We all have our favorites movies, classics that we’ve watched over and over again throughout the years. These are the movies that didn’t do well at the box office and we continue to scratch our heads about, trying to figure out why.
It’s always a mystery as to what movies will be blockbusters and which ones will be flops, especially when it comes to the movies with big actors in them. Those movies, we always assume are going to be big, but even some of them have become flops. So, what makes a movie a flop? Sometimes it can be a case of marketing gone bad. Sometimes, it just wasn’t meant to be, a movie that just wasn’t lucky at the box office.
These days it’s a crapshoot. Sometimes, the movies we despise hit it big, while some of the movies that we love become flops. It’s hard to understand, but these flops need to be respected because they’re still really good movies.
It can be a funny game in Hollywood because even the movies that have flopped ended up becoming cult classics because of the love that the fans had for the movies. In the end, the fate of the movies is in the hands of the people that buy the tickets and go and watch them. The movies on this list did terribly at the box office; some of them didn’t even make enough money to pay for the making of the movie, but we still love them. They’re shocking titles, and we’re still astounded that they didn’t make it big.
15. Iron Giant
We have to admit that we’ve watched this movie at least a dozen times. In 1999, Iron Giant came out with a budget of $80 million but only broke a little over 30 million at the box office. The film was not only really interesting but also a hit in the ratings with Rotten Tomatoes. Brad Bird was the one who made the film, so people were surprised by its failure since he was also responsible for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles. Iron Giant did become a cult classic, but that didn’t happen until it hit DVD and reached the cable stations. It’s another case of a good movie catching a bad break. Children can be fickle, and maybe, it was just the low-end graphics involved in the movie that did it in, but we still love it no matter what.
14. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Tell us you didn’t absolutely love this movie. Really, how can Jim Carrey ever do a bad movie anyway? He has the ability to take on a character and make it his own with very little effort. Not only was Jim Carrey in the movie, but Steve Carell was in it, too. It took in 27.4 million at the box office, which didn’t cover its $34-million budget. It may not have been one of Carrey’s best, but it was still a lot better than the box office suggested. It was the story that poked fun at the magicians who make a living in Las Vegas. Carrey and Carell were going up against one another to see who was the ultimate magician. Carrey was playing Steve Gray, a magician who hosted the show Brain Rapist, and it was all a play on Criss Angel’s Mindfreak. It was such a funny movie.
13. Donnie Darko
We didn’t know Jake Gyllenhaal or his sister Maggie very well when Donnie Darko came out. It was one of their first films, but it instantly became a cult classic despite the fact that it did terribly at the box office. It didn’t have a very big budget, just a measly 4.5 million (insert sarcasm), but still, it only made 1.2 million at the box office. This movie was really special — or so fans thought — because it featured time travel, and it made Jake Gyllenhaal an instant success. It’s probably because of this movie that he became the big star that he is today. We still can’t get that freak show of a bunny suit out of our heads; it made the movie even more of a one-of-a-kind classic. It did better overseas than it did in the United States, which makes its fortune even stranger, but maybe international audiences liked the bunny.
12. Gremlins 2
Gremlins was an instant cult classic, and it’s one that we remember from our youth. There was no reason why the sequel wouldn’t have been accepted just as well. We know some sequels tend to crash and burn, but that rarely happens in horror movies. Just look at how many Jason movies we’ve seen. Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates came back to make the sequel, but it only grossed $41 million, another one that didn’t even make the budget. Gremlins 2: The New Batch was an awesome movie, and we’re really not sure why so many people hated it. It’s definitely weirder than the first, and we might even stretch as far as to say that it’s better than the original. Once again, the Gremlins have taken over the city and Gizmo has to save the day. We even had guest stars such as Christopher Lee and Hulk Hogan, so why all the hate?
Guardians of the Galaxy was such a great movie, right? It was certainly a success for director James Gunn. He didn’t always have that kind of success, however, especially when it came to the B-rated movie Slither. We think that it’s a classic that should be remembered because of just how disgusting it was, but many people hope never to see it again. It was a sci-fi/horror/comedy, which may have been part of the problem, and it was about a small town that gets invaded by alien parasites. A used car dealer gets turned into a monster, and he begins to start slaughtering the livestock. It’s up to the town sheriff to bring order back to his town. The movie was made in a time when monster movies were super popular, just like they were in the ’50s. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as well this time.
10. Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise rarely has a bad movie. Every now and then, he has a flop, but all and all, the guy is box-office gold. So, it came as a surprise that the Edge of Tomorrow didn’t do as well as anticipated at the box office. It’s possible that it had a lot to do with the marketing of the film because it was rather vague, and many people just didn’t understand what the movie was about. In 2014, Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise got together to make a movie about a post-apocalyptic alien world that had a Groundhog Day theme to it. But all the marketing posters had on them was the statement: “Live. Die. Repeat.” It was kind of hard to get the whole theme of the movie across in that simple statement. It could’ve also used a better title, but it’s too late for that now.
9. Shawshank Redemption
Shawshank Redemption was a phenomenal movie. We’re not sure of how many people can actually say otherwise, and yet, it only brought in $28.3 million at the box office. It did make more than its budget of $25 million — but not much more. As poorly as this movie did, it’s actually ranked as the No. 1 film on IMDb’s Top-Rated Films list. It’s the kind of movie that should be required viewing for anyone who considers themselves to be a human being, and yet, it’s considered a flop at the box office. However, despite the terrible opening it got at the box office, it went on to receive seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. It’s shocking because you would think such an acclaimed film would’ve made more money, especially with Morgan Freeman in it. Freeman actually blamed the title for the movie being a flop, but once it hit VHS, the past didn’t matter.
8. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Not only was this a movie with great acting ability from both Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, but it also gave us a great story about Jesse James. The movie flopped big time, though, because it had a $30-million budget but only made a pittance of 3.9 million. Now, true enough, this movie isn’t a guns-blazing western, so that may have been part of the problem. It was more of an artsy tale about Jesse James and Mr. Ford, and it probably bored all the thrill seekers who were hoping for a good old-fashioned western. It got a little more famous after it hit the DVD shelves, but all in all, it was a movie that was very underappreciated. If you’re a fan of anyone in the cast, it’s certainly a movie to watch even if it means watching it in your living room without movie-theatre popcorn. The acting chops of Affleck and Pitt are certainly worth seeing in this film.
7. A Simple Plan
We still remember how great Bill Paxton was in Aliens! These are the types of movies he should be remembered by, and Simple Plan would be right up there with it. It wasn’t a movie that was received well, but we think it has a pretty good story. Billy Bob Thornton is also part of the cast of the movie, looking weirder than normal. He plays the brother of good boy Paxton. The story behind the movie is pretty awesome; it has a crashed plane with dead bodies and a whole lot of cash. The two brothers have to decide whether to call the police or just keep the money for themselves. They, of course, take the money, and that’s where things start to change between the brothers. We won’t spoil the ending, but you won’t see it coming. There are many twists and action-packed scenes that make this movie an instant classic; it’s just too bad that it made no money.
6. Office Space
Office Space was not only a hilarious movie but it was also completely relatable because a lot of people have similar jobs that they despise. Despite how funny it was and also the addition of the beautiful Jennifer Aniston, the movie flopped at the box office, bringing in a measly $10.8 million. It wasn’t even a whole million over what was spent on the making of the film. The writing was brilliant, the acting was on key, and it was a damn funny movie — so funny that there are several memes about it loose in the world. It’s the kind of movie that reminds us of why we hate our jobs and allows us to daydream about getting out of that office hell. It wasn’t the first flop of Mike Judge’s, so he might be better suited in the cartoon world of Beavis and Butt-head.
This movie was back in the heyday when Winona Ryder and Christian Slater were big actors. We also get to see Shannen Doherty before she became famous in Beverly Hills 90210. The budget was pretty low, only $2 million, but it grossed half of that at the box office. Heathers was pretty iconic at the time, and it’s the kind of movie that would never get made today. It’s a very dark comedy about murder and suicide within a high school, far worse than anything Mean Girls could’ve ever put out. Despite the fact that the movie made no money, kids loved watching a film about teenagers killing themselves and blowing up things. It became quite the cult classic thanks to VHS, DVD, and the fans who like comedies to be as black as possible. The movie was awesome, and it makes us want to look into it again.
4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Johnny Depp is another actor who’s box-office gold. He can pretty much star in anything, and it makes money. He also can transform into any character of his choosing, and it’s remarkable how amazing he is in any role he takes on. This one was the film adaption of the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, and we loved the kooky character that Depp played. So, we were all surprised when Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas tanked at the box office, only bringing in $10.6 million. The making of the crazy film cost almost double that, so producers weren’t impressed. The movie was pretty awesome, but once again, it never got the acclaim it deserved until it hit DVD. It’s the kind of movie that everyone should enjoy, and it’s unfortunate it didn’t get the recognition that it deserved.
Grindhouse came out in 2007, and since it was one of Quentin Tarantino’s crazy movies, everyone thought that it was going to be a smash. They thought that it would bring the old-school charm to the movies again like we used to see in the ’60s and the ’70s. It also brought the sexy Rose McGowan out of obscurity, and we loved seeing her fight with a machine gun attached to her leg. The budget was a whopping $53.4 million, but it only made $25.4 million at the box office. The film is exciting in so many ways, and we even got to see Kurt Russell play the bad guy for once. But despite being the action-packed movie that has that old-school appeal, it didn’t get its cult following until it hit the small screen. But it’s still worth watching today if you haven’t already.
2. Fight Club
The first rule of Fight Club is to not talk about Fight Club, but we’re going to break the rule, if only out of appreciation. Considering how obsessed people are with Fight Club these days, you’d think that it raked in a ton of money at the box office, but unfortunately, it was yet another flop. The film starred Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, and although it took $63 million to make the movie, it only brought in $37 million. People blamed the terrible marketing that was used when the movie was released. It wasn’t until it hit DVD that the movie became the cult classic that it is today. It became so popular, in fact, that it’s considered to be one of the “defining films of the 90s.” Not bad for a movie that was considered a flop when it hit theaters.
1. Bringing Out the Dead
This is one of Martin Scorsese’s movies that certainly didn’t do well at the box office. It took $55 million to make the movie, and it only made 16.8 million back. Bringing Out the Dead starred Nicolas Cage, and it was the last film that Scorsese made in New York. Believe it or not, Gangs of New York was actually made in Rome. Weird, right? Anyway, the film followed a story of the last days of a paramedic who was suffering from guilt and insomnia because of a patient whom he couldn’t save. Although the movie got great reviews, it tanked at the box office. Most of the other films got a cult following after the film went to DVD, but this film didn’t quite have the same effect. The film is barely even talked about anymore, and it’s like it doesn’t exist. It’s unfortunate because it was a pretty great movie.
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