Films That Prove Big-Budget Productions Don’t Equal Box Office Hits

Just because a movie has a big-time budget, it doesn’t mean it will be successful. Many films flop, such as How Do You Know, only grossing $48.7 million off a $120 million budget, proving big-name actors and money don’t equate to a movie good.

Sit back, relax, and maybe add these upcoming big-budget flops to a do-not-watch list.

Gods And Generals

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Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

While historians praised Gods and Generals for its historical accuracy, it didn’t save the film from flopping at the box office against a big-time budget of $56 million. Following the early days of the Civil War, the period drama had great bones with nothing holding it together.

Grossing only $12.8 million at the box office, reviewers said the movie was “Filled with two-dimensional characters and pompous self-righteousness, Gods and Generals is a long, tedious sit.”

Stealth

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Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

The 2005 military sci-fi film Stealth wound up achieving one of the biggest losses in cinematic history. Following the story of three pilots, as they help develop a robotic aircraft, the film should have been intriguing.

Instead, it fell flat and wound up grossing only $79 million worldwide against a $135 million budget.

The Last Castle

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Dreamworks Pictures
Dreamworks Pictures

Not only did The Last Castle have an interesting plot of inmate versus warden of a military prison, but it also had a large budget of $72 million to work with. Alas, all the money in the studio’s budget couldn’t save this film from being a flop.

At the box office, The Last Castle grossed $27.6 million, with critics calling it is “a losing battle with an implausible script.”

Flyboys

flyboys
MGM Distribution Co.
MGM Distribution Co.

The World War I film Flyboys proves that not all storylines are properly executed. This film follows the Lafayette Escadrille, the 124th air squadron, as they enlist, train, and go to fight in the war.

On a big budget of $60 million, Flyboys soared into the ground and flopped, only grossing $17.8 million at the box office. The film was one of the biggest flops of the year.

Town & Country

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New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

With a budget of $90 million, the star-studded film Town & Country should have been a hit. Alas, it is considered one of the biggest box-office flops in American film history.

Even Diane Keaton, Warren Beatty, and Goldie Hawn couldn’t bring the numbers up, leaving the film to gross a low $10 million at the box office.

Virus

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Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Jamie Lee Curtis, an alien virus, and cyborg slaves should have been the recipe for a great movie, especially since it was on a $75 million budget. Virus didn’t find success until years later when it gained a cult following.

But movies don’t gain cult followings for being good. Virus was a total flop, garnering bad reviews and grossing $30.7 million, less than half of its original budget.

R.I.P.D.

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Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

While R.I.P.D. was a dream idea for those who enjoy the supernatural, the Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds-led film was a total bomb at the box office. On a large $130 million budget, R.I.P.D. Only grossed $78 million.

Kyle Smith of the New York Post said, “For a movie that so strenuously rips off Ghostbusters and Men in Black, R.I.P.D. manages to come up with fresh new ways of being absolutely terrible.”

Monkeybone

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20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Brendan Fraser stars as Stu Miley in the comedy Monkeybone, a film about a cartoonist on the verge of stardom before finding himself in a freak accident.

With a mixture of live-action and stop-action animation, the big-budget film, a solid $75 million, flopped at the box office, only grossing $7.5 million worldwide.

Cutthroat Island

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Lionsgate Entertainment
Lionsgate Entertainment

Whether it was the soon-to-be-defunct production company Carolco’s lack of caring, poor casting decisions, or director Renny Harlin’s hubris coming off two successful films, it didn’t stop Cutthroat Island from being a flop.

The 1995 film became the downfall of the pirate genre. Cutthroat Island had an outrageous budget of $98 million and only grossed $10 million at the box office, becoming one of the biggest bombs in history.

Blackhat

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Legendary Pictures
Legendary Pictures

The 2015 film Blackhat starring Chris Hemsworth, had a good premise — convicted hacker helps the FBI on a cyberterrorist case — but it still fell flat. With a $70 million budget, the movie only grossed $19.7 million at the box office, a major flop.

Hemsworth wasn’t even satisfied with his performance, saying, “I didn’t enjoy what I did in the film…It just felt flat, and it was also an attempt to do what I thought people might have wanted to see.”

The Adventures Of Pluto Nash

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Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Starring Eddie Murphy as the title character, The Adventures of Pluto Nash is most notable for being a box office flop, despite its outrageously large budget of $100 million.

In the end, the film about a moon-based gangster comedy was a critical and commercial failure, only grossing $7.1 million at the box office. Director Ron Underwood has even gone on record saying the film didn’t have a “core piece of storytelling like the mid-life crisis.”

The Promise

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Open Road Films
Open Road Films

Set in the years before the fall of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise should have been an epic period piece full of drama. Instead, the big-budget historical film wastes a good plot on a love triangle that fails to engage the audience.

On a $90 million budget, the film only grossed $12.4 million and lost Open Road Films over $100 million. Although, according to the studio, the point of the film wasn’t to make money but to educate the audience.

The Fan

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Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

A psychological sports drama starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes should have been a hit, especially on a big budget of $55 million. As it turns out, the uncomfortable story of an over-obsessive fan kidnapping a baseball player was too much for viewers to handle.

The Fan was a box office flop, only grossing $18.6 million.

