5. The Kid Who Would Be King
This was not all that surprising a bomb as its marketing materials were not great. It looked like a cheap little kids movie meant to cloyingly evoke the nostalgia of parents who grew up with Amblin movies. That it was helmed by a legit filmmaker in Joe Cornish was surprising, as the movie appeared to have no personality to it.
And then it came and went like a bolt of lightning. Costing around $59 million, it only grossed around $31 million worldwide. That’s embarrassing. That it couldn’t even do business in the U.K. was surprising. But overall, this just felt like a movie that was asked for by no one.
4. Alita: Battle Angel
Hollywood just keeps on chasing that anime ball. Despite ample evidence to the fact that the aesthetic of anime just doesn’t work in a live-action setting, and that the narratives are way too complicated for movies that aren’t guaranteed to last for more than one entry, they keep trying. And they keep failing.
James Cameron has been chasing this particular ball for a long time. But now that he can only focus on his truly in demand* “Avatar” sequels, he passed off the baton to the truly hack-like has-been Robert Rodriguez. And that worked out as well as a Robert Rodriguez-helmed movie usually does.
It apparently cost around $170 million to make, but that is probably a low ball estimate thanks to its long road to being made. It only made $85 million in the U.S. and more than $300 million worldwide. But with its budget, it makes this a big loser for FOX.
Taking a well-respected piece of black art and turning it into a cheap little piece of pablum didn’t work out too well for the filmmakers and the studio. “Shaft” as a franchise is an important piece of cinematic history. So of course, trying to turn it into the new “Ride Along” wasn’t gonna make it all that well-respected. But when you get Tim Story of “Ride Along” infamy and Samuel L. Jackson, you’d think the receipts would be impressive.
Thankfully, they haven’t been. It only made $8 million on its opening weekend, which is truly the definition of a bomb. It will not be a success. People aren’t liking it, so it won’t be some word-of-mouth smash. Insulting the legacy of a truly groundbreaking and important series was a bad decision.
This was destined to be just another mid-budget movie released in the early year doldrums with no real attention paid to it. But it had a high-production sheen and the star presence of Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. And then it came out and the movie’s slack-jawed audacity made the movie a target for people to watch out for.
It bombed hard, costing around $25 million to make (how?!) and only coming in with around $11 million. This movie will probably last forever thanks to its ‘how did this get made?’ ready premise, but this was a shocking miscalculation on the filmmaker’s and studio’s part.
1. Dark Phoenix
This movie is emblematic of a blockbuster failure. It’s a movie that no one wanted. Essentially a remake of a prior series low meant to “fix” past mistakes. But it had to be heavily reshot and delayed for a year, and none of the marketing looked like anything worth all the time and money that was spent on it. No one cared. Even the actors looked bored by doing another one of these films after the truly awful “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Yet no one could have anticipated how hard this would bomb.
The official budget was around $200 million, but that is definitely not true with those extensive reshoots ballooning the budget. When it opened to $32 million on its opening weekend, people were shocked. The X-Men movies have been around for almost two decades now before the Disney purchase put an end to that piece of cinematic history.
For it to be so ignored by the public is wild. And the fact that its second weekend suffered the biggest second weekend drop-off ever, only earning around $8 million, is truly jaw-dropping. If Disney wasn’t putting an end to all of this, surely the movie-going public did.