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Biggest box office bombs of all time

  • Biggest box office bombs of all time

    Making an expensive Hollywood movie is kind of like steering a gigantic cargo ship through a thunderstorm. On board are hundreds of crew members, with each one performing a specific function. At the vessel’s main helm are a handful of leaders, including the captain (the director), who may still be beholden to the powers that be. Like any crisis, tensions run high, and opinions can clash over what the best course of action may be. With so much turbulence afoot, and with so much at stake, it can seem like a miracle when the vessel arrives at its destination intact.

    Stacker is honoring the occasions in which big-budget vehicles fail to deliver the goods—ranking the biggest box office bombs of all time. Using The Numbers as a data source, rankings were compiled based on box office earnings only, and do not incorporate video or other retail sales. Also note that only the first 1,000 movies with the highest reported budgets were considered for this story, and numbers have been adjusted for inflation.

    Without further ado, here are the biggest box office bombs of all time—see if you can recall seeing any of them in theaters.

    ALSO: Biggest box office winners of all time

  • #50. Event Horizon

    Estimated loss: $52 million

    Production budget: $94 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $42 million

    Release date: Aug. 15, 1997

    “Event Horizon” genuinely terrified viewers upon its debut—and arguably continues to do so—but nevertheless failed to connect with a wider audience. In the film, a space vessel picks up some otherworldly inhabitants and violent terror ensues. It could be argued that the film is in fact too gory and subversive, and simply not worthy of its oversized budget. Or perhaps the critics are right, and the movie just isn’t that good. Not one to be deterred by a little financial failure, director Paul W.S. Anderson would go on to helm a number of successful and not so successful movies that similarly blended sci-fi and horror, including “Alien Vs. Predator” and “Resident Evil.”   


     

  • #49. Windtalkers

    Estimated loss: $52 million

    Production budget: $160 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $108 million

    Release date: June 14, 2002

    Legendary action director John Woo was riding high off the success of movies like “Mission Impossible II” and “Face/Off” when he reunited with actor Nicolas Cage for “Windtalkers.” Based on a true story, the film takes place during World War II, and centers on Windtalkers: Navajo marines who use their native language to speak in code to elude the enemy. Rather than explore the nuanced implications of the movie’s own premise, Woo stuck closely to what he knew best, and mostly just blew stuff up—and the movie bombed on an epic scale.  


     

  • #48. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

    Estimated loss: $53 million

    Production budget: $74 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $21 million

    Release date: May 9, 2014

    This computer-animated follow up to “The Wizard of Oz” was brought to audiences by Summertime Entertainment, representing the company’s first and last project. In the movie, Dorothy heads back to Oz, where she squares off against an evil jester. While the film’s paltry box office performance was bad news for investors, two of its producers reportedly walked away with a handsome profit, thanks to some shady fundraising practices.


     

  • #47. Blackhat

    Estimated loss: $53 million

    Production budget: $74 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $21 million

    Release date: Jan. 16, 2015

    After making a string of notable films in the mid-to-late 1990s, director Michael Mann’s output became uneven at best—culminating with this 2015 fiasco. The movie sees Chris Hemsworth tackling a global ring of cyberterrorists, and was bogged down by cheap-looking cinematography and a muddled storyline. As a result, most moviegoers didn’t show up to see “Blackhat,” and the ones that did were largely underwhelmed.

  • #46. Flight of the Phoenix

    Estimated loss: $54 million

    Production budget: $99 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $45 million

    Release date: Dec. 17, 2004

    After their plane crashes in the Mongolian desert, the survivors work on building a new plane from the wreckage in the 2004 remake of “Flight of the Phoenix.” Originally slated for release on a crowded Christmas lineup, the film was bumped up to Dec. 17—which did nothing to help its chances at the box office. Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Giovanni Ribisi, and Hugh Laurie star. 

  • #45. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

    Estimated loss: $54 million

    Production budget: $70 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $15 million

    Release date: Jan. 11, 2008

    “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale,” Jason Statham battles a bunch of animal-like warriors while rescuing his kidnapped wife and avenging the death of his son. Despite the film’s abysmal performance at the box office, Director Uwe Boll released a follow-up film in 2011.

  • #44. R.I.P.D.

    Estimated loss: $55 million

    Production budget: $140 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $85 million

    Release date: July 19, 2013

    Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds might sound like a match made in Hollywood heaven, but the two actors simply couldn’t make 2013’s “R.I.P.D.” work. Based on a comic book, the film comes off as a poorly executed “Men in Black” imitation—with the walking undead substituted for aliens.

  • #43. Titan A.E.

    Estimated loss: $56 million

    Production budget: $109 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $53 million

    Release date: June 16, 2000

    Combining traditional animation with CGI, this 2000 film takes place in a distant future where Earth has been destroyed. A young man named Cale (voiced by Matt Damon) is threatened by killer aliens, so he must help locate an important spaceship—the Titan—before mankind perishes for good. The movie has a fairly strong fanbase to this day, but not enough to save it from tanking.

  • #42. The Last Castle

    Estimated loss: $56 million

    Production budget: $85 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $29 million

    Release date: Oct. 19, 2001

    This 2001 thriller centers on a court-martialed general (Robert Redford), who leads a prison uprising against his captors. Overseeing the prison is a smug and unjust warden named Col. Winter, played by the late James Gandolfini at the height of his “Sopranos” fame. The movie initially cost $60 million—$85 million when adjusted for inflation—to produce, with $16 million going toward Redford and Gandolfini’s respective salaries.

  • #41. Flyboys

    Estimated loss: $56 million

    Production budget: $75 million

    Worldwide box office gross: $18 million

    Release date: Sept. 22, 2006

    It might be called “Flyboys,” but this 2006 war movie never got off the ground. Set during WWI and based on a true story, the film follows a number of young Americans as they volunteer to fight on behalf of the French military—eventually forming a high-flying squadron known as the Lafayette Escadrille.

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