Some Of The Biggest Movie Flops Of All Time
Making movies is always a gamble — and these didn't pay off!
Some movies are magical. They can whisk you away to another world, move you to tears or lift your spirits when you are feeling blue. Then there are films that move you to tears … of boredom! Perhaps the worst theater experience is when you are amped to see a flick that has just opened only to discover that it is a major flop.
Check out this comprehensive list of the biggest box office bombs and see if any made your worst-ever list.
“Conan The Barbarian” (2011)
A reboot-turned-bomb, this bomb starred “Game of Thrones” actor Jason Momoa in the role originally portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film was panned by movie critics and didn’t get much love from consumers, either. Its expensive sets and props prompted high production costs (Deadline reports $90 million). In the end, distribution studio Lionsgate saw reported losses of $40 to $50 million.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
This sci-fi film was co-financed by DreamWorks, Universal and Relativity Media. This was probably a good thing, as it had a production budget of $163 million. Neither James Bond (Daniel Craig) nor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) could redeem this film. In the end, Universal lost a reported $75 million on the film despite pulling in about $174 million at the box office, due largely to massive marketing expenses, which included partnering with Nestle, 7-Eleven, NASCAR and other brands.
Land of the Lost (2009)
Children of the 1970s and early ’90s alike will remember the Saturday morning shows that prompted this film, if nothing else than for their cheesy, low-budget yet entertaining appearance. The film was only loosely based on the show but certainly didn’t have a low budget. It cost the studio about $100 million to make. Even the head of Universal Studios, Ron Meyer didn’t care for the film in the end.
“‘Land Of The Lost’ was just crap,” Meyer confessed at the 2011 Savannah Film Festival. “I mean, there was no excuse for it. The best intentions all went wrong.”
The producers lost an estimated $64 million on the movie.
Released in January 2015, “Blackhat” quickly became the year’s first major flop. Although it starred “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth and Academy Award-winner Viola Davis, Avengers fans apparently didn’t show up. Despite a budget of just $70 million, it reportedly earned a little more than $12 million. The film was up against some stiff competition, having been released around the same time as box office smash hit “American Sniper,” which went on to earn more than $570 million.
The original “Ghostbusters,” which came out in 1984, was No. 1 at the box office for seven weeks. It launched a hit song, a sequel, a cartoon and even its own holiday. Unfortunately, the 2016 reboot did not fare as well. It would seem that the cast of popular comedians and actors, including Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and the aforementioned Chris Hemsworth were not enough to make it a hit. Sony suffered a $70 million loss on it.
Another reboot makes the list. This 2006 film is loosely based on “The Poseidon Adventure” from 1972, which actually won numerous awards in its time. Sadly, this update ended up sailing like the Titanic — the boat, not the movie. Warner Bros. and Virtual Studios lost a rumored $70 million making this movie.
“The Wolfman” (2010)
Yet another remake that bombed big time, “The Wolfman” was Universal Studios revisiting one of its beloved monster-movie franchises to no avail. “One of the worst movies we ever made was ‘Wolfman,'” said Universal Studios President Ron Meyer. The 2010 film, which starred Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt, earned just under $140 million, which doesn’t even cover the film’s budget of $150 million not to mention additional marketing costs. One estimate put the loss closer to $80 million.
“Kubo And The Two Strings” (2016)
The only stop-motion animation film to make the list is 2016’s “Kubo and the Two Strings.” This type of animation isn’t cheap and had a budget of nearly $60 million. Although it received rave reviews and was nominated for an Oscar, moviegoers simply didn’t show up to watch it. The film lost approximately $80 million after marketing and other expenses.
Before Scholastic even published the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” Graham King and Johnny Depp optioned the rights to turn it into a film. This 2011 movie, “Hugo,” which would be director Martin Scorsese’s first family film, went into production with a $100 million budget. However, it went as much as $80 million over budget and did not fare well at the box office, despite being critically hailed. Experts estimate that “Hugo” inflicted a loss of more than $80 million.
“Speed Racer” (2008)
When the classic anime program was transformed into a live-action film, neither die-hard “Speed Racer” fans nor a potential crop of newer ones were interested. Those who already loved the character felt the movie missed the mark and many kids (and their parents) were loathe to sit through the lengthy film. It lost an estimated $81 million before inflation.
“Green Lantern” (2011)
Before he found his calling as Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds was Hal Jordan, aka the Green Lantern. Fans of the comic were dismayed by the film, which had a $200 million budget, which included the cost of 3D conversion. The movie lost an estimated $98 million, but, hey, we all got gifted with the marriage of Reynolds and Blake Lively out of the deal!
“The 13th Warrior” (1999)
Director John McTiernan had earned acclaim for making “Die Hard.” Lead actor Antonio Banderas had fans swooning over his recent starring role in “The Mask of Zorro.” It was based on a book by “Jurassic Park” author Michael Crichton. What could go wrong? Apparently a great deal. In fact, actor Omar Sharif temporarily left acting because he was so embarrassed about co-starring in “The 13th Warrior.” The film had a budget of nearly $200 million and lost about $100 million.
