As we move into the fourth quarter of 2013, this Labor Day weekend sees the release of Getaway and Closed Circuit, two films that box office analysts are saying will make a mere $5 million apiece if they’re lucky.
With the release of two new box office misfires this weekend, let’s look back at some of the other memorable flops — a best of the bombs, if you will.
Now, I’m not talking about films like Bullet to the Head, R.I.P.D., or The Last Stand. Quite frankly, if you don’t understand why no one wanted to see Arnold attempt to fight criminals on the Mexican border after leaving the California governor’s chair and having an affair with the maid, then perhaps you’re reading the wrong article.
No, I’m talking about films that may have tanked, but were awesome films despite this, and should be seen despite the fact they tanked.
What’s your favorite flop of 2013? Think any of these truly deserved to fail? Sound off below!
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $46 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Schedule shuffling
Many times, when a movie flops, it has more to do with the current events of the time period rather than the film itself. Gangster Squad was definitely one of those cases.
Due to horrific events in Aurora, CO during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. opted to complete massive reshoots, retooling the climatic scene which originally showed men shooting up a movie theater from the back of the screen. These reshoots caused Squad to be pushed from a prime awards season release in Fall 2012 to the dregs of January this year.
How bad was the damage? Similarly themed Oscar nominated L.A. Confidential earned $64.6 million in 1997 in about half the screens and without the benefit of 16 years of ticket inflation. This is a tremendous blow given the star power and squandered awards potential.
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $19.7 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Lack of interest
While sometimes star-power can be the difference between failure and success, other times it’s mere window dressing.
Broken City was a political police drama featuring Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg. With Wahlberg coming off the runaway success of Ted and Crowe having just starred in the magnificent Les Miserables, it seemed like this film would have been a no-brainer.
However, a movie about government and police conspiracy and corruption is not something that many audiences simply aren’t interested in these days — at least one that had such a generic approach as Broken City did.
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $8.8 million
REASON FOR FAILURE: Poor advertising
There are original concepts, and then there is Movie 43. Certainly one of the most complex and original comedies in the last decade, Movie 43 technically isn’t bomb, making it’s paltry $6 million budget back, and earning even more overseas. However, it’s worldwide intake is still far from impressive.
Audiences will mostly attend comedies that seem original, with clear, concise plots. Movie 43 only showed how amazing the cast was, calling it “the most outrageous comedy ever made”, and teasing movie-goers with a vague “What is Movie 43?” ad campaign. The ads never conveyed the true nature of the film — several vignettes that intertwine to make one bizarre movie — and that killed the chances for the film’s success.
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $19.5 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Twilight-itis
After Twilight wrapped up last year, the assumption in Hollywood was that the Twi-hards would show up in similar droves to any paranormal teen romance. This is another example of happens when one assumes something.
Beautiful Creatures is the first documented case of Twilight-itis. Coming off the heels off zombie teen romantic comedy Warm Bodies, which earned a very decent $66.4 million, Creatures was primped for success with a prime Valentine’s Day release date. Unfortunately, Twilight fans weren’t a fan of the books Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl wrote, and so the film magically disappeared.
Worse yet, this isn’t the only documented case of Twilight-itis. The Host, the other book written by Stephanie Meyer, didn’t fare any better with a measly $26.6 million, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is only at $16.8 million in a little over a week.
“A Good Day to Die Hard”
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $67.3 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Bad release date
Six years after since the last installment where Bruce Willis’s John McClane fought terrorism single-handed, A Good Day to Die Hard showed McClane going to Russia to fight terrorism overseas. With big action and Willis back in the saddle, what could go wrong?
Try releasing a Die Hard film on Valentine’s Day. Not exactly date movie material.
It wasn’t all bad news for Fox, though. With the foreign grosses included, Good Day earned a great $304.7 million worldwide, making it a hit. Yes, it’s far from the $383.5 million worldwide Live Free or Die Hard made in 2007, but it’s still not exactly a flop either.
“Jack the Giant Slayer”
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $65.2 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Poor marketing
Warner Bros. usually knows about epic films, being the company that released Lord of the Rings and all. However, problems arose with dark fairly tale Jack the Giant Slayer.
After being shuffled around several times, Jack seemed too goofy for adults, but too dark for children. While Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters made $55.7 million domestically on a $50 million budget, mainly because it knew exactly who its audience was, Jack‘s $195 million budget kept it from being a hit, even worldwide.
“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $22.5 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Lack of interest
Once again, audiences lately like their comedies to be original. If it doesn’t seem unique enough, it won’t become a hit.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, while being a fantastically fun film, seemed too much like something Will Ferrell had passed up, leaving it to rot in obscurity — much like its protagonist.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only time this year this has occurred. The Internship, which seemed like a rehashing of Wedding Crashers, bottomed out with $44.6 million
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $18 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Poor scheduling
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that over-crowding a weekend will ensure at least one film to fail.
This is certainly the case with romantic comedy-drama Admission, which saw the first-time pairing of Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. The film was amazingly brilliant, showing Fey and Rudd’s awesome chemistry.
The problem? These movies usually attract a primarily female audience. With the release of animated comedy The Croods and Gerard Butler-starring Olympus Has Fallen, women were entirely too busy for this smaller scale flick.
“The Hangover Part III”
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $112.2 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Sequel-itis
Allow me to first preface this by saying that, technically, The Hangover Part III is not a failure. Any comedy grossing north of $100 million is impressive.
Or at least it would be in this case had it not been for Part II‘s much higher domestic gross of $254.5, which is over twice what Part III grossed on our shores. The month of May was chalked full of sequels, so one was bound to dramatically disappoint. Too bad it was this film, seeing that it actually tried to do something differently.
“White House Down”
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $72.4 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Olympus Has Fallen
While White House Down was a brilliant Die Hard-esque film featuring an everyman fighting droves of terrorists, we already had one of those three months earlier with Olympus Has Fallen.
Like the asteroid feud of 1998 with Deep Impact and Armageddon, one film is bound to make less. White House Down was the victim of two similar movies coming out too close together, and, while White House had twice the budget of Olympus, the loss is that much greater.
“The Lone Ranger”
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $87.99 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Lack of interest
Let’s face it: Disney can’t win ’em all.
The Lone Ranger tried banking on the fact that adding Johnny Depp to this adaptation of the once popular radio serial would garner interest in the film from younger audiences. It didn’t work.
Granted, opening against Despicable Me 2 didn’t help, but grossing less than The Green Hornet ($98.9 million) domestically just adds insult to injury. It looks like the only successful radio serial adaptation is Zorro, and that’s for all the wrong reasons.
DOMESTIC GROSS TO DATE: $99.3 million
REASON FOR FAILURE? Over-saturation
Every now and again during the Summer, audiences simply grow tired of big budget action films. Too bad they decided to take it out on Pacific Rim.
Sure, the film had no star power to boost the internet fanboy chatter about how epic the film would be. But star power wasn’t needed here to tell such a great story. Too bad more people didn’t take the plunge.
Look on the bright side, though. It’s making a killing overseas.