There are few things more upsetting than that new box office blockbuster turning out to be epic failures. Sadly, Hollywood is no stranger to churning out disastrous films. As one can imagine, this kind of letdown results in the loss of many millions of dollars. Even worse, plenty of people waste their hearts and souls (and sometimes even their physical health) on fruitless efforts.
The Most Costly Box Office Disasters Which Ruined Careers And Cost Hollywood Multiple Fortunes.
Zoolander 2 (2016)
Most Ben Stiller fans will fondly recall the first Zoolander as some of his finest comedic actings. The quirky supermodel comedy’s sequel, however, was something of a massive disappointment. Scoring an abysmal 4.7/10 on IMDb, the cult following of the first fashion industry parody called the Fashion Police on this one.
The Ancient Greeks have provided plenty of material and epic stories for Hollywood. If you thought that the tale of Alexander the Great could easily be turned into a super successful masterpiece, you might be wrong. Alexander was something of a laughable and overlong waste of time and money, what with humorously poor casting and performances. $71 million were sacrificed to the gods thanks to this film.
Toni Morrison, the original author of the Beloved novel, deserved better than the treatment his story received. With Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, and Thandie Newton in the cast, you would think that this adaptation of such an intensely dramatic story would be foolproof. Hilariously, evil doll slasher Chucky beat the movie overnight at the box office, much to Oprah’s disbelief! Maybe the talk show host should invest in the toy industry…
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
With almost fifteen years’ worth of creation, Cowboys & Aliens’ lengthy formation period would turn out to be a colossal waste of funds and effort. Even acting legends such as Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford could not save this movie from heading to the scrapheap. The sci-fi Western zapped between $63 and $75 million during its pathetic box office performance.
Death Wish (2018)
You may remember a particularly grizzly 70s thriller called Death Wish. Well, Hollywood decided that it (of all classic movies) needed a reboot. With a rather low budget, to begin with, the revenge flick’s new form only made a profit of $4 million off a budget of $30 million. The film tanked due to its unfortunate release just days following the Las Vegas mass shooting tragedy.
You might have realized by now that reboots of old films often turn out cataclysmically. The reboot of Ben-Hur resulted in somewhere between $75 and $121.7 million in losses. The Ben Hur movie is regarded as one of the most abysmal reboots ever made. Some epics should be left in the 20th century!
The Happytime Murders (2018)
Some films do not just incur massive losses, they also cause its producers a whole lot of trouble. From being rebuked for its humor’s poor taste, to being sued by Sesame Street for muddying its squeaky-clean image, The Happytime Murders also incurred a loss of $12.5 million.
Heaven’s Gate (1980)
Here we have an especially memorable cinematic tragedy. Heaven’s Gate ended up irreversibly hurting Michael Cimino’s reputation, whose outlandishly costly budget inflations failed to be justified. A loss of $123 million was not even the worst part of this trainwreck. United Artists was headed for bankruptcy, and there were even accusations of animal abuse during its production. Heaven’s Gate was appropriately named, “one of the greatest injustices of cinematic history.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Star Wars fans had high hopes for this extension of one of Hollywood’s most beloved franchises and heroes, Han Solo. Sadly, for both fans and producers, Solo: A Star Wars Story ended up on the dark side of cinema performance. Its $100 million loss was tied to its studios having pushed it out too closely following The Last Jedi’s release, only five months following the official episode.
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
The Fall of the Roman Empire featured old Hollywood’s most legendary actors: Sophia Loren, Alex Guinness, and Christopher Plummer. Although this movie is regarded as the peak of the “sword-and-sandal” genre by many, its extraordinary production costs racked up a total loss of $126 million (adjusted for inflation). It was also the biggest outside movie production in history.
Sci-fi is a tricky, hit, or miss type of genre. Despite trying to capture the successes of the Transformers franchise, Battleship was a poor imitation, regarded as a leading member of the naval war film genre’s biggest flops. This movie sank around $220.4 million.
Conan the Barbarian (2011)
It would always have been difficult to recreate Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic muscular performance, despite Jason Momoa doing his best. While 80s action-fantasy fans were excited to see how the reboot of Conan the Barbarian would pan out, it sadly did not make the cut. It slashed between $60 and $66 million.
Green Lantern (2011)
Prior to being known as Marvel’s Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds was on team DC as the Green Lantern. Unlike Deadpool, however, this film’s performance was ruined by poor CGI, a tone that was all over the place, and a poorly realized set of villains. This comic book calamity cost Warner Bros. $98 million.
