The thing about box office disasters is they usually have quite a high budget, which is what makes their poor performances at the box office so costly. A movie can be seen by considerably less people but still turn over the hefty profit so long as the initial budget is low. Generally, a film that has quite a high budget usually has a big name star attached to it. It comes as no surprise that the stars of these flops might be some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
In most of these cases, the performer’s ability as an actor isn’t the major issue that almost all of the films mentioned in the article seem to suffer from. Generally, the movies themselves are just bad.
These actors are some of the biggest names in Hollywood and at one time or another were known for securing big money at the box office. It would now appear that they’re either losing their magic or if perhaps a big name no longer guarantees a film to see a big pay day. Perhaps audiences are now more focused on other things about the movie-going experience like special effects and what the trailer seems to offer rather than who they’re going to be seeing in these movies. The following actors are some of the richest and most sought after in Hollywood, but they’ve all played a part in some of the biggest box office disasters in history.
14. Nicolas Cage
Film: The Windtalkers
Estimated Losses: $81,185,868
Net Worth: $18 Million
Considering the number of movies we see Nicolas Cage in during any given year, you would think that he’d be one of the top earners on the list. While it may be surprising that Cage isn’t sitting on a larger chunk of change, it’s definitely not surprising that cage was one of the stars of a massive box office bomb. For every good Nicolas Cage movie (despite what the internet tells you, they do exist) there are at least five bad ones. Considering Cage has been in far worse films than The Windtalkers, it’s strange to see this WWII film being his most massive failure.
13. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Film: Treasure Planet
Estimated Losses: $85,210,943
Net Worth: $25 Million
Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t generally a name you see next to the title of a box office disaster. Fear not, fans – this little picture was before the actor blew up and it only featured his voice in the main role.
Treasure Planet was an animated Disney film that helped mark the end of their second renaissance, which included films like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. The idea was a science fiction take on Treasure Island set in outer space. Towards the end, it appeared Disney may have been attempting to bring more boys to their brand as these were in the years before Disney acquired Marvel and Star Wars. In-house films like Treasure Planet and Atlantis didn’t pan out as they had hoped and Disney began to work with Pixar for their animated films.
12. Antonio Banderas
Film: The 13th Warrior
Estimated Losses: $129,150,551
Net Worth: $30 Million
Things were looking good for Antonio Banderas and The 13th Warrior on its first opening weekend. It had debuted at number 2 at the box office (right behind The Sixth Sense) for its first weekend, but the dollars almost abruptly stopped rolling in. The film suffered greatly from over-inflated production costs and bad reviews from both critics and general viewers.
The film was based on a popular Michael Crichton novel called Eaters of the Dead. Perhaps the name change kept a lot of people oblivious to the fact they’d be seeing a movie based on a book they like.
11. Ewan McGregor
Film: Jack the Giant Slayer
Estimated Losses: $101,156,199
Net Worth: $35 Million
Someone had to have known this film starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor was not going to be the biggest movie of the weekend. Granted that epic movies have become more popular than they have been in the past, and ignoring the fact that the only epic movies that it has seemed to really work out for are Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films, have you ever heard anyone talking about how badly they wanted to see a big screen adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk? This was very much a film that absolutely nobody was asking for in the first place. It isn’t surprising that movie-goers decided to go see something else.
10. Benicio del Toro
Film: The Wolfman
Estimated Losses: $80, 105, 118
Net Worth: $45 Million
It’s a little surprising that The Wolfman remake starring Benicio del Toro didn’t do a little better than it did. It seemed the film would have a built in audience since there is still quite a bit of a love for the original Universal Monsters. Not to mention the fact that the Twilight books and films almost single-handedly ushered in a werewolf renaissance.
While many praised the film for its aesthetic, its cast, and its effects, many critics felt the film lacked seriously in the fright department. In general, reviews were mixed. Some compared it favorably to the original, while others went so far as to call it “the worst film ever made.”
9. Steve Carell
Film: Evan Almighty
Estimated Losses: $88,290,610
Net Worth: $45 Million
Considering how well Bruce Almighty had done, and considering how popular Steve Carell had become thanks to his role as Michael Scott in the much beloved U.S. version of The Office, you would think this sequel would have had everything going for it. Unfortunately the film was universally panned by critics, and Richard Roeper referred to it as being “one of the three worst sequels of all time.”
On top of being pretty much despised by critics across the board, some religious groups actually banned the film about a modern day Noah’s Ark citing it as offensive to their religion.
To be fair, many critics said Carell’s performance was the only good thing about the film.
8. Billy Bob Thornton
Film: The Alamo
Estimated Losses: $94,090,020
Net Worth: $45 Million
In general, it’s pretty safe to say that war movies do pretty well. At least, they don’t do so poorly that they’re cluttering up the list of the biggest losses in box office history. Very few war films make the top 50 biggest box office bombs. At the time this film came out, Billy Bob Thornton had made quite a name for himself with films like Monster’s Ball, Armageddon, and Sling Blade.
