If there is one thing that surrounds an up and coming blockbuster movie, it’s hype. With an array of advertising tools at their fingertips, the movie studios and executives do everything they can to push their movies in our faces, sometimes starting months or even years before the release of the movie. This can be both a blessing and a curse as the excitement that these movies bring can also be their downfall as the hype goes into overdrive. Some movies can handle the burden of hype but others flounder without a trace, and bomb.
In the near future, Hollywood has promised us a big list of blockbusters that we just simple can’t wait for. There’s the eagerly awaited first outing of The Justice League, plus some upcoming sequels to some of the biggest movies in history, such as Blade Runner, Alien, and of course, there’s another Star Wars movie on the horizon. Given the huge hype surrounding these movies, will any of them be able to live up to the expectations? Maybe Hollywood should take a look at this list as we look at 15 movies that just couldn’t live up to their hype.
The first entry on our list is a real warning for all future movie makers out there. Having been Hollywood’s poster boy for many years, Kevin Costner had been involved in some of the biggest films of the 80s and 90s; The Bodyguard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Dances With Wolves to name just a few. So when Costner’s new movie, Waterworld, went into production, a few people out there started to get excited.
Not only that, but the sheer volume and scale of the movie was starting to be known. The budget had gotten so out of hand that it was fast becoming one of the most expensive movies ever made, and put that together with huge sets and its apocalyptic scale, Waterworld was soon getting quite a buzz around it. By the time the movie hit the big screen, the hype was so big that the film couldn’t possibly live up to it. Not only did it not live up to the hype but it also became one of the biggest bombs in movie history.
14. Godfather Part III
What happens when you make arguably two of the biggest, most successful, and most loved movies of all time? Try and beat that success, of course. The Godfather Part I and Part II have gone down in history as two of the best movies ever made. Even to this day, Godfather Part II especially is considered to be one of the best movies ever made and a masterpiece of filmmaking.
After the success of the first two Godfather movies, Francis Ford Coppola tried his hand at different movies and to be fair, they pretty much bombed. The Cotton Club especially. So in order to restore his name and put himself back on top, Coppola went back to what he knew and in 1990 we got The Godfather Part III. The fans, critics, and everyone in the world went crazy at the thought of another Godfather movie and the hype went into overdrive. Unfortunately The Godfather Part III didn’t have any of the qualities, heart, or story that the first two did and the hype was just too much for this movie to live up to.
13. Star Trek: Generations
What would happen if Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Jean-Luc Picard were to share some screen time? It would be every Trekkies wet dream and the excitement and anticipation for such an event would be off the charts. That’s exactly what happened in 1994 when we got the movie Star Trek: Generations.
Bringing together the two incarnations of Star Trek was set to push the Star Trek brand into new heights. After Kirk hadn’t been seen in Star Trek for years and the huge, and surprising, success of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the movie Star Trek: Generations was ready to bring all aspects of the Star Trek brand together. Not content with the movie and prospects of the two captains together on screen, the movie executives also set up a huge advertising campaign, which included video games, magazines, and also a website dedicated to it. It was one of the first movies to use this medium to promote their production. But none of those things could help this movie as the hype and buildup was better than the movie turned out to be.
As we’ve mentioned on this list already with the likes of The Godfather and Star Trek, having a franchise and movie brand can be a challenging thing to maintain and it can also be difficult, to not only keep up the quality, but to also handle the pressure and hype that comes with having a popular franchise. There have been many examples of movies trying to keep this up and one trick that director Ridley Scott tried to pull was to continue his franchise without anyone realizing that it’s a continuation of the original franchise.
The Alien franchise is one of the most popular and successful science fiction franchises out there. So when people started to hear that Ridley Scott was dipping back into the Alien world with a prequel to his hit movie, the hype train started. However, due to many problems and rewrites, Prometheus ended up being a completely different movie and the Alien connection was nowhere to be seen. The movie itself isn’t bad but because of the hype, Prometheus had no chance at success.
11. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
With our next entry we dip our toe into the superhero and comic book genre, and it’s definitely not the only one on our list either! Before Marvel really got their acts, and their heads, together and formed the MCU, 20th Century Fox gained the rights to Marvel’s X-Men and decided to build the ultimate mutant universe. For the most part the original X-Men trilogy was pretty good. It has its faults but overall they seemed to work as a tight trilogy.
However, when word got out that the studios wanted to make a solo mutant movie, and not just any mutant but the one and only Wolverine, then the hype machine went into overdrive. Not only was everyone expecting X-Men Origins: Wolverine to be a success, because the previous X-Men movies had been, but this was the chance to really do the character of Wolverine some justice. Unfortunately this movie could never live up to the fans expectations and is often sighted as being the worst of the X-Men franchise.
10. Pearl Harbour
If you take the events of possibly one of the most historic days in the 20th century, add to that an exciting and up and coming director and all the young acting talent of the day, then surely you have one of the biggest movies of all time? After all, it worked for Titanic didn’t it? But sadly Pearl Harbour didn’t hit the spot.
Although Pearl Harbour wasn’t a sequel or part of a franchise like many of the other movies on this list, the film itself still caused a lot of buzz before its release. It may not have been as hyped up as others but given the subject matter the cast including Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale, of them could sell a movie back then, Pearl Harbour was set out to be a huge blockbuster. However, the dialogue, the overall look of the movie, and even the cast all got slammed by the critics and the movie became the butt of everyone’s jokes.
9. Spider-Man 3
Next we have Spider-Man’s first outing on the big screen and many will argue that it’s the best interpretation of the character so far. In 2002, Spider-Man swung his way onto the big screen and Spider-Man became a massive smash hit. Then came Spider-Man 2, which became an even bigger hit and at the time was considered the best superhero movie of all time. Due to the massive success, Marvel started to sit up and take notice when it came out and it wouldn’t be long before they were fighting Sony to get this web-slinger back in their movies.
With all that in mind, when Spider-Man 3 was on the horizon, people just couldn’t wait to see the next instalment of this franchise. We were promised bigger stories, more villains, and Peter Parker going to the dark side. However, what we got is the unfortunate curse of the third movie in a franchise. There are many examples on this list of third movie failures and unfortunately Spider-Man 3 was one of the biggest and most disappointing.
8. Captain America: Civil War
Next we come to the movie juggernaut that is the MCU. When the MCU first started to roll its characters and heroes out on the big screen, the intricate storytelling and sheer scale of their movies and the way in which they all connected together was truly staggering and took everyone by surprise. By the time the first Avengers movie came out, the MCU had already had several hit movies and broke so many box office records.
However, several more MCU movies came after the first Avengers movie and then we got to Captain America: Civil War. The hype machine went crazy and every fan and critic couldn’t contain their excitement for this movie. Not only was this the biggest and bravest MCU movie yet, after all, it had most of the heroes in it and they were headed for the ultimate show down. Who wouldn’t get excited by that? However, the overly long movie, plus its lack of any real peril as we knew everyone survived, left this movie a bit of an anticlimax.
7. The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings books have probably gone down in history as a series of books that you either truly love or absolutely despise. The long, in-depth stories and the attention to detail within the pages of Lord of the Rings have made its fans out there obsessed with them. So a lot of people may have been surprised when a big screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings was set to come out. As it happens, The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a box office smash, even with people who didn’t like the books. This Oscar-winning trilogy set new standards for storytelling and movies.
Because of the success of Lord of the Rings, everyone wanted the same treatment for The Hobbit. Unfortunately for those fans, they got what they asked for. The first Hobbit movie was so hyped and hotly anticipated that we can forgive them if it didn’t live up to all expectations, but by the time the third movie in the trilogy came out, everyone had switched off.
6. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Ok, so some people out there maybe thinking that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice should actually be number one on our list, not number six. To be fair to those people, this movie really could be. In fact any of the movies that follow this one deserve the number one spot. However, we’re going to give this movie the benefit of the doubt because there were some people out there who did leave the movie theatres quite satisfied and happy. No, we don’t know them either!
