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The Biggest Box Office Failures of the Decade

'The Wolfman,' 'Ben Hur,' 'How Do You Know,' 'Mysteries of the Red Planet,' 'Ghost Patrol,' 'Ronin' and 'Monster Truck' Cited

Making films is risky, especially from a financial point of view. Even experienced Hollywood analysts can’t for sure predict what the audience will like and what will ignore. Each picture in the list has a budget of one hundred million dollars, and fees are not just bad, but humiliating.

“The Wolfman”

If you have a skilled team, a high-quality horror film can be shot for a penny; then even modest fees will more than pay for production. But on a remake of their own classics, Universal Studios decided not to save – “Wolfman” got a record $ 150 million for the genre. The studio invited Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving for the lead roles, the script was written by Andrew Kevin Walker, the author of Burton ‘s “Sleepy Hollow,” and the music by Danny Elfman. Add to this the shooting in nature, high-quality graphics, complicated makeup … In general, the scope was truly a blockbuster.

The audience did not show much interest in the old-fashioned horror story about the werewolf: the picture collected less than 140 million, and in order to get at least zero, the project must cover production costs at least twice. Since then, no one has risked allocating such a large budget to horror.

“Ben Hur”

The Peplum “Ben-Hur” of 1959 is one of the most beloved things in the West. The film won eleven (!) Oscars, eleven times covered its budget and gained cult status among viewers of all faiths. Tackling a remake of such a work is not just a risk, but pure suicide. However, the bosses of Paramount Pictures and MGM, apparently, considered that the younger generation did not look at the classics, and therefore it is possible to turn the biblical story into an action such as “Gladiator” and “300 Spartans”.

The film simply turned out to be weak, and the contrast with the great predecessor only exacerbated the impression. The result is 94 million worldwide, with a budget of 100 million. This is where Bekmambetov’s Hollywood career as a director ended.

“How Do You Know”

The tape barely scraped together 48 and a half million dollars with a budget of 120. It is likely that “How Do You Know” – the last work of Jack Nicholson. Now the 82-year-old actor has retired and does not plan to return to the cinema.

“Mysteries of the Red Planet”

Back in the early 2000s, Robert Zemeckis got interested in motion capture technology. And if his first experiment in this field, the Polar Express , was favorably met by critics, then they looked at “Beowulf” and “The Christmas Story” with caution – the painted boobies with human facial expressions looked very creepy. And the technology itself in cartoons was paid much more attention than the plot or characters.

There is nothing surprising in the fact that the audience did not want to look at the resulting circus freaks, and the cartoon collected a pathetic 39 million dollars with a budget of 150.

“Ghost Patrol”

Secondary is not a crime, especially in Hollywood. In the same Marvel cinematic universe, the formula for the first “Iron Man” is already used in several origins in a row. And to tell the truth, “Avatar” almost completely copied the stories of “Pocahontas” and “Dancing with Wolves,” which did not stop him from earning two billion and the love of the audience. The main thing is to skillfully adapt someone else’s material for yourself.

Probably, the studio understood that the tape did not hold water, because the film did not even have a press screening. However, this did not really help. Immediately after the premiere, the picture earned 78 million with a budget of 130. Uuwww.


Universal allocated a whopping 175 million to implement the idea, but at the same time for some reason entrusted such a design to director-debutant Karl Rinsch. If you hear this name for the first time, do not be surprised – after “47 Ronin” he didn’t take anything else. However, the director failed to finish even his first film: as soon as the studio realized that something was wrong with the project, Rinsha was removed .

Due to large-scale shootings, the budget has grown to 225 million. In the end, the picture was released on Christmas 2013. In an unequal struggle, the 47 Ronin managed to recapture only $ 151 million.

“Monster Truck”

Steven Spielberg’s “Alien” released thirty-seven years ago, but people still love it. Sometimes their release is no less magnificent, like, for example, the Steel Giant , sometimes just worthy, like Bumblebee … And sometimes they turn out Monster Trucks.

It all started with the fact that Paramount Animation, the not-so-successful daughter of the big Paramount, wanted a full-fledged Transformers franchise, only targeting an even younger audience. Chris Wedge, the director of the “Ice Age” and “Robots,” called to launch it, and they gave $ 125 million for production – a lot of money for the project according to the original scenario.

“Monster Truck” scraped together just 64.5 million dollars.

Let’s see what cash bombs will be remembered the 2020s…

Author: Serg Dum
I am devoted to work as a Chief Content Editor at King Billy Australia for almost three years.