By Grady Smith
Updated September 17, 2011 at 02:08 PM EDT

Fight Club may be one of Brad Pitt’s most beloved films, but when it debuted in 1999, it flopped at the box office, earning just $37 million against a $63 million budget.

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, Brad Pitt reflects on Fight Club‘s original reception during a rare in-depth conversation on his life and career, the first in a series called The EW Interview.

Recalls Pitt: “I remember Fight Club playing at the Venice Film Festival at a midnight screening. And Edward Norton and I, after having a few drinks, were sitting next to the president who’s running the whole thing. We’re sitting up in the balcony. It’s subtitled, and we are the only f—ers laughing. It gets to one of Helena [Bonham Carter’s] scandalous lines — “I haven’t been f—ed like that since grade school!” — and literally, the guy running the festival got up and left. Edward and I were still the only ones laughing. You could hear two idiots in the balcony cackling through the whole thing.”

Still, Pitt claims that he knew the film was a keeper, despite the unenthusiastic reception. “I’d had that feeling on Se7en. I had it on True Romance — that feeling when you know it’s right. So I know the feeling now. And it happened on Fight Club.”

As we all know now, Pitt’s “feeling” was correct — the trippy Fincher film has become a modern classic.

For more on Brad Pitt and his perspective on his life and career, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands September 16th