Movies That Tanked At The Box Office, Ruined Careers, And Drove Studios To Bankruptcy

Published on 01/27/2021
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Have you ever gotten really excited for a new film, only for it to let you down? Do not worry because we have all been there. The truth is that this actually happens quite often in Hollywood. Movies cost a lot of money to make, so it is always a bummer when they do not perform well at the box office. When they flop, they result in millions of dollars in losses. There are even times when they cause the downfall of the company and the members of the cast and crew. It is truly sad, but there are a bunch of things that contribute to this. Let us take a look at the biggest flops in the history of cinema.

Zoolander 2 (2016)

It is true that the original film gained a cult following, but this was not the case for the sequel. The second installment was released 15 years after the first movie. It was a true critical flop, with a low rating of 4.7 out of ten on IMDb. Perhaps it would have done better if it came out earlier on.

Zoolander 2 (2016)

Zoolander 2 (2016)

Alexander (2004)

Historical films find it hard to do well at the box office. Braveheart and Gladiator beat the odds, but this one did not. The movie failed in many ways. For one thing, Colin Farrell had odd blonde hair here. Angelina Jolie also played his mother when she was only a year older than him! Yikes.

Alexander (2004)

Alexander (2004)

Beloved (1998)

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Toni Morrison, Beloved had some of the biggest names in the industry. Among others, it starred Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, and Thandie Newton. It was just bad timing that it came out on the same weekend that Chucky did. Winfrey once described a phone call from that weekend. She said, “[T]hey said, ‘It’s over. You got beat by Chucky.’ And I said, ‘Who’s Chucky? What do you mean it’s over? It’s just Saturday morning!’”

Beloved (1998)

Beloved (1998)

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Fair enough, it is truly impressive that this movie spent fourteen years in production. Sadly, all that effort was for naught since it turned out to be a waste of money, energy, and time. It might have starred Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, but it failed to beat The Smurfs during its opening weekend. At the box office, the film ended up losing anywhere from $63 million to $75 million.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Death Wish (2018)

The truth is that compared to the other entries on the list, the Death Wish reboot did not perform too badly. Even so, it only raked in $34 million. This is pretty dismal when you consider that it cost $30 million to make. It did not help that it came out less than a month after the Parkland mass shooting. Even worse, the Las Vegas mass shooting took place several days before its release.

Death Wish (2018)

Death Wish (2018)

Ben-Hur (2016)

This reboot of the classic is believed to have lost anywhere from $75 million to $121.7 million. It got a lot of flak from both audiences and critics. It was very hard to live up to the original. In fact, it even brought home awards for “Worst Remake” and “Sequel or Remake That Shouldn’t Have Been Made.”

Ben Hur (2016)

Ben-Hur (2016)

The Happytime Murders (2018)

In part, the movie failed because of its vulgar humor. That is not the only thing it got wrong. Not only did it get flak from critics, but The Happytime Murders was sued by the company that owned Sesame Street for messing up its child-friendly branding. The movie is said to have lost $12.5 million or so.

The Happytime Murders (2018)

The Happytime Murders (2018)

Heaven’s Gate (1980)

This is a Western film that chronicles the Johnson County War. Heaven’s Gate changed the movie industry by ruining the career of director Michael Cimino. It lost approximately $123 million after his “vision” for the movie quadrupled the budget of the production. United Artists, the studio, ended up going into bankruptcy. As if that was not enough, the movie was alleged to have animal abuse on the set. Critics went as far as to call it “one of the greatest injustices of cinematic history.”

Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Solo: A Star Wars Story

There were high expectations for this installment of the hit sci-fi series. To be fair, Star Wars is one of the most beloved franchises in the history of cinema. It was interesting since its focus was on one of the most popular characters in the series. Sadly, reviewers found it was lacking and blamed it on “Star Wars fatigue.” After all, it was released just five months after The Last Jedi!

Solo A Star Wars Story

Solo A Star Wars Story

The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

In The Fall of the Roman Empire, we were treated to amazing performances courtesy of Alec Guinness, Sophia Loren, and Christopher Plummer. While it is one of the greatest “sword-and-sandal” movies ever made, it still lost as much as $126 million in the box office. This figure has been adjusted for inflation. The budget was huge thanks to the set costs. Did you know it was the biggest outdoor film set?

