Photo: Sony Pictures / Columbia
While “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” both saw more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide this year, there were many films which came up short at theatres.From Kate Beckinsale and Jennifer Aniston to Judd Apatow to Disney’s Andrew Stanton, big name actors and producers were not spared from big losses at theatres this year.
We’ve taken a look at 25 of this year’s biggest box-office busts, surprises, and upsets which failed to hit the mark with audiences.
We came up with our rankings based on comparisons of the film’s budgets with domestic and worldwide intake and opening weekend expectations versus actual intake.
One thing’s for sure, life after “Friday Night Lights” has not been kind to Taylor Kitsch.
There was only room for one 'Snow White' film this summer. Julia Roberts' lighthearted take on the fairytale tanked at the box office when it earned $18 million of its estimated $85 million budget opening weekend. The Relativity movie was expected to debut between $22 and $24 million opening weekend.
Though the film ended up earning $166.2 million worldwide, domestically 'Mirror Mirror' brought in $64.9 million.
The opening weekend of Katherine Heigl's latest film was one of the star's least-grossing movies since she appeared in 2005's 'The Ringer.' Since her role in 'Knocked Up,' the former 'Grey's Anatomy' star has had a significant decline in theatre intake leaving many to wonder where Heigl's career will go from here.
If Nickelodeon needed a wake-up call to show it has little idea of its current demographic, look no further than 'Fun Size,' an attempt at a younger version of 'Super Bad' for pre-teens.
This movie may have worked in 2010, when the network's ratings were up due to hits including 'iCarly' and 'Victorious' -- the latter featuring one of the stars of 'Fun Size.' However, with re-runs often playing, the novelty has worn off, and with it, the ratings of the network have also slid.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt had a great run with movies this year between 'The Dark Knight Rises,' 'Looper,' and, now, 'Lincoln.' However, the Batman actor couldn't go four for four with Sony's 'Speed'-like bicycle film.
The film received generally good reviews; however, the bike chase never tracked north of $8 million for opening weekend. It also probably didn't help that the film's release date shifted from January to late August.
Katy Perry's break out film performed nowhere near as well as other singer documentaries. Justin Bieber's 'Never Say Never' earned $29.5 million while the Jonas Brother's '3D Concert Experience' grossed $12.5 million opening weekend. Bieber's film went on to earn near $100 million worldwide.
The problem with Perry's movie; however, may not have been the film itself, and, rather, it's crowded release date. The same weekend, 'Part of Me' competed with 'Ted,' 'Magic Mike,' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man.'
If you never heard of 'Atlas Shrugged II,' the sequel to the 2011 film (yes, there was a first one) you weren't the only one. The film, based on Ayn Rand's novel, was poorly marketed and often became confused with Tom Hanks' 'Cloud Atlas' since the two came out within weeks of each other. The film quickly dropped out of nearly 1,000 theatres by week three.
Tyler Perry's latest action flick proved the director, writer, producer, etc. should maybe stick to making films rather than starring in them. The action thriller was Perry's lowest box-office opening gross to date.
2012 has not been a good year for Gerard Butler. In less than two months he has had two box-office busts. The first was this surfing film. After two weeks in theatres, 'Mavericks' was pulled out of more than 1,500 theatres. Only left in less than 70 theatres, the film won't earn back an estimated $14 million.
Judd Apatow's comedy was poised to be the next 'Bridesmaids' with a hopeful $20 million opening weekend. Instead, it earned less than half that number. Compared to recent Apatow films ('Bridesmaids,' 'Funny People,' and 'Pineapple Express,') this has been one of his worst performing films. The only other recent movie that has performed worse is ...
Despite the film receiving good reviews, Drew Barrymore's whale tale failed to gain traction Super Bowl weekend. 'Big Miracle' was loosely based on the story of stranded whales rescued in 1988.
Butler's latest film out this month was also met to disappointment. It earned slightly more than 'Chasing Mavericks' opening weekend, but cost nearly $15 million more than Fox's surfing movie.
With two of Butler's latest films busts, it raises the question of whether the actor should skip the romantic comedies and stick to action films.
Despite the buzz and viral marketing, both audiences and critics didn't approve of Len Wiseman's remake of Arnold Schwarzenegger's '90s sci-fi thriller. No one ever seemed prepared for a reimagining of the cult classic, and the film was never expected to do better than $25 million in its debut.
