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 a material factor, so losses are adjusted for inflation using the United States Consumer Price Index to enable comparison at equivalent purchasing power.

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 manipulate profits or keep costs secret to circumvent 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 are 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 streaming, 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 and widely seen as box-office bombs that 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] It was among the top ten films of the 1960s,[6] but still failed to recoup its investment during its theatrical release.[4] However, it eventually broke even in 1966 when Fox sold the television broadcast rights to ABC for $5 million.[7] 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.[8][9] Such films are still cited as high-risk examples in evaluating the prospects of future productions.[8] For example, Cleopatra is blamed for a decline in big-budget epic films in the 1960s.[10]

The COVID-19 pandemic, starting around March 2020, caused temporary closure of movie theatres, and distributors moved several films to premier to streaming services such as HBO Max, Disney+, and Peacock with little to no box-office takes. While these films may have had successful runs on these services, the viewership or revenue from these showings are typically not reported and excluded from the box office. As a result, several films from 2020 to 2022 are included on this list, despite potentially having been profitable for their studios through streaming.[11]

Biggest box-office bombs[edit]

The following is a partial list of films that lost the most money, based on documented losses or estimated by expert analysis of various financial factors such as the production budget, marketing and distribution costs, gross box-office receipts and other ancillary revenues. The list is limited to films that are potentially among the top one hundred box-office losses, adjusted for inflation (approximately upper-bound losses of $95 million or higher as of 2023).

