List of biggest box-office bombs

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In the film and media industry, if a film released in theatres fails to break even by a large amount, it is considered a box office bomb (or box office flop), thus losing money for the distributor, studio, and/or production company that invested in it. Due to the secrecy surrounding costs and profit margins in the film industry, figures of losses are usually rough estimates at best, and there are often conflicting estimates over how much a film has lost. To accommodate this uncertainty the losses are presented as ranges where this is the case and the list is ordered alphabetically in the absence of a definitive order. Because the films on the list have been released over a large span of time currency inflation is also a factor that must be considered, so the losses are adjusted for inflation using the United States Consumer Price Index to enable a fair comparison.

Some films on this list grossed more than their production budgets yet are still regarded as flops. This can be due to Hollywood accounting practices that typically manipulate profits or keep costs secret to avoid profit-sharing agreements,[1] but it is also possible for films to lose money legitimately even when the theatrical gross exceeds the budget. This is because a distributor does not collect the full gross, and the full cost of a film can substantially exceed its production budget once distribution and marketing is taken into account. For example, tax filings in 2010 for Cinemark Theatres show that only 54.5 percent of ticket revenues went to the distributor, with the exhibitor retaining the rest. While the distributor's cut will vary from film to film, a Hollywood studio will typically collect half the gross in the United States and less in other parts of the world. Marketing often represents a substantial share of the overall cost of the picture too: for a film with an average sized budget the promotion and advertising costs are typically half that of the production budget, and in the case of smaller films it is not unusual for the cost of the marketing to be higher than the production budget.[2] In some cases, a company can make profits from a box office bomb when ancillary revenues are taken into account, such as home media sales and rentals, television broadcast rights, and licensing fees, so a film that loses money at the box office can still eventually break even.[3]

There are some films notorious for large production budgets that are commonly thought to be box-office bombs, but have either broken even or turned profit. Cleopatra in 1963 nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox with a production budget of US$44 million (US$365 million in 2019 dollars) and numerous delays, but ultimately brought in US$57.8 million in revenue, was the highest-grossing film in 1963, and went on to win four Oscars.[4] The 1995 Waterworld had a US$172 million budget and numerous delays along with a poor domestic take of US$88 million, with some dubbing it "Fishtar" or "Kevin's Gate" mockingly in reference to other major flops, but the film ended up turning a significant profit with overseas distribution, bringing its total revenues to US$264 million.[5][6] Such films are still cited as high-risk examples in evaluating the prospects of future film productions;[5] for example, Cleopatra was considered the film that killed big-budget epic films in the 1960s.[7]

Biggest box office bombs[edit]

The following list is limited to films that are potentially among the top one hundred box office losses, adjusted for inflation (approximately upper-bound losses of $70 million or higher).

