These 29 Movies Almost Broke Actors’ Careers
One bad movie can destroy almost anyone's career in Hollywood. While it's common for actors to star in awful films from time to time, some struggle to save their careers after working in movies that failed miserably. You can just ask Ben Affleck and Demi Moore, who accepted some bad roles, but eventually snagged A-list parts again. Unfortunately, some actors never find a way to rejuvenate their careers after starring in a box office failure.
The following actors starred in some awful movies, leading to their career’s demise. In some cases, a few stars recovered and were able to rebound from these flops.
Halle Berry - Catwoman
Berry's fame flourished in the 2000s with roles in many successful movies. Fans remember her in “Boomerang,” “The Flintstones,” and the “X-men” installments as Storm. Berry fell from grace when she starred in 2004's “Catwoman.” Critics and media sources called the movie one of the worst films ever made.
Elizabeth Berkley - Showgirls
Elizabeth Berkley was widely known as Jessie Spano in the television series “Saved by the Bell,” which aired from 1989 to 1993. Berkley’s career took a drastic turn in 1995, when in trying to shed her image of a smart, driven high schooler, she starred in “Showgirls.” The film is about a dancer who moved to Las Vegas and climbed her way up from a stripper to the top showgirl.
Jake Lloyd - Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
If you think children’s acting careers can’t get crushed, you should see what happened to Jake Lloyd. In 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode I,” Lloyd portrayed young Anakin Skywalker. The movie was simultaneously his first big break and his last appearance on the big screen. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 54% rating. The movie greatly disappointed hardcore “Star Wars” fans.
Brandon Routh - Superman Returns
Growing up, Brandon Routh often had people tell him that he looked like Christopher Reeve, who portrayed Superman in the 1970s. Routh’s resemblance to Reeve helped him land the role of Superman in 2006’s “Superman Returns.” The film performed well at the box office, but critics called the movie boring due to its lack of action scenes.
Hayden Christensen - Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Jake Lloyd wasn’t the only actor who came up short after a “Star Wars” movie. Hayden Christensen grew a large fanbase when he portrayed Sam in “Life as a House.” He then gained international attention as Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.”
John Travolta - Battlefield Earth
John Travolta’s career has gone up and down like a rollercoaster. In 1977, he danced his way into audiences’ hearts in “Saturday Night Fever.” Shortly after, he became a Hollywood icon when he starred in 1978’s “Grease.” His career began to wane in the ’80s with the sequel to “Saturday Night Fever,” and the “Look Who’s Talking” series in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Then, in 1994, Travolta starred in “Pulp Fiction,” receiving an Academy Award nomination for his performance. He became an A-list celebrity again.
Ben Affleck - Gigli
Ben Affleck shined in many movies, including “Dazed and Confused,” “Chasing Amy” and “Armageddon.” After Affleck starred in “Gigli” with his then-girlfriend. Jennifer Lopez in 2003, his career went downhill. On Rotten Tomatoes, “Gigli” received a rating of 6%. The film bombed at the box office as well.
Chris O’Donnell - Batman & Robin
Chris O’Donnell ruined his career after starring in “Batman & Robin” with George Clooney in 1997. Although the film performed well at the box office, it received very little praise from critics. Not only is “Batman & Robin” widely considered to be the most unsuccessful Batman film ever made, it also became known as one of the worst films of all time.
Mike Myers - The Love Guru
Following his success on Saturday Night Live, Mike Myers became widely known for his roles in “Wayne's World,” “Austin Powers” and “Shrek.” After starring in “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” in 2003, his career dipped. However, his career bounced back in 2004, because of “Shrek 2.” A few years later, Myers surprised everyone with what many consider the worst movie of his career: 2008’s “The Love Guru.”
Tom Green - Freddy Got Fingered
In the early 2000s, Canadian Tom Green became a big deal. “The Tom Green Show,” which had first begun airing in 1994 in his native Ottowa, came to the U.S. in 1999. Airing on MTV, it helped the host/actor gather a giant fanbase. Eventually, Green wrote and starred in his own movie, “Freddy Got Fingered.” Hollywood expected Green’s fame to help him transition smoothly into big screen roles.
Sean Connery - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
When a movie performs poorly, most actors try to recover their losses with a new project. However, Sean Connery had no intention of returning to the movie industry after “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (“LXG”) failed in 2002. Connery, who starred in the film, reportedly had an ongoing disagreement with director Stephen Norrington, and was unhappy with how the film turned out. Connery announced his retirement following the film’s release.
Taylor Lautner - Abduction
Audiences saw a bright future for Taylor Lautner because of his starring role as Jacob in the “Twilight” saga. Lautner even gained a massive “Team Jacob” fanbase. His career suffered, however, after starring in 2011’s “Abduction.” “Abduction” scored a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As the movie’s lead, Lautner received a lot of criticism. Kyle Smith of the New York Post stated, "Actual abduction may be preferable to the movie of the same name, but only if your kidnappers don't torture you by forcing you to watch it."
Demi Moore - Striptease
Believe it or not, Demi Moore’s career took a massive hit in the ‘90s. The 1996 movie “Striptease” almost spelled the end of her career. Before disappointing fans, Moore starred in iconic movies such as “Ghost,” “A Few Good Men,” “Indecent Proposal” and “Disclosure.” Despite the film’s poor performance, Moore brought home $12.5 million for “Striptease,” becoming the highest-paid actress in film history at the time.
