George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, once said that studio executives “hire a bunch of corporate types that think they know the formula for a great movie, with their charts, and group sessions, but they really don’t.” The last few years have proven Lucas right as there have been some really huge bombs at the box offices.
For whatever reason some movies with high expectations just tank in the theaters. Usually, some movies have pre-premiere bad buzz that you can tell it will be a bomb, others get done in by bad critical reviews, and others just never get off the ground once they premiere. Here are 25 movies that bombed at the box office.
25. 2016 Ghostbusters
Despite a very funny cast of female leads, the buzz around the “All-Girl” Ghostbusters movie was negative almost from the get-go. An audience tired of reboots got a Ghostbuster movie without the original cast of the 1984 classic. A social media backlash was an early indicator that this Ghostbusters movie was DOA. The film only grossed $229 million, needing at least $300 million to break even.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were everywhere in 2002-2003 due to their romantic relationship. The movie they starred in, Gigli, was just another stop of the do no wrong “Beniffer” express… the train crashed. The film was panned by critics and grossed only $7 million, against a budget of $75 million. The director has never directed another movie again, so to say that bombs don’t have consequences, here is an example. Shockingly Affleck friend, director Kevin Smith, did a movie with JLo and Affleck called Jersey Girl, that equally bombed. Two bombs for the price of one!
23. Green Lantern
It seems that since the first X-Men movie we have been bombarded with superhero movies of every kind. Green Lantern, a really cool DC superhero, is a hard one to pull off for movie goers. In 2011 Ryan Reynolds starred as the Green Lantern in a convoluted movie that if you were not a comic book fan, it was hard to follow or care what was going on. The film crashed at the box office amid meager reviews and proved that just because the main character wears tights it does not mean it will equal big bucks. Ryan Reynolds redeemed himself in the superhero genre in Deadpool.
22. Hudson Hawk
Oh this one hurts… Hudson Hawk is a cult classic… today. When it came out however, in 1991, TriStar pictures had put a lot of faith in Bruce Willis as an ultra-cool thief. The tone of the movie is slap sticky and cartoonish and that is what the critics panned at the time. The film grossed only $17 million, of a $65 million budget, and earned three razzies, one for worst movie. Still the Willis and Danny Aiello singing “Swinging on a star” while robbing a museum scene is cool… at least for this writer.
My god… the picture we used says it all. Shaq in a Steel armor suit. Okay, this is a superhero movie, even though you might not know it, but Steel is a Superman character that in the comics filled in for Superman after his apparent death in 1993. Some studio executives thought it would be a great idea to take the character, remove the Superman element and put Shaq in it. The movie was a disaster. Shaq was terrible and it flopped.
20. Son of the Mask
Why anyone would greenlight a movie that Jim Carrey made famous without Jim Carrey is plain stupid. Well, Son of the Mask is a clear example as to why you don’t. The Carreyless film grossed a mere $40 million, nothing compared to the $350 million the original Mask earned.
Sahara was supposed to be the start of a new franchise of movies starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz. Well audiences did not think so, the film flopped big-time grossing only $121 million on a $145 million budget.
18. Bicentennial Man
A Robin Williams flop? It happens. Williams played a robot that wanted to be human in this all too sentimental flop. The film was panned by critics and it was one of Robin Williams worst on screen performances, mostly due to a really bad script.
17. Solo: A Star Wars Story
This one is hard to pinpoint. A Star Wars movie that flops at the box office. The movie itself is quite good, but the people at Disney asked the audience to do way too much, 1. Watch a Han Solo movie without Harrison Ford, 2. The film was mashed between The Force Awakens and the difficult to digest Last Jedi. A Star Wars fatigue has gained traction and Solo was the victim. The consequences, Disney scrapped all Star Wars movie projects except the conclusion of the new trilogy that can be dissected and torn apart on their own.
16. Terminator: Dark Fate
Speaking of dying a slow death, the Terminator franchise was taken to the cleaners after T2. Every film after T2: Judgement Day got worse and worse. The latest installment has an aged Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger teaming up again to stop a Terminator, the movie feels like we have been here before… 5 times already. The film bombed on its opening weekend and may have been the final nail in the Terminator franchise coffin.
15. The Wolfman
Benecio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving star in this 2010 remake of the 1941 classic. A huge budget and special effects were not enough to save a movie that had it’s issues during production, the original director quit three weeks before shooting and the reshoots cost almost $85 million. The film flopped at the box office and was panned by critics.
14. The Lone Ranger
Many things were attributed to the flop that was The Lone Ranger. An audience tired of watching Johnny Depp in makeup, all the time, and it came out the same week as Despicable Me 2. The film only grossed $260 million, it needed at least $650 million to break even. It is a forgettable movie to say the least.
