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05.19.2017by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Biggest Box Office Bombs of All Time

Guy Ritchie's KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD opened to an awful $14.7 million this past weekend and set up the $175 million budget to be wholly out of reach at the domestic box office. While the worldwide totals may balance things out a bit, KING ARTHUR is on track to be one of the biggest bombs of 2017. Looking at movie history, there have been some pretty hefty bombs at the box office. Adjusting for inflation, here are the biggest financial disasters from major studios since the invention of the movie. If you think we missed one, let us know in the talk backs below. Keep in mind that these numbers are estimates as studios don't typically divulge how much money they lost, so these dollar amounts may be reported differently. I used the highest estimated loss numbers available online.

THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH - $128 million lost

Eddie Murphy began making a string of comedies in the late 90s like THE NUTTY PROFESSOR and DOCTOR DOLITTLE that briefly put him at the top of the box office. But, then Murphy began starring in crap like PLUTO NASH. Somehow, this movie was greenlit for a $100 million budget and got a cast that included Randy Quaid, Rosario Dawson, Joe Pantoliano, Jay Mohr, Luis Guzmán, James Rebhorn, Peter Boyle, Pam Grier, and John Cleese. Worldwide, it managed to only gross $7 million and is recognized as one of the biggest studio failures of all time.

TITAN A.E. - $139 million lost

Due to the bombing of this film, Fox closed their entire animation studio. That is a pretty substantial failure. After breaking with Disney in the 1990s, director Don Bluth had a bunch of hits like ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN and AN AMERICAN TAIL. But, this $100 million animated science fiction epic featuring the voice of Matt Damon in the lead never managed to gain any traction with audiences despite some pretty impressive 2D animation. We can probably thank the rise of CGI feature films for this movie failing.

CUTTHROAT ISLAND - $140 million lost

When you think of the pairing of Renny Harlin and Geena Davis, you likely think fondly of THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT or about the abysmal failure of CUTTHROAT ISLAND. Pirate movies didn't make a comeback in Hollywoood until PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN thanks to this movie which balanced comedy and romance alongside the swashbuckling action. Still, Matthew Modine and Geena Davis were not enough to help this movie gross more than $18 million at the box office.

TOMORROWLAND - $152 million lost

Disney took a big risk with the original property TOMORROWLAND. But, coming from the co-creator of Lost and the director of some of Pixar's biggest hits (as well as MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL) and starring George Clooney, how could they go wrong? Despite decent reviews, audiences just didn't connect with the mysterious story that they couldn't wrap their heads around. Disney dumped a lot into marketing the film (almost doubling the $190 million production budget) which left the film a dud.

PAN - $152 million lost

Would you be surprised to learn that PAN is estimated to have cost $275 million to make? While the movie looks pretty, it doesn't look $275 million pretty. Worldwide, the Hugh Jackman led origin story grossed just $150 million. Maybe it is time to stop telling the Peter Pan story since the 2003 version of the tale lost almost $100 million, too.

MARS NEEDS MOMS - $153 million lost

To this day, I do not understand why Robert Zemeckis or anyone in Hollywood think the creepy motion capture approach to filmmaking is in any way enjoyable. At least with THE POLAR EXPRESS and BEOWULF you could draw in audiences who are fans of Christmas and bloodshed, respectively. Many people had no idea what to make of the weird MARS NEEDS MOMS. Directed by Simon Wells, great-grandson of the author H.G. Wells, MARS NEEDS MOMS is just awful. Rest assured, Wells is back to working as a story artist on animated films. He cannot hurt you anymore.

47 RONIN - $154 million lost

What happens when you give a film with a budget of almost $200 million to a director (Carl Rinsch) who has never helmed a movie before. Did I mention it is based on a screenplay from the writer of FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT? Yeah, 47 RONIN was a pretty cool movie but it was not nearly good enough to warrant the expense that Universal put into it. This movie single-handedly screwed their profit margin for 2013.

