There are plenty of movies out there and I mean thousands upon thousands upon thousands. While some movies are works of art, others don’t have that same lasting effect. Simultaneously there are some movies out there that are fantastic, but for one reason or another they didn’t do well in box office. I’m not talking about movies that lost $1,000 or less, I’m talking about movies that above or beyond a 100 million dollar budget, and barely came close to breaking even.
While surprising, there are many reasons for why this would occur. One being that the production and marketing costs for the movies were far more than anticipated, resulting in a flop. Another could be peoples distaste for the actors involved, or hearing through the grapevine that a movie based on a book or historical story did not stay true to the original story at all. On that same note, there are still some great movies out there that didn’t manage to break even or exceed the cost for the movie, so don’t take “box office flop” as a definitive element for why you shouldn’t see a movie. It’s to that same note why we love “so bad they’re good” movies so much. I’ve compiled a list of movies that I consider still watchable even if they didn’t do well upon their initial release. Granted, there will be some in this list that I would stress you don’t see under any circumstance. Not all box office flops are created equal.
14. Around The World In 80 Days
I’m wondering how many people only saw this movie because they saw that Jackie Chan was in it, instead of seeing it because it is based on the novel by Jules Verne. I’d say quite a few people. But yes, Around The World In 80 Days was released back in 2004, and it stars Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan. Although the movie is filled with a fair share of big names, it really didn’t do so well when the critics and box office are the concern. The movie had a $110 million budget, and during that time, it only brought in $72.2 million which by definition is considered a box office flop. On a more positive note however, Jackie Chan was praised for his performance while simultaneously Arnold Schwarzenegger was nominated for a “Worst Supporting Actor” award for his performance. Regardless of its flop, the movie is still worth a watch if you’re looking for a movie with Jackie Chan that doesn’t cater his traditional karate / acting style.
13. Osmosis Jones
When I was looking for movies to include in this article, I was surprised to see that Osmosis Jones would fall into this, considering the movie was quite good for its time. Being a movie that I watched many many times as a kid, I never would have guessed that the movie did as bad in box office as it did even though the movie did do well in regards to home media sales. With a $70 million budget, the movie only brought in $14 million in box office which is in the same league as The Iron Giant and Looney Tunes: Back In Action, which both lost money upon their original releases. Although the movie did poorly in regards to box office, it was given mixed reviews based on critics, with more reviews towards the positives for its animation, plot, and fast paced nature. Of course, the live action sequences were met with more negative reviews. Being a more animated focused film, that comes to no surprise.
12. Conan The Barbarian
Back in 1982 the world was blessed with the release of Conan The Barbarian, which for my taste is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best roles. While I was not born at the time, I eventually saw the movie and was taken away by just how ridiculous it all was, but I feel that a lot of that is to the credit of Arnold Schwarzenegger taking the lead role as Conan The Barbarian. Now, while the film back in 1982 was a commercial success, there was a remake made back in 2011. Unlike the 1982 release, Conan The Barbarian (2011) was not a commercial success; in fact, it bombed pretty hard. With a $90 million budget, the film only brought in $48.8 million in box office. Although unfortunate, it’s not entirely surprising seeing as one of the main reasons people loved the 1982 release so much is because of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Releasing a movie without the actor of that caliber would be like watching Star Wars without Darth Vader. It doesn’t work. In the defense of the 2011 film, it was described as not being anything like the previous release, and for that, it’s worth watching at least once.
11. Evan Almighty
Evan Almighty unsurprisingly barely makes it into this list. While not being directly linked to its predecessor Bruce Almighty, this movie is more of a spin-off and follows Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) as he begins his new life in a fictional Prestige Crest. It does follow the same trend that Bruce Almighty followed in the way that Evan Almighty is focused on Noah’s Ark, while Bruce Almighty was focused on Jim Carrey playing God. Bruce Almighty being as much of a box office hit as it was, Evan Almighty had a pretty big shoe to fill, but unfortunately falls just short of being a commercial success. With a $175 million budget, it only saw $173.4 million in box office. On top of that, it was given generally negative reviews from both critics and viewers. I don’t necessarily agree with the general consensus as I personally have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of this movie.
10. Jack Frost
As much as I love Jack Frost, I can understand why this movie did so poorly upon release. Even with the help of Michael Keaton, the movie was received negatively with critics and viewers, and on top of that was a huge box office flop. The budget being at $85 million there was a lot of room for success, but unfortunately with an unorthodox plot, some poor acting choices, and I suppose it being considered a “Christmas comedy,” it didn’t do nearly as good as anticipated. During its opening weekend, it only brought in $7 million and ended up grossing only $34.5 million. Having grown up watching this movie, it’s fair to say that some naive behavior influenced my liking of this film. However, I wouldn’t say it’s not worth watching, because for most of us that grew up in the 90’s, this movie was a staple for home entertainment. It’s just a shame it wasn’t received well.
9. Green Lantern
Even though Ryan Reynolds redeemed himself as a superhero actor in Deadpool, we can’t let him live down the fact that Green Lantern will forever be one of the worst roles he ever did. This one is an odd one to include in this list because it can be considered a box office flop and not so simultaneously. Green Lantern had a budget of $200 million, and while the end amount in box office was $219.8 million, if we look at the numbers for just the U.S. and Canada, Green Lantern only brought in $116.6 million. The movie was saved by the international release that brought in the extra $103.25 million to keep it from being a complete flop. However, this movie falls in the same league that Pixels did in the case that although it did well in box office at the end, the movie itself is considered of poor quality, which is evident from the decline in viewership throughout its initial debut. I’ve not seen this movie myself, but part of me wants to let it die in its own grave. Besides, Deadpool exists now, we don’t need Green Lantern.