The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964)

The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964)

Battleship (2012)

Transformers might have started out as a children’s franchise, but it morphed into another thing altogether. Sadly, Battleship did not get quite as lucky. In fact, the movie is thought to be one of the worst naval war films ever made. The studios lost $220.4 million because of it. Ouch.

Battleship (2012)

Battleship (2012)

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Even though Jason Momoa tried his hardest, critics all agree that Arnold Schwarzenegger simply set the bar too high. The film came out in 1982 and earned a cult following. Sadly, people who were not familiar with the original gave this remake “generally unfavorable” reviews. It lost around $60 to $66 million.

Conan The Barbarian (2011)

Conan The Barbarian (2011)

Green Lantern (2011)

Before he brought Deadpool to life, Ryan Reynolds was a different superhero first. Did you know that he was cast to star in Green Lantern? Sadly, critics were not big on the mediocre CGI, the inconsistencies of the tone, and the portrayal of the villains. Warner Bros. lost $98 million at the box office thanks to it.

Green Lantern (2011)

Green Lantern (2011)

Gigli (2003)

We love Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, but their star power did not prevent the movie from becoming a flop. As a matter of fact, Gigli has since earned the top spot of lists about the Worst Movies of All Time. It cost $75.6 million to make the film, but it only grossed $7.3 million.

Gigli (2003)

Gigli (2003)

Red Planet (2000)

This is a sci-fi flick about astronauts on Mars trying to evade a killer robot. There are reports that the film did not just cause over $93 million in financial loss, but it also allegedly ended the friendship between Van Kilmer and Tom Sizemore. Apparently, the elliptical machine of the latter was sent to Australia, where the movie was filmed. We have no idea why on earth that would happen, but oh well.

Red Planet (2000)

Red Planet (2000)

A Sound of Thunder (2005)

Based on the short story by Ray Bradbury, A Sound of Thunder did the source material a big disservice. After all, it led to losses worth $96.3 million. The studio that financed the movie went ran low on money. This is why they did not have a big enough budget to make the dinosaurs seem realistic.

A Sound Of Thunder (2005)

A Sound Of Thunder (2005)

The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)

How can you go wrong when you have Charlize Theron and Johnny Depp in your film? At any rate, their presence was not enough to keep The Astronaut’s Wife from doing poorly at the box office. On Rotten Tomatoes, it only raked in a score of 33 percent. People called it boring and melodramatic.

The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)

The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)

Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan’s Around the World in 80 Days was so bad that it won two Razzies. It was based on the novel by Jules Verne, but the flick “consists almost entirely of people falling down and/or being hit on the head.” This explains why it ended up losing $99.6 million at the box office.

Around The World In 80 Days (2004)

Around The World In 80 Days (2004)

Father’s Day (1997)

The big-budget comedy flick had a lot of potential. After all, it starred Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Billy Crystal, and Robin Williams. Where did it go wrong? Critics blamed its failure on the script, which fell flat. At the end of the day, Father’s Day took a hit worth $106 million. That is a lot of money!

Father’s Day (1997)

Father’s Day (1997)

Battlefield Earth (2000)

Have you seen Battlefield Earth? The movie was about space invaders with big heads force-feeding us rats. It is like The Room in the sense that it is horrible comedic gold. This is one of the best-worst films ever made. We can see why its box office losses totaled $108 million, but we love it.

Battlefield Earth (2000)

Battlefield Earth (2000)

Windtalkers (2002)

This movie did so badly at the box office that it almost brought the downfall of MGM. It was the fourth consecutive flop of the company, so we should not put the blame exclusively on Nicolas Cage. We are sure that it was hard to suffer $110 million in losses, but the company pulled through despite this.

Windtalkers (2002)

Windtalkers (2002)

Pan (2015)

While it had a big budget, Pan still received a lot of bad reviews. Famous movie critic Roger Ebert asked, “Why do filmmakers continue to feel the need to squeeze all the joy and magic out of such a remarkably enduring figure?” The movie cost the studio anywhere from $89 million to $155 million.

Pan (2015)

Pan (2015)

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

At first, the movie showed promise because of its amazing cast, huge promotional budget, and the directorial skills of Ava DuVernay. Because of these things, people expected it to succeed at the box office. Sadly, this was not the case. Instead, A Wrinkle in Time cost the studio around $86 million to $186 million.

