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 an accurate 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 a profit. Cleopatra nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox with production and marketing costs of US$44 million and numerous delays.[4][5] Despite becoming the highest-grossing film of 1963 it failed to recoup its investment during its theatrical release,[4] and eventually broke even in 1966 when Fox sold the television broadcast rights to ABC for $5 million.[6] The total costs for Waterworld (1995) exceeded $300 million and it was perceived as a disaster at the time, despite grossing $264 million worldwide. It also eventually broke even through other revenue streams.[7][8] Such films are still cited as high-risk examples in evaluating the prospects of future film productions.[7] For example, Cleopatra was considered the film that killed big-budget epic films in the 1960s.[9]

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 $75 million or higher).

  film currently playing Background shading indicates films playing in the week commencing 16 April 2021 in theaters around the world.
Biggest box office bombs
Title Year Net production budget
(millions)
Worldwide gross
(millions)
Estimated loss (millions) Ref.
Nominal Adjusted for inflation [nb 1]
The 13th Warrior 1999 $100–160 $61.7 $69–129 $106–198 [# 1]
47 Ronin 2013 $175–225 $151.8 $97 $106 [# 2]
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988 $46.6 $8.1 $38.5 $83 [# 3]
The Adventures of Pluto Nash 2002 $100 $7.1 $96 $136 [# 4]
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle 2000 $76–98.6 $35.1 $63.5 $94 [# 5]
The Alamo 2004 $107 $25.8 $94 $127 [# 6]
Alexander 2004 $155 $167.3 $71 $96 [# 7]
Ali 2001 $107 $87.7 $63 $91 [# 8]
Alice Through the Looking Glass 2016 $170 $299.5 $70+ $75+ [# 9]
Allied 2016 $85 $118.6 $75–90 $80–96 [# 10]
Around the World in 80 Days 2004 $110 $72.2 $74 $100 [# 11]
The Astronaut's Wife 1999 $75 $19.6 $65 $100 [# 12]
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever 2002 $70 $19.9 $70.1 $100 [# 13]
Battlefield Earth 2000 $73–103 $29.7 $73.3 $109 [# 14]
Battleship 2012 $209–220 $303 $150 $167 [# 15]
Beloved 1998 $80 $22.9 $68.5 $107 [# 16]
Ben-Hur 2016 $100 $94.1 $75–121.7 $80–128 [# 17]
The BFG 2016 $140 $179.6 $71–100 $76–107 [# 18]
Blackhat 2015 $70 $19.7 $68–90 $73–97 [# 19]
Blade Runner 2049 2017 $150–185 $260.5 $80 $83 [# 20]
The Call of the Wild 2020 $125–150 $107.6 $50–100 $50–100 [# 21]
Cats 2019 $90–100 $73.7 $71–113.6 $71–114 [# 22]
Chill Factor 1999 $70 $11.8 $64 $98 [# 23]
A Christmas Carol 2009 $175–200 $325.3 $50–100 $60–135 [# 24]
The Chronicles of Riddick 2004 $105–120 $115.8 $47–73 $64–99 [# 25]
The Cotton Club 1984 $47 $25.9 $32.1 $79 [# 26]
Cutthroat Island[nb 2] 1995 $98 $18.3 $105 $176 [# 27]
Dark Phoenix 2019 $200 $252.4 $79–133 $80–135 [# 28]
Deepwater Horizon 2016 $110–120 $119.5 $60–112 $64–119 [# 29]
Doctor Dolittle 1967 $17 $9 $10.8 $83 [# 30]
Dolittle 2020 $175 $227.9 $50–100 $50–100 [# 31]
Driven 2001 $94 $54.7 $67 $97 [# 32]