  film currently playing Background shading indicates films playing in the week commencing 13 September 2019 in theaters around the world.
Biggest box office bombs
Title Year Production budget (net) Worldwide Gross Estimated loss Ref.
Nominal Adjusted for inflation [nb 1]
The 13th Warrior 1999 $100,000,000–160,000,000 $61,700,000 $69,000,000–129,000,000 $104,000,000–194,000,000 [# 1]
47 Ronin 2013 $175,000,000–225,000,000 $151,800,000 $97,000,000 $104,000,000 [# 2]
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988 $46,600,000 $8,100,000 $38,500,000 $82,000,000 [# 3]
The Adventures of Pluto Nash 2002 $100,000,000 $7,100,000 $96,000,000 $134,000,000 [# 4]
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle 2000 $76,000,000–98,600,000 $35,100,000 $63,500,000 $92,000,000 [# 5]
The Alamo 2004 $107,000,000 $25,800,000 $94,000,000 $125,000,000 [# 6]
Alexander 2004 $155,000,000 $167,300,000 $71,000,000 $94,000,000 [# 7]
Ali 2001 $107,000,000 $87,700,000 $63,000,000 $89,000,000 [# 8]
Alice Through the Looking Glass 2016 $170,000,000 $299,500,000 $70,000,000+ $73,000,000+ [# 9]
Allied 2016 $85,000,000 $118,600,000 $75,000,000–90,000,000 $78,000,000–94,000,000 [# 10]
Around the World in 80 Days 2004 $110,000,000 $72,200,000 $74,000,000 $98,000,000 [# 11]
The Astronaut's Wife 1999 $75,000,000 $19,600,000 $65,000,000 $98,000,000 [# 12]
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever 2002 $70,000,000 $19,900,000 $70,100,000 $98,000,000 [# 13]
Battlefield Earth 2000 $73,000,000–103,000,000 $29,700,000 $73,300,000 $107,000,000 [# 14]
Beloved 1998 $80,000,000 $22,900,000 $68,500,000 $105,000,000 [# 15]
Ben-Hur 2016 $100,000,000 $94,100,000 $75,000,000–121,700,000 $78,000,000–125,000,000 [# 16]
The BFG 2016 $140,000,000 $179,600,000 $71,000,000–100,000,000 $74,000,000–104,000,000 [# 17]
Blackhat 2015 $70,000,000 $19,700,000 $68,000,000–90,000,000 $72,000,000–95,000,000 [# 18]
Blade Runner 2049 2017 $150,000,000–$185,000,000 $259,100,000 $80,000,000 $82,000,000 [# 19]
Chill Factor 1999 $70,000,000 $11,800,000 $64,000,000 $96,000,000 [# 20]
The Chronicles of Riddick 2004 $105,000,000–120,000,000 $115,800,000 $47,000,000–73,000,000 $62,000,000–97,000,000 [# 21]
Conan the Barbarian 2011 $90,000,000 $48,800,000 $60,000,000–66,000,000 $67,000,000–74,000,000 [# 22]
The Cotton Club 1984 $47,000,000 $25,900,000 $32,100,000 $77,000,000 [# 23]
Cowboys & Aliens 2011 $163,000,000 $174,800,000 $63,000,000–75,000,000 $70,000,000–84,000,000 [# 24]
Cutthroat Island[nb 2] 1995 $98,000,000 $18,300,000 $105,000,000 $173,000,000 [# 25]
Dark Phoenix film currently playing 2019 $200,000,000 $252,400,000 $100,000,000–120,000,000 $100,000,000–120,000,000 [# 26]
Deepwater Horizon 2016 $110,000,000–120,000,000 $119,500,000 $60,000,000–112,000,000 $63,000,000–117,000,000 [# 27]
Doctor Dolittle 1967 $17,000,000 $9,000,000 $10,800,000 $81,000,000 [# 28]
Driven 2001 $94,000,000 $54,700,000 $67,000,000 $95,000,000 [# 29]
Dudley Do-Right 1999 $70,000,000 $10,000,000 $65,000,000 $98,000,000 [# 30]
Ender's Game 2013 $110,000,000 $125,500,000 $68,000,000 $73,000,000 [# 31]
Evan Almighty 2007 $175,000,000 $173,400,000 $88,000,000 $106,000,000 [# 32]
The Fall of the Roman Empire 1964 $18,400,000 $4,800,000 $14,300,000 $116,000,000 [# 33]
Fantastic Four 2015 $120,000,000–125,000,000 $168,000,000 $80,000,000–100,000,000 $85,000,000–106,000,000 [# 34]
Fathers' Day 1997 $85,000,000 $35,700,000 $67,000,000 $105,000,000 [# 35]
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 2001 $137,000,000 $85,100,000 $94,000,000 $133,000,000 [# 36]
The Finest Hours 2016 $70,000,000–80,000,000 $52,100,000 $75,000,000 $78,000,000 [# 37]
Geostorm 2017 $120,000,000 $221,600,000 $71,600,000 $73,000,000 [# 38]
Ghostbusters 2016 $144,000,000 $229,100,000 $75,000,000 $78,000,000 [# 39]
Gigli 2003 $75,600,000 $7,300,000 $72,000,000 $98,000,000 [# 40]
Gods of Egypt 2016 $140,000,000 $150,700,000 $76,000,000–90,000,000 $79,000,000–94,000,000 [# 41]
The Good Dinosaur 2015 $175,000,000–200,000,000 $332,200,000 $85,000,000 $90,000,000 [# 42]
