For the viewers like us, sitting in a cinema watching a movie flop going down the rabbit hole with every passing second feels miserable. We think that those two hours of our life are wasted, and time spent that we will never get back—not to mention, the bucks we spent on that movie (well, the bucks spent on the food maybe an exception). But for the producers, it is miserable. After all, those millions and millions of dollars and years of efforts went in vain. One may be curious enough to have a look at the balance sheets of these flops as to see how many dollars of those producers and production firms were wasted. With that curiosity in mind, you are at the right place.
For a movie just to break even, the total gross revenue in the United States and worldwide needs to be three times the budget… and that this again, just to breakeven because we need to account for the 2nd largest budget other than production cost, and that is the marketing budget. So here is the list of the biggest box office flops ever; the list includes the biggest cinema flops ever filmed! So let us start reading why these movies did so bad! PS: The losses are estimated, and adjusted for inflation in US dollars.
The Lone Ranger
Year Released: 2013; Budget: $215 million
Loss: $300 million
The Lone Ranger television was a classic amongst little boys who wanted to grow up an be a cowboy and fight the bad guys. The 2013 movie was a huge disappointment with United States audience, pulling in only $89 million and cumulatively worldwide 260 million. With Johnny Depp, perhaps the most over-rated and overpaid actor in Hollywood for a couple decades and Armie Hammer, who is only getting big Hollywood roles because of his last name… these two just didn’t cut it.
This movie was a huge flop costing the studios approximately $300 million with the critics over at Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 30% score. Let us not mention the culturally appropriation of Johnny Depp’s character as Tonto… but then again, this was back in 2013 before everyone got offended over an “actor” acting in a role that was not of his ethnicity.
Year Released: 2012; Budget: $250 million
Loss: $200 million
Perhaps considered one of the biggest movie fails ever, Disney’s science fiction story telling of John Carter was one big lost considering it was one of the most expensive movie ever made at the time of filming this movie. The estimated budget for this movie was $263 million… and the movie took in a measly $73 million in the United States and less than the total budget worldwide with only $284 million. Take into consideration marketing expenses, Disney lost a good $200 million on this flop.
Disney was hoping to create a massive money making franchise with John Carter but the science fiction story fell short of originality. Rotten Tomatoes gave this poor excuse of a sci-fi movie a generous 52% (critics) and MetaCritic gave it a score of 51.The writers of this movie was not unique or original… perhaps that’s why Disney Corporation paid off George Lucas $4 billion for the Star Wars franchise in 2012.
Jack the Giant Slayer
Year Released: 2013; Budget: $200 million
Loss: $86 million – $106 million
Produced jointly by Warner Brothers and Legendary production, and directed by the much-celebrated BryanSinger, the movie is about Jack and his adventures (and life)—a character that is well-established in English folk literature.
Even after nearly eight years of writing and putting in efforts for the script of the movie, it turned out to be a huge flop. With the inclusion of two heavyweights in the production, the budget peeked around USD $185-205 million. Yet, they had to face a loss of nearly USD $90-112mn even though worldwide, the movie gross $197 million. With a Rotten Tomatoes critics giving it a 52% score, one has to wonder if they should have continued to work on the script before the studios greenlighted this production with such a huge budget.
Year Released: 2015, Budget: $190 million
Loss: $120 million to $140 million
Another Disney studios flop that took its name too seriously, as critics view it. Tomorrowland, directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney, is a Sci-Fi that goes beyond saving the world to saving another new world—a “Fantasyland” as critics would have it. To put it more simply, it seemed like a low-budget blend of Avengers and Avatars and Star Wars. Fated to flop! In fact it was the biggest flop bombs of 2015.
Year Released: 2010; Budget: $150 million+ (estimated)
Loss: $76 million to $80 million
First on the list of the biggest Box Office Flops: The Wolfman. The terribly fateful movie was a remake of the original movie that was made in 1941. Reading the name of it may lead one to think that the movie is about a man turning into a monstrous wolf on a night of a full moon and all that. It is somewhat similar to that speculation. However, because of the lackluster attention to detail and not adapting to the psychology of the viewers, the film turned out to be a flop. The Result? A loss of 76-80 million.