  † Background shading indicates films playing in the week commencing 12 April 2024 in theaters around the world.
§ indicates a film released for streaming less than 30 days after it was released theatrically.
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 $126–236 [# 1]
47 Ronin 2013 $175–225 $151.8 $96 $126 [# 2]
The 355 2022 $40–75 $27.7 $93 $105 [# 3]
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988 $46.6 $8.1 $38.5 $99 [# 4]
The Adventures of Pluto Nash 2002 $100 $7.1 $96 $163 [# 5]
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle 2000 $76–98.6 $35.1 $63.5 $112 [# 6]
The Alamo 2004 $107 $25.8 $94 $152 [# 7]
Alexander 2004 $155 $167.3 $71 $115 [# 8]
Ali 2001 $107 $87.7 $63 $108 [# 9]
Allied 2016 $85 $118.6 $75–90 $95–114 [# 10]
Amsterdam 2022 $80 $31.2 $108 $112 [# 11]
Around the World in 80 Days 2004 $110 $72.2 $74 $119 [# 12]
The Astronaut's Wife 1999 $75 $19.6 $65 $119 [# 13]
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever 2002 $70 $19.9 $70.1 $119 [# 14]
Battlefield Earth 2000 $73–103 $29.7 $73.3 $130 [# 15]
Battleship 2012 $209–220 $303 $150 $199 [# 16]
Beloved 1998 $80 $22.9 $68.5 $128 [# 17]
Ben-Hur 2016 $100 $94.1 $75–120 $95–152 [# 18]
The BFG 2016 $140 $179.6 $71–100 $90–127 [# 19]
Black Adam 2022 $190–260 $393 $50–100 $52–104 [# 20]
Blackhat 2015 $70 $19.7 $68–90 $87–116 [# 21]
Blade Runner 2049 2017 $150–185 $260.5 $80 $99 [# 22]
The Call of the Wild 2020 $125–150 $107.6 $50–100 $59–118 [# 23]
Cats 2019 $90–100 $73.7 $71–113.6 $85–135 [# 24]
Chaos Walking 2021 $100 $26.5 $112 $126 [# 25]
Chill Factor 1999 $34–70 $11.8 $64 $117 [# 26]
A Christmas Carol 2009 $175–200 $325.3 $50–100 $71–142 [# 27]
The Chronicles of Riddick 2004 $105–120 $115.8 $47–73 $76–118 [# 28]
Cutthroat Island[nb 2] 1995 $98 $18.3 $105 $210 [# 29]
Dark Phoenix 2019 $200 $252.4 $79–133 $96–161 [# 30]
Deepwater Horizon 2016 $110–120 $119.5 $60–113 $76–143 [# 31]
Doctor Dolittle 1967 $17 $9 $10.8 $99 [# 32]
Dolittle 2020 $175 $227.9 $50–100 $59–118 [# 33]
Driven 2001 $94 $54.7 $67 $115 [# 34]
Dudley Do-Right 1999 $70 $10 $65 $119 [# 35]
Evan Almighty 2007 $175 $173.4 $87 $128 [# 36]
The Fall of the Roman Empire 1964 $18.4 $4.8 $14.3 $140 [# 37]
Fantastic Four 2015 $120–125 $168 $80–100 $103–129 [# 38]
Fathers' Day 1997 $85 $35.7 $67 $127 [# 39]
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 2001 $137 $85.1 $94 $162 [# 40]
The Finest Hours 2016 $70–80 $52.1 $75 $95 [# 41]
Gemini Man 2019 $138 $173.5 $111.1 $132 [# 42]
Ghost in the Shell 2017 $110–180 $169.8 $60–100 $75–124 [# 43]
Ghostbusters 2016 $144 $229.1 $75 $95 [# 44]
Gigli 2003 $75.6 $7.3 $72 $119 [# 45]
Gods of Egypt 2016 $140 $150.7 $76–90 $96–114 [# 46]
The Good Dinosaur 2015 $175–200 $332.2 $85 $109 [# 47]
The Great Raid 2005 $80 $10.8 $75 $117 [# 48]
The Great Wall 2016 $150 $332 $75 $95 [# 49]
Green Lantern 2011 $200 $219.9 $75 $102 [# 50]
Hard Rain 1998 $70 $19.9 $60 $112 [# 51]
Hart's War 2002 $70–95 $32.3 $62.7 $106 [# 52]
Heaven's Gate 1980 $44 $3.5 $40.5 $150 [# 53]
How Do You Know 2010 $100 $48.7 $104 $145 [# 54]
Hudson Hawk 1991 $65 $17.2 $47.8 $107 [# 55]
Hugo 2011 $150–170 $185.8 $91 $123 [# 56]
The Huntsman: Winter's War 2016 $115 $165 $75 $95 [# 57]
Inchon 1982 $46 $5.2 $40.8 $129 [# 58]
Instinct 1999 $80 $34.1 $63 $115 [# 59]
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny 2023 $295 $384 $134 $134 [# 60]
The Invasion 2007 $80 $40 $71 $104 [# 61]
Ishtar 1987 $51–55 $14.4 $40.6 $109 [# 62]
Jack Frost 1998 $40–85 $34.6 $68 $127 [# 63]
Jack the Giant Slayer 2013 $185–200 $197.7 $103 $135 [# 64]
