Big Budget Films That Flopped at the Box Office
Some movies succeed at the box office while others crash and burn. It’s a real tragedy when studios lose millions of dollars after a major film flops. Highly anticipated films like Justice League and Dark Phoenix tanked at the box office and failed to wow audiences.
Plenty of movies have flopped and the reasons range from terrible scripts to controversial casting decisions. Check out the biggest box office movie flops of all time.
Justice League (2017)
The chaotic plot, underdeveloped script and poorly executed CGI were Justice League’s kryptonite (besides the box office of course). Moviegoers also thought the film’s tone was inconsistent and boring. However, there was some good feedback: People enjoyed Gal Gadot and Ezra Miller’s performances.
Rush Hour 3 (2007)
The Rush Hour franchise follows two cop buddies, portrayed by Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. While the first two installments were fan favorites, Rush Hour 3 gave audiences a sense of déjà vu. Moviegoers grew tired of the same fistfights and life-threatening situations that were already featured in the first two films. Rush Hour 3’s estimated loss was $71 million.
The Ghostbusters reboot ran into trouble before hitting the box office. When the public and social media users found out that Ghostbusters featured an all-female cast, controversy arose. Many people who opposed the film made misogynistic and anti-feminist comments because the cast was all women. The film received major backlash, including low ratings on its IMDb page.
Power Rangers (2017)
Many fans who grew up watching Power Rangers on TV on Saturday mornings were excited for this film’s release. However, the film didn’t perform as well as expected, losing the studio $78 million. At the theaters, there were barely any youngsters in sight.
A-list actor George Clooney and Britt Robertson starred in Tomorrowland, which follows a science-loving teenager and a former boy-genius inventor. The two uncover a mysterious place located in time, space and their collective memories. Sounds original, right?
How Do You Know (2010)
There are many great romance movies. How Do You Know is not one of them. Some of Hollywood’s most popular actors starred in How Do You Know, including Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson. But the star-studded cast couldn’t save the movie. The studio, Columbia Pictures, lost between $87 million and $121 million.
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
What if dinosaurs never became extinct? The Good Dinosaur follows a young and easily frightened Apatosaurus who goes on an adventure with a human through a tough and mysterious land. The adorable story was set in an alternate history. The film’s estimated loss was $90 million.
Pan received many negative reviews, with critics bashing the film’s formulaic plot and overuse of CGI. Warner Brothers spent $150 million on the film’s production budget and used between $100 and $125 million on marketing. However, the studio lost between $91 million and $159 million.
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne, Jupiter Ascending failed at the box office. The studio, Warner Brothers, suffered a loss of $92 million to $127 million. People thought the screenplay was incoherent, boring and confusing. Some moviegoers were frustrated because the movie introduced too many supporting characters.
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Superstars like Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin and Hugh Jackman voiced characters in Rise of the Guardians, but the studio still lost a whopping $95 million. Moviegoers complained about Baldwin’s Russian accent for Santa Claus, calling it too rough for the character.
The Mummy (2017)
Universal Pictures spent a whopping $345 million on The Mummy’s production and advertising. The Mummy received a whole lot of negative reviews, leading to a loss of $97 million. Critics slammed the film’s narrative, tone and acting. What else went wrong?
When Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck (Bennifer) dated in 2003, they also starred in a film together. Their film, Gigli, was a major disappointment. It’s considered one of the worst films of all time, losing the studio an estimate of $98 million.
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
Many reviewers complained that Around the World in 80 Days was nothing like the book it was based on. Fans expected adventure and action, but the film mainly just featured weird celebrity cameos. During the fight scenes, the camera zoomed on the character’s facial expressions rather than capturing the actual fight. How much did the studio lose? $98 million.
It’s hard for a movie to live up to a book. According to critics, that was definitely the case for R.I.P.D. Critics described R.I.P.D. as dim-witted and formulaic. They called it another buddy cop movie and a bad copy of Men In Black. R.I.P.D.’s studio lost between $98 million and $124 million.
xXx: State of the Union (2005)
xXx: State of the Union is the sequel to xXx (2002). Vin Diesel starred in the first film, but dropped out of the sequel because he disliked the script. Diesel made a good move because xXx: State of the Union bombed at the box office. The film’s production company, Revolution Studios, was in the hole by $100 million.
Audiences and critics are hissing at Cats. Over the holidays, the film crashed and burned at the box office, grossing only $38.3 million against production costs of $100 million. Experts estimate the loss is at least $70 million. Ouch!
