How much money a movie makes at the box office isn’t always an indicator of whether it will become a classic.
Some of Hollywood’s greatest films were financial flops that took years before they were fully embraced by audiences.
From arguably the greatest film ever made, “Citizen Kane,” to the cult hit “The Big Lebowski,” these are the classic films that bombed at theatres.
'Donnie Darko' may have helped launch the career of Jake Gyllenhaal, but it was a huge flop when it came out in theatres.
The indie film, which cost an estimated $6 million to make, debuted to $US110,494. It didn't help that the film -- which features a plane crash -- opened not long after the Sept. 11 attacks. The movie wasn't released internationally for another year.
Theatrically, 'Donnie Darko' went on to make $US1.2 million. After its DVD release in 2002, it started playing as a midnight movie for over two years at New York's Pioneer Theatre and became enough of a cult classic to release a 'director's cut.'
Entertainment Weekly gave it a 'D' calling it a 'dumb and brutal shock show' while according to the film's commentary Rosie O'Donnell hated it so much that she went as far to ruin the film's twist ending on national television.
1999's 'Office Space' may have understood office life, but it failed to understand the box office.
After weak reviews and a poor marketing campaign, the film failed to reach an audience making only $10.8 million in theatres.
Director Mike Judge chalked it up to the movie being a tough sell.
'Office Space isn't like American Pie,' Judge told Entertainment Weekly. 'It doesn't have the kind of jokes you put in a 15-second television spot of somebody getting hit on the head with a frying pan. It's sly. And let me tell you, sly is hard to sell.'
You may find it difficult to change the channel when you see 'The Shawshank Redemption' airing on TV today; however, the film was nearly forgotten when it premiered.
Going up against other great 1994 films like 'Forrest Gump' and 'Pulp Fiction,' 'Shawshank' was lost in the box-office shuffle making $25 million.
'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' may be one of the most popular family films now, but back in 1971 most families didn't head out to see it.
Warner Bros. bought the rights for $US500,000 and licensed the film to TV which let a new audience enjoy the film's zany brilliance. The studio later did a remake of the film starring Johnny Depp in 2005.
It wasn't until the film was later re-evaluated by film historians that it garnered the classic label.
'It's a Wonderful Life' may not have become a Christmas classic if the film didn't fall into the public domain.
The 1946 movie starring Jimmy Stewart made barely $US3.1 million, bankrupting director Frank Capra's production company.
When the film's copyright expired in 1974 it entered the public domain. The movie was picked up by TV networks for free that showed the film over Christmas.
The repeated showings helped make it a beloved film and holiday tradition and Republic Pictures secured the rights back in 1993.
One of the possible reasons the film did so poorly can be traced to newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst's hatred of the film.
Hearst (who the film is partially based on) disliked the film so much that he made sure his many newspapers banned any mention of it.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of 'The Wizard of Oz,' but when Dorothy first took her trip down the yellow brick road most audiences didn't follow.
Re-releases and annual TV broadcasts helped the movie become the classic it is today.
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