They say if you’re going to fail, fail big. While that might work for some people, movie companies are probably wringing their hands when that happens to their films. Here are a handful of films that managed to bomb so badly, they’re memorable. Some had very limited releases, so their numbers are hilariously low, while others did make millions, but their budgets were so big that their earnings are just a drop in the bucket.
ZYZZYX Road (2006)
With a title that looks like a cat walked across a keyboard, this thriller with Katherine Heigl and Tom Sizemore opened in just a single theater for one week. No one expected it to make a lot of money with such a small audience, but they expected more than just six people to show up. The film made a total of $30 before disappearing.
Cutthroat Island (1995)
With Geena Davis at the helm, this pirate adventure had a huge budget of nearly $100 million. It only made $18.5 of that back, and the company that released it declared bankruptcy almost immediately. When we factor in inflation, the movie managed to lose almost $147 million.
The early 2000’s were apparently pretty rough for movies. Press for this movie consisted mostly of the relationship between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. If only that level of effort had been put into the rest of the movie. At almost 2 ½ hours, the movie drags, and the stars lack chemistry. After only 3 weeks in theaters and $7.3 million of the $74 million budget, the movie vanished.
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (2012)
The biggest star in this sci-fi musical with a shot of 1950’s flare played “Creed” on “The Office,” so we’re already in trouble. At festivals, however, it actually got five awards, but that didn’t translate into profit. It was in one theater for a week and made $117. The company tried to release it again, so it ended up with a total of $2436, but it had cost $2 million to make.
One of the most infamous failures of all time, this movie with Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty went way over budget, and ended up costing $55 million. The story of two songwriters searching for work in Morocco who end up tangled in the Cold War, did not appeal to audiences. The movie earned a comparatively-meager $14.4 million.
47 Ronin (2013)
This movie takes the prize of most expensive film on this list at $225 million. No one was interested in watching a fantasy-filled version of the true story of a group of samurai warriors avenging their master with Keanu Reeves, so the film closed having lost the studio almost $150 million.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
Considering the movie cost $100 million to make, you would think the special effects would be better in this space comedy/adventure starring Eddie Murphy. Effects weren’t the only problem, and the movie is on Rotten Tomatoes’ List of 100 Worst Movies Of All Time. It only scratched up $7.1 million at the box office, and contributed to Murphy’s significant downgrade as a bankable actor.
Man Down (2017)
If this movie is hoping to earn less than “ZYZZYX Road,” it might just succeed. After a weekend gross of just 7 euros, “Man Down” with Shia LaBeouf, Kate Mara, and Gary Oldman is unlikely to expand beyond its one-theater release. For comparison, horror film “The Void” opened the same weekend and took home 1,613 euros.