Dark Phoenix (2019)
The latest installment of the X-Men franchise, Dark Phoenix, was one of the most anticipated movies of summer 2019. However, the film tanked at the box office, having the worst opening weekend in the franchise’s history. The film was in the red by $100 million to $200 million.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Although The Lone Ranger featured international star Johnny Depp, the film still flopped at the box office (especially overseas). Before hitting theaters, the movie experienced many problems. The Lone Ranger struggled with budget issues, causing the film to stop production temporarily. Its estimated loss was between $102 million and $204 million.
47 Ronin (2013)
Variety magazine called 47 Ronin one of "Hollywood's biggest box office bombs of 2013." And they weren’t wrong. The film got its butt kicked by other films that were released at the same time, including The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle and Her. 47 Ronin’s production company lost between $104 million and $161 million.
Evan Almighty (2007)
Evan Almighty is considered one of the worst sequels of all time. Its loss? $106 million. Reviewers criticized Evan Almighty’s overuse of special effects. They also thought that the movie was dry and lacked humor. Although the film’s star, Steve Carell, is a successful comedian, viewers didn’t find his performance funny. Carell’s jokes just didn’t land in this film.
Battlefield Earth (2000)
People disliked almost everything about Battlefield Earth, including the acting, cinematography, story, special effects and visual direction. Battlefield Earth excessively used skewed camera angles. The film was also visually ugly with its dismal color palate. Warner Brothers was in the hole by $107 million.
Mars Needs Moms (2011)
Mars Needs Moms failed because it lacked imagination and heart, losing the Walt Disney Pictures an estimate of $111 million to $160 million. Moviegoers complained that there was no character development. The main character, Milo, was a brat and his mom was unconscious during the majority of the film. As a result, no one got to know the characters (or even care about them).
Treasure Planet (2002)
Treasure Planet led to a loss of $118 million. Many critics thought the visuals in Treasure Planet were beautiful, but the characters lacked creative development. Audiences struggled to connect with the main character, Jim. They found Jim flat, weak and predictable. His character didn’t charm moviegoers.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
There are many movies based on King Arthur, but this is the only film that made the biggest box office movie flops list. King Arthur was supposed to be the first in a six-film franchise, but Warner Brothers canceled the sequels after the movie flopped at the box office. It was a one-and-done film, losing between $118 million and $157 million.
Stealth is about three top fighter pilots working on an automated stealth aircraft project. The film is considered one of the worst failures in cinematic history, losing $123 million. People thought the movie performed poorly because it was dull. The action scenes weren’t even exciting.
A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
A Wrinkle In Time featured some big names, including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. It was also the movie adaption of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved book of the same name, but the movie didn’t dazzle viewers. Fans of the book were very disappointed.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Final Fantasy was based on a video game series. The movie used the most advanced processing capabilities available for animation, driving the film’s budget to $137 million. Popular stars like Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi and Ving Rhames worked on the film, but it still couldn’t turn a profit, losing $133 million.
Titan A.E. (2000)
Titan A.E. roped in some big stars, like Matt Damon, Nathan Lane and Drew Barrymore, but still couldn’t manage to break even. Its studio was in the red by $145 million. Before hitting theaters, Titan A.E. faced many problems. After 18 months of production, the film changed directors. Titan A.E. also had to drop its use of 2D animation in the middle of production when 3D animation became popular.
John Carter (2012)
John Carter led to a loss of $133 million to $218 million. Critics had nothing but bad things to say about John Carter. Some reviews slammed the film’s uneven pacing, confusing plot and terrible character development. Where were the characters’ backstories? Why was Dominic West’s character obsessed with Barsoom? Why was Mark Strong’s character manipulative? We may never know why.
Cutthroat Island (1995)
Cutthroat Island was cursed since the beginning. The troubled and chaotic production included several rewrites and recasts. Before Matthew Modine was cast as the leading man (Shaw), Michael Douglas had originally agreed to play the part. But Douglas quit. Oliver Reed was fired from the cast after fighting at a bar and trying to expose himself to Geena Davis.
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)
Sinbad is the biggest box office flop on this list, losing $170 million. The studio, Dreamworks, lost so much money from Sinbad that it almost went bankrupt. People hammered Sinbad for removing Arab and Muslim context from the story. The film replaced Arab references with Greek references.