7. Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
This is the classic example of a horrible first movie being successful so they make a sequel, which is equally as horrible. Co-written and starring Kevin James, reprising his role as the titular mall cop, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 brought the action, if you could call it that, to Las Vegas. This was the first film to be shot on the Steve Wynn property, this being the famous Wynn Las Vegas.
Somehow, the film grossed $71 million in North America and $36.2 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $107.3 million, against a budget of $30 million. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $23.8 million, finishing second at the box office behind Furious 7 ($29.2 million). Don’t ask me how it did that, April, when the film was released, is a down time for the cinema, but still, over $100 million?
This film lacked purpose, it recycles the same fat jokes, and falling segway gags as the first film, as we follow the classic lovable idiot character as he saves the day. It’s not the worst movie of the year, but it certainly begs the question of why the people involved or the people in the theater even bothered to be involved with it. To say the least, this did not do well with critics, I guess audiences at least kind of liked it.
8. Strange Magic
The only animated title on the list, Strange Magic comes from a story by George Lucas, yes that George Lucas, and is inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Lucas had been developing the project for 15 years before it went into production. The score features standards and classic tunes like “Love is Strange”.
The title is fitting for the film. It is certainly strange from lining some of Lucas’s favorite pop tunes with a story about a pair of fairy princesses, to the inspiration of Shakespeare. There is nothing Shakespearean about this story. The film lacks the magic referred to in the title. There is nothing new or refreshing about it. It seems unfinished, as if the story is still in the planning stage.
Some reviewers have commented the film may be a cult classic in the future, with its jukebox style and beautiful animation as calling cards. In the now, critics ripped this film apart. Giving it a 16% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and commenting the film failed to go below the surface, even if the surface was pretty. It also had the lowest ticket sales of any animated movie released in over 3,000 theaters, grossing just $13,603,453 worldwide. Maybe that will keep Lucas from doing more animation.
9. Unfinished Business
What a bomb this was! First of all, it was a box office bomb, making only $4.8 million in its first week, finishing 10th. This was the lowest opening for Vince Vaughn ever. Maybe he is finally starting to lose his comedic grip on audiences. It completed its cinema run grossing $14.4 million, well below its $35 million reported budget.
This film’s premise and plot is so shotty it’s hard to create a synopsis. Vince Vaughn is tired of playing second fiddle to his boss Sienna Miller, so he, along with retiring associate Tom Wilkinson and dim-wit Dave Franco form their own competing company, which quickly folds. They then take their company to Germany where crazy antics ensue.
Unfinished Business really lives up to its title. The film feels unfinished, lacking properly directed performances and an actually well-written screenplay. It is just unfocused and unfunny and probably shouldn’t have been realized. At least Vince Vaughn can lead on his friends for better, Franco is young, and Wilkinson has been seen in much better.
How the mighty have fallen. Neill Blomkamp gave the world quite a debut with the Best Picture nominee sci-fi adventure District 9, and had a nice follow-up with Elysium. His most recent release Chappie, is by far not the worst of the year, but was disappointing and narratively short.
The film is set in the near future and follows a police droid who is stolen and is given new programming he acquires the ability to feel and think for himself. While the robot, dubbed “Chappie (Sharlto Copley),” puzzles out human behavior, the authorities begin to see him as a danger to mankind and order; they will stop at nothing to ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind. It was relatively financially successful doubly up its budget of $49 million.
When your lead character is compared by some critics to Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars, then you may have done something wrong. The films is visually pretty nice, I would expect nothing more from Blomkamp. Chappie asks “big questions” and throws around existential questions, but fails to answer any of these questions or straightens any of these themes out.
Blomkamp has said he wrote Chappie as a trilogy. He hasn’t written the other two films yet, but he has treatments for them. If the other two films are as clunky and one-note as this one, I would say, don’t even bother.
I could on for days about how this movie is one of the worst of the year, but I will keep it short and sweet. Brought to you by the guy who gave you Independence Day, White House Down and other loud, explosive popcorn flicks, come a “little movie”, as described by Roland Emmerich himself about one of the most seminal moments in the LGBT pride movement, The Stonewall Riots.
The drama is set in and around the actual event, a violent clash outside of the Stonewall Inn, starting with a police raid of establishment in the morning hours of June 28, 1969. It was this clash with police that kicked off the gay liberation movement in New York City. While loosely inspired by these historical events, the movie screenplay is fiction. The key here being loosely. The critical reception to Stonewall was negative to say the least.
Described as a dull and ordinary coming-of-age drama that also offensively portrayed a historical moment important in the culture of an entire group of people. Stonewall, the film, can be described as clunky, offensive, uninterested in history, whitewashed, with poor production design and directing. There has been a whole host of controversy over the whitewashing of characters, using trans icon Marsha P. Johnson as practically comic relief and the film not including the acts of people of color, trans-people and drag queens among others.
The entire lead up and riot sequence is shot through a white, heteronormative lens. The film only made about $175,000 and received a ton of bad press, deservedly. I am just disappointed that a member of the LGBT community, Emmerich, would screw up a movie about Stonewall. Gay history 101: Stonewall. He screwed it up royally.
12. Jem and the Holograms
Butchering, I mean, based on the 80s classic cartoon Jem, Jem and the Holograms was a disaster that virtually ignored its source material. Christy Marx the creator of Jem was not involved in the production, except for a cameo in the movie. The film, which deviates heavily from the show, follows shy singer-songwriter Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples) whose dreams of stardom come true when she forms the group Jem and the Holograms.
With help from Rio (Ryan Guzman), the son of the CEO (Juliette Lewis) of Starlight Music, the four young band members find their own voice while taking the world by storm. In case you are wondering, Juliette Lewis is one of the saving grace of this film, as is Aubrey Peeples in the title role. They make this film watchable. However, not too many people wanted to watch it, as it opened fifteenth at the box office with $1.4 million, the worst opening of 2015 and the fourth worst opening ever for a film playing in more than 2,000 theaters.
On November 10, 2015, just over two weeks after it premiered, Universal removed the film from theaters entirely, after grossing just $2.2 million. The film is a modest showing for its hair and makeup team who did a decent job modernizing the original series, but other than that, this was a disappointment.
13. The Gallows
Another found footage disaster. The Gallows was successful financially as most of these movies are, making $42 million on a $100,000 budget, that’s great for the people involved, but it did keep their film from being a shaky tumble to the pit of the found footage trend. The plot is contrived and forced as four students become trapped in the auditorium as they revive a play that accidently killed someone 20 years before.
Charlie, the student that died is a malevolent and vengeful spirit who hunts the four students down. Visually, this film is a mess, with a shaky camera, poor cinematography, and a borrowed wholesale atmosphere. The characters have no characterization or growth so we don’t care if one of them gets offed. They kept filming after their cell phone died. The characters are paper thin even for a found footage horror flick.
The scares are simple, sudden, and stupid relying on cliches like the phone or all of the lights going out, or I’m running for my life, better keep filming. The best part of the film is its run time, a pleasantly short 80 minutes. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 15%, based on 86 reviews, with an average rating of 3.2/10. If I could pinpoint one reason for it being one of the worst of the year it would be laziness.