2012 Box Office Misses

Box Office Misses


Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
This campy horror film, based on a campy 2010 mashup novel, seemed like it had the potential to be great fun. It’s not clear whether the movie suffered from being released the same year as Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, or whether it was another case of a film with a hilarious title that, when it came right down to it, not many people were willing to pay money to see (Snakes On a Plane, anyone?). Either way this Lincoln movie failed to slay either audiences or critics.

It’s hard to imagine why anyone thought that a board game that involves calling out random coordinates in an effort to try to locate your opponent’s randomly arrayed plastic battleships would make a good movie, but they did. Not only that, but they wrote a ridiculous script that involved aliens, threw $200 million into the project, and hired the guy who directed Will Smith’s biggest flop, Hancock, to direct. Needless to say, the movie didn’t turn out to be the blockbuster hit of the summer, but it did manage to get nominated for the Houston Critics Society’s “Worst Film” award.

Cloud Atlas
Anyone who read David Mitchell’s brilliant, century-spanning, richly textured novel already knew that it would be a difficult novel to adapt into a film. Despite receiving a 10-minute standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival, critics were divided. Not even the combined star power of Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, and Jim Broadbent, nor the fact that it was directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski (Bound, The Matrix, V For Vendetta) could lure audiences. The film’s budget was a relatively modest $102 million, but it has yet to recoup that amount at the box office.

Comic book-based films are usually guaranteed to draw massive audiences, but this remake of the 1995 film Judge Dredd, which was itself based on the comic strip character of the same name, lacked the appeal of films about superheroes with “man” at the ends of their names.

John Carter
Despite a huge marketing blitz and a $250 million budget, this film, based on the first novel of a trilogy by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, fell flat. John Carter was the first live-action film for director Andrew Stanton (he had previously directed the animated features A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, and WALL-E), and many blamed the film’s failure on this fact. John Carter’s poor showing resulted in the shelving of plans for filming the second and third movies in the trilogy.

Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
If you never heard of this film, you’re not alone, and probably not a new parent. The Oogieloves was called an “interactive film,” and audiences are encouraged to sing and dance throughout the film. With a budget of $20 million and a box office total of only $1 million, Oogieloves is officially the biggest box office bomb of all time.

Rock of Ages
Film adaptations of Broadway musicals are always a tricky affair, but a musical starring Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston, Alec Baldwin, and Catherine Zeta-Jones that features music by Def Leppard, Journey, Poison, Pat Benatar, and Twisted Sister sure seems awful to us. Critics and audiences felt likewise.

That’s My Boy
Despite making some of the most truly awful comedies in recent history, Adam Sandler has, through much of his career, been a huge earner in Hollywood. Even his worst films have made massive profits, despite receiving almost universal derision from critics. That’s My Boy, however was not only panned by critics, but hated by Sandler fans. The film failed to recoup its $70 million dollar budget, making it the worst performing film in Sandler’s career.

Total Recall
Another questionable remake that failed to catch on, this updated version of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger original (both based on a Philip K. Dick short story) got terrible reviews from critics, and sci-fi fans stayed away in droves, which resulted in the film barely eking out a profit.

The Watch
Despite a seemingly can’t-miss cast including Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Johan Hill, and British comedian Richard Ayoade (well known to comedy fans for his role on The I.T. Crowd), this film, about a group of men who from a neighborhood watch. But a ludicrous script involving—that’s right, aliens—and a marketing campaign that made it seem a bit too much like a ripoff of Paul Blart, Mall Cop, resulted in the film barely breaking even.