Box office disappointments: Top 5


Adam Brannon HeadshotBy Adam Brannon. So Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has tanked at the US box office, taking a paltry $17million in its opening weekend on a budget of around $200million. Ouch! By contrast, Star Wars: the Force Awakens took just shy of $250million in its first few days.

That got me thinking, which other films have been box office disappointments and led to huge losses for their studios? This list isn’t necessarily counting down the biggest box office bombs of all time, rather the films that were actually pretty decent but ended up being a massive let down for their directors, stars and studios.

5) The Ghost in the Shell (2017)

This Hollywood remake of the classic Anime of the same name was plagued by production issues and accusations of white-washing. Scarlett Johansson’s casting as The Major in particular received a massive backlash from fans of the original.

The resulting movie wasn’t all that bad and was much better than I had expected it to be with some great action sequences and stunning visuals. But as tends to be the case, poor word of mouth and pre-release controversy caused Paramount to record the film as a loss.

TOTAL LOSS: $60million

4) The BFG (2016)

It’s unusual to see a film directed by Steven Spielberg on a list celebrating box office disappointments and The BFG deserved so much better.

Praised by critics the world over, this live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s wonderful novel of the same name had a stunning motion-capture performance by Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant.

Unfortunately, audiences weren’t so impressed and despite positive word of mouth, the film tanked at the box office, grossing only $180million worldwide. Disney ended up recording the film as a loss later in the year.

TOTAL LOSS: $100million

3) Poseidon (2006)

Billed as an antidote to those of us who didn’t like the romantic elements of 1997’s box office behemoth, Titanic; Poseidon had the makings of a great disaster film.

Unfortunately, a ballooning budget that ended up reaching $160million and a lacklustre story that featured incredibly wooden characters meant Poseidon sank like a stone upon its release.

It did manage to recoup some of that budget back through home video release, but Warner Bros. still ended up writing the film down as a massive loss.

TOTAL LOSS: $91million

2) The Good Dinosaur (2015)

In the same year that Pixar released the incredible Inside Out, they also decided, for the first time, to release a second animated feature.

That film was The Good Dinosaur, a film that had been plagued by an exceptionally troubled production. From completely redesigning the entire script to firing the original cast of voice actors, Pixar were prepared to take a loss as its budget smashed through $200million.

It had all the makings of a successful animated film. Dinosaurs had proved popular just six months earlier when Jurassic World was released, and the tried and tested story had been used many times before.

Upon its release however, the film received mixed reviews, with many considering it technically beautiful, but not up to the usual standards of its studio. As predicted, Pixar made a loss on the film.

TOTAL LOSS: $86million

1) Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Disaster movies are generally financially solid at the box office, so a film about the tragic incidents on-board the Deepwater Horizon oil rig seemed like a pretty safe bet for Summit Entertainment.

They also had a very bankable star in Mark Wahlberg and some great supporting actors in John Malkovich and Kurt Russell.

The film was very good indeed and really brought across the emotional gravitas that a story like this demand. Unfortunately, no-one could have predicted a poor box office run which resulted in large financial losses for the studio.

TOTAL LOSS: $60million

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