issues within American society. He was blatant about the use of propaganda in the film by the Federation to display this theme as he wanted to speak about the relationship of the media within the military. It’s also said that Verhoeven attempted to read the science-fiction novel but found it too boring to finish and stuck strictly to the script that screenwriter Edward Neumeier had written. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1998 and grossed just over $121 million with a budget of $105 million. Critically, the film was not well received but with a cult following it created the opportunity for multiple sequels, all of which were released straight to video.