“The BFG” (2016)
“The Big Friendly Giant” was not so friendly for Disney. Although the Steven Spielberg-directed film was visually stunning, it had some major competition. “The BFG” opened at the same time as Pixar’s “Finding Dory” and also had to compete with “The Secret Life of Pets,” as well as “Ice Age: Collision Course.” Filmgoers just had too many choices, it would seem. Disney lost a rumored $100 million on the film.
“Fantastic Four” (2015)
Sometimes, superhero films can put actors on the map and make a fortune for a production company. Such was not the case with this 2015 Marvel Comics-inspired action movie. The reboot went back in time to present the origin story of the Fantastic Four, but fans were apparently not interested. It was nominated for some awards, however, they were “Razzies” and the nominations included worst screen combo and worst picture. The movie reportedly lost Fox as much as $100 million.
The 2002 war movie starring Nicolas Cage and Adam Beach bombed at the box office. Critics and moviegoers complained that the film was riddled with cliches and inaccurately portrayed the Navajo characters who should have been the primary focus of the film. “Windtalkers” lost an estimated $110 million.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” (2013)
In 2013, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures introduced an adventure fantasy. The filmmakers hoped “Jack the Giant Slayer” would become the next “Princess Bride.” This story didn’t end happily ever after. The high-budget film required expensive visual effects and multiple reshoots. Although it initially landed at number one in the box office, it soon succumbed to competition including Disney’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” Industry experts estimate the film lost “well over $100 million.”
“How Do You Know” (2010)
Even with huge fan favorites including Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson, this romcom fell flat on its face. The film opened at eighth place and was panned by moviegoers and critics alike. It did not fare any better overseas and was quickly pulled from theaters. The movie lost at least an estimated $100 million for Sony, with some estimates as high as $118 million after inflation.
A remake of the 1959 classic film, 2016’s “Ben-Hur” was a serious flop. Critics hated it and audiences were not interested. It got trampled like a fallen rider in a chariot race. The movie resulted in an estimated $120 million loss for Paramount and MGM.
Another Ryan Reynolds flick lands on the list of the biggest flops in recent decades. Jeff Bridges also starred in the film, in which the pair portray a duo of ghost cops who find evil souls and return them to earth. The movie opened poorly and was quickly labeled a box office bomb, causing a loss of approximately $121 million.
“Jupiter Ascending” (2015)
Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis starred in this 2015 Warner Bros. film, which critics compared to both “Star Wars” and “The Matrix,” which were both obviously huge money makers. “Jupiter Ascending” required multiple reshoots, delays in the release date and costly marketing. Ultimately, Warner Bros. lost “well north of $100 million” and an estimated $124 million on the flick.
The year 2005 wasn’t the greatest for Matthew McConaughey or Penelope Cruz. Their summer adventure film, “Sahara” — which was meant to be the first in an Indiana Jones-like series — ended up being a huge loser in terms of money. In the end, the movie lost an estimated $121 million after inflation. Behind the scenes, the production company spent years embattled with author Clive Cussler, who wrote the book the film was based on.
When a Disney movie bombs, you know it has to be bad. “Tomorrowland,” starring George Clooney, had a budget of nearly $200 million and failed to reap the rewards of the studio’s investment. Consumers were reportedly turned off by poor advertising, a six-month delay in its release, the films preachy nature and the large amount of product placement. In the end, Disney lost as much as $155 million.
This 2015 fantasy starring Hugh Jackman was an alternative backstory for Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys. Between its $150 million budget, pushed back release dates and moviegoers’ rejection of the unfamiliar story line, the film walked the plank and did a belly flop. Industry experts estimate that the film lost as much as $155 million after inflation.
47 Ronin (2013)
This 2013 samurai film starring Keanu Reeves was a Westernized, 3D version of a classic ancient Japanese tale. In fact, it had already been filmed twice in Japan. Critics say that too much competition (it was released at Christmas alongside “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “The Hobbit” sequel, “Anchorman 2” and more) along with production delays attributed to “47 Ronin’s” failure. This movie resulted in an estimated $158 million loss for Universal Studios.
John Carter (2012)
After the epic sci-fi film “John Carter” flopped so massively, Forbes said its title became industry shorthand for “box office bomb.” The film proved to be too ambitious and not interesting enough, resulting in losses of $200 million for Disney.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Disney initially cancelled this film in 2011 because of its massive budget, but after major efforts to scale back, “The Lone Ranger” was back in production. The film, starring Johnny Depp as the iconic lawman’s Comanche sidekick, Tonto, had several drawbacks before its 2013 release, including an on-set injury resulting in a person’s death. When it finally hit theaters, moviegoers were disappointed in its lengthiness and violence. Disney lost nearly $200 million on the movie.
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