King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law, was released on May 12th in the United States and many other territories. It was estimated that the production and marketing budget for this new epic, which was described as 'Game Of Thrones on steroids', was $175 million. It would've needed a pretty hefty opening weekend to get the movie off to a good start on the road to becoming profitable.
Unfortunately, the film fell on its sword quite spectacularly. It debuted at number three in the box-office, grossing only $14.7 million, which was considerably less than the (low) expectation of $25 million. Ultimately, it looks like the movie could end up losing Warner Brothers and Village Roadshow Pictures around $150 million when its all said and done.
This is far from the first big-budget movie to underperform at the box-office, however. It seems like every single year there are, at least, one or two disasters that cause studio suits to lose sleep. It's the nature of the entertainment business; sometimes, things catch on with audiences and, sometimes, they simply don't. And sometimes it's extremely hard to predict what's going to be a hit and what isn't.
This quiz will test your knowledge of 25 flops from the last 20 years or so. Can you recognize the movie from the picture we show you? Have at it!
Ben Affleck's first high profile flop as a director
After a rocky time in the early to mid-2000's, Ben Affleck has managed to re-establish himself as one of the most talented and hard-working people in Hollywood. His acting has definitely improved, but perhaps the real key to his renewed success was his rise to prominence as a director. Movies like Gone Baby Gone and The Town were top notch crime dramas that showed he was a directorial force to be reckoned with. Then he won Best Picture at the Academy Awards with Argo and everything seemed golden for Affleck. Until this costly flop hit theatres in January 2017...
Just ONE of Halle Berry's misfires after her Oscar win
In 2002, Halle Berry won the Best Actress Academy Award for her excellent performance in the drama Monster's Ball, alongside Billy-Bob Thornton and Heath Ledger. It was a huge moment for Berry, who had climbed the Hollywood ladder with roles in Bulworth and X-Men, but was an even bigger moment for black actresses everywhere. To date, Berry is still the only black actress to have received this honour. However, her choices after her Oscar win proved to be highly questionable. First up was Gothika, a terrible horror film co-starring Robert Downey Jr. (who accidentally broke her arm while filming a scene). Then she chose to play another comic book character...
This Gerard Butler movie sank like a stone in 2016
Director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Knowing) directed this regrettable historical epic in 2016. Starring Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Geoffrey Rush, the movie wound up the subject of a storm of controversy before its release. In the end, Proyas publicly apologized for what was deemed 'ethnically inaccurate' casting. Some critics accused this pre-emptive apology as the studio's way of trying to rescue the film, whose buzz had turned toxic. In the end, it didn't help much at all, and the film was a financial failure, while also receiving five nominations at the Golden Raspberry awards.
This supernatural western was HATED by fans and critics alike
For every mega-hit like The Avengers or The Dark Knight, the comic book movie genre tends to throw out one or two lesser efforts that die at the box-office. This was very much one of them! Despite a tremendous cast, headlined by Josh Brolin, John Malkovich and Megan Fox (and including supporting turns from Michael Fassbender and Shannon, both of whom would go on to star in much better comic book movies), this supernatural western was an absolute disaster. How much of a disaster? Try $10 million grossed, against a budget of $47 million...
Oh Johnny Depp, what were you thinking?!
The budget of this Johnny Depp misfire was a reported $225 million. Which is a huge, HUGE amount of money to spend on a film. In order to be in any way profitable, this thing would've had to have grossed more than double that number at the box-office. Unfortunately, with a domestic gross of $89 million, it underperformed significantly. Even though the international totals took it up to $260 million worldwide, this was still not good enough, considering the marketing alone also cost $150 million! Oh, and Johnny Depp played a Native American. Oh dear.
The internet lost its mind over this movie in 2016
We said before how Ghosts Of Egypt was somewhat controversial upon its release, due to the casting of mostly white actors and actresses as Egyptians. Well, that controversy paled in comparison to what happened when Sony cast four female actresses in an update/reboot of a popular 80's franchise that had previously starred four men. Everybody simply lost their freakin' minds! This movie set the internet on edge from the very moment it was announced, and by the time of its release, the hullabaloo surrounding the film had turned very toxic indeed. It ended up disappointing at the box office and lost Sony a significant chunk of change.
