There is always big blockbuster movies that get absolutely horrific reviews and ratings but because they are either marketed right, come out at the right time or else are part of a franchise they will always do well at the box office. So Shadowlocked have come up with 10 movies that are absolutely awful but have done very well at the box office:
M. Night Shamaylan’s Signs brought in over $407,900,000 in gross receipts. And it was silly…and contrived…and predictable…and ridiculous. A hyper-intelligent alien race, having mastered interstellar travel, will choose to invade a planet that is over 80 percent proof poison? The triumph of middle America farmers over highly-advanced alien invaders using glasses of stale water is the triumph of mediocrity, which is a nice analogy for this film outgrossing Batman Begins. Because that actually happened.
9. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Gross receipts of $786,636,033. Obviously initial viewings of this movie were fuelled by eighties nostalgia – because the first three movies were amazing. The intro scene to Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the classic moments of cinema history. Announcements of the release of the franchise’s fourth film caused high anticipation, even for those of us jaded by Star Wars prequels. What a disappointment! Aliens, really? UFO, ESP, WTF? $317 million dollars’ worth.
8. Twilight / New Moon / Eclipse
All three are in the top echelon of worldwide grosses, making an unbelievable over $1.7 billion (Yes, billion, with a b. Which makes me furious with an f.) These films, (but particularly the first one) are insanely bad. And not passively bad – bad acting, flat characterizations, lack of compelling storyline (check, check, check!) but actively bad – sending bad messages about the appeal of bad boys to impressionable teens with disposable income and terrible taste in movies. If I were to choose the one film I would not want my daughters to watch, it would be this: the movie in which the disaffected, angst-ridden heroine actually says to her boyfriend, “You’re not bad, you’re just misunderstood.” Really? And I am pretty sure the reason he likes her is that she smells good. Like, he’s super lucky that she’s attractive, coherent and sunlight-averse, because she could be Snooki from the Jersey Shore and he’d be drawn to her because of her yummy smell.
7. The Da Vinci Code
Piggybacking on the ‘incredibly successful novel’ format of the Twilight movies, we have The Da Vinci Code. People loved this book, loved it. Do you remember 2003? You couldn’t swing a dead cat in a crowded bar without someone saying, “Hey, stop that! Have you read The DaVinci Code yet?” But the book was enjoyable enough – I actually thought it would be a great movie. Worst decision ever. Yet somehow, the combination of a best selling novel and church-related controversy, not to mention the Ron Howard-Tom Hanks team, brought in an incredible $758,000,000 in worldwide receipts.
6. War of the Worlds
Tom Cruise is too slick for likeability, too smiley for believability, and (even with the admittedly little I know about Scientology), I find that his personal beliefs seep into every performance; and he still wasn’t the worst part about this film! There was the insanely commercial aspect – was there even a story? There was Dakota Fanning, a talented actress who somehow was reduced to speaking in a pitch that only dogs could hear. And of all, the truly unforgivable part was the ending – unimaginative, tedious, and overdone in every way. Ah well, I’m sure it did terribly at the box-office. What do you mean it grossed $591.7 million worldwide? Erm…
5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
To this day, I cannot understand Bay’s dedication to what – ultimately – is a rapidly dwindling franchise. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Transformers – I thought Bay did a commendable job on transforming my childhood favourite into an eye-catching, appealing movie adaptation – but surely a director/producer of his calibre is capable of spotting a leech when he sees one? Yet here we are, 2011, with Transformers 3 just days away, and Bay seemingly content to turn a blind eye to its lack of imagination in order to enjoy its financial viability.
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s look at the facts. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the 11th most successful release of all time in accordance to the US box office, with a staggering gross of $402,076,689 – and is the 25th globally with $836,300,000 – yet holds a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 20%, making it one of the most panned adaptations to date. Say what you like, but this isn’t Bay, and the sooner they let this die, the better.