A Wrinkle In Time (2018)

A Wrinkle In Time (2018)

Power Rangers (2017)

Did you grow up in the ‘90s? In those days, Power Rangers was among the most popular TV shows. Critics had good things to say about the performances of Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Becky G, and R.J. Cyler. Sadly, they were less enthusiastic about the editing and directing that went into it. What made it even worse was that it had to go up against Guardians of the Galax during its opening weekend. All in all, it feels like the movie was doomed. The movie had $76 million in losses.

Power Rangers (2017)

Power Rangers (2017)

How Do You Know (2010)

Not only was How Do You Know a flop, but it also ended the career of James Brooks. He is best known for directing As Good as It Gets, Broadcast News, Taxi, and Terms of Endearment. This one did not do well and lost the studio around $100 million.

How Do You Know (2010)

How Do You Know (2010)

Tomorrowland (2015)

George Clooney is a popular actor, but even he could not save Tomorrowland. It lost around $79 million to $150 million at the box office. Brad Bird deserves credit for his directorial efforts. That is not where the problem lies. The truth is that the failure was the result of bad marketing.

Tomorrowland (2015)

Tomorrowland (2015)

The Wolfman (2010)

Starring Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro, this movie lost anywhere from $85 million to $90 million, even though it brought home an Oscar. It had the typical elements of a regular werewolf story but did not hold a candle to the Twilight series. Sadly, it failed to lure in more fans and viewers.

The Wolfman (2010)

The Wolfman (2010)

xXx: State of the Union (2005)

Reports claim that xXx: State of the Union lost around $98 million. The first movie, simply known as xXx, came out in 2002 and turned a profit. Sadly, things did not go very well this time around. Big names appeared in the movie, but the negative reviews continued to roll in anyway.

XXx State Of The Union (2005)

xXx: State Of The Union (2005)

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

In 1994, John Davis secured the rights to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. However, the film only came out over twenty years later in August 2015. It was a Cold War spy thriller that starred Armie Hammer, Henry Cavill, and Alicia Vikander. It was a fun film, but it led to a loss of $83 million.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Sahara (2005)

In reality, it is not easy to make a movie as good as the book. Sahara author Clive Cussler received $10 million, as well as creative control over the script, since he gave Paramount the rights to it. The movie starred Penelope Cruz and Matthew McConaughey, but it still lost a hundred million bucks at the box office. Cussler sued the company for breach of contract since the movie was so poorly executed.

Sahara (2005)

Sahara (2005)

Fantastic Four (2015)

In general, critics agree that this movie held great promise. Sadly, the storytelling grows weak the more you watch the movie. On top of that, the characters were underdeveloped. The script could have used more work as well. The film lost anywhere from $83 million to $103 million, which is a lot of money.

Fantastic Four (2015)

Fantastic Four (2015)

Gods of Egypt (2016)

This movie saw a financial loss of $92 million at the box office. There is a reason for this. Critics gave Alex Proyas, the director, flak the night before its opening weekend. If you take a look at Gods of Egypt on Rotten Tomatoes, you are going to see that it only has a fresh rating of 15 percent.

Gods Of Egypt (2016)

Gods Of Egypt (2016)

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Ryan Gosling is the star of the sequel to Blade Runner, which was based on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. The truth is that Blade Runner 2049 was thought to be one of the best movies of 2017. It was nominated five times at the Academy Awards and won two of them. The critical reception was great, but it was a flop at the box office and lost $80 million or so.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Supernova (2000)

In 1990, Supernova came out as a B-movie. A decade after that, it became the next financial downfall of MGM. The company lost $83 million once the reboot came out. In the credits, you will find the name of Walter Hill. The truth was that he quit in the middle of it and wanted his name stricken out.

Supernova (2000)

Supernova (2000)

The Nutcracker in 3D (2010)

Rotten Tomatoes says that The Nutcracker in 3D was a pathetic excuse for a movie. Can you believe that this project received a flat zero percent on the Tomatometer? No one seemed to enjoy it whatsoever. Knowing this, it is not a mystery that it suffered an estimated loss of $82 million.

The Nutcracker In 3D (2010)

The Nutcracker In 3D (2010)

Town & Country (2001)

It is hard to believe that Town & Country could flop when it starred legends like Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Andie MacDowell. Its release was delayed twelve times! You can also look at the weak script as a reason for how the film flopped. The movie lost around $85 million.

Town & Country (2001)

Town & Country (2001)

Treasure Planet (2002)

This is the Disney adaptation of the book “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson. Treasure Island remains one of the biggest animated flops in the history of the network. It only raked in $13 million on the opening weekend. Aside from that, the movie resulted in a total loss of $82 million!