3000 Miles To Graceland

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Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

The 2001 film 3000 Miles to Graceland was granted a $62 million production budget, a solid sum for a comedy. But even with the comedic genius of Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, the plot of robbing a casino full of Elvis impersonators just didn’t work.

It was a box office bomb, only grossing $18.7 million and earning five Golden Raspberry Award nominations.

The Great Raid

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Miramax Films
Miramax Films

Even on a budget of $80 million, The Great Raid‘s numerous clichés and old-fashion prisoner of war storyline didn’t leave much to be desired. In the end, the John Dahl World War II film was a major flop.

The movie only covered 15% of its budget at the box office, grossing a low $10.8 million worldwide.

All The King’s Men

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Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Even the star-studded cast of Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Anthony Hopkins couldn’t save All The King’s Men from flopping in the box office. On a $50 million budget, the film only grossed $9.5 million worldwide.

Following the rise and fall of governor Willie Stark, critics called the film Oscar bait that was “depressing and disappointing.”

Monster Trucks

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Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

With a strange “alien in a car with a need for speed” story, it is amazing that Monster Trucks secured a budget of $125 million, on top of money to promote the film.

In the end, the film was a flop and box office bomb, only grossing $64.5 million worldwide. In total, Deadline Hollywood estimates the film lost the studio a solid $123.1 million.

Supernova

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United Artists
United Artists

Even before it was released, the studio MGM thought the 2000 film Supernova was going to be a box office bomb. They were correct. The sci-fi horror movie was a total flop, despite having a major budget of $60–90 million.

After a slew of production issues, Supernova was pretty much unwatchable. It only grossed $14.8 million worldwide for an estimated revenue loss of $83 million.

Timeline

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Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

The 2003 film Timeline follows the story of history and archeology students as they travel back to medieval France to save their professor. Interesting concept with a solid $80 million budget.

Too bad the film wasn’t well-received. Critics thought the film didn’t know its own genre, making it “a corporate thriller crossed with a medieval swashbuckler.” In the end, the film flopped, only grossing $43 million worldwide and losing an estimated $49 million.

The Postman

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Starring Kevin Costner, The Postman is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure that fell short of the mark (very, very short). The 1997 film was an epic failure, despite its massive budget of $80 million.

Worldwide, the movie only grossed $20 million, on top of winning five Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture.

Red Planet

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Trying to save a dying Earth, scientists venture to Mars in hopes of recolonizing the human race. The epic sci-fi film was granted a large budget of $80 million, but its campy 1950s plotline did nothing for viewers, leaving it to become a box office bomb.

The film flopped, grossing only $33 million worldwide.

Turbulence

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The ’90s was a time of action-packed airplane films, like Turbulence. Unfortunately, this film didn’t exactly hit its mark, even with a $55 million budget and an interesting “serial killer takes over an airplane” plot.

A box office flop, the film only grossed $11 million and was called “an absolute bore” by G. Allen Johnson of the San Francisco Examiner.

Father’s Day

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

With a budget of $85 million, Father’s Day somehow manages to make the comedic genius of Robin Williams and Billy Crystal “woefully unfunny,” according to Rotten Tomato reviewers who gave the move a 25% approval rating.

The film was a flop, only grossing a meager $35.7 million at the box office.

Last Man Standing

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New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

The 1996 film Last Man Standing had a big budget of $67 million, yet its bland storyline left nothing to be desired. Critic Roger Ebert even went as far as saying, “This is such a sad, lonely movie.”

In the end, it was a box office flop, grossing a meager $47.3 million against its $67 million budget.

Battlefield Earth: A Saga Of The Year 3000

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

In 2010, Battlefield Earth: A Saga Of The Year 3000 won the Worst Film of the Decade Razzie Award. With a $73 million budget. The sci-fi action film should have become a classic.

Instead, it bombed, bankrupting Franchise Pictures, earning a 3% on Rotten Tomatoes and only grossing $29.7 million.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

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Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

While realistic computer animation was groundbreaking at the time of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 2001 release, it didn’t pay off. The sci-fi video game-inspired film fell flat with both viewers and critics.

It was a box office failure, only grossing $85 million against its $137 million budget. The film is actually blamed for the downfall of the production company Square Pictures.

Hard Rain

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Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

A disaster heist action film, Hard Rain proves that even an all-star cast, including Morgan Freeman, and a high budget isn’t enough to make a good film. Total Film wasn’t wrong, calling the movie the “biggest flop of 1998.”

With a budget of $70 million, the film only grossed $19.9 million at the box office.

Lucky Numbers

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Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

With unlikeable characters, a lack of energy, and too much story that the audience lost interest in, Lucky Numbers wound up being a big-budget flop. With a $63 million budget, the film only grossed a low $10.9 million at the box office.

In his review, critic Roger Ebert said, “By the end of the film, we’re less entertained than relieved.”

How Do You Know

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Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

A romantic comedy, How Do You Know stars big-name actors, including Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson. But even they couldn’t save the writing and plot of the film that made the big-budget production an epic flop.

On a huge $120 million budget, the film only grossed $48.7 million at the box office.

Mars Needs Moms

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Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios

A nine-year-old boy who, after being grounded, realizes he needs to save his mother from a Martian abduction should have been a hit with kids, right? Well, even though the film was met with mixed reviews, it wound up being a major box office bomb, despite its $150 million budget.

In the end, Mars Needs Moms grossed $39 million worldwide for a loss of $100 – $144 million.