20 movies no one expected to bomb at the box office

20 movies no one expected to bomb at the box office
  • These movies had huge budgets that producers expected would turn in huge profits when released.

  • However, these films lost millions of dollars for studios after hitting theaters.

  • "Justice League" had a star-studded cast, but it still lost an estimated $60 million.

Though producers, directors, and cast members likely assumed these films would be box-office hits, their sales tell a different story.

In fact, the losses for many of the movies on this list are all in the tens of millions.

Among them is "The Marvels." When the movie was released in 2023, it was the latest addition to the most successful film franchise of all time: the MCU. However, it wound up losing Disney over $200 million, according to some estimates.

Take a look at the films that were surprise box-office bombs.

Zoë Ettinger contributed to a previous version of this story.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe had its first real bomb on its hands with 2023's "The Marvels."

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel in "The Marvels."
Brie Larson as Captain Marvel in "The Marvels."Laura Radford/Marvel Studios

The MCU is the most successful film franchise of all time, raking in billions of dollars for Disney. But the cracks started to show with "The Marvels," which had the lowest opening of any MCU movie at just $65 million.

Forbes reported the film lost a staggering $237 million, even though it wasn't actually as bad as some people on the internet would have you believe.

The 2001 Muhammad Ali biopic "Ali" starred A-lister Will Smith as the iconic boxer, but the film lost Sony millions of dollars.

Will Smith in "Ali."Columbia Pictures

The biographical film about the life of boxer Muhammad Ali had a $107 million production cost that was raised to $118 million after director Michael Mann moved filming to Africa, according to Bomb Report.

Box Office Mojo estimates the film made just $87.8 million worldwide. Sony was reportedly on the hook for over $100 million when including marketing costs.

In 2003, Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones starred in the animated film "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas," but not even they could prevent the movie from losing $125 million at the box office.

"Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas".
"Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas."DreamWorks Pictures; YouTube

DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen has publicly stated the film, centering around a legendary sailor framed for stealing a sacred book, lost the studio $125 million, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Based on the famous Macedonian king, the 2004 film "Alexander" starred Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie at the peak of their powers, but it lost about $71 million.

alexander movie
"Alexander."Warner Bros.

The film, about the life of Alexander the Great, had a reported budget of $155 million. According to Bomb Report, the film's gross sank 65.2% in its second weekend and another 68.9% in week three. Overall, production company Intermedia posted a $29.4 million loss for the year.

The 2004 film "Around the World in 80 Days" starred Jackie Chan straight from two successful "Rush Hour" films, but his popularity couldn't save the movie.

"Around the World in 80 Days".
"Around the World in 80 Days."Buena Vista Pictures; YouTube

Based on the beloved adventure novel by Jules Verne about traveling the world in 80 days, the film had an estimated budget of $110 million, but only made $72 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

The film is most notable now, perhaps, for being the last acting role of Arnold Schwarzenegger before he became the governor of California.

In 2005, A-listers Jamie Foxx, Josh Lucas, and Jessica Biel starred in "Stealth" — it was a notorious flop.

Jamie Foxx in "Stolen".
Jamie Foxx in "Stealth."Sony Pictures Releasing; YouTube

The film is about three top Navy fighter pilots tasked with manning a drone-like plane. It had a budget of $138 million and was directed by "The Fast and Furious" director Rob Cohen — so everyone had high expectations.

However, it lost at least $56 million due to box-office deficits, and likely even more after taking out movie theaters' cuts and marketing costs, according to Box Office Mojo.

"Sahara" starred Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz, but it lost an estimated $78 million at the box office in 2005.

"Sahara."Paramount Pictures

The film follows a treasure hunter as he travels to Africa in search of a long-lost ship. It had a reported production cost of $160 million. The Los Angeles Times reported it lost the studio $78 million, and called it "one of the biggest financial flops in Hollywood history."

In 2006, Kurt Russell starred in "Poseidon," which lost an estimated $69 million.

Kurt Russell in "Poseidon".
Kurt Russell in "Poseidon."Warner Bros. Pictures; YouTube

"Poseidon" is a remake of the original beloved film, 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure." The disaster movie about a sinking cruise ship had a budget of $160 million. After everything, it lost the studio $69 million, Business Insider previously reported.

"Evan Almighty," the 2007 spin-off of the mega-hit "Bruce Almighty," lost an estimated $50 million.

Evan Almighty
Steve Carell in "Evan Almighty."Universal Pictures

The film centered around the biblical tale of Noah's ark, and it starred Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman. It had an estimated budget of $175 million and even became the most expensive comedy of all time, according to Reuters.

But, according to Bomb Report, the film lost one of its backers $50 million.

Martin Scorsese's 2011 film "Hugo" lost an estimated $80 million at the box office.

"Hugo."Paramount Studios

The film about a young orphan living in a train station starred young actors Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz. It ended up going $80 million over budget, according to Bomb Report, and lost the studio $80 million — proving that not every Scorsese film is a box-office hit.