Treasure Planet (2002)

Treasure Planet (2002)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Even though this managed to gross $226 million, the movie bombed hard at the box office. It led to a loss of $84 million. It received mixed reviews, with people describing it in very different ways. Some called it “a punishing 137 minutes,” but there were folks who thought it was “deliriously entertaining.”

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017)

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017)

Seventh Son (2015)

We are sad to report that Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore failed to save this movie at the box office. We had no idea that was even possible. It was based on “The Spook’s Apprentice” series by a British author called Joseph Delany. Seventh Son came out in 2015 and resulted in losses worth $85 million.

Seventh Son (2015)

Seventh Son (2015)

The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Who would have thought that we would see the day that a Pixar movie did badly at the box office? This movie is believed to have flushed $85 million down the toilet. This made it the lowest-grossing project in the history of the company and its first box office flop! It was charming but failed to draw in viewers.

The Good Dinosaur (2015)

The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Paramount and DreamWorks teamed up to produce Rise of the Guardians. Sadly, the collaboration did not stop it from becoming a huge flop. On top of that, they spent $125 million solely on marketing. Even though it received pretty good critical reception, the movie still lost $87 million in the end.

Rise Of The Guardians (2012)

Rise Of The Guardians (2012)

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

The dramatization of the old English fairytale starred Nicholas Hoult, Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, and Bill Nighy. This is on the list because it tanked at the box office. It was meant to serve as the backstory of the Jack and the Beanstalk story, but the only thing that it did was waste $120 million.

Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

In this movie, Mila Kunis brought Jupiter Jones to life. The character was convinced that she was meant for greatness! Sadly, Jupiter Ascending only has a rating of 26 percent on the Tomatometer. Aside from that, it led to a loss of $120 million at the box office. That doesn’t sound too great to us.

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

CutThroat Island (1995)

This pirate flick from 1995 came with a ton of explosions. It is clear that the lack of action was not the real problem here. Critics gave CutThroat Island mixed reviews, so some people liked it and others did not. At any rate, the movie went on to lose $143 million at the box office.

CutThroat Island (1995)

CutThroat Island (1995)

Evan Almighty (2007)

Rotten Tomatoes said that Evan Almighty could have done with more laughs. It was a comedy movie, so this should have been a given! Morgan Freeman shone in the movie, but even he was unable to save the hot mess of a movie. At the box office, it flushed $88 million down the drain.

Evan Almighty (2007)

Evan Almighty (2007)

The Promise (2016)

When it comes to the critical reception of The Promise, it was affected by the negative political criticism about the Armenian Genocide. This is part of the reason that it only brought in $10.5 million at the box office. Overall, the estimated losses are worth $102 million or so. Yikes.

The Promise (2016)

The Promise (2016)

R.I.P.D. (2013)

It sounds like critics hated R.I.P.D. with a passion. In fact, Time magazine even called it “Too Awful to Review.” Let us just say that Universal must have regretted working on this film. After all, it ended up losing $115 million once it hit the box office. It was R.I.P.D. to pieces, indeed.

R.I.P.D. (2013)

R.I.P.D. (2013)

The Alamo (2004)

This movie starred the likes of Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid. The estimated losses for it are $94 million. Do you know how they like to say, “Remember the Alamo”? If you ask us, it looks like the opposite is the better option when we talk about this film. We can pretend that it never happened.

The Alamo (2004)

The Alamo (2004)

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

There is no doubt in our minds that people will remember this sci-fi film for its incredible worldbuilding. After all, it truly hit it out of the ballpark in that regard. Sadly, the animation house of Square Company suffered a huge loss for this one. In the end, the studio had no choice but to shut down. Ouch.

Final Fantasy The Spirits Within (2001)

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

Stealth (2005)

A summer “blockbuster,” Stealth was supposed to be a fun and mindless summertime flick. Critics, however, hated the way it played out like a corny recruitment ad for the military. If you watch the movie, you’ll see what they mean. It tanked at the box office and lost approximately $120 million.

Stealth (2005)

Stealth (2005)

The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)

Time magazine gave this movie the third spot on its list of the “10 biggest money-losers of all time.” To give you more context, The Adventures of Pluto Nash wound up losing $96 million. In fact, it was so horrible that Eddie Murphy said that he has broken down in tears just thinking about it.