4. The Hangover 2
For Todd Phillips, The Hangover was more than just a commercial success – it was the rejuvenating saviour his fleeting career had been looking for. Back in 2000, Phillips created one of the most iconic teen-romp movies of all time – Road Trip – before following it up with yet another comedy gem in Old School. However, after Old School’s phenomenal success, things went from bad to worse for Phillips. While I’d argue this decline was marked by Starsky and Hutch, box-office figures would instead pen School for Scoundrels as the start of his decline. Stigmatised by critics and viewers alike, the film – which stared Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Hader – grossed just $17.8 million dollars, which marked a $2.2 million loss when compared to its $20 million budget.
It would appear that 2006 was not Philips’ year, because he soon followed School for Scoundrels up with a producer credit on All the King’s Men, a film which – to this day – remains one of the biggest flops of all time, grossing just $7.2 million on a $55 million budget…ouch. However, Phillips returned three years later with The Hangover which, despite an initial degree of uncertainty, went on to become one of the most successful films of 2009. So what happened with The Hangover? Well, from a financial viewpoint, nothing – the film has taken $488 million worldwide, and it’s still at the cinemas. Yet, going by rottentomatoes.com, the film has been an unmitigated disaster with a 35% rating – less than half of its original (which rates at 79%). Either way, The Hangover 2 is more than deserving of its place on our top 10…
3. Shrek the Third
Shrek was incredible. Never had a film so impressively combined a children’s animation with adult themes, providing a film that was genuinely enjoyable for all members of the family. The kids got a kick out of the cute characters and simple fart jokes, while the adults cried with hysterics at some of delicately placed innuendos – when Shrek saw Lord Farquaad’s castle for the first time, his “do you think he’s compensating for something?” comment still makes me laugh out loud to this day.
Unfortunately, as is often the case the franchise went downhill, before hitting rock bottom with Shrek the Third. Weirdly, the fourth venture of the series did see a noticeable improvement on its threequel, but the damage had been done. As for stats, well, they speak for themselves – 23rd highest US gross of all time, with $320,706,665 and a global gross of $799,000,000 – not bad for a film that holds a 41% rotten tomatoes rating, and was described as “an overstuffed Happy Meal with a deliberately deceiving nutritional guide” – don’t you just love those serpent-tongued critics?
2. Scooby-Doo 2 – Monsters Unleashed
When I first heard about Scooby-Doo – the cinematic adaptation – I was concerned, and when the initial reviews began to roll in, things look doomed. However, when I got round to viewing it, I was pleasantly surprised. The casting was well-researched, the concept was original (and a bit disturbing, if I’m being honest); and Scooby Doo was as loveable as ever. The friendship he shared with Shaggy was spot on, and in the end the saving grace of the franchise. While critics had panned it, the strength of this brand name pulled through, earning it a cool $275,650,703 on its $84 million budget.
Yet, despite my youth (I was 13 at the time), even I could see that this was a one-hit wonder…and then came Monsters Unleashed. With a 21% rotten tomato rating, even long term Scooby-Doo fans tore this film apart…but not before they went to see it. The film went on to gross around $181 million – almost three times its estimated budget – but the damage had been done, and one would assume that we have seen the last of CGI Scooby-Doo for a long, long time…
1. The Last Airbender
What was M. Night Shyamalan thinking?!? Spending $150 million to make a Nickelodeon orientated animated series into a fully fledged, 3D spectacular has got to go down as one of the most idiotic ideas of all time. OK, so he liked the concept, but to spend that extortionate amount on a children’s animated series is just foolish. Maybe he was influenced by the success of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie back in 2004 – a film that received a number of positive reviews as well as a $140 million gross – but he seemed to miss one rather pivotal point…they spent $30 million, a fifth of his total.
Thankfully for Shyamalan, it would appear that his fan-base – combined with that of The Last Airbender animated series and occasional cinema-folk – was enough to ensure the film’s success…but only just. When analysed against its budget, the films gross of $319,713,881 would suggest over a 100% profit. However, throw in the mere $130 million spent on advertising and that figure becomes less impressive. Saying that, for a film as bad as this (it has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest of any on this list) even a $40 million net profit is impressive. Oh, and just to point out, this film won five awards. Unfortunately, these were five Golden Raspberry Awards, so I don’t think he’ll be mentioning them any time soon.
To be honest I would agree with all of these, what do you think?
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