Last week I struggled, this week, I just needed to do some digging. Blockbuster flops are often something that rub me the wrong way and are usually truly bad. Because honestly, if it flops, there’s usually a reason. Anyway, I’m going off by three factors: 1) they made less than their budget, 2) they are rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and 3) I liked them. By narrowing the blockbuster flops this way, I was able to get together a list of two pretty good movies. The third is the only one that made a little more over its budget.
1. LOLITA (1997)
Guess how much Lolita’s remake made? It cost 30 million and made just 1 million! Can you believe it? Epic blockbuster flops-y right there. Like, this should have been a really bad movie but I think it just wasn’t its time to shine. Lolita isn’t bad though. Jeremy Irons is always a joy to watch, or more like listen, because his voice is just like butter. What I do remember of Lolita is that I wasn’t mad at it. Sure, the theme of the film is disturbing a bit but I’m not troubled by that. And frankly, neither were the critics because Lolita has a fresh rating of 68% and 75% of the audience liked it too. In other words, those who actually went to see it, weren’t disappointed. Very few just showed up.
2. DEEPWATER HORIZON (2016)
It’s a little ironic that a movie based on the largest oil spill in US history, didn’t spill over its budget. It made less than it cost and there’s frankly no reason for it. Deepwater Horizon is a good film. It’s hard to watch and it really breaks your heart to witness something like this happening. But sh*t happens. Mark Wahlberg is pretty good and somehow, even though I tend to say it a lot, it always surprises me. Young adult me’s favourite Dylan O’Brien, who needs to do more movies, please, is also in it. I remember being scared for them, I remember rooting for the guys and I remember devastating emotions at the end. It cost around 110-120 million in net worth to make and box office was 121. So pretty much even. Rotten Tomatoes score gives it 83% and the audience liked it 82%. A solid film that most likely simply lacked the star power and good marketing.
3. THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
An underrated Guy Ritchie movie that is better than the box office leads to be. Though, I think it’s more the ratio of the budget and box office that this movie suffers from. It cost close to 84 million to make and earned 109 million in the box office. Barely over but still, should have been better. If it was made cheaper, the movie would have had a bigger success. Plus, and this is me saying this even though I actually love this movie, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. doesn’t have a single box office magnet! Hammer, supports but doesn’t carry. Cavill, well, does he even support? Vikander, though brilliant, doesn’t have the charisma. And Tomb Raider doesn’t count because I think it was more to do with Tomb Raider than Vikander. Anyway, audience loved it 73% while the Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it 66% fresh rating.
THIS SERIES IS CREATED BY WANDERING THROUGH THE SHELVES3
I’ve seen Adrian Lyne’s version of Lolita and I liked it. It was more faithful to the book than Kubrick’s version but there was a reason it flopped so badly. It wasn’t given a wide theatrical release in America as it only played a few theaters and was gone immediately because of poor distribution which is a shame considering that it’s an extremely underrated film.
I didn’t like Lolita but I’ve never been a fan of the book or story. Even the James Mason/Shelley Winters/Peter Sellers original isn’t something I was terribly fond of.
I LOVED The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and I don’t know why it didn’t do better, there are far worse movies that do much better.
I think the problem for Deepwater Horizon is that its rather bleak. A decent film but too grim to be a popular success.
I went with three that had infamously contentious production journeys only to land with a giant raspberry upon release.
Cutthroat Island (1995)-Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) inherits her late buccaneer father’s galleon and one-third of a map to buried treasure located on Cutthroat Island. The map had been tattooed on her father’s scalp, and to find the treasure, she must locate and scalp his two brothers. But Morgan’s swashbuckling uncle, Dawg Brown (Frank Langella), wants the treasure for himself, and does battle with his headstrong niece and her unwilling accomplice, Latin-speaking physician William Shaw (Matthew Modine). Really not a bad film, it’s no masterpiece but an okay action flick but its production was deeply troubled and delayed ending up costing somewhere in the vicinity of 115 million 1995 dollars and grossing merely 10 million in the States. Adjusted for inflation it is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest money loser of all-time with a loss of $148 million. Star Geena Davis was married (not for long) to the film’s director Renny Harlin.
Heaven’s Gate (1980)-In 1870 Jackson County, Wyoming a battle erupts between the area’s poverty-stricken immigrants and its wealthy cattle farmers. Sheriff James Averill (Kris Kristofferson), tries to strike a balance but the politically connected ranch owners fight the immigrants with the help of mercenary Nathan Champion (Christopher Walken). While the battle rages Champion competes with Averill for the love of local madam Ella Watson (Isabelle Huppert). It’s nearly four hour runtime is a trial even though it has some beautiful images. Michael Cimino’s infamous follow up to The Deer Hunter was plagued by his ego run amok and cost overruns. Originally budgeted for 11 million (48 million today) its eventual cost of 44 million ($190 mill in current dollars) and box office take of only 3 million (12 million) caused the collapse of United Artists studio.
Supernova (2000)-When Nightingale 229, a deep space hospital ship, answers an emergency distress signal from a distant galaxy, the crew (including James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster and Lou Diamond Phillips) soon finds itself in danger from the mysterious young man (Peter Facinelli) they rescue, the alien artifact he smuggled aboard and the gravitational pull of a giant star about to go supernova. Once again an extremely troubled production period (three directors came and went, the original director twice!) the film’s budget was 90 million (135 million today) and tanked on release taking in a little under 15 million (22 million) worldwide.
The fuck cost 30 million in Lolita?! I remember watching it one time and it was pretty good, you are right Irons is always great to watch. UNCLE was surprisingly good for Ritchie’s movie, it didn’t have that annoying editing style his other actions flicks do, but with this cast, indeed no box office draws, they shouldn’t give him such a big budget
I was going to pick The Man From U.N.C.L.E. myself but I picked it for a topic last month so it seemed too soon! I can’t believe it was a flop though!
I have seen all 3! I also liked all 3 but my least, even though I liked it, is Lolita but it is a good film. The second film is sad but excellent and should have done better. I love The Man From U.N.C.L.E and wish it would have done better because I would love to see a sequel
Lolita – Haven’t seen it, only the 1962 version
Deepwater Horizon – Not surprise it’s a flop. I don’t see people flocking to see a movie about a recent disaster that is still affecting the environment.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.- I really enjoyed this, it was fun and too wished there was a sequel