The Great Raid 2005 $80,000,000 $10,800,000 $75,000,000 $96,000,000 [# 43]
The Great Wall 2016 $150,000,000 $332,000,000 $75,000,000 $78,000,000 [# 44]
Green Lantern 2011 $200,000,000 $219,900,000 $75,000,000–90,000,000 $84,000,000–100,000,000 [# 45]
Happy Feet Two 2011 $135,000,000 $158,000,000 $65,000,000 $72,000,000 [# 46]
Hard Rain 1998 $70,000,000 $19,900,000 $60,000,000 $92,000,000 [# 47]
Hart's War 2002 $70,000,000–95,000,000 $32,300,000 $62,700,000 $98,000,000–132,000,000 [# 48]
Heaven's Gate 1980 $44,000,000 $3,500,000 $40,500,000 $123,000,000 [# 49]
How Do You Know 2010 $100,000,000 $48,700,000 $105,000,000 $121,000,000 [# 50]
Hudson Hawk 1991 $65,000,000 $17,200,000 $47,800,000 $88,000,000 [# 51]
Hugo 2011 $150,000,000–170,000,000 $185,800,000 $91,000,000 $101,000,000 [# 52]
The Huntsman: Winter's War 2016 $115,000,000 $165,000,000 $75,000,000 $78,000,000 [# 53]
Inchon 1982 $46,000,000 $5,200,000 $40,800,000 $106,000,000 [# 54]
Instinct 1999 $80,000,000 $34,100,000 $63,000,000 $95,000,000 [# 55]
The Invasion 2007 $80,000,000 $40,000,000 $71,000,000 $86,000,000 [# 56]
Ishtar 1987 $51,000,000–55,000,000 $14,400,000 $40,600,000 $90,000,000 [# 57]
Jack Frost 1998 $85,000,000 $34,600,000 $68,000,000 $105,000,000 [# 58]
Jack the Giant Slayer 2013 $185,000,000–200,000,000 $197,700,000 $105,000,000 $113,000,000 [# 59]
John Carter 2012 $263,700,000 $284,100,000 $126,000,000–200,000,000 $138,000,000–218,000,000 [# 60]
Jupiter Ascending 2015 $175,000,000 $184,000,000 $95,000,000–120,000,000 $100,000,000–127,000,000 [# 61]
Justice League 2017 $300,000,000 $657,900,000 $50,000,000–100,000,000 $51,000,000–102,000,000 [# 62]
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 2017 $175,000,000 $148,700,000 $114,000,000–153,200,000 $117,000,000–157,000,000 [# 63]
K-19: The Widowmaker 2002 $100,000,000 $65,700,000 $67,000,000 $93,000,000 [# 64]
Krull 1983 $27,000,000 $16,500,000 $33,500,000 $84,000,000 [# 65]
Land of the Lost 2009 $100,000,000 $68,800,000 $64,000,000–66,000,000 $75,000,000–77,000,000 [# 66]
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return 2014 $70,000,000 $20,100,000 $71,000,000 $75,000,000 [# 67]
Live by Night 2016 $65,000,000 $22,300,000 $75,000,000 $78,000,000 [# 68]
Lolita 1997 $62,000,000 $1,100,000 $61,000,000 $95,000,000 [# 69]
The Lone Ranger 2013 $225,000,000–250,000,000 $260,500,000 $124,000,000–190,000,000 $133,000,000–204,000,000 [# 70]
Lucky You 2007 $55,000,000 $8,400,000 $61,000,000 $74,000,000 [# 71]
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 2015 $75,000,000 $109,800,000 $80,000,000 $85,000,000 [# 72]
Mars Needs Moms 2011 $150,000,000 $39,000,000 $100,000,000–144,000,000 $111,000,000–160,000,000 [# 73]
Monkeybone 2001 $75,000,000 $7,600,000 $71,000,000 $100,000,000 [# 74]
Monster Trucks 2016 $125,000,000 $64,500,000 $109,000,000–123,100,000 $114,000,000–129,000,000 [# 75]
Mortal Engines 2018 $110,000,000 $83,700,000 $174,800,000 $175,000,000 [# 76]
The Mummy 2017 $195,000,000 $410,000,000 $95,000,000 $97,000,000 [# 77]
The Nutcracker in 3D 2010 $90,000,000 $20,500,000 $82,000,000 $94,000,000 [# 78]
Osmosis Jones 2001 $70,000,000 $14,000,000 $63,000,000 $89,000,000 [# 79]
Pan 2015 $150,000,000 $128,400,000 $85,000,000–150,000,000 $90,000,000–159,000,000 [# 80]
Peter Pan 2003 $130,600,000 $122,000,000 $70,000,000 $95,000,000 [# 81]
Pixels 2015 $88,000,000 $244,900,000 $75,000,000 $79,000,000 [# 82]
Poseidon 2006 $160,000,000 $181,700,000 $69,000,000–77,000,000 $86,000,000–96,000,000 [# 83]
The Postman 1997 $80,000,000 $20,800,000 $70,000,000 $109,000,000 [# 84]
Power Rangers 2017 $100,000,000 $142,300,000 $76,000,000 $78,000,000 [# 85]
The Promise 2016 $90,000,000 $10,500,000 $93,000,000–102,100,000 $97,000,000–107,000,000 [# 86]
R.I.P.D. 2013 $130,000,000–154,000,000 $78,300,000 $91,000,000–93,000,000 $98,000,000–100,000,000 [# 87]
Red Planet 2000 $80,000,000 $33,500,000 $63,000,000 $92,000,000 [# 88]
Rise of the Guardians 2012 $145,000,000 $306,900,000 $87,000,000 $95,000,000 [# 89]