"Green Lantern" co-starred Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, both beloved stars, but it had an estimated $75 million box-office loss in 2011.

green lantern
"Green Lantern."Warner Bros.

The superhero film about a test pilot who gets a powerful alien ring had an estimated budget of $200 million, but it barely broke even at the box office. Overall, the studio took a $75 million loss, according to Bomb Report.

At the time, superhero films were in the middle of a renaissance after movies like "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" had proven that comic-book movies had mass appeal. But, "Green Lantern's" failure shows that a built-in fan base doesn't always lead to success.

"Pan," the 2015 reimagining of "Peter Pan," starred box office draw Hugh Jackman, but it ended up losing the studio up to $150 million.

Hugh Jackman in "Pan."Warner Bros.

"Pan" had an estimated budget of $150 million, but its offensive casting of Rooney Mara as the Native American character Tiger Lily, its heavy reliance on CGI, and general disinterest in another "Peter Pan" film led the movie to box-office bomb status, The New York Times reported.

The Hollywood Reporter predicted that the film "could see losses in the $130 million to $150 million range" back in 2015.

The 2016 sequel "Alice Through the Looking Glass" which starred Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway, lost an estimated $70 million.

alice through looking glass
Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska in "Alice Through the Looking Glass."Disney

A sequel to the 2010 Tim Burton film "Alice in Wonderland," "Alice Through the Looking Glass" had an estimated budget of $170 million and ended up costing Disney an estimated $70 million — especially shocking, considering that the first film topped $1 billion.

Steven Spielberg's 2016 adaptation of "The BFG," based on Roald Dahl's book of the same name, was estimated to have lost at least $90 million.

"The BFG."Disney

The film follows the Big Friendly Giant as he befriends a young orphan Sophie, even though it goes against giant nature. It had an estimated budget of $140 million, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, "lost $90 million to $100 million for partners Disney, Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Participant Media."

It's one of the acclaimed director's biggest flops.

The 2017 film "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" is based on one of the most famous tales of all time, but it ended up losing an estimated $150 million.

king arthur legend sword charlie hunman
Charlie Hunnam in "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword."Warner Bros.

The film follows a young Arthur after the murder of his father and his quest to gain back the throne of Camelot. It had an estimated budget of $175 million and only grossed $148 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Forbes blamed the lack of movie stars, extensive re-shoots, and an inflated budget, among other things, for the film's reported $150 million loss.

"Justice League" had a star-studded cast and an unreal amount of hype, but it lost Warner Bros. somewhere between $50 and $100 million in 2017.

justice league movie
"Justice League."Warner Bros.

DC's answer to Marvel's "Avengers" superhero team-up movie had an estimated budget of $300 million. Business Insider reported that the film could have cost Warner Bros. up to $100 million.

The 2018 fantasy would-be epic "A Wrinkle in Time" was based on a hit novel produced by Disney and starred Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling — but it still flopped.

a wrinkle in time
"A Wrinkle in Time".Disney

The mind-bending story of young Meg's journey across time and space to rescue her father from darkness had a reported budget of $103 million, and Yahoo Finance reported that Disney lost between $86 million and $186 million on the film.

Though "Star Wars" films are usually a hit, 2018's "Solo: A Star Wars Story" reportedly lost an estimated $76 million.

Solo: A Star Wars Story
"Solo: A Star Wars Story."Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The film follows a young Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich), the most iconic space smuggler of all time, as he meets his future partner and best friend Chewbacca, future frenemy Lando Calrissian, and a heretofore unknown love interest Qi'ra.

It had an estimated budget of $275 million. Though the film made over $392 million worldwide, that's nothing when you compare it to the $2 billion gross of "The Force Awakens," and the $1 billion grosses of "The Last Jedi" and "The Rise of Skywalker."

Based on the hit musical, the 2019 adaptation of "Cats" was a box office flop, losing between $71 and $113 million.

cats movie
"Cats."Universal Pictures

The CGI-heavy movie about a tribe of cats called the Jellicles had an estimated budget of $95 million and a famously cursed production. Though "Cats" is a beloved musical and ran on Broadway for years, audiences didn't show the film version the same love. Deadline calculated losses at approximately $113.6 million.

"Dolittle" was supposed to be Robert Downey Jr.'s follow-up to "Avengers," but it was the first big flop of 2020.

robert downey jr dolittle
Robert Downey Jr. in "Dolittle."Universal Pictures

The film about a doctor who can talk to animals had an estimated budget of $175 million and an all-star voice cast including Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, and more. That didn't stop Vulture from calling it "2020's first official mega-flop."

The Observer estimated that "Dolittle" needed to make $500 million to turn a profit and with a final gross of just half that, you can be sure that no one at Universal was pleased with those results.

Read the original article on Business Insider