Look, you can’t just get good actors and think it’s going to be a good movie. That’s what R.I.P.D tried to do, and unfortunately for everyone involved, it was horribly received both in box office and critics alike. R.I.P.D was attempting to be a screenplay based off the Rest In Peace Department comic book, but instead it is considered to be one of the worst comic book adaptations the film industry has ever seen. With a $130 million budget, the movie brought in $78.3 million at the end of its theatrical run. While critics praised the inclusion of Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, it wasn’t enough to keep the movie from being one of the biggest box office flops in film history. However, if you’re interested in seeing Jeff Bridges play an undead Wild West sheriff, this movie is perfect for you. Just don’t go into this movie thinking it’s going to be mind-blowing and great, because it won’t be.
7. The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
It’s been quite some time since a live action / animated movie has done well in box office. In fact, the only time a live action animated movie has ever done well was back in the 70’s with The Phantom Tollbooth receiving nothing but positive reviews. Unfortunately, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle falls short of being considered a success. Along with movies like The Pagemaster and Looney Tunes: Back In Action, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle barely made it close to making a profit during its debut. The movie was budgeted at $76 million and only brought in $35.1 million worldwide. The movie was heavily criticized for lacking any sort of humor, but it was praised for staying true to the original story. It seems as though the directors tried to play it safe with this one by developing a script that created more nostalgia than anything else. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily seem to work in its favor. If done correctly, the movie could have been a big hit especially with the large fan base that this duo has.
6. Happy Feet Two
Let me set the scene for you: “Hey, the first movie did well, so I’m sure the second movie will do just as good if not better.” Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for Happy Feet Two. While Happy Feet brought in almost four times the amount in box office relative to the budget, Happy Feet Two fell short in regards to the final profit. Even though it did somewhat decently in box office, the movie still lost $40 million, which resulted in George Miller’s Dr. D Studios closing. Much like Happy Feet, it did receive mixed reviews, except this time they aimed more towards the negative. It’s one of those instances where you feel the concept for a movie has been beaten to death time and time again. I mean, a dancing penguin was a great idea for one movie, one of which I personally loved, but for a sequel, it just doesn’t seem to fit. If you are a fan of the series though, I’d recommend it, more to see how the story progresses from the first movie.
5. Land of the Lost
You know a TV show has reached its peak of success when someone wants to take that success and make a movie out of it. We’ve seen it work a few times with The Addams Family, Beavis & Butt-head and Pokémon. Other times it doesn’t work, and Land of the Lost takes the cake on that one. With the amount of success that the 1974 TV series got, people expected something of similar caliber with a movie adaptation, but were left disappointed. Land of the Lost had a $100 million budget, which to me seems like it’s reaching pretty far. Unfortunately, it only landed about $70 million. Even with “comedic genius” Will Ferrell, it still couldn’t help this movie from being a complete and utter failure. While it must have been enjoyable to watch if only to see Will Ferrell on the big screen again, that didn’t keep the movie from being met with generally negative reviews.
4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Another TV series to movie idea comes in the form of Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Based on the characters that have shown up in the Rocky & Bullwinkle TV series, It’s up there in terms of quality that you would like to expect from a TV series to movie platform. That should come as no surprise with a movie coming from DreamWorks Animation. However, although the film did well in terms of its grossed income, DreamWorks was still forced to take a $57 million write-down because of the fact that Mr. Peabody & Sherman under performed during box office. With a $145 million budget, it brought in $111.5 million in North America, and $164.1 million in other countries. Much like Green Lantern, if you were to take only the gain from North America, it would be considered a box office flop, however it was saved by the gross income of other countries.
Sometimes, in the film world, we see a movie that bombs in box office, and there is no reason to question it based on what the movie represents on its own merits. Whenever you hear about a movie being bad, you often do your research to see why it did so poorly, however, there is the rare exception that it’s blatantly obvious why a movie did so poorly. Catwoman takes the cake for being a movie that is so bad, it’s hard to recommend it, even if it’s worth watching at least once. Here’s the thing, it’s fine if you want to make a movie based on a character that doesn’t get enough screen time, but when you make a movie based on a DC comic, you can’t have the movie be “loosely based” on that character. This movie was budgeted at $100 million, and brought in $82.1 million, which isn’t surprising given the nature of the film. Unfortunately, where it falls short has a lot to do with the fact that it tried to be a standalone film without referencing what the character is related to or what Catwoman actually is. Instead, it wanted to be something different. It failed.
2. Treasure Planet
It’s such a disappointed when you hear about a movie that you loved as a kid ended up being a box office failure. In the case of Treasure Planet, it barely broke even. While the budget was set at $140 million, the movie only brought in just shy of $110 million, which caused it to be a box office bomb. Although Treasure Planet didn’t perform well in box office, it was actually given a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the beauty of outer space and fast paced nature being its strong points. I would personally recommend this movie to anybody looking for a movie that was a staple in the younger generations childhood. It gives you a sense of adventure and scale that a lot of films hadn’t really accomplished yet at that time. Unfortunately, it lost to Spirited Away for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but to just be nominated should be a success in its own right.
1. Speed Racer
Speed Racer is one of those movies where I know close to nothing about. Apparently it was filled with a pretty star studded cast with the likes of Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, and Christina Ricci. While the movie didn’t do well in box office, it does have a silver lining. During box office, Speed Racer only brought in $93.9 million on a $120 million budget. Although the critical consensus gave this movie a 39% on rotten tomatoes, it still ended up being nominated for multiple awards such as the MTV Movie Award for “Best Summer Movie So Far” and the Golden Trailer Awards for “Summer 2008 Blockbuster” among others. Unfortunately, the overall negativity towards the film came to the light of day through the poor use of special effects and the lack of story line. The silver lining being regardless of the negative reviews at the time of its release, the movie was actually thought as a cult and underrated film years later.