This 2010 action flick cost $117 million to make and tens of millions more for an international marketing campaign. It opened to a dismal $20 million — making it number three at the box office in its first weekend, behind Toy Story 3 (in its second weekend) and Grownups — and earned just $76 million in the United States overall. Cruise’s international appeal saved it to a certain degree, as it made $185 million overseas.
Cruise was also the centerpiece of Rock of Ages, which bombed even harder last summer, but that was marketed as an ensemble film.
Hanks, as an actor, has been a consistent moneymaker at the box office for nearly two decades. But in movies in which he’s acted and directed, well, they haven’t been so successful. Hanks’ first directorial effort, the 1960’s-set That Thing You Do! made just $26 million in the US, with a tiny $8 million added on from abroad.
When he next put a film on the big screen, Larry Crowne, in which he starred as a middle aged man who gets laid off and heads back to community college, didn’t do much better. It earned $35 million in the US and just a million more abroad.
He played a part in the big box office flop Cloud Atlas last year, too, but that wasn’t really on his shoulders.
This hybrid espionage-romance flick co-starring Clive Owen cost $60 million just to produce, and made just $40 million in the US, including a $13 million opening that placed it third at the box office. Another $38 million international overall took it up to $78 million, still a huge loss.
Roberts’ Eat Pray Love disappointed with a $23 million opening and $80 million domestic, very low considering how eagerly it had been anticipated. And, she co-starred in Larry Crowne, though that was a Hanks joint.
7. Eddie Murphy: The Adventures of Pluto Nash, 2002
An unmitigated disaster. Made for $100 million, this sci-fi comedy was a nuclear bomb, earning just $7 million — overall, domestic and international. The movie wasn’t a buried, barely-available loss, either, as it opened in over 2,300 theaters in the United States in its opening weekend.
You’d think that a movie directed by Ridley Scott, starring two Oscar-winners (Marion Cotillard, too) and the legendary Albert Finney would be a pretty good bet to be a financial success.
Not so much.
Stung by negative reviews, the movie made just $7 million in the United States (including opening at #10 despite being on over 2000 screens). An international total of $35 million helped a bit, but with a $35 million production budget, this was a big loss.
A two generation dream team of SNL stars in a party-fueled summer comedy? Sounds custom made for success. Except Adam Sandler’s box office magic ran out in 2012, and he and Andy Samberg weren’t able to overcome bad reviews for their father-son romp. Perhaps Sandler had played that overgrown frat boy one too many times?
Whatever the reason, the movie was dead on arrival, earning just $13 million for a fourth place opening weekend, and just $37 million domestic in its full run. Internationally it did even worse, with a $20 million take.
It would be easy — and even logical — to argue that there was no saving this abomination, and that Clooney wasn’t even a true movie star when it was made. But at the same time, his Batman had nipples, which renders all other arguments moot.
The gloppy toy commercial that ended the chapter of Bat-flicks that began with Tim Burton and Michael Keaton in 1989, this Joel Schmuacher-directed acid nightmare cost $125 million to make and earned just $107 million domestically. Its $130 million internationally helped make it not a total bust, but it will always be remembered as the bomb that sunk the Batman franchise for nearly a decade.
If you want a more recent Clooney bomb, he starred and directed in the old school football comedy Leatherheads, recruiting a then-fresh faced John Krasinski for a losing campaign. It made $41 million worldwide on a $58 million budget.
Meow-ch. A year before Warner Bros. gave Gotham a very serious reboot with the appropriately-titled Batman Begins, it went campy one more time with this standalone movie about the feline anti-hero. As you can tell from the photo above, it was pretty ridiculous.
The movie featured Berry coming off her hit X-Men franchise run, so the $100 million-plus production budget would seem to be an easy recoup. Not so much; the flick made just $40 million in the US and only $42 million abroad, making for a massive write-off at a cumulative $82 million total.
Ben Stiller’s pure comedies have largely made for a decade and a half of big box office returns, starting with There’s Something About Mary in 1998 and really taking off with the Meet the Parents movies and continuing through the Night at the Museum series. But when he tries to add a little bit of a dark edge to his humor, well, things don’t always work out.
His dark comedy The Cable Guy was greeted somewhat harshly for a film made in the prime of star Jim Carrey’s box office glory, and his 1999 superhero satire Mystery Men fell flat, as well. His biggest flop, though, is the 2004 jealousy-fueled comedy Envy, in which he starred as the maniacally envious pal of a slacker-inventor (played by Jack Black) who strikes it rich overnight. Made for $40 million, it made just $14 million worldwide.
To be fair, it may have also been a victim of Stiller’s relative success. Released in April, Envy was already his third movie to hit theaters in 2004, tailing the modest successes of Starsky and Hutch and Along Came Polly. Perhaps the audience just needed a break from him.
One thing Hollywood found out in the aughts was that audiences weren’t too keen on difficult and morally murky films about a depressing and morally murky war that was still being fought. The Hurt Locker, for example, won the Oscar for best picture in 2009 and made just $17 million domestically.
Still, Green Zone featured a bonafide star, and was reuniting him with the director of the last two Bourne films, which were smash hits. And yet, no dice. Damon starring as a guy searching for WMDs (guess how that hunt went) didn’t appeal to the general public, and it made just $35 million at home on a $100 million budget. International audiences weren’t that much more enthusiastic, as it took in $59 million overseas.
To add insult to injury, Damon passed on Avatar to make this one.
Given Depp’s close relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, the fact that he already played him in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and his star power at the time of this adaptation’s release, the $13 million domestic that the movie made was certainly a major disappointment. It only played on 2,200 screens — most big releases hit 3,000 at least — but that’s in part because it was such a flop.
At the same time, you could make a case for some other big bombs being more all around disappointing, given their huge marketing campaigns and budgets. Last year’s Dark Shadows, made for $150 million, flopped to just $79 million domestic, for example, but that movie clawed toward breaking even with $165 million internationally.
A lifeless Europe-set spy thriller, Jolie and Johnny Depp both have a hand in this flop, but since we already knocked Depp for two other movies, let’s chalk this one up to Jolie.
Made for $100 million and marketed heavilyy around the world, the flop earned just $67 million in the United States, along with plenty of jokes once Depp and Jolie earned Golden Globe nominations for it. Again, the stars’ international appeal salvaged it to some degree, as it took in $210 million overseas.