The Adventures Of Pluto Nash (2002)

The Adventures Of Pluto Nash (2002)

47 Ronin (2013)

In 47 Ronin, we got to see Keanu Reeves play a half-breed Samurai called Kai. Sadly, the performance could have been a lot better. People claim that his lackluster delivery is the reason it flopped so badly. It had a budget of $225 million but lost anywhere from $102 million to $158 million.

47 Ronin (2013)

47 Ronin (2013)

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Both Johnny Depp and Disney worked hard to make this movie a success. Sadly, their best efforts had not been enough to make The Lone Ranger a hit. They had good intentions, but they were not enough. The movie resulted in losses worth as low as $95 million and as high as $190 million.

The Lone Ranger (2013)

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Titan A.E. (2000)

This movie suffered when the original director and producer had been fired around $30 million into the budget. It led to the closure of the FOX Animation Studios. Aside from that, Rupert Murdoch blamed the box office sales for the 14 percent drop at News Corp. The movie was said to have lost $100 million.

Titan A.E. (2000)

Titan A.E. (2000)

Monster Trucks (2016)

Paramount and Nickelodeon had to pull a lot of strings to make Monster Trucks. Rob Lowe and Danny Glover both brought life to the movie, but it was a lost cause. The movie lost a lot of money at the box office. To be specific, it flushed $109 million to $123 million down the drain.

Monster Trucks (2016)

Monster Trucks (2016)

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

This very loose adaptation of the King Arthur legend did poorly at the box office. People said that it erased too much of what made the story so good in the first place. Warner Bros. expected it to be a huge hit, but it ended up losing $115 million to $153 million after it came out.

King Arthur Legend Of The Sword (2017)

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017)

Mars Needs Moms (2011)

This must be one of the greatest flops in the history of cinema. Mars Needs Moms is based on the children’s book by Berkeley Breathed. Sadly, the animated children’s film lost anywhere from $100 million to $144 million at the box office. Too bad! It was a valiant effort, but it still failed.

Mars Needs Moms (2011)

Mars Needs Moms (2011)

John Carter (2012)

If you ask us, the budget for John Carter was already a red flag on its own. It lost as much as $214 million at the box office. You are not going to find a big name on the credit list. This was based on the obscure sci-fi novel “A Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

John Carter (2012)

John Carter (2012)

Robin Hood (2018)

It is believed that Robin Hood resulted in a loss of $100 million. Upon the release of the trailer, a lot of people could not help but find it an unnecessary telling of the beloved tale. This was quite darker than the original story, but this did not make it any more appealing to the public.

Robin Hood (2018)

Robin Hood (2018)

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)

There are plenty of movies that got mixed reviews, but few have bombed as much as Sinbad did. In the end, this flick made the studio waste $125 million. While it had Hollywood greats like Michelle Pfeiffer and Brad Pitt, it was still a flop. Part of it was the fact that Finding Nemo opened against it.

Sinbad Legend Of The Seven Seas (2003)

Sinbad Legend Of The Seven Seas (2003)

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Are you surprised to see that The Wizard of Oz has a spot on our list? It turned out to be quite a disappointment for MGM when it came out. Now a classic, it did not make as much as the company expected and cost them $1.1 million. These days, this amount would be equal to $15 million. When it was rereleased the following decade, it finally got the recognition that it deserved. Aside from that, it was an instant hit when it came out on TV in 1956.

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

The 13th Warrior (1999)

If you watch this movie, you will probably think that it is yet another proof that the book is always better. The 13th Warrior led to a loss of $129 million! Omar Sharif, who was a member of the cast, was so upset by its failure that he went on hiatus for three years after that.

The 13th Warrior (1999)

The 13th Warrior (1999)

Ali (2001)

Do you know who Cassius Clay is? If the name does not sound familiar, it is probably because you know him better as Muhammad Ali. This biopic of the boxer fell short thanks to its production budget. Michael Mann, the director, blamed it for its poor box office sales. The studio lost $63 million because of it.

Ali (2001)

Ali (2001)

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)

In 1984, the original movie held the top spot at the box office for seven weeks straight. Sadly, the 2016 reboot failed to live up to the expectations that we had of it. It had a huge marketing budget, so they needed $300 million to recoup that amount. Sadly, the movie fell short and cost the studio $75 million.

Ghostbusters: Answer The Call (2016)

Ghostbusters: Answer The Call (2016)

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