Dudley Do-Right 1999 $70 $10 $65 $100 [# 33]
Ender's Game 2013 $110 $125.5 $68 $75 [# 34]
Evan Almighty 2007 $175 $173.4 $88 $109 [# 35]
The Fall of the Roman Empire 1964 $18.4 $4.8 $14.3 $118 [# 36]
Fantastic Four 2015 $120–125 $168 $80–100 $86–108 [# 37]
Fathers' Day 1997 $85 $35.7 $67 $107 [# 38]
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 2001 $137 $85.1 $94 $136 [# 39]
The Finest Hours 2016 $70–80 $52.1 $75 $80 [# 40]
Gemini Man 2019 $138 $173.5 $111.1 $111 [# 41]
Geostorm 2017 $120 $221.6 $71.6 $75 [# 42]
Ghostbusters 2016 $144 $229.1 $75 $80 [# 43]
Gigli 2003 $75.6 $7.3 $72 $100 [# 44]
Gods of Egypt 2016 $140 $150.7 $76–90 $81–96 [# 45]
The Good Dinosaur 2015 $175–200 $332.2 $85 $92 [# 46]
The Great Raid 2005 $80 $10.8 $75 $98 [# 47]
The Great Wall 2016 $150 $332 $75 $80 [# 48]
Green Lantern 2011 $200 $219.9 $75 $85 [# 49]
Hard Rain 1998 $70 $19.9 $60 $94 [# 50]
Hart's War 2002 $70–95 $32.3 $62.7 $100–135 [# 51]
Heaven's Gate 1980 $44 $3.5 $40.5 $126 [# 52]
How Do You Know 2010 $100 $48.7 $105 $123 [# 53]
Hudson Hawk 1991 $65 $17.2 $47.8 $90 [# 54]
Hugo 2011 $150–170 $185.8 $91 $103 [# 55]
The Huntsman: Winter's War 2016 $115 $165 $75 $80 [# 56]
Inchon 1982 $46 $5.2 $40.8 $108 [# 57]
Instinct 1999 $80 $34.1 $63 $97 [# 58]
The Invasion 2007 $80 $40 $71 $88 [# 59]
Ishtar 1987 $51–55 $14.4 $40.6 $91 [# 60]
Jack Frost 1998 $40–85 $34.6 $68 $107 [# 61]
Jack the Giant Slayer 2013 $185–200 $197.7 $105 $115 [# 62]
John Carter 2012 $263.7 $284.1 $114–200 $127–223 [# 63]
Jupiter Ascending 2015 $175 $184 $95–120 $102–129 [# 64]
K-19: The Widowmaker 2002 $100 $65.7 $67 $95 [# 65]
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 2017 $175 $148.7 $114–153.2 $119–160 [# 66]
Krull 1983 $27 $16.5 $33.5 $86 [# 67]
Land of the Lost 2009 $100 $68.8 $64 $76 [# 68]
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return 2014 $70 $20.1 $71 $77 [# 69]
Live by Night 2016 $65 $22.3 $75 $80 [# 70]
Lolita 1997 $62 $1.1 $61 $97 [# 71]
The Lone Ranger 2013 $225–250 $260.5 $160–190 $176–209 [# 72]
Lucky You 2007 $55 $8.4 $61 $75 [# 73]
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 2015 $75 $109.8 $80 $86 [# 74]
Mars Needs Moms 2011 $150 $39 $100–144 $114–164 [# 75]
Missing Link 2019 $102.3 $26.2 $101.3 $101 [# 76]
Monkeybone 2001 $75 $7.6 $71 $103 [# 77]
Monster Trucks 2016 $125 $64.5 $109–123.1 $116–131 [# 78]
Mortal Engines 2018 $110 $83.7 $174.8 $178 [# 79]
Mulan 2020 $200 $66.8 $147 $147 [# 80]
The Mummy 2017 $195 $410 $60–95 $63–99 [# 81]
The Nutcracker in 3D 2010 $90 $20.5 $82 $96 [# 82]
Onward 2020 $175–200 $142 $135 $135 [# 83]
Osmosis Jones 2001 $70 $14 $63 $91 [# 84]
Pan 2015 $150 $128.4 $85–150 $92–162 [# 85]
Peter Pan 2003 $130.6 $122 $70 $97 [# 86]
Pixels 2015 $88 $244.9 $75 $81 [# 87]
Poseidon 2006 $160 $181.7 $77 $98 [# 88]
The Postman 1997 $80 $20.8 $70 $111 [# 89]
Power Rangers 2017 $100 $142.3 $76 $79 [# 90]
The Promise 2016 $90 $10.6 $93–102.1 $99–109 [# 91]
R.I.P.D. 2013 $130–154 $78.3 $91–93 $100–102 [# 92]
Red Planet 2000 $80 $33.5 $63 $94 [# 93]
