23 Great Movies That Went Out At The Box Office, From Shawshank Redemption To Children Of Men

PIt seems like an easy task to predict which movies will set the box office on fire, but there’s a reason studios get the big bucks for it.

However, every once in a while, an acclaimed film may come along that absolutely falters after its release to the public.

Over the years, there has been a staggering number of films that have struggled or even failed to recoup their budgets, thus earning the box-office flop label.

It’s hard to pin down exactly why movies like this – children of men and It’s a beautiful life, to name a few – initially struggle to find an audience. Thankfully, however, the quality of the film shines through and ultimately finds a following beyond its theatrical release.

Thanks to the rise of streaming services, the dependency on box office numbers has decreased somewhat over the years. It also means films that struggled to find an audience upon release may still find love years later after being added to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or some other service.

But this month alone, two films that received rave reviews from critics suffered huge losses at the box office: she saidwhich is based on Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s 2019 book about the New York Times Investigations that exposed Harvey Weinstein and Disney animations strange worlds.

Below we go through a list of films that have unexpectedly – and unfairly – bombed at the box office.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Andrew Dominik’s beloved western grossed just over half of its $30 million (£22 million) budget when it hit theaters in 2007. Thankfully, however, he found love after it was released on DVD and Blu-ray, no doubt helped by its inclusion in several “Best Movies of the Year” lists.

Black Hat (2015)

Michael Mann’s underrated cyber-thriller was a box office bomb, grossing just $19.7 million at the box office on a budget of $70 million (£52.5 million). The unfairly scathing reviews probably didn’t help.

Bladerunner (1982)

It’s hard to imagine a groundbreaking film like that Bladerunner was a flop at the time of its release, but that’s what Ridley Scott’s sci-fi film was. After a lackluster run in America, thanks to a global audience, the film proved it had staying power, becoming a hit by word of mouth in the process. Despite this, it has managed to bounce back just $10.5million (£8million) more than its $30million (£22.5million) budget.

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Men’s Children (2006)

Alfonso Cuarón’s dystopian thriller starring Clive Owen is now considered one of the best films of the 21st century.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Orson Welles’ film may be a popular classic today, but that was different in the early 1940s: it failed to recoup its costs at the box office – and was beaten by the (actually very good) Oscar for best picture. How green was my valley.

(RKO radio images)

Watchmaker (1995)

Spike Lee’s watchmaker Considered one of the director’s most disappointing performances at the box office to date, it cost just US$13m (£10m) from a budget of US$25m (£18.7m).

Deep Water Horizon (2016)

Peter Berg’s real-life drama fell more than $30 million short of its $156 million budget — a shame considering it’s one of the friday night lights Creator’s best movies to date (the ones by the guy who directed Battleship and mile 22we assume doesn’t say much).

Donnie Darko (2004)

Donnie Darko has earned just over $7.5million (£5.6million) worldwide on a budget of $4.5million (£3.3million). A notable reason for its flop was probably the fact that its marketing campaign focused on the scene where an airplane engine crashed just weeks before 9/11. Luckily, the film gained a cult following after its release on DVD and is now one of the most celebrated films of the 2000s.

(Dale Robinette/Blume/Gaylord/Adam Fields Prod/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Event Horizon (1997)

With its B-movie style horrors and ridiculous twists, event horizon had all the ingredients to be a sleeper hit. Instead, it was a commercial and critical failure, grossing $26.7 million (£20 million) from a $60 million (£45 million) production budget.

Fight Club (1999)

There was something of a controversy surrounding David Finchers fight club at the time of its release due to rumors that studio execs didn’t like the finished product. Because of this, bosses scaled back the planned marketing campaign to reduce expected poor ticket sales. It is therefore not surprising that the film underperformed at the box office.

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Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Considered one of the biggest box-office hits of its time, Michael Cimino’s ambitious epic lost an estimated $37 million (£27.7 million) to studio United Artists – that’s over $114 million (£85.5 million) adjusted for inflation. The film, which drew criticism from critics at the time, has been re-evaluated in recent years – and stands as one of the last truly director-driven films of this Hollywood era.

Hugo (2011)

Martin Scorsese’s Charming Family Film was a commercial failure, grossing just $185 million (£138.6 million) on a budget of $150-170 million (£112-127 million). Five years later he had another flop with him Be silent, which consequently deterred the studios from investing in the director’s future projects. Instead of this. Scorsese jumped to streaming and released The Irishman on Netflix in 2019. He will release his next two films, including that of 2022 The Killers of the Flower Moonon AppleTV+.


The Insider (1999)

Though loved by critics, Michael Mann’s drama – starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe – never recovered its $68million (£51million) budget.

The Iron Giant (1999)

Despite being one of the greatest animated films of all time, The Iron Giant was a victim of Warner Bros’ skepticism about the genre after their previous efforts failed, Search for Camelot. The film, directed by future Pixar director Brad Bird, grossed $31.3 million (£23.4 million) worldwide on a budget of $70-80 million (£52-60 million).

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Although this classic wasn’t a huge flop, it underperformed at the Christmas box office due to stiff competition from other major films released at the time, including William Wyler’s The best years of our lives and Powell and Pressburger’s A matter of life and death.

The King of Comedy (1982)

Although well-received by critics, Martin Scorsese’s drama flopped at the box office. Thinking about it, lead actor Robert De Niro said the film “maybe wasn’t well received because it gave off an aura of something that people didn’t want to see or know.”

Man on the Moon (1999)

This Jim Carrey film directed by Miloš Forman cost Universal big bucks after failing to recoup its $52-82m (£39-61.4m) budget. In 2017, footage from the making of the film was turned into a documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Afterlifewhich documented Carrey’s transformation into comedian Andy Kaufman.

Mulholland Drive (2001)

David Lynch’s Head Scratch is considered one of the greatest films of all time, but it was so difficult to market that it failed to recoup its $20million (£15million) budget.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Edgar Wright’s latest film, Last night in Soho, flopped. at the box office — but it wasn’t the director’s first disappointment. in 2010, Scottish pilgrim was a box office bomb, grossing $47.7 million (£35.8 million) on a production budget of $85-90 million (£63.7-67.5 million). However, the love for the film is strong 11 years later, and the director regularly tweets along when it airs on TV.

‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’

(Big Talk Productions/Kobal/Shutterstock)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

This Stephen King adaptation may famously be at the top of IMDb’s ‘Top 250’ list, but it was a disappointment at the box office upon release, grossing just US$16 million (£12 million) during its first theatrical run. brought in. It would later be re-released and gross $58.3million (£43.7million), which is a bit of a scam but we’ll let it happen.

A Simple Plan (1998)

This Oscar-nominated Coen brothers-style noir, directed by Sam Raimi and currently available on BBC iPlayer, has raked in a paltry $17 million (£12.7 million) at the box office. This perhaps cemented its fate as one of the most unsung films of the 1990s.

This Is Spinal Puncture (1984)

It wasn’t until the release of Home Entertainment that Rob became Reiner’s mockumentary This is spinal tapdocumenting the rise of a fictional band became the beloved classic it is today.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

It may be a superior Roald Dahl adaptation, but the Gene Wilder film grossed a tiny US$1 million (£749) on its original release in 1971. It cemented its status as one of the most popular family films of all time after becoming a staple on the Christmas television schedule.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/box-office-bombs-good-movies-b2236057.html 23 Great Movies That Went Out At The Box Office, From Shawshank Redemption To Children Of Men


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