Where do we even begin with Gigli? This is widely regarded as the worst film ever created. With a budget of $75.6 million, this laughably terrible movie earned a pitiful $7.3 million thanks to universal scorn from critics.
Red Planet (2000)
What could be worse than being stuck on Mars while being pursued by a murderous android? Maybe having to work with the bitterly feuding Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore. Not only did this movie cost its producers $93 million, but it also led to Kilmer and Sizemore fighting with each other over a certain elliptical machine that was transported to the Australian set on Sizemore’s request.
A Sound of Thunder (2005)
A Sound of Thunder may have been based on Ray Bradbury’s science fiction masterpiece, but it completely ruined the story, leading to a $96.3 million misinterpretation. After the studio funding the film hit bankruptcy, the producers were forced to realize the dinosaurs with a minimal budget.
The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)
Surely a film with Charlize Theron and Johnny Depp would be a massive success? Unfortunately, these two fantastic actors could not make this incredibly boring science fiction thriller actually thrilling. This silly picture garnered a shameful 33% score on Rotten Tomatoes and ejected $114.4 million into space.
Father’s Day (1997) It is especially sad when a bad film clearly held the potential to be good. Despite trying their best to carry the abysmal script, not even Billy Crystal and Robin Williams could salvage writing as corny as this. Fathers’ Day burned through $106 million in losses.
Battlefield Earth (2000)
This film is a guilty pleasure for enthusiasts. Battlefield Earth is a bizarre and cringe-worthy science-fiction flop starring John Travolta as a member of a malicious alien race hellbent on destroying humanity. It is also widely regarded as one of the worst films ever made, going on to lose $108 million.
MGM was brought to the brink of disaster by the war drama Windtalkers, which stars the notorious Nicholas Cage as a troubled American officer. MGM’s state of borderline collapse came with this film as it was its fourth disaster in a row, so Nicholas cannot be entirely blamed for the $110 million loss.
You just do not mess with childhood classics; something Pan found out the hard way with a scathing critical reception and a staggering loss ranging between $89 and $155 million! People might have let this one fly under the radar as mercy if it hadn’t been for the fact that it involved one of fantasy’s most beloved stories.
A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
Ava DuVernay, the director of A Wrinkle in Time, seemed to have a very promising (and very expensive) film in the works alongside an inspiring cast. Despite its high hopes, A Wrinkle in Time sorely disappointed critics and audiences alike, suffering a loss of between $86 and $186 million.
Power Rangers (2017)
Go, go, Power Rangers! For millennials, this show was everything growing up. Too bad the 2017 reboot of the toy-heavy franchise was a monstrosity. Promising cast aside, the mighty morphing Power Rangers lost the fight against Guardians of the Galaxy which opened on the same weekend. This film earned a pitiful $1.2 million in its initial 24 hours of release and tanked $76 million overall.
How Do You Know (2010)
Not every director walks away from a cinematic disaster. In the case of How Do You Know, director James Brooks was ousted as a director. Despite pairing two of romcom’s most beloved actors (Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd), the uninspiring romcom cost its studio around $100 million.
Anything with George Clooney is generally headed for box office success. Not in Tomorrowland’s case, unfortunately. This sci-fi extravaganza cost a figure ranging somewhere between $79 and $150 million. Although Brad Bird did his best as a director, an irrelevant marketing scheme would lead viewers astray.
The Wolfman (2010)
It isn’t often that a cinematic failure ends up being awarded with an Oscar. The Wolfman is something of a cult classic, but it still clawed its way through around $90 million. We really enjoyed the premise of this werewolf thriller, despite being too strange and old fashioned for Twilight-loving audiences.
xXx: State of the Union (2005)
With a costly sinking of almost $100 million in losses, the sequel to the Vin Diesel action blockbuster failed to match the original’s popularity and successes. xXx: State of the Union was an unmitigated disaster whose action legend-heavy cast failed to save the day.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
This movie had been in the works all the way back in 1994 when John Davis, the film’s producer, secured the rights to create a reboot of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Cold War shenanigans aside, this spy adventure wasted the hunky talents of Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill. It also suffered a loss of $83 million.
Despite being quite an enjoyable ride, Sahara failed to live up to the book’s expectations. The author, Clive Cussler, was handed $10 million and plenty of say when it came to the script’s creation for passing permission on to Paramount. Although the cast was as charismatic as possible, this film still crashed and burned at a cost of $100 million. Cussler started cussing when he saw how badly the film performed, with his lawyers calling the studio to inform them of a pending lawsuit.