It’s fair to say that if you take the two biggest heroes in all movies, comic books, and even TV, put them together on the big screen then you’re going to have a movie that is so hyped that it can’t possibly live up to it. It doesn’t really matter how good or bad this movie was, it was always going to disappoint someone.
5. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Another movie that never stood a chance at living up to its name and hype, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was 20 years in the making, so you can just imagine how badly this movie was hyped up and how desperate Indie fans were to see their favorite hero back on the big screen.
Three of the biggest names ever to be involved in the movie business (Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford) came together to create one of the most iconic heroes the big screen has ever scene. Just like many other great trilogies, the original Indiana Jones movies weren’t always great; Raiders of the Lost Ark is an absolute classic, Temple of Doom is okay, and The Last Crusade is decent, but the trilogy was complete and justified. The biggest question with this film is why wait so long for a sequel? What could have been a great reboot or sequel 10 years ago ended up being an old and pointless entry into the mythos that is Indiana Jones. Not only did this movie not live up to its hype but it almost erased the greatness that had come before.
4. Superman Returns
You may be wondering why Superman Returns is above the likes of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice or Captain America: Civil War or even Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? After all, those movies are all part of a bigger franchises with a lot more pressure and even more expectations on their shoulders. The answer to that is simple. Over the years many movies and characters, especially the superhero and comic book genre, have had sequels, rewrites and reboots, all of them except Superman.
Before Superman Returns came out, the only time Superman was on screen was in the Christopher Reeves era. Batman had been done a few times by this point, and Bryan Singer had just brought The X-Men to the big screen, so with Singer on board for a new Superman movie, the whole world was excited to see the Man of Steel on the big screen once more. Unfortunately, the movie never came close to living up to its hype as the movie itself is almost trying to be the Reeves 1970s classic. However, Singer admitted that it was a tribute to the late superman star, but even so, the movie was a huge disappointment to many.
3. The Matrix Revolutions
There is no denying that the original Matrix movie is an absolute classic. Showing us groundbreaking CGI and special effects, which to this day still looks impressive and awe inspiring, wrap that all up in an action packed story with a great cast and a great look, then you can see why The Matrix is still regarded as one of the best movies in recent history.
Unfortunately, The Matrix‘s downfall became a product of its own making. Because of the huge, and surprising, success of the original movie, the following sequels never really stood a chance at capturing that wonder, excitement, and fresh approach to storytelling. Not only that but the sequels, in particular The Matrix: Revolution, was so underwhelming, confusing, and almost silly that by the time this trilogy ended, we all felt a little let down. So now we look back and only want to remember the greatness of the original.
2. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Quite possibly in the history of Hollywood, and in fact any movie there has ever been or possibly will ever be, none has had as much hype and anticipation as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It’s fair to say that the original Star Wars trilogy is probably one of the best, most critically acclaimed, and most loved set of movies of all time. To be honest with you, we really do feel it should have stayed that way!
However, after many years of teasing, re-releases, and re-edits of the original Star Wars movies, George Lucas finally announced that he would be doing a brand new Star Wars movie and the world went crazy. We’re not sure if it’s the movie itself or if it’s the fact that the hype for this movie was so great that Phantom Menace couldn’t possibly be a hit, but it’s fair to say that this movie is one of the most universally hated movies of all time. We’re not sure if that’s justified or not, unless they make more Star Wars movies…
1. The Rest Of The Star Wars Franchise
Ok, so the number two entry on our list was Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which as we’ve mentioned is possibly one of the most over hyped movies in history. However, the entire Star Wars brand has actually gotten even worse. So much so that the Star Wars franchise itself deserves an entry on this list all by itself!
Ever since The Phantom Menace disappointed so many fans, and indeed so did most of the prequel trilogy, unless you’re a true hardcore fan. Even with so many misses, in fact the brilliance of the original trilogy has actually been eclipsed by the disappointing movies at this point, the fact remains that every time the Star Wars name comes out with something new, be it a movie, animated TV show, video game, book, toy, the list could go on, the hype is always so great that nothing they do could possibly live up to what people expect. No matter how good the finished product is, the anticipation and hype will always be far greater than the end result so the Star Wars brand can never win.