In 1995, this was the most expensive movie ever made
Kevin Costner had a rough time in the mid to late 90's, and this movie started the rot for him. At the time, with a reported budget of $175 million, it was by far and away the most expensive film ever made. Even in 2017, that would be a huge budget, so in 1995 it must have given the movie studio accountants heart attacks! The movie struggled to make back its budget on the theatrical run, and even though it did eventually become profitable due to video sales and other post-cinema sales, it's still considered a pretty big failure.,
This 'Bennifer' team-up has gone down in infamy
Apparently this Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy cost $75 million to make in 2003. Which is just madness. It gained a lot of media attention at the time, due to 'Bennifer' being a romantic item in real life, but the movie sank like a stone at the box office, making a paltry $7 million. It's also widely considered one of the worst movies ever made, which would probably anger director Martin Brest, who intended to make a darker crime film, but was forced by the studio to remove footage and retool it as a romantic comedy to capitalize on Bennifer's fame. Yikes.
Any hopes for Taylor Kitsch as a leading man died after this one flopped
Prior to 2012, Taylor Kitsch was best known for portraying Tim Riggins in the TV version of Friday Night Lights and for playing Gambit in 2009's godawful X-Men Origins: Wolverine. After 2012, he would surely be catapulted to fame after the release of three big movies with him as the leading man: Peter Berg's Battleship, Oliver Stone's Savages, and the movie pictured here, a sci-fi adventure co-starring Lynn Collins and Bryan Cranston. Unfortunately for Kitsch, all three movies flopped at the box office and were received with vitriol by critics. This one cost a whopping $250 million to make, and only returned $73 million domestically, although it has since developed a cult following on DVD/Blu-Ray...
This Eddie Murphy vehicle was one of the most expensive flops of all time
When a movie costs $100 million to make, and only manages to scrape $7 million at the box-office? That's a very bad day for everyone involved. Especially when the movie also regularly ends up on people's lists of the 'Worst Films Ever Made' and was nominated for five Golden Rasperries. Eddie Murphy has had a few misses in his career, like any actor or actress who has been plying their trade in Hollywood for a long stretch of time. But this one was by far his worst offender.
Jennifer Garner's Marvel spin-off failed to make much of an impression
In 2003, Jennifer Garner starred in Daredevil, opposite Ben Affleck (who would go on to become her husband in real life). While that movie took a hit from some critics and fans, its reputation was increased by the Director's Cut version that was released subsequently on DVD. It was also profitable enough to warrant a spin-off movie for Garner's character. Sadly, said spin-off was anything but profitable. Its domestic gross was the worst of any Marvel movie aside from Howard The Duck in the 80's, and it stopped any potential franchise in its tracks.
It may have starred Harrison Ford, but Star Wars this was NOT
This had all the right ingredients to be the next big sci-fi action franchise. It was based on a celebrated book, by Orson Scott Card, and had a cast including Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis and Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford. It was about a gifted child sent to an advanced military academy in outer space to prepare for an alien invasion. It even debuted at number one in its first weekend at the box office. So far, so good, right? Wrong. This thing tailed off dramatically after its debut, and barely recouped more than the production budget. Cancel the franchise!
This 1995 movie is the worst box-office bomb of all time when adjusted for inflation
This swashbuckling adventure, starring Geena Davis and Matthew Modine, was such a disaster that it contributed to the production company Carolco filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and subsequently going out of business. It cost $98 million to make, and only returned $10 million. At one point, the production budget had spiralled so far out of control that director Renny Harlin paid $1 million of his own money to rewrite the script. It also did lasting damage to Davis' reputation as a leading lady, and effectively killed Modine's career as a leading man.
Before Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds starred as this DC Comics hero
In 2016, Ryan Reynolds finally had a massive, spectacular success with a comic book movie. Deadpool, the little R-rated comedy action-fest that could, became a genuine phenomenon and the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. It was just rewards for Reynolds, who had several failed tries at the superhero genre before, in the likes of Blade: Trinity and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Oh, and this movie. The one where he wore a green CGI suit and flew around the galaxy with a bunch of CGI aliens in similar green suits. And punched a yellow cloud into the sun. Yeesh.
John Travolta's awful 2000 sci-fi 'epic'
Yep. This is John Travolta's scientology movie. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! Travolta, who has been a Scientologist since 1975, had long wanted to make a movie based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's 1982 novel. No major studio wanted to fund the film, because of concerns over the Scientology connection (as well as the terrible script). Eventually an independent company named Franchise Pictures, which specialized in stars' pet projects, stepped in. Oh, and Travolta contributed millions of dollars of his own money too, He didn't get that money back.
Nicole Kidman/Daniel Craig remake that stunk up the joint in 2007
This movie was a low point in the careers of actors Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. It was also a pretty horrendous time for director Oliver Hirschbiegel, who had his film taken out of his hands to be rewritten by The Wachowskis and re-shot by James McTiegue. Filming was initially finished in late 2005, but the studio was unhappy, and so delayed for over a year until reshoots could take place in January 2007. Unsurprisingly, these problems were reflected in the limp box office and shrugging audience reaction to the film.