Geena Davis - Cutthroat Island
Recovering from a box office bomb isn’t easy. Before Geena Davis’s career took a hit, she starred in memorable classics including “The Fly,” “Thema and Louise” and “A League of Their Own.” In 1995, Davis’s career suffered after starring in “Cutthroat Island.” Critics felt bothered by the unrealistic stunts, script and acting in the movie. Even her work in her following film “The Long Kiss Goodnight” couldn’t help Hollywood forget
Topher Grace - Spider-Man 3
Remember when Topher Grace played Eric Forman from the hit TV show, “That 70’s Show?” After the series ended, Grace took the chance to make it big in Hollywood as Venom in Sony’s “Spider-Man 3.” The film already had Thomas Haden Church starring as the villain Sandman, but producers added Venom as another antagonist. Although the film was very successful at the box office, it received mixed reviews from critics.
Madonna - Swept Away
Many musicians like to test the waters of acting. Some realize they have real talent, while others fail and make a vow to never return to the movie industry. Madonna learned to leave her acting career behind after facing heat from critics. She attempted to act in ”Swept Away” while her then-husband, Guy Ritchie, became the director in 2002.
Freddie Prinze Jr. - Scooby-Doo
The “Scooby-Doo” movie franchise couldn’t be saved even by Freddie Prinze Jr. He became Hollywood’s heartthrob in the ‘90s. Classic movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “She’s All That” gave him the star power needed to woo audiences. “Scooby-Doo” and its 2004 sequel performed terribly, according to theatergoers and Rotten Tomatoes.
Brad Pitt - War Machine
“War Machine” was released on Netflix and in select theaters in 2017. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film scored a 49% rating. Critics pointed fingers at Brad Pitt for the movie’s failure because he produced and starred in it.
Vin Diesel - The Pacifier
Fans and critics would prefer not to see Vin Diesel in a babysitting movie again. Although the film gained success at the box office in 2005, it also collected a lot of criticism. The movie scored a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The website's critical consensus reads, "Vin Diesel parodies his tough guy image for the family audience, but the result is only moderately amusing." Many theatergoers and critics complained that Diesel’s performance lacked humor and made the children’s movie boring.
Scarlett Johansson - Ghost in the Shell
In 2017, Scarlett Johansson’s reputation took a hit after portraying Major Motoko Kusanagi in “Ghost in the Shell.” The movie was highly controversial, garnering accusations of whitewashing due to the decision to cast white actors in lead roles. As a result, fans created a petition calling for Johansson’s role to be recast.
Roberto Benigni - Pinocchio
After Roberto Benigni starred and won an Oscar for “Life is Beautiful” in 1998, his fans waited for him to return with another huge hit. A few years later in 2002, Benigni directed and starred in “Pinocchio.” Fans loved the film in Europe, but theatergoers in the U.S. loathed the English dub. On Rotten Tomatoes, “Pinocchio” scored a rare rating of 0%.
Bruce Willis - Precious Cargo
Bruce Willis proved himself to be a star in popular movies such as the “Die Hard” franchise, “The Fifth Element” and “The Sixth Sense.” However, his career almost died after starring in “Precious Cargo” in 2016. The film flopped at the box office and scored a rare rating of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics and fans tore the movie apart.
The Rock - Tooth Fairy
Before Dwayne Johnson (also known as The Rock) became a respected actor, he was a wrestler trying to break into the film industry. Johnson’s career hit rock bottom when he starred in “Tooth Fairy” in 2010.
Lindsay Lohan - I Know Who Killed Me
One bad decision can kill almost anyone’s career. Lindsay Lohan found incredible success with hits such as “The Parent Trap” and “Mean Girls.” With all her success, Lohan’s career seemed untouchable in 2003. However, her legal troubles and difficult attitude began to threaten her career. As a result, Lohan chose smaller roles to stay out of the spotlight.
Cuba Gooding Jr. - Boat Trip
Cuba Gooding Jr. is another actor whose career suffered due to a movie’s failure. In 2002, the Academy Award and Oscar winner agreed to star in “Boat Trip” and as a result, set sail to his high status in Hollywood. The movie received a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Terrence Howard - Iron Man
Thanks to films like “Hustle & Flow” and “Crash,” Terrence Howard became a familiar face in Hollywood movies. He also appeared in “Iron Man.” The 2008 film featured Howard as Colonel Rhodes, Iron Man’s best friend. Howard was the highest paid actor in “Iron Man,” according to the Huffington Post. While Robert Downey Jr. only received $500,000, Howard took home $4.5 million.
Jennifer Love Hewitt - Jewtopia
In the 1990s Jennifer Love Hewitt became a teen idol after starring in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Throughout her career, Hewitt performed in popular TV shows including Party of Five” and the “Ghost Whisperer.” The actress shined in the spotlight for over 20 years.
Chris Klein - Rollerball
Chris Klein starred in the wrong movie at the wrong time when his career tanked. After starring in both “American Pie” and “Election” in 1999, Klein gained popularity in Hollywood. Klein’s acting career looked promising when he landed a lead role in the 2002 remake of “Rollerball.”
Jamie Kennedy - Son of the Mask
In the 1990s and 2000s, Jamie Kennedy landed roles in popular movies such as the “Scream” franchise and “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.” He also had a successful show called “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” on the WB in 2002.