'The Watch' may have faired much better at theatres had it not been for timing.
Despite this, the film was expected to bring in more than $20 million opening weekend.
One of the biggest surprises of the film year was the movie on which DreamWorks Animation bet most of its fourth quarter earnings. 'Rise of the Guardians.' The company's stock dropped nearly five per cent the Monday following the film's severe underperformance. Like the success of animated movies before it ('How to Train Your Dragon' and the 'Shrek' franchise), the cartoon featuring holiday mascots was expected to earn near $60 million.
Given the outstanding performance of Disney's 'Wreck-It Ralph' two-and-a-half weeks prior, it was thought DreamWorks would own Thanksgiving weekend. However, it wouldn't have mattered if the film came out during a different weekend.
Our best guess for the film's performance deals not with the weekend in which it debuted, but rather, the movie material. The audience demo for a film about the Easter Bunny and Santa was roughly young elementary school boys who were already past the faze of knowing Santa was anything but real. Younger boys who may have had an interest in the film may have been deterred by parents who found the situation material too dark and violent for 5, 6, and 7 year olds.
We don't have it up higher on our list because with no other holiday films out, the film should make up for some of its losses through the end of the year.
'Oogieloves' had one of the worst box-office openings of the year. It didn't seem to be much of a surprise to creator Kenn Viselman who was pleased with the film's media hype. After its premiere week in theatres, the film quickly dropped out of nearly 2,000 theatres before bowing out after week three.
Though audiences were enchanted with Johnny Depp's portrayal of wacky characters in 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' his take on the gothic soap opera of the late '60s missed its mark at theatres. 'Dark Shadows' was thought to make well north of $35 million, and, at best $50 million.
No one was willing to give Adam Sandler the benefit of the doubt after 2011's razzie-nominated 'Jack and Jill.' 'That's My Boy' was expected to earn more than double of its actual $13.5 million earnings. Instead, it became Sandler's worst box-office opening at theatres since his attempt at a serious role in 2007's 'Reign Over Me.'
Tom Cruise. Singing. If you were to ask movie-goers what 'Rock of Ages' was about, that's most likely the answer you'd receive.
The musical was expected to bring in close to $30 million opening weekend, close to other box-office musical incomes of late ('Hairspray,' 'Mamma Mia!'). Instead, a fair 'B' CinemaScore and mixed reviews hurt Cruise's chances at theatres.
After a month, the film earned a total of $16.5 million and dropped out of more than 1,300 theatres. Murphy's latest comic endeavour was so poorly received it earned a zero per cent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
The tale of 'Dredd' is an interesting one. Anyone who saw the reboot, loved the film. Reviews for the film were greatly positive. The problem with this movie -- other than targeting fans of the comics -- was Lionsgate's marketing along with poor word of mouth. Since the film was primarily advertised as 3D, it wasn't clear to audience's 'Dredd' was readily available in the less expensive 2D as well.
Big actors do not mean big bucks at theatres. Though visually aesthetic, the film adaptation may have been too complicated for viewers to understand. The film comprised of Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, among others, playing multiple roles across six different stories from the past and future.
'Cloud Atlas' was only expected to earn $12.5 million opening weekend. Warner Bros. only opted for around $20 million of the indie film's huge budget. The rest was from investors throughout the world.
Maybe now, Hollywood will hesitate when it comes to basing potential blockbusters off of boardgames. Rihanna's first foray onto the acting scene didn't make a huge splash. Even Comcast Chief Brian Roberts admitted 'Battleship' was a huge flop (remember Comcast bought NBCUniversal in 2009).
The film was expected to earn between $35-40 million opening weekend.
Disney expected Andrew Stanton, director of 'Finding Nemo' and 'WALL-E,' to deliver another box-office winner; however, the alien film never had a chance. Poor marketing and changing the film's title from 'John Carter of Mars' spelled disaster for the Mouse House.
Few people knew one of Disney's most expensive film's to make was based on a book, and, after viewing the trailer, the film's premise was confusing. The gladiator-esque scenes of the trailers were reminiscent of a 'Clone Wars' scene from 'Star Wars: Episode II.'
After the film's release, Disney released a statement predicting a near $200 million write off for the film.
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