Not even Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis could save this sci-fi disaster
The Wachowski siblings wrote and directed The Matrix, which was released in 1999. It justifiably blew everyone's minds, because it's unspeakably amazing and revolutionary in its ideas and execution. Then they made The Matrix sequels, which weren't quite as good. Then they followed that up with three other sci-fi epics, which have all had extremely mixed receptions. This one, which starred Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis and Eddie Redmayne had all the ingredients to be a big hit. But audiences just didn't warm to it at all, despite the impressive visuals and stunning world-building. Oh well.
Kevin Costner with another costly 90's flop
This 1997 movie was set in a near-future, after an unspecified apocalyptic event erased most of humanity's technology. The year of this scary future? 2013! Weird. Kevin Costner was in need of a hit at this point in his career, after the financial failure that was Waterworld. Thus, he produced, starred in and directed The Postman, which carried an $80 million price-tag. Unfortunately, it flopped even worse than Waterworld, barely making back a quarter of its budget, and it was called 'good natured' but 'goofy' and 'pretentious' by critic Roger Ebert. Ouch.
Even its own director hated this Marvel reboot
The controversy surrounding the making of this film, including months of strife, reshoots and disagreements between the director and the movie studio, wound up being more interesting than the film itself. When the very person who is credited with directing the film Tweets 'A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would've received great reviews. You'll probably never see it. That's reality though' a mere day before the film hits theatres? That's when you know this thing had been a disaster in the making for quite some time.
Hugh Jackman may want people to forget about this one
This movie had a celebrated director, with several critically beloved films under his belt, and a bona fide movie star (Hugh Jackman) playing the villain of the piece. It also starred Rooney Mara and Amanda Seyfried, and was a prequel to a classic children's novel that had been translated to film multiple times before. What could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot, actually. It only grossed $35 million domestically, on a budget of $150 million, and was torn apart by critics. Not a good day at the office for anybody.
This was like Men In Black, only lame
Hey, it's Ryan Reynolds again! Bless him, but he's had a number of big-budget flops during the course of his career. It's not all sunshine and rainbows and Deadpool, people! This one was a supernatural action comedy, based on a comic book, and it co-starred Jeff freakin' Bridges, who is normally a delight. But for whatever reason, this just didn't work. It wasn't funny, or exciting. And the CGI effects were sub-standard. And the plot was very reminiscent of the likes of Men In Black and Ghostbusters. Only nowhere near as good.
This updating of a classic TV show failed to hit the mark
Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword isn't his only big-budget flop, unfortunately. His previous movie, a big-screen version of a beloved British 1960's TV show starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, also tanked at the box-office and received decidedly mixed reviews. It didn't even do well in the UK, debuting at number four in the box-office on its opening weekend. Which is all a bit of a shame, as the movie is actually good fun, and the cast all play their roles with gusto.
This production was so troubled that there was a tell-all documentary made about it
If you have a Netflix account (and we assume everyone does at this point), we highly recommend watching Lost Soul, a documentary about English director Richard Stanley and his torturous experience trying to make this film in 1996. Stanley had been with the project from conception and stayed all the way through pre-production and even the first few days of filming. Then he summarily fired, and replaced with John Frankenheimer. Who delivered a godawful film, which died at the box-office and is usually seen as the great Marlon Brando's worst film.
Alec Baldwin couldn't turn this pulp hero into a box-office hit
This 1994 superhero/pulp crimefighter movie was meant to be the beginning of a multimedia franchise encompassing comics, toys and a video game. A worldwide gross of $48 million, against a budget of $40 million, put an end to those ideas, however. A video game was actually developed for release on the Super NES gaming system, but was cancelled after the low box office figures. In recent years, the film has developed a solid cult following, though, and it's tempting to wonder if there will be another attempt at turning the character into a big-screen icon.
Audiences just weren't interested in this remake of a 1959 classic
This 2016 remake was the fifth big-screen adaptation of a classic 1880 novel. It was called a 're-adaptation', 'reimaging' and a 'new interpretation' of the novel, and starred Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell and even Morgan Freeman! Unfortunately, no one seemed to care and the movie only made $94 million worldwide, which was $6 million LESS than it cost to make. Uh-oh! It is believed that the film lost the studio anywhere between $60-$75 million, which had to sting. We reckon there won't be another version of this story on the silver screen for quite some time!