Top 10 Biggest Box Office Losers of the Decade
As far as films go, 2017 has been a landmark in cinematic history. It achieved the title of highest grossing horror film in history, knocking The Exorcist off of an almost 50-year throne, in less than a month of its release. Beauty and The Beast is the highest grossing film of the year so far, pulling in an astounding $1,262,937,952 worldwide and breaking into the top ten highest grossing films of all time. Also among that top ten are seven other films that have been released since 2010. We’ll be looking at a different type of top ten though, in the list below are the biggest box offices losses since 2010. Not only did these movies not make any money, but they all also lost a considerable amount. (May contain spoilers.)
Conan the Barbarian
Conan The Barbarian was released in 2011. It is not meant to be a remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic that came out in 1982, but a ‘new’ interpretation of the mythology. It is a fantasy adventure movie that follows Conan, a barbarian (unsurprisingly) as he seeks revenge on a warlord that slaughtered his entire village when he was young. Instead, he ends up fighting to save the nations of Hyboria from impending seizure by a supernaturally evil force.
The film has mixed reviews, but the trustworthy source Rotten Tomatoes scores it dismally with 24%. Reviews blame “shoddy acting,” “silly dialogue,” “nonsensical plot,” and more for the overall dislike of the film. It was produced with a budget of $90,000,000 and only grossed $48,800,000. Total loss: $41,200,000
Live by Night
Live By Night is a 2016 crime drama that was written, directed, co-produced, and starred in by Ben Affleck. It is based on a novel by the same name that was written by Dennis Lehane. It is about the son of a police captain that falls in love and gets sucked into the underworld of crime. He becomes a bootlegger at the height of prohibition, and eventually, a very notorious gangster.
Any one person trying to wear that many hats in the production of a film is undoubtedly overextended. That could have contributed to the failure of this movie. Reviews say that the film lacks soul and intimacy, it’s predictable, and it lacks momentum. The score on Rotten Tomatoes is 35%. Some sources say this movie last as much as $75 million; however, the budget was $65,000,000 and it grossed $22,300,000. That makes for a total loss of $42,700,000.
The biggest surprise about this action thriller being an utter failure is that it stars one of Hollywood’s most desirable: Chris Hemsworth. The film attempts to capitalize on the widespread fascination with cybercrime; in it, a group of hackers is committing large-scale crimes using Remote Access Tools. Other criminal hackers are brought in to try and bring them down, and it turns into a worldwide hunt for a network of cybercriminals.
It’s 34% rotten according to Rotten Tomatoes. Reviews complain about poor casting, slow pacing, pandering to an overseas box office, and the lack of realism in the way the hacking is executed. Despite the dismal performance and reflective feedback, it did end up in the top ten of 8 year-end lists and was considered to be one of the year’s top five films by six critics. The budget was $70,000,000 and it pulled in $19,700,000. That’s a total loss of $50,300,000.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
This 2014 American-Indian animated film was based on the adventure books by Roger Stanton Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum. It is a musical and had a great cast including Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Kelsey Grammer, Hugh Dancy, and Patrick Stewart, among others. Dorothy is tasked with saving all her familiar friends from a new villain and restoring happiness and harmony to the beloved Emerald City.
It has an Audience Score of 68%, but it’s still 16% rotten. Top critics say it felt rushed, was more like a cash grab than a revisit to the fantastic world of Oz, it’s short on jokes, and the musical numbers left a lot to be desired. The production budget was $70,000,000, and it was only able to scrape in $18,700,000. A devastating loss to the tune of $51,300,000 has us thinking that between sitting out and heading to the cinema, there’s no place like home.
How Do You Know
How Do You Know is a 2010 RomCom full of familiar faces, like Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson. Sadly, it didn’t have anyone saying wow. A dedicated athlete is at the tip of a love triangle, with a rude baseball player at the end of one leg, and a businessman at the end of the other. The businessman gets wrongly accused of a crime, and the female protagonist gets cut from her team. They’re both struggling in the areas of their careers and relationships, and they find one another.
This sounds like a fairly run of the mill romantic comedy. Strong cast, cliche-ridden plot. Critics say that it doesn’t tell much of a story, it’s not particularly romantic or funny, and an especially scathing comment says that it “feels like it was made by people who haven’t had any meaningful human contact for years.” It is 32% rotten, and only a quarter of the audience ratings are positive (out of 40,000). It made $48,700,000, but it cost $100,000,000. Total loss: $51,300,000.