Robin Hood 2018 $100,000,000 $84,800,000 $83,700,000 $84,000,000 [# 90]
Rollerball 2002 $70,000,000 $25,900,000 $54,000,000 $75,000,000 [# 91]
Rush Hour 3 2007 $140,000,000 $258,000,000 $59,000,000 $71,000,000 [# 92]
Sahara 2005 $160,000,000 $119,300,000 $78,400,000–100,000,000 $101,000,000–128,000,000 [# 93]
Seventh Son 2015 $95,000,000 $114,200,000 $85,000,000 $90,000,000 [# 94]
Soldier 1998 $60,000,000–75,000,000 $14,600,000 $60,000,000 $92,000,000 [# 95]
Solo: A Star Wars Story 2018 $250,000,000 $393,200,000 $76,900,000 $77,000,000 [# 96]
A Sound of Thunder 2005 $80,000,000 $11,700,000 $74,000,000 $95,000,000 [# 97]
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas 2003 $60,000,000 $80,800,000 $125,000,000 $170,000,000 [# 98]
Speed Racer 2008 $120,000,000 $93,900,000 $80,000,000 $93,000,000 [# 99]
Sphere 1998 $73,000,000–80,000,000 $50,100,000 $61,000,000 $94,000,000 [# 100]
Stealth 2005 $135,000,000 $76,900,000 $96,000,000 $123,000,000 [# 101]
Supernova 2000 $90,000,000 $14,800,000 $83,000,000 $121,000,000 [# 102]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 2016 $135,000,000 $245,600,000 $75,000,000 $78,000,000 [# 103]
Titan A.E. 2000 $75,000,000–90,000,000 $36,800,000 $100,000,000 $145,000,000 [# 104]
Tomorrowland 2015 $180,000,000–190,000,000 $209,200,000 $90,000,000–150,000,000 $95,000,000–159,000,000 [# 105]
Town & Country 2001 $90,000,000 $10,400,000 $85,000,000 $120,000,000 [# 106]
Transformers: The Last Knight 2017 $217,000,000 $605,400,000 $100,000,000+ $102,000,000+ [# 107]
Treasure Planet 2002 $140,000,000 $109,600,000 $85,000,000 $118,000,000 [# 108]
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 2017 $177,200,000–180,000,000 $225,900,000 $82,000,000 $84,000,000 [# 109]
Windtalkers 2002 $115,000,000–120,000,000 $77,600,000 $76,000,000–81,000,000 $106,000,000–113,000,000 [# 110]
The Wolfman 2010 $150,000,000 $139,800,000 $76,000,000 $87,000,000 [# 111]
A Wrinkle in Time 2018 $125,000,000 $133,400,000 $130,600,000 $131,000,000 [# 112]
xXx: State of the Union 2005 $113,100,000 $71,000,000 $78,000,000 $100,000,000 [# 113]
Zoom 2006 $75,600,000 $12,500,000 $69,000,000 $86,000,000 [# 114]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  2. ^ Cutthroat Island was once listed as having the "largest box office loss" by Guinness World Records,[8][9] but the category has since been retired.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Susman, Gary (April 14, 2015). "The 19 Biggest Box Office Bombs in Movie History". Moviefone. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  2. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (January 31, 2011). "How much money does a movie need to make to be profitable?". io9. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  3. ^ Davidson, Adam (June 26, 2012). "How Does the Film Industry Actually Make Money". The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  4. ^ Galloway, Stephen (September 9, 2019). "Hollywood History Questions Answered: What Movie Was the Biggest Bomb Ever?". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Fleming Jr., Mike (August 7, 2013). "Isn't It Time To Take 'Waterworld' Off The All-Time Flop List?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  6. ^ "Waterworld (1995)". Box Office Mojo. September 26, 1995. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  7. ^ Patterson, John (July 15, 2013). "Cleopatra, the film that killed off big-budget epics". The Guardian. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "Largest Box Office Loss". Guinness World Records. HIT Entertainment. Archived from the original on November 27, 2005. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  9. ^ McClintock, Pamela (July 8, 2013). "Why 'Mars Needs Moms' bombed for Disney". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 16, 2013. Other infamous financial flops include Renny Harlin's pirate pic Cutthroat Island -- listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest bomb of all time -- Sahara, The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Gigli.