Year Released: 2002; Budget: $115 million+ (estimated)
Loss: $76 million to $81 million
You might have read the news about those prolific firms that oust their presidents and managers when the company doesn’t perform well. Add to that list, MGM, a company that produced Windtalkers. After its release, with heavy losses and stocks going down, the production company fired its President of Marketing. Even Nicolas Cage could not prevent the flop.
Year Released: 2017; Budget: $100 million
Loss: USD $76 million
Next on the list: the favorite TV show of the 90s kids. Power Rangers, no doubt, was a tremendous show that gained popularity—and rightly so. Those exotic, mighty super heroes, and all that was quite inspiring. The movie, Power Rangers, was not quite that much hit. Rather, it was a flop that took a loss of $76 million for LionGate. This movie gross only $142 million worldwide… even the Chinese audience in China couldn’t help save this movie. Though similar in script, the movie is believed to be a flop because the team decided to pitch it against Guardians of the Galaxy. With that much competition, it was inevitable; however, as for us, we give the team extra marks for the confidence!
How Do You Know
Year Released: 2010; Budget: $120 million+
Loss: $76 million to $105 million
James Brooks was an icon when it came to comedy films; the director was considered a god in that genre of the movies. The rom-com movies he directed were loved, and because of them, he climbed up the ladder of fame. Taxi, Broadcast News, etc. were his brainchild. And after all that, his downfall!
With a cast that included the likes of Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson, Brooks directed How Do You Know. This time, it did not work out. The movie was a total flop despite the inclusion of all the heavyweights. A loss of $85-118 million was incurred on Sony Pictures.
xXx: State of the Union
Year Released: 2005; $113 million+ (estimated)
Loss: $78 million
Okay, this might come as a surprise to you. xXx:SOTU was an action-packed movie—and, surprisingly, a flop! The successor to xXx (2002) was supposed to be a fast-paced, action thriller about some loyal. Secret agents who try to prevent a military coup against US government. On the face of it, it looks quite incredible and provokes an adrenaline rush.
However, in reality, the critics viewed it as being too “primitive”. The powerhouse casting, the directors, and all that money could not save it from the flop; nearly $98 million went down the drain. Next one is going to be quite dry, literally.
Year Released: 2005; Budget: $130 million+ (estimated)
Loss: $78.4 million to $100 million
Apparently, the flops in 2005 were indicating towards another looming peril that was Global Financial Crisis. But, we are not discussing that. Sahara.
A movie that shows dust, diseases, poverty and war—this looks like a real fine script. Moreover, the author was given an amount of approximately $10 million with an incentive to enjoy considerable sway over the direction. Add to this the acting skills of Matthew McConaughey, and still . . . the movie turned out to be a flop. Surprising!
Gods of Egypt
Year Released: 2016; Budget: $140 million+ (estimated)
Loss: USD $79 million to $90 million
Okay, first, the setting: it’s ancient Egypt—that means a lot of CGI works was involved. Cast? Brenton Thwaites, GoT star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Chadwick Boseman, and Gerard Butler. Production Budget? $140 million. And result? A Box Office “Bummer”!
Gods of Egypt is a fantasy film that tells the story of a human, who seeks the help of Horus, to oust the tyrant god Set—and obviously he saves his beloved princess too! The cast and the production team tried to bring the Egyptian mythology to life, but failed miserably.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E
Year Released: 2005; Budget: $75 million (estimated)
Loss: USD $80 million
And another of those 2005 flops. The movie was inspired by its ‘60s namesake TV show, and for the production of the movie, the director clinched the rights back in 1994. With a consistent effort of 21 years, under the auspices of WB and the director Ritchie, the movie hit the cinemas in August 2015.