On top of mixed reviews, the film had to go up against The Passion of the Christ, which we all know did amazingly well at the box office. Two months into its release, The Alamo had only managed to scrape up $30 million.
7. Ryan Reynolds
Estimated Losses: $114,837,890
Net Worth: $45 Million
While this movie had a relatively decent cast, Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds weren’t enough to put the necessary amount of butts in theater seats to cover even half of the film’s budget. Many critics felt the film was uninspired and too obviously pulled from films like Men In Black and Ghostbusters. Film critic Roger Moore even referred to it as “the worst comic book movie since Jonah Hex“, which is hard to even imagine as being possible.
We gave the ranking to Ryan Reynolds instead of Bridges because Reynolds’ previous comic book movie, Green Lantern, is another notorious box office bomb. It’s a little surprising Fox still wants him to play Deadpool in yet another property based on a comic book.
6. Alec Baldwin
Film: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Estimated Losses: $94,434,085
Net Worth: $65 Million
The list of everything that went wrong with the theatrically released Final Fantasy film is too long to really go on about. The property was huge at the time as it came shortly off the heels of some of the best video games in the Final Fantasy series, including the much beloved Final Fantasy VII. The film had quite an impressive voice cast and it’s a little surprising that names like Alec Baldwin (who had yet to become the loud mouth and all around general idiot we know today) combined with the Final Fantasy brand name weren’t enough to at least have some solid weekend ticket sales.
The film was acclaimed for its photo-realistic animation style (it was the first film to do it at the time) and the character design of its lead heroine, but many fans were disappointed that the film didn’t follow the characters or stories from any of the games in the hugely popular series.
5. Matthew McConaughey
Estimated Losses: $100,365,257
Net Worth: $77 Million
Considering how absolutely huge McConaughey has become in the last couple years thanks to his outstanding performances in films like Mud, Dallas Buyer’s Club, and the HBO series True Detective, it is very hard to believe that he was once the star of an infamous box office bomb. What made this one so infamous? They promoted the hell out of this movie. When Sahara came out, Matthew McConaughey and co-star Steve Zahn were on every late night and daytime talk show you could shake a stick at. They did huge promotional events outside of television too. McConaughey drove an air steam trailer across country and promoted the film at big sporting events and military bases along the way. Everyone had certainly heard about the film, plenty went to see it, but the budget was ridiculously high and the film also suffered from some legal troubles.
4. Eddie Murphy
Film: The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Estimated Losses: $96,448,014
Net Worth: $85 Million
Eddie Murphy starred in a string of highly disappointing films that started with The Adventures of Pluto Nash and then went on to include flicks like The Haunted Mansion, Meet Dave, and Norbit. Murphy hasn’t had a hit where he’s been in the role of the main character in quite some time. It will be interesting to see if he can take on duty as the main star when he revisits the Beverly Hills Cop franchise that has a planned released date for March of 2016.
3. Jamie Foxx
Estimated Losses: $96,533,564
Net Worth: $85 Million
An Academy Award winning actor like Jamie Foxx is yet another name that you don’t generally see paired with box-office disasters – at least not notorious money losers like the ones featured on this list. The film itself was cited as being predictable and well-worn territory. Roger Ebert called the film “an offense against intelligence, taste, and the noise pollution code.”
Jamie Foxx has blown off the role, saying that, “I’m the guy who makes a couple of jokes and then I die. It’s the classic black role.”
2. Johnny Depp
Film: The Lone Ranger
Estimated Losses: $119,748,943
Net Worth: $350 Million
Unfortunately it seems Johnny Depp is starting to become synonymous with the term “box office disaster.” While his last handful of films weren’t necessarily the biggest box office flops of all time, they were all rather huge disappointments. Mortdecai, Dark Shadows, Transcendence, and The Lone Ranger are just a few of the names in a long line of recent disappointments for the actor. It would appear that a film is no longer guaranteed to have some success from the star power of Johnny Depp. You have to begin to wonder if it’s Depp or the films themselves that movie-goers don’t want to see.
1. Keanu Reeves
Film: 47 Ronin
Estimated Losses: $149,518,762
Net Worth: $350 Million
Not only does 47 Ronin star one of the richest actors in Hollywood, it is also the film to have the distinction of being the single biggest box office disaster of all time. It’s production costs continuously began to rise as the film was pushed back two times for more than a year so it could undergo re-shoots, post-production, and corrections to the 3D effects. Costly scenes were even added just to boost Keanu Reeves’ presence in the film. The film’s budget had ballooned so much that the editing process was pulled from the director of the film and overseen by Universal.