John Carter 2012 $263.7 $284.1 $112–200 $149–265 [# 65]
Jungle Cruise § 2021 $200 $220.9 $150 $169 [# 66]
Jupiter Ascending 2015 $175 $184 $95–120 $122–154 [# 67]
K-19: The Widowmaker 2002 $100 $65.7 $67 $113 [# 68]
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 2017 $175 $148.7 $112–153.2 $139–190 [# 69]
Krull 1983 $27 $16.5 $33.5 $102 [# 70]
The Last Duel 2021 $100 $30.6 $99 $111 [# 71]
Lightyear 2022 $200 $226.4 $106–122 $110–127 [# 72]
Live by Night 2016 $65 $22.3 $75 $95 [# 73]
Lolita 1997 $62 $1.1 $61 $116 [# 74]
The Lone Ranger 2013 $225–250 $260.5 $160–190 $209–249 [# 75]
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 2015 $75 $109.8 $80 $103 [# 76]
Mars Needs Moms 2011 $150 $39 $100–144 $135–195 [# 77]
The Matrix Resurrections § 2021 $190 $156.5 $130 $146 [# 78]
Missing Link 2019 $102.3 $26.2 $101.3 $121 [# 79]
Monkeybone 2001 $75 $7.6 $71 $122 [# 80]
Monster Trucks 2016 $125 $64.5 $108–123.1 $137–156 [# 81]
Moonfall 2022 $138 $67.3 $138 $144 [# 82]
Mortal Engines 2018 $110 $83.7 $174.8 $212 [# 83]
Mulan § 2020 $200 $66.8 $141 $166 [# 84]
The Mummy 2017 $195 $410 $60–95 $75–118 [# 85]
The New Mutants 2020 $67–80 $49.2 $84 $99 [# 86]
The Nutcracker in 3D 2010 $100–160 $20.5 $82 $115 [# 87]
Onward § 2020 $175–200 $142 $130 $153 [# 88]
Osmosis Jones 2001 $70 $14 $63 $108 [# 89]
Pan 2015 $150 $128.4 $86–150 $111–193 [# 90]
Peter Pan 2003 $130.6 $122 $70 $116 [# 91]
Pixels 2015 $88 $244.9 $75 $96 [# 92]
Poseidon 2006 $160 $181.7 $83 $125 [# 93]
The Postman 1997 $80 $20.8 $70 $133 [# 94]
The Promise 2016 $90 $10.6 $93–102.1 $118–130 [# 95]
R.I.P.D. 2013 $130–154 $78.3 $92 $120 [# 96]
Red Planet 2000 $80 $33.5 $63 $111 [# 97]
Rise of the Guardians 2012 $145 $306.9 $87 $115 [# 98]
Robin Hood 2018 $100 $85.7 $83.7 $102 [# 99]
Sahara 2005 $160 $119.2 $78.4 $122 [# 100]
Seventh Son 2015 $95 $114.2 $85 $109 [# 101]
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas 2003 $60 $80.8 $125 $207 [# 102]
Snake Eyes 2021 $88–110 $40.1 $88 $99 [# 103]
Soldier 1998 $60–75 $14.6 $60 $112 [# 104]
A Sound of Thunder 2005 $80 $11.7 $74 $115 [# 105]
Space Jam: A New Legacy § 2021 $150 $162.9 $111 $125 [# 106]
Speed Racer 2008 $120 $93.9 $88 $125 [# 107]
Sphere 1998 $73–80 $50.2 $61 $114 [# 108]
Stealth 2005 $135 $79.3 $96 $150 [# 109]
Strange World 2022 $180 $73.6 $197 $205 [# 110]
The Suicide Squad § 2021 $185 $167.4 $120 $135 [# 111]
Supernova 2000 $90 $14.8 $83 $147 [# 112]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 2016 $135 $245.6 $75 $95 [# 113]
Tenet 2020 $200 $363.7 $50–100 $59–118 [# 114]
Terminator: Dark Fate 2019 $185–196 $261.1 $110–130 $133–158 [# 115]
Titan A.E. 2000 $75–90 $36.8 $100 $177 [# 116]
Tomorrowland 2015 $180–190 $209 $90–150 $116–193 [# 117]
Town & Country 2001 $90 $10.4 $85 $146 [# 118]
Transformers: The Last Knight 2017 $217–260 $605.4 $100+ $124+ [# 119]
Treasure Planet 2002 $140 $109.6 $85 $144 [# 120]
Turning Red § 2022 $175 $19.8 $167 $174 [# 121]
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 2017 $177.2–180 $225.9 $82 $102 [# 122]
West Side Story 2021 $100 $76 $104 $117 [# 123]
Windtalkers 2002 $115–120 $77.6 $76–81 $129–137 [# 124]
The Wolfman 2010 $150 $139.8 $76 $106 [# 125]
Wonder Woman 1984 § 2020 $200 $166.5 $100–137 $118–161 [# 126]
A Wrinkle in Time 2018 $125 $133.2 $130.6 $158 [# 127]
xXx: State of the Union 2005 $113.1 $71 $78 $122 [# 128]
Zoom 2006 $75.6 $12.5 $69 $104 [# 129]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  2. ^ Cutthroat Island was once listed as having the "largest box office loss" by Guinness World Records,[12][13] but the category has since been retired.