Set in the period of outrageous and sometimes fatal espionage i.e. Cold War, the movie does well in delivering style but falls terribly short when it comes to adapting to the genre—at least, that is what the critics say. Next up: Fantastic . . . Flop!
Blade Runner 2049
Year Released: 2017; Budget: $150 million + (estimated)
Loss: USD $80 million
And here is the sequel to the movie that really should not have been made…The original Blade Runner revolutionized the Sci-Fi genre for the better: Blade Runner 2049 not so much since literally nothing really happened. Just like its predecessor, Blade Runner 2049 illustrates a city—Los Angeles to be particular—set in the year 2049. The story revolves around the finding of a mystery that could potentially make humans extinct. Seems pretty convincing, right? Not really…this movie was such a snoozer.
Based on the book of Philip Dick, and shot under the auspices of WB starring Harrison Ford, the movie does well on the metrics: it scored 87% on Rotten Tomatoes (RT) days after the premier, and even the critics were all but praise about the movie. Despite all that, it lost around EIGHTY MILLION DOLLARS—hence it became a BOF!
Next on the list got 0-percent on RT.
Year Released: 2017; Budget: $125 million
Loss: USD $95 million
Several critics and websites termed The Mummy as, without any doubt, the worst film in which Tom Cruise starred. It was such a flop that they production company i.e. Universal had to pull this out from nearly 800 theatres around the world in just third week of the opining. RottenTomato gave this 16% from the critics. Yikes.
To be honest, the original version of the movie (released in 1932) was indeed iconic. Then came another impressive remake in 1999. Then another . . . and another in 2017. The movie is about Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) who is involved in raiding and selling of the ancient relics until he is possessed by an Egyptian demoness. Well, this sort of a mixed script including shades of horror and action genre did not play well. Hence the flop! Hollywood needs to understand that you cannot take the Monster franchise and turn it into an action thrilled Tom Cruise movie!
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Year Released: 2017; Budget: $175 million
Loss: USD $115 million to $153 million
Another of the movies which succumbed to the competition posed by Guardians of the Galaxy. Inspired by English lore, the movie was as well supposed to be in line with the English mythology. But it wasn’t. The critics said that the movie wiped out much of the elements that made the story a classic. But the Warner Brothers did not see it all coming.
the executives at Warner Brothers who greenlighted this project were so confident that it will be a hit that they had already planned on the merchandising along with the characters inclusion in the Marvel universe. However, mother nature had other plans. With a RottenTomatoe score of 30%, this movie should never have been made… with a worldwide gross of $148 million, this movie was a huge disappointment.
A Wrinkle In Time
Year Released: 2018; Budget: $100 million
Loss: $100 million $186 million
An established fact: the critics actually applauded the movie… then again, these days it’s highly suspicious that the ‘critics’ may be in Disney’s pockets. Yet, it could merely cross its production budget at its premier.
Based on the 1962 novel by the same name, written by L’Engle, the movie was much adored by children and men (and women) alike. But, it could not do well so far as the numbers are concerned. Here’s another example of if you can’t stick to telling the story the way it is meant to be told, don’t do it! Disney just doesn’t get it and of course the movie flopped big time…taking a perfectly good fantasy children’s book and crapping all over it with its woke progressive agenda shoved done the audience throats.
Year Released: 2015; Budget: $120 million
Loss: $ 80 million to $100 million
To those of you who are not much aware of Marvel’s history: Fantastic Four (the characters) were one of the core characters of the Marvel Comics developed by Stand Lee and Kirby themselves. Hence, their popularity during 1960s to all the way to 2000s. The 2005 Fantastic Four movie was a huge hit… then again, that was when Marvel was not owned by Disney.
But when the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot for the millennium generation made their way into the movie, they could not produce the desired outcome: weak storytelling coupled with lesser focus on the development of the characters led the film to become a Flop. Another Disney big flop!
