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The 10 Biggest Movie Box Office Flops of All Time

09 March 2017 | Features, Film Lists | by Polina Zelmanova

biggest box office flops

It is always a pity when after putting effort into something, it doesn’t turn out as successful as you thought it would be. But after running around, raising millions of dollars, spending your precious time to get together, writing and rewriting a story that appeals to investors and producers, forming a crew and cast and spending months or in some cases even years in shooting and then editing, it is definitely saddening for your work to go unnoticed and your efforts to not be recognised.

That, however, is the case for quite a few movies that have paved their way through sweat and blood to make it to the big screen – some weren’t even as lucky as that and after the exhausting efforts didn’t make it to the screens at all. But everything is comparative, and some movies lost more than others.

When collecting a budget, it is often that investments will be made into those projects that for one reason or another are believed to become successful and if all goes well, turn a profit.

Therefore, great things are usually expected from projects in which a lot of money is involved, as many people have a lot at stake here. And so when a movie flops at the box office, sometimes it may not be a big deal, but in many cases millions are lost and this may affect the reputation of the director, the production company and of course the pockets out of which the money came from.

Here is a list of expensive movies that didn’t rise to their expectations and flopped drastically when they came to the big screens.

 

10. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (Ron Underwood) – 113-Million-dollar loss

The Adventures of Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy)

Nobody can stay at the top and maintain success forever, and this is exactly what happened with star Eddie Murphy’s The Adventures of Pluto Nash of the new millennium that took his successful and high ranking status that he earned himself during the 80’s and 90’s down to rock bottom. Considering the film was made on a budget of 120 million dollars, The Adventures of Pluto Nash is considered one of the worst box office bombs, making only the small amount of 7.1 million.

The science fiction comedy follows Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy) and his band across the moon, as they wonder in search of information regarding the destruction of his blooming night club. Running in with the mafia and across many dodgy locations and individuals, Pluto finds himself discovering quite an unfortunate truth regarding the arson.

What brought the movie down according to critics, was the failure of every element needed to produce at least a decent movie. The script is described as poor and undeveloped, the performances, particularly from Murphy himself are weak and don’t live up to the actors’ previous standards, while the plot and the humour is unentertaining, including unfavourably slapstick jokes.

 

9. The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski) – 120-Million-dollar loss

Although not being considered a completely terrible movie among the crowd, what put most audience members off were the horrendous critical reviews that criticised Disney for trying to play on their Pirates of the Caribbean franchise which is the only explanation for using Johnny Depp in the role of a Native American.

Despite this, and the fact that the acting of the two protagonists, Depp and Armie Hammer half succeeds in bringing the movie out of its ruin, the film overall is too long with an unnecessarily excessive action time which tries to cover up to bad script. This caused the 250 million dollar budget movie to flop at the box office and lose Disney the “small” sum of 10 million.

The movie is set in the 1930’s and follows a lawyer, John Reid (Armie Hammer) who rides around with Texas Rangers in search of Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), the most dangerous man of the west.

After being attacked by the criminal himself, Reid is the only survivor after being saved by an outcast Comanche, Tonto (Johnny Depp). Forming a union, the two embark on a journey to capture the criminal and avenge Reid’s friends only to find that the evil masked as Cavendish is a lot more complicated and bigger than they first perceived.

 

8. John Carter (Andrew Stanton) – 125-Million-dollar loss

john-carter-screencaps

Perhaps it was the fact that Disney brought up such a huge budget, amounting to 264 million dollars, that made it quite challenging to turn a profit. But the fact that the plot wasn’t very well planned, making it very confusing, wasn’t of help either.

The plot is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ science fiction and fantasy novels and therefore John Carter was meant to be only the first of the anticipated franchise. Due to the massive box office flop, however, it became quite obvious that John Carter 2 may have to be packed away altogether, although there are now rumours of the sequel being made against all of the odds.

The plot follows a veteran of the Civil War of 1868, John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is magically transported to Barsoom or Mars where he finds himself stumbling amongst tall, green creatures.

After meeting Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), the princess of Helium, he discovers that the planet is facing unrest and war and that his help to these aliens is vital. Although there was much excitement for the movie and its stunning visual effects, the gaps in the plot and the undeveloped and confusing characters failed to bring any life to the wonderfully composed graphics.

 

7. The Fall of the Roman Empire (Anthony Mann) – 126-Million-dollar loss

The Fall of the Roman Empire

Unfortunately, it is not just the worse movies that have made a huge loss. The Fall of the Roman Empire, is now in fact considered one of the better dramas depicting historical events. However, after using a 18 million dollar budget, the movie ended up making just of 4 million at the box office, creating a 126 million loss when adjusted to inflation.

This, sadly, is considered to be the reason for the end of producer Samuel Bronston’s career that was famous for the high budget epics such as King of Kings or Jack London.

The movie itself tactfully tells the reasons for the fall of the Roman civilisation, after the death of Marcus Aurelius (Alec Guinness) when his son Commodus (Stephen Boyd) claims power. The budget allowed the grandness of Rome to come to life, as well as embracing the “epic” definition of the 60’s as using grand scenery and thousands of extras and high profile Hollywood actors including Sophia Loren, among other things.

 

6. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Hironobu Sakaguchi) – 126-Million-dollar loss

Final Fantasy The Spirits Within

With a budget of 137 million, was thought to be very innovative upon its release in 2001, considering the computer animation used to build the characters of the computer game based story of the same name.

The advanced technology created photorealistic environments for the movie as well as the characters themselves – but this in turn is what led to such a high budget, even though later many audience members turned out disappointed of the unrealistic quality of the animation, despite the artists’ highest efforts that created an extremely good job, particularly for the times.

But even the amazing ‘look’ of the film couldn’t make up for the dull and stiff characters, despite being voiced by Hollywood stars of the likes of Steve Buscemi, Donald Sutherland and Alec Baldwin, while the plot itself was better left for the gaming industry.

Based in the future of the year of 2065, Earth is about to be under attack by an alien force. To save both herself, as she has been infected by the alien particles, and the whole planet, Dr. Aki Ross (Ming-Na Wen) sets out to uncover the aliens’ secrets and weaknesses.

 

 

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  • Tata Adong

    I thoroughly enjoyed 47 Ronins, even catching up for late-time viewings I’m HBO. Perhaps time would be kinder to the movie?

  • Iam_Spartacus

    Where’s Heavens Gate?

  • David Pollison

    On The Lone Ranger you first state that it lost $120 million then in the paragraph below you claim Disney only lost $10 million. Which one is it?

    Why isn’t The Postman on this list or Cleopatra?

  • Otto T. Goat

    I liked the 13th Warrior. I’m surprised it’s budget was so high.

  • tommyturner

    Depp actually had played an Indian before in The Brave, so it wouldn’t be that inexplicable.

    • tommyturner

      ……that he played one in The Lone Ranger.

  • Fool’s Gold

    Ishtar? Waterworld?

    • David Brown

      Waterworld made money. Ishtar was just terrible.

  • Louis

    The 13th Warrior is one of my favorite movies ever, and I don’t like Antonio usually.