13. Basic Instinct 2
Some movies one just says… why? Basic Instinct 2 is an example of a sequel nobody wanted. The movie has a ridiculous plot smashed together with almost every type of sex scene that Sharon Stone could get on film. The movie bombed but Stone is up to actually directing a third installment.
12. 47 Ronin
Keanu Reeves has always taken risks as an actor and 47 Ronin was one that did not pay off. The samurai action film lost around $152 million dollars; it is one of Hollywood’s biggest flops of all-time. The film was panned by critics and it came out during the Holidays against more marketable movies.
11. The Mummy
We all get old, even Tom Cruise, at one time put Cruise in a movie and watch it rake in the cash. That time has passed and projects like The Mummy in 2017 are examples of that. The film was panned by critics and The Mummy was nominated for 8 Razzie awards! Ouch! Hardly what you would think would happen in a Tom Cruise film. Especially considering this film is a remake of a movie that starred Brendan Fraser. That’s where we are at in Hollywood, Tom Cruise is starring in a Brendan Fraser movie remake.
10. 2019 Hellboy
The Hellboy franchise started off very well with a highly praised 2004 film, then a sequel and then the 2019 movie was a third chapter, but later in production, was turned into an R-Rated reboot. The film failed to gain an audience and grossed poorly at the box office, most likely victim of reboot fatigue since franchises like Star Wars, Spiderman, and Superman have all been rebooted in a way in the last 5 or 6 years.
Jamie Foxx followed up his Oscar winning performance in Ray with a science fiction film about an intelligent aircraft that turns on it’s team. The film was called by critics as a “poor man's Top Gun” and had the misfortune of competing with the Wedding Crashers and Sky High that same week. The film was a flop and the movie itself was forgettable.
An extremely expensive movie set in a post- apocalyptic world that is underwater, Waterworld was a huge production and had huge hopes for its release. Not even Kevin Costner could save the movie from itself, the film simply cost too much at the time to really recuperate the money invested. The film debuted at number 1 but with lukewarm reviews the film fell out of standing quickly. Despite holding up the film is one of the biggest flops of all-time.
7. Land of the Lost
The 2009 action-comedy version of Land of the Lost was DOA, the film had a slap sticky plot, a been there done that performance by Will Ferrell, and overall poor script. The critics hated it, the audience did not go see it and it was an expensive flop.
6. The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Eddie Murphy is a funny guy, but some of the movies he made in the 2000’s are just painstakingly bad. The Adventures of Pluto Nash is an unfunny movie that bombed at the box office. A movie about a nightclub owner in 2087 located on the moon… folks this has BAD written all over it. How bad? The film was finished in 2000 and it took the studio two years to release it, a $100 million dollar movie literally sat collecting dust for two years.
5. X-Men: Apocalypse
Another franchise that started so well and has ended up in reboot limbo for sure. X-Men: Apocalypse was a bad movie, although it grossed a lot more than other X-Men movies it still did not generate the revenue needed to be considered a hit. The movie was panned by critics and comic book fans alike, it is considered one of the worst comic book movies ever made.
4. Superman Returns
Did Superman Return? He did in 2006, although the film has been lost in the sands of time. After the success of Batman Begins, Warner Brothers and DC Comics wanted to revive Superman, and got Usual Suspects and X-Men director Bryan Singer to lead the revival. Singer and the writers intelligently did not want to do a reboot rather a continuation of the original Superman movies. Basically, it’s Superman III if you count Superman’s I and II from the Christopher Reeve era. After a promising opening day weekend word got around that the movie was slow, too slow, and the film did not reach the expected numbers needed to be considered a success. The sequels for this series were dropped immediately and the next version of Superman would have to wait until The Man of Steel in 2013.
Cats is one of broadway's greatest plays, Cats the movie is one of Hollywood’s greatest flops. The trailer was panned online for how ridiculous the actors looked in their cat makeup. No one went to see the movie and the losses have been measured at around $100 million. The critics did not look too kindly on it either.
2. Justice League
It may be harsh, but Justice League is a box office bomb when you consider the movie's potential. The film earned $657 million worldwide, but when you compare it to the Avenger movies, Justice League, Warner Brothers big superhero gamble, came up way too short. Batman vs Superman grossed about $72 million more. It could be a question of too little too late, we had seen a similar and much more effective plot in the previous Avengers movies, watching Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman do virtually the same thing as Iron Man, Hulk, and Captain America may not have driven many to the cinemas. An alternate cut of the movie is due to be released but the damage seems done to the Justice League for now.
1. Battlefield Earth
A movie that checks all the boxes of a flop, Battlefield Earth was a bad movie, had a bad script, poor make up, and nobody went to go see it. With its Scientology undertones and ridiculous acting the film was panned by critics and movie goers alike. It is considered one of the worst movies ever made, and it was nominated for 19 worst movie award categories. OUCH!