THE 13TH WARRIOR - $185 million lost

John McTiernan is a director we would kill to see new films from. Michael Crichton is the late author of classics like JURASSIC PARK and WESTWORLD. But, the pairing of these two creative minds to adapt the novel Eaters of the Dead into a Beowulf-inspired epic were met with strife behind the scenes. Crichton himself took over the director's chair at one point, resulting in the big budget film languishing in post-production and needing a new edit, new ending, and all new score. Critics ravaged the film which has since gained a cult following but never recovered the massive budget loss.

THE LONE RANGER - $195 million lost

The pairing of director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp helped make Disney a ton of money with PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, so it was shocking that the duo failed at the box office with THE LONE RANGER. Big budget westerns just haven't had much luck in the last few decades, especially when audiences connect the genre with movies like WILD WILD WEST. Outcry from Johnny Depp playing a Native American didn't help matters either. So, when critics ripped the film in advance, THE LONE RANGER was already dead on arrival. Grossing less than $100 million in North America and $160 million overseas may have been the nail in the coffin for Depp's reign at the box office.

JOHN CARTER - $209 million lost

One of the biggest marketing blunders of all time, JOHN CARTER should have been a hit for Disney. But, when your production budget is close to $300 million, you have to spend more than $50 million on marketing. In the end, JOHN CARTER didn't even crack the amount of it's budget at the worldwide box office and resulted in a $200 million loss for Disney. Despite involvement from FINDING NEMO director Andrew Stanton and the support of Pixar, Disney botched the release of what should have been the start of a major franchise. With all factors taken into account, JOHN CARTER represents the biggest bomb of all time.

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+0
1:15AM on 05/21/2017

Other than....

Desperado, I think the 13th Warrior is Antonio Baderas best movie! Yes, even better than Assassins and the Legend of Zorro!
Desperado, I think the 13th Warrior is Antonio Baderas best movie! Yes, even better than Assassins and the Legend of Zorro!
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12:30PM on 05/20/2017
John Carter and Tomorrowland were not that bad actually. Quite enjoyable flicks if you are just looking for an easy way to kill time and entertain yourself for a couple of hours. What I find amazing though is those crazy budgets. How on earth can a film cost $300 million?
John Carter and Tomorrowland were not that bad actually. Quite enjoyable flicks if you are just looking for an easy way to kill time and entertain yourself for a couple of hours. What I find amazing though is those crazy budgets. How on earth can a film cost $300 million?
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10:54PM on 05/19/2017
Not an accurate list; most financial sites will put 47 Ronin, Cutthroat & Pluto Nash ahead of John Carter. Marketing aside (most studios will argue it shouldn't factor in as the marketing and production budgets and departments are two separate entities, it's a grey area, especially when you hear how many producers, directors and writers get pissed about how the studio mishandled the marketing), John Carter & Lone Ranger actually cleared their production budgets worldwide (granted, not by much).
Not an accurate list; most financial sites will put 47 Ronin, Cutthroat & Pluto Nash ahead of John Carter. Marketing aside (most studios will argue it shouldn't factor in as the marketing and production budgets and departments are two separate entities, it's a grey area, especially when you hear how many producers, directors and writers get pissed about how the studio mishandled the marketing), John Carter & Lone Ranger actually cleared their production budgets worldwide (granted, not by much). A bomb to me would be a movie like "Heaven's Gate" or "Cutthroat Island", which made less than 10% of their budgets AND bankrupted an entire studio (UA and Carolco, respectively). The jury is also out on how much "Battlefield Earth" actually cost, plus all the ensuing lawsuits which would actually put that film in a massive loss.
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10:14PM on 05/19/2017

Out of this list...

"The Lone Ranger" and "Tomorrowland" sting the most because BOTH of them are, seriously, phenomenal films when/if someone takes the *actual* fucking time to sit down & watch them instead of just dissing them sight-unseen.