Rise of the Guardians 2012 $145 $306.9 $87 $97 [# 94]
Robin Hood 2018 $100 $85.7 $83.7 $85 [# 95]
Rollerball 2002 $70 $25.9 $54 $77 [# 96]
Sahara 2005 $160 $119.2 $78.4 $103 [# 97]
Seventh Son 2015 $95 $114.2 $85 $92 [# 98]
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas 2003 $60 $80.8 $125 $174 [# 99]
Soldier 1998 $60–75 $14.6 $60 $94 [# 100]
Solo: A Star Wars Story 2018 $250 $393.2 $76.9 $78 [# 101]
A Sound of Thunder 2005 $80 $11.7 $74 $97 [# 102]
Speed Racer 2008 $120 $93.9 $80 $95 [# 103]
Sphere 1998 $73–80 $50.2 $61 $96 [# 104]
Stealth 2005 $135 $79.3 $96 $126 [# 105]
Supernova 2000 $90 $14.8 $83 $123 [# 106]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 2016 $135 $245.6 $75 $80 [# 107]
Tenet film currently playing 2020 $200 $363.1 $50–100 $50–100 [# 108]
Terminator: Dark Fate 2019 $185–196 $261.1 $110–130 $112–132 [# 109]
Titan A.E. 2000 $75–90 $36.8 $100 $148 [# 110]
Tomorrowland 2015 $180–190 $209 $90–150 $97–162 [# 111]
Town & Country 2001 $90 $10.4 $85 $123 [# 112]
Transformers: The Last Knight 2017 $217 $605.4 $100+ $104+ [# 113]
Treasure Planet 2002 $140 $109.6 $85 $121 [# 114]
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 2017 $177.2–180 $225.9 $82 $86 [# 115]
Windtalkers 2002 $115–120 $77.6 $76–81 $108–115 [# 116]
The Wolfman 2010 $150 $139.8 $76 $89 [# 117]
Wonder Woman 1984 film currently playing 2020 $200 $166.3 $100 $100 [# 118]
A Wrinkle in Time 2018 $125 $133.4 $130.6 $133 [# 119]
xXx: State of the Union 2005 $113.1 $71 $78 $102 [# 120]
Zoom 2006 $75.6 $12.5 $69 $88 [# 121]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  2. ^ Cutthroat Island was once listed as having the "largest box office loss" by Guinness World Records,[10][11] 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. ^ a b Galloway, Stephen (September 9, 2019). "Hollywood History Questions Answered: What Movie Was the Biggest Bomb Ever?". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  5. ^ Hall, Sheldon; Neale, Stephen (2010). Epics, spectacles, and blockbusters: a Hollywood history. Wayne State University Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-8143-3008-1. With top tickets set at an all-time high of $5.50,Cleopatra had amassed as much as $20 million in such guarantees from exhibitors even before its premiere. Fox claimed the film had cost in total $44 million, of which $31,115,000 represented the direct negative cost and the rest distribution, print and advertising expenses. (These figures excluded the more than $5 million spent on the production's abortive British shoot in 1960–61, prior to its relocation to Italy.) By 1966 worldwide rentals had reached $38,042,000 including $23.5 million from the United States.
  6. ^ Block, Alex Ben; Wilson, Lucy Autrey, eds. (2010). George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success. HarperCollins. pp. 434 & 461. ISBN 9780061778896.
  7. ^ a b Fleming Jr., Mike (August 7, 2013). "Isn't It Time To Take 'Waterworld' Off The All-Time Flop List?". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 8, 2015.