Fantastic Four (2015)
This is another horrible abuse of the original material. The cinematic comic book adaptation of Fantastic Four suffered a poor casting choice, a flat and uninteresting story, and a severely annoying script. These failures combined to drain somewhere between $83 and $103 million.
Gods of Egypt (2016)
Who doesn’t want to see a film about the Gods of Egypt? As it turned out, most people, with director Alex Proyas being crucified the evening before the film released. The film would garner a bottom-tier 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and $92 million were sacrificed to the gods.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
With a Metacritic score of 81, the official sequel to one of classic science-fiction’s most adored classics truly did not deserve its pitiful box office performance. Blade Runner 2049 happened to be one of 2017’s top movies and won two out of the five Academy Awards it was nominated for. Still, the film lost almost $80 million.
For some reason, MGM decided that a cheesy 90s science fiction B-film deserved to be made in 2000, leading to the box office’s explosive downfall with a loss of $83 million. The movie was originally headed by Walter Hill, who decided to save his own skin midway through the project. He also made sure that his title was removed from the credits.
The Nutcracker in 3D (2010)
This probably is one of the worst movies on this list, with a seldomly seen Rotten Tomatoes score of 0%. This film cracked nearly $82 million in losses thanks to its bizarre and idiotic script, acting, and general performance.
Town & Country (2001)
Some of the greatest shames in Hollywood involves a spectacular cast of comedic geniuses being wasted on a terrible script. Town & Country must be one of the worst examples of this trashing. Its producers could not understand why it took a dozen delays to finally push this film out, which is probably why it ended up canning around $85 million.
Treasure Planet (2002)
This sci-fi spin on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic by the same name brought Disney to a new low. With a feeble performance in its opening weekend which barely scraped together $13 million, the spacey swashbuckling animation would loot Disney of around $82 million.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
Despite this film being something of a success with its $226 million overall grossing, its box office performance still sank $84 million. The reviewers were divided over Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, but the film certainly went on for too long with a 137-minute runtime.
Seventh Son (2015)
Joseph Delaney could never have expected that his The Spook’s Apprentice novels would end up as a lame movie called Seventh Son. Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore must have been at a loss as to what they were doing on this zany set, cursing a horrifying $85 million loss into being.
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Pixar seemed like one of Hollywood’s most trustworthy and invincible studios. That was until the Good Dinosaur came along and stomped its way through $85 million worth of losses. This is undoubtedly Pixar’s biggest failure of a project, with minimal audience attendance.
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
If your film needs a marketing campaign worth $125 million to be promoted, maybe it should have never seen the light of day. We’re being unfair, however, as Rise of the Guardians was a decent film. It just could not defend itself from a loss of around $87 million.
Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)
Just looking at this CGI, you can tell that this version of the medieval English fairytale was doomed to flop. Jack should have sold his magic beans this time around, as the film went on to lose $120 million at the box office. The cast was stellar, however, with Ian McShane, Bill Nighty, Ewan McGregor, and Stanley Tucci.
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Despite its name, Jupiter Ascending ended up plummeting in the box office with a jaw-dropping loss of $120 million. This movie was confusing, weird, and just plain uninteresting. Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a 26% rating, and for good reason!
Cutthroat Island (1995)
Pirate films are very hit and miss, with Cutthroat Island missing the mark entirely, and we don’t mean the cannons of its many pirate ships. The film was received averagely by critics, but its performance found itself dashed on rocky shores with a shipwreck costing $143 million.
Evan Almighty (2007)
It is very strange sitting through a film which people call a comedy without experiencing much in the way of laughter. Steve Carrell is one of comedy lovers’ biggest draws, but even he could not stop this biblically inspired catastrophe from suffering a doomsday costing $88 million.
The Promise (2016)
The Promise trying to bring attention to the controversially understood Armenian Genocide, its good intentions backfired as audiences and critics alike found themselves offended by the film’s intentions. It scraped in a regrettable $10.5 million within the box offices. $102 million were lost through this politically themed picture.
This film received the kind of hate from critics that we wouldn’t wish on our least favorite movies. It was described as “too awful to review” by Time magazine, going on to lay $115 million to rest at the box offices.
