Believe it or not, most film flops don't take place in the summer. It’s a real shame, because we had the perfect burn for one of cinema’s biggest bombs of all time: Forget “The Alamo.” Man, that would have been sweet. However, just because that gem had to be tossed to the wayside, it doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of stinkers that took place between Memorial Day and Labor Day (what we're defining as summer for the sake of this piece) for us to tear new ones. Let’s take a look at 13 of the more famous examples of summer box-office bombs and see just how much fun can be had at their expense, provided anyone even saw them. You are so lucky, "Hudson Hawk" (release date: May 24, 1991). You missed the cutoff by the skin of your teeth, or in this case, the hair clinging for dear life to Bruce Willis’ scalp.
Sources: FilmSite.org, IMDb and Box Office Mojo
Budget: $74 million
Opening Weekend: $3.75 million
Worldwide Gross: $7.3 million
One word explains this failure: “Bennifer.” It’s always a bad sign when the general public is already sick of a film’s two main stars before it is even released. This one wasn’t just a bomb; it was considered the worst movie of 2003. The film was so bad that it was pulled from theaters after just three weeks. In fact, people hated the whole “Bennifer” thing so much that it even affected another movie called “Jersey Girl,” starring Ben Affleck, released in 2004. Sure, the movie had only a brief Jennifer Lopez appearance, but that was apparently “Enough.” Get it? Anyway, the director of “Jersey Girl,” Kevin Smith, had this to say on a “Clerks II” DVD interview about the fallout of the movie stars’ relationship, which perfectly encompasses why both films flopped: “All these people were just trashing this movie's stars instead of looking at the movie itself. I get that a lot of people didn't like it, but dude, I spent two years of my life on that movie.”
Budget: $170.8 million
Opening Weekend: $13.25 million
Worldwide Gross: $76.9 million
Even though it sounds like their slogan is “FX Has the Movies,” we're pretty sure if you listen very closely, it’s actually “FX Has D Movies,” which is exactly what “Stealth” is and on what channel it can normally be seen. If you’ve somehow sat through this entire film before, then we’re guessing you probably stayed put for the “Two and a Half Men” marathon that followed. Panned by critics and moviegoers alike (with Roger Ebert colorfully referring to it as “an offense against taste, intelligence and the noise-pollution code”), the film opened in fourth place, making a measly $13 million and change. That might not sound so bad, until you factor in the film’s budget and worldwide gross. Leave this one buried deep in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart where it belongs.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Budget: $167 million
Opening Weekend: $11.4 million
Worldwide Gross: $85.1 million
This was the first full-length movie to use computer-generated effects for props, environments and human characters as well. But when it comes down to brass tacks, why go see a movie that is based on a video game and looks like a video game, but isn’t a video game? Or, at least, that is probably what everyone was thinking based on these numbers. Plus, when it comes to something this dorky, if the story isn’t all there or doesn’t measure up to the video game itself, the nerds will revolt (on the online message boards).
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
Budget: $135 million
Opening Weekend: $12.8 million
Worldwide Gross: $65.7 million
Bet they wish they had waited until Liam Neeson was actually a box-office draw to put this baby out. Who’d have thought that the general public needs a little more than the name of a submarine and a subtitle that they don’t quite understand to go purchase tickets? Now, U-571, there’s a group of letters and numbers we can all get behind. Another joke at the movie's expense: When you type “K19” into the IMDb search, the top titles include “The World Is Not Enough,” then “K-19: The Widowmaker.” But that’s not really a joke as much as it is just a true statement.
Budget: $145 million
Opening Weekend: $14.5 million
Worldwide Gross: $77.6 million
It’s surprising this one doesn’t get brought up more often when it comes to box-office bombs, because you have to imagine MGM shit a brick after pulling in that not-so-cool $14.5 mil on opening weekend after spending $145 million on the film. It was more or less critically panned, with the big complaint being that while it is a film based on Navajo Indian soldiers using their native language as an uncrackable radio cipher, it centers on Nicolas Cage. The last part of that statement is reason enough not to go see it.
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
Budget: $140 million
Opening Weekend: $7.6 million
Worldwide Gross: $72.2 million
It actually went around the world in 93 days, and still came up about $68 million short of making its money back. While it was “based on” the Jules Verne novel by the same name, many criticized the film for having little to no resemblance to the novel. Couple that with being nominated for two Razzies, including Worst Supporting Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and you can see why this film didn’t rise to the same heights as its titular characters.