Disney fkd up the marketing of John Carter. A simple "..Of Mars." added to the title would've done SOOO much more. Excellent adventure. 110% Underrated.
"The Lone Ranger" and "Tomorrowland" sting the most because BOTH of them are, seriously, phenomenal films when/if someone takes the *actual* fucking time to sit down & watch them instead of just dissing them sight-unseen.

Disney fkd up the marketing of John Carter. A simple "..Of Mars." added to the title would've done SOOO much more. Excellent adventure. 110% Underrated.
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3:42PM on 05/19/2017
13th Warrior was a solid movie. All the rest is no big surprise.
13th Warrior was a solid movie. All the rest is no big surprise.
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1:44PM on 05/19/2017
I haven't seen all of these movies, but those I did - I enjoyed. The 13th Warrior was an enjoyable action flick and John Carter, while not great, wasn't half bad either.
I haven't seen all of these movies, but those I did - I enjoyed. The 13th Warrior was an enjoyable action flick and John Carter, while not great, wasn't half bad either.
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11:11AM on 05/19/2017
Huge fan of The 13th Warrior, great movie. Also loved The Lone Ranger and Tomorrowland, shame they didn't connect because they had franchise potential. But, I can see why the rest bombed they just weren't good movies in my opinion.
Huge fan of The 13th Warrior, great movie. Also loved The Lone Ranger and Tomorrowland, shame they didn't connect because they had franchise potential. But, I can see why the rest bombed they just weren't good movies in my opinion.
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3:28PM on 05/19/2017
Really Vits? I have to spell it out for you? The rest of the films on the list, not the three I loved. Is that better?
Really Vits? I have to spell it out for you? The rest of the films on the list, not the three I loved. Is that better?
12:38PM on 05/19/2017
You loved them yet you didn't they were good?
You loved them yet you didn't they were good?
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11:06AM on 05/19/2017
The Lone Ranger, while incredibly and unnecessarily long, still had some very enjoyable action scenes.
The Lone Ranger, while incredibly and unnecessarily long, still had some very enjoyable action scenes.
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11:06AM on 05/19/2017

Titan AE

I'm one of the 20 people that saw it in theaters, and my buddies and I loved it! Would have been a pretty big hit if they had just made it live action instead...
I'm one of the 20 people that saw it in theaters, and my buddies and I loved it! Would have been a pretty big hit if they had just made it live action instead...
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+0
10:54AM on 05/19/2017

I love The 13th Warrior

It's a wonderful movie with lots of mystery and fantasy to its core.. but I would have never guessed that it costed so much to make
It's a wonderful movie with lots of mystery and fantasy to its core.. but I would have never guessed that it costed so much to make
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3:32PM on 05/19/2017
Me too! On both counts, I always thought it was moderately successful when it came out, until I found out what a flop it was a couple years ago in a similar article. Shame. I find it a classic.
Me too! On both counts, I always thought it was moderately successful when it came out, until I found out what a flop it was a couple years ago in a similar article. Shame. I find it a classic.
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10:44AM on 05/19/2017
i really liked john carter and tomorrowland
i really liked john carter and tomorrowland
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10:40AM on 05/19/2017
John Carter, Lone Ranger, and Pan are all great. Need to finally watch tomorrowland on my dvr
John Carter, Lone Ranger, and Pan are all great. Need to finally watch tomorrowland on my dvr
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+0
10:29AM on 05/19/2017
-PLUTO NASH - 0/10
-PAN - 1/10
-THE LONE RANGER - 3/10
-47 RONIN; MARS NEEDS MOMS - 5/10
-JOHN CARTER - 6/10
-TOMORROWLAND - 8/10
-PLUTO NASH - 0/10
-PAN - 1/10
-THE LONE RANGER - 3/10
-47 RONIN; MARS NEEDS MOMS - 5/10
-JOHN CARTER - 6/10
-TOMORROWLAND - 8/10
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