Year Released: 2014; Budget: $95 million
Loss: $88 milllion
Another virtual trip down memory lane into the supernatural realm where knights, and dragons and other predatory beasts and witches roamed around the cities threatening the mankind. In those crucial times, Sir Gregory takes on himself to protect his state from a wicked witch!
Sounds like a pretty fantastic fantasy film, right? Actually, on the contrary: as much as the script looks amazing in writing, on screen it was a flop! Having a theme that looked like Games of Thrones and LOTR mixture, and directed by the maestro Bodrov, the movie could not do well vis-à-vis . . . Spongebob. Hence the loss of nearly $88 million. Rotten Tomatoes gave this fantasy film a big 25%.
The Nutcracker 3D
Year Released: 2010; Budget: $90 million
Loss: $82 million
The film might have got the inspiration from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, but is nowhere near that piece of perfection. It flopped so bad that even Rotten Tomatoes gave it 0%…any comments by our side would be an understatement in this case! In the US, it gross just $195,000. Yes that is in the thousands…. not millions. Worldwide it did a tad better of $17 million. Oy.
Year Released: 2000; Budget: $90 million
Loss: $83 million
James Spader can do no wrong… but in this case, he and his agent picked a really really bad script. Oy… the plot is beyond stupid that one has to really wonder what possessed the studios to greenlight this project. Another Sci-Fi flop. The movie shows a well-into-future setting of the 22nd century. The story is about a spaceship getting sucked by a dying star (thus, the name supernova), and human’s efforts to save it. Like any other flop, on the face of it, it looks like a real sci-fi thriller. Except, the movie was so poorly planned that at one point the director quit his job and demanded his name be removed from the credits!
Year Released: 2002; Budget: $140 million
Loss: $85 million
Here is another example of Disney studios taking a perfectly good classic adventure story by Robert Stevenson “Treasure Island,” and turning it into a disastrous science fiction animation that just doesn’t make any sense. Disney got the inspiration from it, added some Sci-Fi and some CGI elements to it, and mission failed: it topped the list of the Worst Movies Ever by the company!
The critics at Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie 62% score… again, one has to wonder if they are all on Disney’s payroll. For a movie that gross $38 million in the United States and $110 million worldwide…the biggest disappointment in Disney’s history at the time and still got a relatively high score…hmm.
Year Released: 2007; Budget $175 million
Loss: $88 million
Everyone knows that show in which the Oscar-winner Steve Carell starred. Yep, The Office. Well, for a change, he signed up for a movie—but it did not quite work out the way the Office actor must have though. The movie was a complete flop: Rotten Tomatoes critics gave this movie a 23% score while the audience said that it went very much short on laughter!
Not sure what Steve Carell was thinking…
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
Year Released: 2003; Budget: $60 million
Loss: $125 million to $150 million
The DreamWorks’ reason for shame that would haunt them for centuries—if the company lives till that time. Sinbad was an action-adventure movie, that had those Disney-like animations, which tells the story of a ship crew led by Sinbad (Brad Pitt) who intends to pirate the “Book of Peace”, a book which maintained peace in the fantasy realm.
The movie opened in the same week as Finding Nemo. First Nail. Then Terminator 3. Second Nail. Then Legally Blonde II. Third nail and that did it in. It was an epic flop: the production company, Dreamworks had to suffer the loss of nearly $125-150mn!
Year Released: 2003; $54 million
Loss: $72 million
Any list of the biggest BO flops is incomplete without the honorable mention of the ever-lasting flop viz Gigli. A high-profile cast (Ben Affleck and J-Lo) could not save it. The money-splashing production could not save it. The direction could not save it. It was fated to be probably the WOAT—no, not GOAT. Definitely not GOAT.
Here are some numbers to quantify the misery the film was. Gigli had a production budget of $75.6mn. And it could not even move beyond a gross of $7.3mn. And the ruthless criticism added insults to that injury. One went as far to call it a “mess”, another said that it was “clumsily plotted”.