10 Largest Box Office Bombs Ever

Between talent, tech equipment, and special effects, the costs of movie production add up quickly. High ticket sales are often required to reap any profits. While every movie in the film industry is created with hopes of earning big in the box office, some movies fall painfully short of their expectations.

So, just how bad can the financial losses of box office bombs get? Today we’ll be learning about 10 of the largest box office bombs in the world and ranking them by their estimated losses. The losses of each film are adjusted according to inflation for the most accurate possible comparison.

  1. The Alamo

Production Budget: $107,000,000
Notable Actor: Dennis Quaid
Losses: $125,000,000
Year: 2004

The Alamo  Source: wikimedia.org

Known for actors such as Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton, The Alamo bombed primarily as a result of unfavorable political climate and filming delays that pushed it over-budget. Any hype that managed to build in anticipation of this movie fizzled by the time it was actually released, resulting in failure despite many people saying that Billy Bob Thornton’s portrayal of Davy Crockett was stellar.

Did You Know?

This version of The Alamo was meant to be a more historically accurate reimagining of the 1960 film directed by John Wayne.

  1. A Wrinkle in Time

Production Budget: $125,000,000
Notable Actor: Reese Witherspoon
Losses: $131,000,000
Year: 2018

A Wrinkle in Time  Source: wikimedia.org

A Wrinkle in Time was meant to be a film adaptation of the beloved children’s book by Madeleine L’Engle, but many considered it to be a butchery of the original story and a blundering insult to racial inclusivity. The idea of adapting A Wrinkle in Time into a movie was bounced around for years, with a number of failed attempts. Unfortunately, Disney took a heavy financial hit after delivering disappointing results.

Did You Know?

This strange movie was marketed with even stranger methods, including being pushed through JetBlue’s customer emailing list.

  1. The Lone Ranger

Production Budget: $225,000,000
Notable Actor: Helena Bonham Carter
Losses: $133,000,000
Year: 2013

The Lone Ranger  Source: wikimedia.org

The Lone Ranger had a bumpy ride from the start, when its estimated budget requirements skyrocketed above all expectations. Production was delayed while overly-expensive movie elements were reassessed. Despite all efforts made to salvage the film despite its setbacks, it  flopped in the box office next to the more successful Despicable Me Il. While Disney had aimed to provide something that catered to all age groups like the Pirates of the Carribbean series had, they wound up missing the mark.

Did You Know?

Johnny Depp thanked his horse, Scout, for stepping over him after a fall and potentially saving his life.

  1. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Production Budget: $137,000,000
Notable Actor: Steve Buscemi
Losses: $133,000,000
Year: 2001

Final Fantasy  Source: wikimedia.org

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was the most expensive video game-inspired movie of all time, up until the 2010 release of Prince of Persia. In fact, The Spirits Within was so incredibly pricey to develop that Square Company experienced its first-ever yearly financial loss a year before the movie was even released. The company hoped that box office popularity would patch things up, but the resulting flop resulted in the Executive VP of Square Company stepping down.

Did You Know?

The Spirits Within suffered harsh criticism after its release, with critics calling it “soulless” and describing the dialogue as “laughably lame”.

  1. The Adventures of Pluto Nash

Production Budget: $100,000,000
Notable Actor: Rosario Dawson
Losses: $134,000,000
Year: 2002

The Adventures of Pluto Nash  Source: wikimedia.org

The Adventures of Pluto Nash received highly negative feedback, with many people expressing disappointment in all the poorly crafted jokes delivered by renowned comic Eddie Murphy. Some people stated that, similarly to other box office bombs, if this movie had stuck with clean language and been deliberately tailored to a younger audience it would have done much better.

Did You Know?

Despite its failure and extremely negative critic reviews, The Adventures of Pluto Nash is still regarded by plenty of viewers as a pleasant surprise.

  1. John Carter

Production Budget: $263,700,000
Notable Actor: Willem Dafoe
Losses: $138,000,000
Year: 2002

John Carter  Source: wikimedia.org

While the visuals and soundtrack of John Carter received some positive feedback, hardly anyone spoke highly of its characters or plot. Overall, it bombed so thoroughly that it’s become a metaphor for box office failures as a whole and is now used as an example of how a movie can go wrong. From its slow start to its seemingly amateur production, John Carter is now seen as a classic example of a bad movie.

Did You Know?

Many viewers stated that John Carter was doomed from the moment its incoherent, boring, and unimpressive trailer was released.

  1. Titan A.E.

Production Budget: $90,000,000
Notable Actor: Drew Barrymore
Losses: $145,000,000
Year: 2000

Titan A.E.  Source: wikimedia.org

Titan A.E. was originally meant to be a live-action film, then later started as a hybridization of 2-D and CGI animation. In the end, however, it was given to Fox Animation Studios to keep the animators hired and busy. They’d just finished Anastasia, but didn’t do as well when duking it out a second time against films that Disney intentionally released alongside theirs in order to reign supreme in the box office.

Did You Know?

Titan A.E.  featured a series of predictable tropes that led people to see it as uncreative and underwhelming.

  1. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Production Budget: $60,000,000
Notable Actor: Catherine Zeta-Jones
Losses: $170,000,000
Year: 2003

Sinbad  Source: wikimedia.org

This DreamWorks Animation film attempted a risky blend of 2D animation and CGI. Unfortunately, it fell flat since other popular CGI movies like Shrek and Monsters, Inc. had made 2D animation seem obsolete. Alongside condemning the animation style as awkward, many viewers also criticized the plot and claimed that the characters were underdeveloped and less than likeable.

Did You Know?

Despite its mixed reviews and box office flop, Sinbad holds a special place in many people’s hearts as the last hand-drawn animated film produced by Dreamworks.

  1. Cutthroat Island

Production Budget: $98,000,000
Notable Actor: Geena Davis
Losses: $173,000,000
Year: 1995

Cutthroat Island  Source: wikimedia.org

This comedy adventure film was troubled from the onset of its production and experienced a ridiculous number of setbacks, recasts, and rewrites. Mishaps included raw sewage pouring from broken pipes into a swimming tank and over two dozen crew members quitting after the chief camera operator was fired after a spat.

Did You Know?

Some of the main actors eventually begged to be released from the film, realizing that it was bound to be a disaster, but were refused.

  1. Mortal Engines

Production Budget: $110,000,000
Notable Actor: Hugo Weaving
Losses: $175,000,000
Year: 2018

Mortal Engines  Source: wikimedia.org

Mortal Engines is the largest box office bomb in the world in terms of estimated losses. It featured a bizarre premise based on the idea of larger cities moving to devour smaller ones and its plot fell flat for the vast majority of its audience. Universal’s launch of Mortal Engines was called “pathetic” and the movie struggled to break even with production costs.

Did You Know?

Many critics attribute this movie’s bombing to the fact that its plot was difficult to market to a wide audience and the cast featured hardly any well-known talent.

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