  8. ^ Stewart, Andrew (August 11, 2012). "B.O. reality gets lost in perception". Variety. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  9. ^ Patterson, John (July 15, 2013). "Cleopatra, the film that killed off big-budget epics". The Guardian. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  10. ^ "Largest Box Office Loss". Guinness World Records. HIT Entertainment. Archived from the original on November 27, 2005. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  11. ^ 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. ^ Battleship
  16. ^ Beloved
  17. ^ Ben-Hur
  18. ^ The BFG
  19. ^ Blackhat
  20. ^ Blade Runner 2049
  21. ^ The Call of the Wild
  22. ^ Cats
  23. ^ Chill Factor
  24. ^ A Christmas Carol
  25. ^ The Chronicles of Riddick
  26. ^ The Cotton Club
  27. ^ Cutthroat Island
  28. ^ Dark Phoenix
  29. ^ Deepwater Horizon
  30. ^ Doctor Doolittle
  31. ^ Dolittle (2020)
  32. ^ Driven
  33. ^ Dudley Do-Right
  34. ^ Ender's Game
  35. ^ Evan Almighty
  36. ^ The Fall of the Roman Empire
  37. ^ Fantastic Four
  38. ^ Father's Day
  39. ^ Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  40. ^ The Finest Hours
  41. ^ Gemini Man
  42. ^ Geostorm
  43. ^ Ghostbusters
  44. ^ Gigli
  45. ^ Gods of Egypt
  46. ^ The Good Dinosaur
  47. ^ The Great Raid
  48. ^ The Great Wall
  49. ^ Green Lantern
  50. ^ Hard Rain
  51. ^ Hart's War
  52. ^ Heaven's Gate
  53. ^ How Do You Know
  54. ^ Hudson Hawk
  55. ^ Hugo
  56. ^ The Huntsman
  57. ^ Inchon
  58. ^ Instinct
  59. ^ The Invasion
  60. ^ Ishtar
  61. ^ Jack Frost
  62. ^ Jack the Giant Slayer
  63. ^ John Carter
  64. ^ Jupiter Ascending
  65. ^ K-19: The Widowmaker
  66. ^ King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  67. ^ Krull
  68. ^ Land of the Lost
  69. ^ Legends of Oz
  70. ^ Live by Night
  71. ^ Lolita
  72. ^ The Lone Ranger
  73. ^ Lucky You
  74. ^ The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  75. ^ Mars Needs Moms
  76. ^ Missing Link
  77. ^ Monkeybone
  78. ^ Monster Trucks
  79. ^ Mortal Engines
  80. ^ Mulan
  81. ^ The Mummy
  82. ^ The Nutcracker in 3D
  83. ^ Onward
  84. ^ Osmosis Jones
  85. ^ Pan
  86. ^ Peter Pan
  87. ^ Pixels
  88. ^ Poseidon
  89. ^ The Postman
  90. ^ Power Rangers
  91. ^ The Promise
  92. ^ R.I.P.D.
  93. ^ Red Planet
  94. ^ Rise of the Guardians
  95. ^ Robin Hood
  96. ^ Rollerball
  97. ^ Sahara
  98. ^ Seventh Son
  99. ^ Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
  100. ^ Soldier
  101. ^ Solo: A Star Wars Story
  102. ^ A Sound of Thunder
  103. ^ Speed Racer
  104. ^ Sphere
  105. ^ Stealth
  106. ^ Supernova
  107. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
  108. ^ Tenet
  109. ^ Terminator: Dark Fate
  110. ^ Titan A.E.
  111. ^ Tomorrowland
  112. ^ Town & Country
  113. ^ Transformers: The Last Knight
  114. ^ Treasure Planet
  115. ^ Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  116. ^ Windtalkers
  117. ^ The Wolfman
  118. ^ Wonder Woman 1984
  119. ^ A Wrinkle in Time
  120. ^ XXX: State of the Union
  121. ^ Zoom

Bibliography[edit]