References[edit]

Citations[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. ^ King, Susan (April 3, 2001). "How 'Cleopatra' Nearly Sank Fox". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (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.
  9. ^ Stewart, Andrew (August 11, 2012). "B.O. reality gets lost in perception". Variety. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  10. ^ Patterson, John (July 15, 2013). "Cleopatra, the film that killed off big-budget epics". The Guardian. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  11. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 31, 2020). "How Covid Wiped Out The Studios' Domestic Box Office Market Share In 2020". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  12. ^ "Largest Box Office Loss". Guinness World Records. HIT Entertainment. Archived from the original on November 27, 2005. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  13. ^ 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 355
  4. ^ The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  5. ^ The Adventures of Pluto Nash
  6. ^ The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
  7. ^ The Alamo
  8. ^ Alexander
  9. ^ Ali
  10. ^ Allied
  11. ^ Amsterdam
  12. ^ Around the World in 80 Days
  13. ^ The Astronaut's Wife
  14. ^ Ballistic
  15. ^ Battlefield Earth
  16. ^ Battleship
  17. ^ Beloved
  18. ^ Ben-Hur
  19. ^ The BFG
  20. ^ Black Adam
  21. ^ Blackhat
  22. ^ Blade Runner 2049
  23. ^ The Call of the Wild
  24. ^ Cats
  25. ^ Chaos Walking
  26. ^ Chill Factor
  27. ^ A Christmas Carol
  28. ^ The Chronicles of Riddick
  29. ^ Cutthroat Island
  30. ^ Dark Phoenix
  31. ^ Deepwater Horizon
  32. ^ Doctor Doolittle
  33. ^ Dolittle (2020)
  34. ^ Driven
  35. ^ Dudley Do-Right
  36. ^ Evan Almighty
  37. ^ The Fall of the Roman Empire
  38. ^ Fantastic Four
  39. ^ Father's Day
  40. ^ Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  41. ^ The Finest Hours
  42. ^ Gemini Man
  43. ^ Ghost in the Shell
  44. ^ Ghostbusters
  45. ^ Gigli
  46. ^ Gods of Egypt
  47. ^ The Good Dinosaur
  48. ^ The Great Raid
  49. ^ The Great Wall
  50. ^ Green Lantern
  51. ^ Hard Rain
  52. ^ Hart's War
  53. ^ Heaven's Gate
  54. ^ How Do You Know
  55. ^ Hudson Hawk
  56. ^ Hugo
  57. ^ The Huntsman
  58. ^ Inchon
  59. ^ Instinct
  60. ^ Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
  61. ^ The Invasion
  62. ^ Ishtar
  63. ^ Jack Frost
  64. ^ Jack the Giant Slayer
  65. ^ John Carter
  66. ^ Jungle Cruise
  67. ^ Jupiter Ascending
  68. ^ K-19: The Widowmaker
  69. ^ King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  70. ^ Krull
  71. ^ The Last Duel
  72. ^ Lightyear
  73. ^ Live by Night
  74. ^ Lolita
  75. ^ The Lone Ranger
  76. ^ The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  77. ^ Mars Needs Moms
  78. ^ The Matrix Resurrections
  79. ^ Missing Link
  80. ^ Monkeybone
  81. ^ Monster Trucks
  82. ^ Moonfall
  83. ^ Mortal Engines
  84. ^ Mulan
  85. ^ The Mummy
  86. ^ The New Mutants
  87. ^ The Nutcracker in 3D
  88. ^ Onward
  89. ^ Osmosis Jones
  90. ^ Pan
  91. ^ Peter Pan
  92. ^ Pixels
  93. ^ Poseidon
  94. ^ The Postman
  95. ^ The Promise
  96. ^ R.I.P.D.
  97. ^ Red Planet
  98. ^ Rise of the Guardians
  99. ^ Robin Hood
  100. ^ Sahara
  101. ^ Seventh Son
  102. ^ Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
  103. ^ Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
  104. ^ Soldier
  105. ^ A Sound of Thunder
  106. ^ Space Jam: A New Legacy
  107. ^ Speed Racer
  108. ^ Sphere
  109. ^ Stealth
  110. ^ Strange World
  111. ^ The Suicide Squad
  112. ^ Supernova
  113. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
  114. ^ Tenet
  115. ^ Terminator: Dark Fate
  116. ^ Titan A.E.
  117. ^ Tomorrowland
  118. ^ Town & Country
  119. ^ Transformers: The Last Knight
  120. ^ Treasure Planet
  121. ^ Turning Red
  122. ^ Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  123. ^ West Side Story
  124. ^ Windtalkers
  125. ^ The Wolfman
  126. ^ Wonder Woman 1984
  127. ^ A Wrinkle in Time
  128. ^ XXX: State of the Union
  129. ^ Zoom

Bibliography[edit]