This is a children’s comedy that was released in 2017. It follows Tripp (just your average North Dakotan that gets a job at the junkyard because mom’s boyfriend, the sheriff, doesn’t think he’s responsible) as he works on building a pickup to escape the small town he feels trapped in. The only problem is, you guessed it, a monster lives in the truck. The monster (Tripp named him Creech), escaped during a fracking operation. He likes to eat oil, and hang out under the hood of Tripp’s truck. They get into all kinds of shenanigans, where Tripp helps Creech find his parents, and in true 90’s fashion he gets the girl in the end (and doesn’t appear to wash his hair).
Danny Glover and Rob Lowe both play in this movie, but the rest of the names are probably ones you haven’t heard before. The Audience Score for this one is 52%, but overall the film carries a rating of 31% rotten. Critics call it affectionately goofy, but overall unmemorable. There are also complaints of flat characters, poor directing, and that the story leaves a lot to be desired. The production cost was $125,000,000, but it ended up losing $60,500,000 because it only made $64,500,000 in total.
The forty-seven r?nin were a group of samurais in 18th century Japan who had no master and sought to avenge the death of their lord. This film is a fictional account of that tale, starring Keanu Reeves for some reason. It premiered in 3D on Christmas of 2013. It is mostly an action film, with some elements of drama and fantasy as well. It was the feature-length debut for the award-winning director Carl Rinsch, who previously directed a Sci-fi short called The Gift and a commercial for Shell.
It has a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The ‘Critics Consensus’ sums up the disdain like this, “47 Ronin is a surprisingly dull fantasy adventure, one that leaves its talented international cast stranded within one-dimensional roles.” Other comments include that the pacing leaves a lot to be desired and that it just lacked excitement for an action film. It failed to recoup its production budget of $225,000,000 by a longshot. It only earned $151,800,000 making for a loss of $73,200,000.
The Nutcracker in 3D
The Nutcracker in 3D is a 2010 musical fantasy adaptation of the well-loved ballet with the same name. This iteration was directed by Andrei Konchalovsky and was a limited release film. Canada saw it first in late 2010, Hungary over a year later in late 2011, and the UK even later, in the last few days of 2012. It is unclear when it hit America. It gave no credit to the original story or author and was met with absolute vitriol from critics.
It has a record low of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, was granted the title of Worst Limited Release Film of 2010 by Metacritic. It was only nominated for one positive award, Best Young Actress at the Young Artist Awards for Elle Fanning’s leading role. It didn’t win. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun asked: “From what dark night of the soul emerged the wretched idea for The Nutcracker in 3D?” It lost $73,800,000 after earning only $16,200,000 back out of $90,000,000 spent in production.
R.I.P.D. seemed to have had everything going for it when it was originally teased in 2012. It’s an action comedy with supernatural flair, and an incredible cast including Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges, and more. The Rest In Peace Department is a bunch of ghost police set forth to protect the living from the dead who don’t want to progress to the other side. It’s a fresh take on a buddy cop film that manages to revisit cliches such as ‘experience detective gets stuck with the rookie,’ and of course, they discover a massive plot to take over the world.
3D movies never seem to perform well. Because of the difference in ticket prices, most people opt to ‘see it at home’ and then forget about it. Even though that is often the case, 82,119 user reviews and 94 critic reviews landed this film with a 37% audience approval (average 3.5 stars), and it has a score of only 13% on Rotten Tomatoes. What else is rotten is that the film lost $75,700,000! $154,000,000 was spent on production and it only earned $78,300,000.
Mars Needs Moms
Mars Needs Moms is a sci-fi action children’s movie that focuses on Milo (voiced by Seth Green). Milo’s mom (voiced by Joan Cusack) gets abducted by Martians because the Martians need someone to raise their young. Milo goes on a 3D (surprise!) journey to rescue his mom. This movie seems like it would be a great message for all those kids who can’t stand the way their mom is always harping on them. We’ll give it that.
Its horrid box office failure (a loss of $111,000,000) could be attributed to its unfortunately timed release. It came out just one week after Rango which was so well-loved that it earned $245.7 million on a $135 million budget; and one month after Open Season 3 and Gnomeo & Juliet which were also popular. It was also very close to the extremely hyped up Rio, set to be released the following month. Between the success of the previous movies, and the amount of kids who were likely bouncing out of their high chairs to see Rio, maybe parents just didn’t feel like forking over the money for yet another 3D flick for the kids.
It is scored as 37% on Rotten Tomatoes and has an audience score of 40%, but critics say that it just lacked imagination, lacked heart, was boring, and didn’t convey that great of a message after all because of apparent sexism and too many logical shortcuts. Disney forked out $150,000,000 for production and scraped in a measly $39,000,000 at the box office. Ouch!