The Alamo (2004)
This historical Western epic featuring Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid blasted its way through $94 million in losses. Sometimes, forgetting the Alamo is the better choice.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
From Square Company, the gaming giant responsible for Final Fantasy, came Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001). The film failed to impress gamers and film enthusiasts alike, despite its gorgeous CGI which still holds up today. Square Company nearly crumbled from the losses, having to cut off its animation wing.
Marketed as an unchallenging military adventure, Stealth ended up being critically panned for coming across as an insincere piece of U.S. Military propaganda, and not a very convincing one. The jet-fighting disaster ended up bombing out with a $120 million loss.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
Some movies bring tears to their actors’ eyes when they think of Eddie Murphy being brought to his knees whenever he remembers the horror that was Pluto Nash. This abysmal science fiction movie cost its producers $96 million.
47 Ronin (2013) Keanu Reeves is infamous for his wooden performances, and in the case of 47 Ronin, his lack of charisma greatly damaged the samurai fantasy’s running. It ended up with a loss of somewhere between $102 and $158 million by the time it was pulled from the cinemas. Coupled with a grossly inflated budget of $225 million, the director of 47 Ronin should have committed seppuku.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Disney’s attempt to put their trademark magical spin on old-school Westerns resulted in between $95 and $190 million ending up gone with the wind. Johnny Depp is one of Disney’s favorite cash cows, but even he could not convince audiences to invest in this uninspiring mess.
Titan A.E. (2000)
Titan A.E.’s production was rocked when its initial producer and director were let go halfway through its creation. The movie’s poor performances resulted in FOX Animation Studios’ shutting down. News Corp’s 14% loss was pinned on the animation’s horrendous box office performances by Rupert Murdoch. Titan A.E. ended up ejecting $100 million into space.
Monster Trucks (2016)
Paramount and Nickelodeon teamed up and went the full nine yards to bring us all Monster Trucks, even though we did not ask for it. Rob Lowe and Danny Glover also joined forces to spruce things up entertainment-wise. To no avail, unfortunately, as the movie was a wreck and sank $109 to $123 million in the box office.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
Guy Ritchie merely used the title of King Arthur for this outlandish action fantasy misfortune, straying too far from the original story to feel relevant to many people. Warner Bros. expected the mobster-loving director to earn them the ultimate payload with this film, but it ended up losing them between $115 to $153 million instead.
Mars Needs Moms (2011)
Mars Needs Moms reinvented the meaning of “catastrophe” by being one of Hollywood’s most disastrous money-wasting projects ever. Berkeley Breathed must have been shocked to see how terribly his children’s story had been tarnished. A figure between $100 and $114 million went down the drain with Mars Needs Moms.
John Carter (2012)
Whoever was banking on John Carter to earn them a profit should have pulled out when its budget reached that of a small country’s GDP. This movie was not only free of any kind of star power, it also used a little known sci-fi story written by Edgar Rice Burroughs named A Princess of Mars as a source.
Robin Hood (2018)
No one wanted another Robin Hood movie, but its producers decided to go ahead with it anyway, robbing themselves of around $100 million. The writers of Robin Hood tried to put a mature spin on the classic English folktale which backfired alarmingly.
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)
Here we have another divisively received animated film which would ultimately cost its crew around $125 million. Michelle Pfeiffer and Brad Pitt were horribly miscast for their roles, and the film was released alongside Finding Nemo.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
You might not believe it, but the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz, was originally an absolute flop. The people at MGM could not understand why their cinematic fairytale was so poorly received, resulting in losses of $1.1 million. When adjusted for inflation, this figure comes to around $15 million. A decade later the movie made a comeback, however, securing its place in the Hollywood hall of fame. Then, in 1956, it was re-released once more, becoming even more popular.
The 13th Warrior (1999)
To be honest, we really love this movie. Too bad so many others did not, as this film would result in the catastrophic loss of almost $129 million. The iconic Omar Sharif was so disheartened by 13th Warrior’s abysmal reception that he took a three-year sabbatical from acting.
Few boxing icons deserved a biopic more so than Cassius Clay, also known as Muhammad Ali. Although this movie was hotly awaited by sports fans and normal people alike, most viewers were sorely disappointed when it finally came out. Michael Mann, Ali’s director, blamed the dismal box office attendance on his production’s inadequate funding. Ali managed to knock $63 million out of the box office.
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)
The initial 1984 Ghostbusters stayed at the top of the box office for nearly two months in a row. The 2016 reboot, on the other hand, suffered a calamitous and monstrously costly marketing campaign that doomed the film’s profits before it was even released. It did not earn much at the box office, instead making a loss of $75 million.