'John Carter,' 'Gigli' and 'Pluto Nash': 11 Movies That Failed at the Box Office

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'Cloud Atlas' Review
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Cloud Atlas isn’t the biggest box office disappointment ever, but it’s definitely its cousin.

This past weekend, the ambitious sci-fi epic finished number 3 at the box office, opening with $9.4 million. Budgeted at $100 million, Atlas is hard-pressed to make back its money.

Here’s a quick look at more big-budget films forever stuck in the red.

1. John Carter

Production Budget: $250 million

Domestic Gross: $73 million

You know your movie is a dud when its distributor can’t wait to tell the world how much money they’ve lost.

Less than two weeks after its release, Disney reported that they would take a $200 million loss on the Mars-set action epic. In doing so, the studio basically sentenced director Andrew Stanton and star Taylor Kitsch to Movie Jail.

2. Heaven’s Gate

Production Budget: $45 million

Domestic Gross: $4 million

Director Michael Cimino’s (The Deer Hunter) 1980 Western cost the equivalent of a gabillion dollars in today’s money, and forced distributor United Artists to go bankrupt. Which explains why the movie is still a sore subject, more than 30 years after its release.

3. Mars Needs Moms

Production Budget: $150 million

Domestic Gross: $6.9 million

Another costly bomb from Disney, this 2011 release forced The Mouse House to shut down the motion capture studio that made it.

Science is still trying to calculate the number of fu!@s audiences couldn’t give.

4. 1941

Production Budget: $32 million

Domestic Gross: $94.9 million

After scoring huge hits with Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941 marked Steven Spielberg’s first major critical and box office disappointment.

The only good thing to come out of this 1979 WWII farce was that it forced the director to go “less is more” with his next project, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

5. Battleship

Production Budget: $209 million

Domestic Gross: $65 million

2012’s second big-budget flop headlined by Taylor Kitsch, director Peter Berg’s adaptation of the Hasbro board game proved to be a huge “miss” with audiences. In fact, that pun is arguably better than the entire film.

6. Ishtar

Production Budget: $55 million

Domestic Gross: $17 million

Like Heaven’s Gate before it, this 1987 comedy misfire is synonymous with "box office disaster."

Starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as American lounge singers who travel to Morocco and stumble upon a Cold War plot, Ishtar is still used today as an example of how not to make a movie.

7. The Adventures of Pluto Nash

Production Budget: $100 million

Domestic Gross: $4.2 million

2002’s mess of a sci-fi comedy marked the first of many big-budget bombs starring Eddie Murphy.

The Beverly Hills Cop star once quipped that he knows “the two or three people who saw” Pluto Nash, which is actually one or two people more than those that saw his next big movie fail...

8. Meet Dave

Production Budget: $60 million

Domestic Gross: $11 million

This Summer 2008 flop proved that Eddie Murphy failed to learn a valuable lesson from Pluto Nash: If he's in a sci-fi comedy, audiences will stay away.

9. Gigli

Production Budget: $54 million

Domestic Gross: $6 million

When speaking of this 2003 comedy, one uses the same nervous, hushed tones as they would when talking about Voldemort.

Fun fact: The Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez vehicle dropped 82% in its second week, setting a record at the time.

10. Speed Racer

Production Budget: $120 million

Domestic Gross: $44 million

Based on the popular cartoon series, this long-anticipated from directors Andy and Lana Wachowski looked like a hit on paper. Then it hit theatres and, well, this 2008 release will just have to settle for slowly becoming a fan favorite.

11. Cutthroat Island

Production Budget: $98 million

Domestic Gross: $10 million

Director Renny Harlin made a pirate movie starring then-wife Geena Davis and Matthew Modine, and managed to bankrupt its studio in the process.

Everything in the above sentence makes sense. Too bad the filmmakers didn’t know then what they certainly know now.

Are you on the fence about seeing Cloud Atlas? Watch our video review below to see if you and your wallet can help save it at the box office.

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