Jonah Hex (2010)
Budget: $47 million
Opening Weekend: $5.4 million
Worldwide Gross: $10.9 million
This one is based on a DC Comics character that not many people know about. There’s the disconnect right away. Couple that with poor critical reviews and the fact that it opened the same weekend as “Toy Story 3,” and it isn’t very hard to see why this film opened at a meager No. 7 at the box office. It performed so poorly, in fact, that it was not widely released overseas, making only $356,195 outside the U.S. As awesome (and one can only assume buoyant) as Megan Fox’s rack is, it couldn’t keep this stinker afloat.
Osmosis Jones (2001)
Budget: $75 million
Opening Weekend: $5.27 million
Worldwide Gross: $14 million
Not too many people know that this bomb was directed by the Farrelly Brothers. It was part live action, part animation, with its biggest live-action draw being the always hilarious Bill Murray. One can’t help but wonder if the film would have done better or worse if it had kept its original PG-13 rating instead of being cut to a more family-friendly PG. At least it spawned a children’s TV series called “Ozzy and Drix,” so it wasn’t a total loss. We’re suckers for the Farrellys and Bill Murray here, so we can’t give this one such a tough time, but it was still a failure.
Budget: $40 million
Opening Weekend: $3 million
Domestic Gross: $7.2 million
This one had Elijah Wood, Bruce Willis, two "Seinfeld" cast members (Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and was directed by Rob Reiner. Not a bad start. Then you get to the premise. As much as we’d love to describe it to you, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert do a much better job in this YouTube video that has been making the rounds for several years. Tell us how you really feel!
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
Budget: $76 million
Opening Weekend: $6.8 million
Worldwide Gross: $35.1 million
Does this movie actually exist? You never even see it on HBO Family, for crying out loud. But apparently it does exist. Though the film didn’t do horribly with critics, supporting actors Jason Alexander and Rene Russo were somewhat panned. So much so, in fact, that Alexander apologized for it on "The Howard Stern Show." If you ask us, it was the movie's horrible CGI and the fact that it was based on a show that aired its first episode in 1959 that failed to draw an audience. Kids had no clue what it was and adults didn’t care.
Green Lantern (2011)
Budget: $325 million
Opening Weekend: $53.2 million
Worldwide Gross: $220 million
This is another case of DC Comics betting too much on the wrong horse. And by wrong horse, we are talking another superhero that the general public knows very little about. It’s not like Green Lantern is Batman or Superman. When the most the average person knows about a superhero is that he flies around in a stupid-looking CGI suit wearing a ring, its not the smartest plan to throw $325 million his way. And this isn’t even taking into account the abysmal reviews the film received. "Green Lantern" is hard to sit through on even the laziest of Saturdays while lying around in your underpants and eating ice cream. And yes, that is coming from experience.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
Budget: 120 million
Opening Weekend: $2.2 million
Worldwide Gross: $7.1 million
Say what you will about this film, but at least Eddie Murphy didn’t have to put in the work of playing multiple characters. Or hell, maybe he did. No one has seen "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," so we can't be certain. We know Murphy played multiple characters in “Meet Dave,” another summer tank-job in 2008, but even that movie was not nearly as big of a disaster as "Pluto Nash," the biggest summer box-office bomb of all time.
Side note: While it is easy (incredibly, incredibly easy) to make fun of Eddie Murphy’s shameless portrayals of multiple characters in his films, it actually paid off quite handsomely in the past. “Norbit” actually turned a profit of nearly $100 million worldwide, and combined, the “Nutty Professor” films pulled in a whopping $302 million of pure profit. Our brains continue to deteriorate.
Next: Colored-Pencil Portraits of Fictional Families
The 13th Warrior (1999)
Budget: $160 million
Opening Weekend: $10.3 million
Worldwide Gross: $61.7 million
More like the 13th flop on this list. Burn! This film is up there in terms of most money lost, especially in terms of summer movies (but not quite as bad as "Pluto Nash"). For all it cost to make and market, it still premiered at No. 2, which is exactly what it is. A big, steaming pile of No. 2. The best reviews weren’t that good, and as for why it failed, let’s just say you don’t exactly hear people walking around saying “I’m in the mood for a good Viking movie” very often. Add that to the fact that test audiences hated it, prompting reshoots that doubled the film's original budget, and you have the perfect recipe for box-office failure.