Chart sources[edit]

  1. ^ The 13th Warrior
  2. ^ 47 Ronin
  3. ^ The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  4. ^ The Adventures of Pluto Nash
  5. ^ The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
  6. ^ The Alamo
  7. ^ Alexander
  8. ^ Ali
  9. ^ Alice Through the Looking Glass
  10. ^ Allied
  11. ^ Around the World in 80 Days
  12. ^ The Astronaut's Wife
  13. ^ Ballistic
  14. ^ Battlefield Earth
  15. ^ Beloved
  16. ^ Ben-Hur
  17. ^ The BFG
  18. ^ Blackhat
  19. ^ Blade Runner 2049
  20. ^ Chill Factor
  21. ^ The Chronicles of Riddick
  22. ^ Conan the Barbarian
  23. ^ The Cotton Club
  24. ^ Cowboys & Aliens
  25. ^ Cutthroat Island
  26. ^ Dark Phoenix
  27. ^ Deepwater Horizon
  28. ^ Doctor Doolittle
  29. ^ Driven
  30. ^ Dudley Do-Right
  31. ^ Ender's Game
  32. ^ Evan Almighty
  33. ^ The Fall of the Roman Empire
  34. ^ Fantastic Four
  35. ^ Father's Day
  36. ^ Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  37. ^ The Finest Hours
  38. ^ Geostorm
  39. ^ Ghostbusters
  40. ^ Gigli
  41. ^ Gods of Egypt
  42. ^ The Good Dinosaur
  43. ^ The Great Raid
  44. ^ The Great Wall
  45. ^ Green Lantern
  46. ^ Happy Feet Two
  47. ^ Hard Rain
  48. ^ Hart's War
  49. ^ Heaven's Gate
  50. ^ How Do You Know
  51. ^ Hudson Hawk
  52. ^ Hugo
  53. ^ The Huntsman
  54. ^ Inchon
  55. ^ Instinct
  56. ^ The Invasion
  57. ^ Ishtar
  58. ^ Jack Frost
  59. ^ Jack the Giant Slayer
  60. ^ John Carter
  61. ^ Jupiter Ascending
  62. ^ Justice League
  63. ^ King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  64. ^ K-19: The Widowmaker
  65. ^ Krull
  66. ^ Land of the Lost
  67. ^ Legends of Oz
  68. ^ Live by Night
  69. ^ Lolita
  70. ^ The Lone Ranger
  71. ^ Lucky You
  72. ^ The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  73. ^ Mars Needs Moms
  74. ^ Monkeybone
  75. ^ Monster Trucks
  76. ^ Mortal Engines
  77. ^ The Mummy
  78. ^ The Nutcracker in 3D
  79. ^ Osmosis Jones
  80. ^ Pan
  81. ^ Peter Pan
  82. ^ Pixels
  83. ^ Poseidon
  84. ^ The Postman
  85. ^ Power Rangers
  86. ^ The Promise
  87. ^ R.I.P.D.
  88. ^ Red Planet
  89. ^ Rise of the Guardians
  90. ^ Robin Hood
  91. ^ Rollerball
  92. ^ Rush Hour 3
  93. ^ Sahara
  94. ^ Seventh Son
  95. ^ Soldier
  96. ^ Solo: A Star Wars Story
  97. ^ A Sound of Thunder
  98. ^ Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
  99. ^ Speed Racer
  100. ^ Sphere
  101. ^ Stealth
  102. ^ Supernova
  103. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
  104. ^ Titan A.E.
  105. ^ Tomorrowland
  106. ^ Town & Country
  107. ^ Transformers: The Last Knight
  108. ^ Treasure Planet
  109. ^ Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  110. ^ Windtalkers
  111. ^ The Wolfman
  112. ^ A Wrinkle in Time
  113. ^ XXX: State of the Union
  114. ^ Zoom

Bibliography[edit]