Hollywood is known for its glamorous stars, stunning sets, and record-breaking box office numbers, but not every movie is a hit. In fact, some of the biggest names in the industry have starred in the most expensive films that have completely flopped at the box office. From A-list actors to high-budget productions, these movies left fans disappointed and studios and investors with empty wallets. Keep reading to find out which movie takes the cake as the biggest financial failure in Hollywood history.
Gigli – Lost Around $42 Million
Despite the star power of its leads, Gigli remains a massive flop in Hollywood history, with a final loss of $42 million. In an interview, Ben Affleck opened up about the "depressing" experience, revealing how the film's failure threw him into a state of self-doubt. Despite its financial failure, Gigli will forever be remembered as the film that brought Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck together, cementing their status as one of Hollywood's hottest couples.
A loss of $42 million is huge, but that's just the tip of the iceberg! Just wait until you see which Hollywood film took the biggest financial hit.
Deepwater Horizon – Lost Around $60 Million
Mark Wahlberg is no stranger to the big screen, with a long list of blockbuster hits under his belt. However, his role in 2015's Deepwater Horizon wasn't one of his most successful ventures. Despite solid reviews and even stronger co-stars like Gina Rodriguez and Kate Hudson, the film suffered a loss of $60 million at the box office. This financial setback could've really set back their careers, but they still remain some of Hollywood's biggest superstars.
The film, telling the story of the 2010 explosion on the mobile rig in the Gulf of Mexico, faced protests at its premiere, with 100 activists demonstrating against the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. Not the best start!
Osmosis Jones – Lost Around $63 Million
Osmosis Jones was a half-animated, half-live-action film that followed cartoon germs and human cells battling inside the body of a zookeeper played by Bill Murray. Despite a powerful cast, including Chris Rock and Laurence Fishburne, the film belly-flopped and lost over $63 million. It was based on the television series Ozzy & Drix, which people loved, so the expectations for the movie were high. Unfortunately, that money can never be recovered.
People thought the movie might pick up some traction with time, but its reputation never improved. If you think this is bad, wait till you see the other films that lost even more money.
Alice Through the Looking Glass – Lost Around $70 Million
Why did Alice Through the Looking Glass flop? Johnny Depp's star power and Tim Burton's direction couldn't even save the $150 million sequel, arriving six years after the first film, which felt too late. Maybe it was Tim Burton's gothic spin on the classic or the fact that it was released at the same time as other blockbuster hits. It seems the timing, long gaps, and audience expectations all contributed to its underperformance.
Alice may have fallen through the rabbit hole, but clearly, producers also took a massive fall with this film.
Alexander – Lost Around $71 Million
Alexander, the highly anticipated movie directed by Oliver Stone and starring Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Jared Leto, and Rosario Dawson, was a major box office flop. Despite its star-studded cast and a large budget, the film received poor reviews. Many described the film as feeling more like a documentary than a movie, with a slow pace and lack of excitement. There was also controversy around the depiction of Alexander's relationships with men, which many felt was offensive.
The production cost of $155 million resulted in a loss of $71 million, making it one of the biggest movie failures of the year.
Pixels – Lost Around $75 Million
It seems like the Adam Sandler comedy, Pixels missed the mark with audiences and critics alike. The movie, marketed as a playful nod to the classic arcade games of the 80s, failed to deliver any excitement. Despite Adam Sandler's presence, the film couldn't be saved from falling off the deep end into a pool of over $75 million lost. In the land of Hollywood, where the big lights shine bright, it seems as if the trend of box office flops is here to stay.
The nostalgia trend in Hollywood films seems to be the driving force behind Pixels, but the movie ultimately lacked any substance to draw support.
Cowboys and Aliens – Lost Around $75 Million
Cowboys & Aliens was a star-studded film that promised to take audiences on a wild ride, fusing two beloved genres into one epic film. However, it quickly became apparent that this sci-fi western was not living up to its hype. Despite featuring Hollywood heavyweights Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, the movie failed to draw big audiences and opened with a lackluster $36.2 million. Director Jon Favreau has had plenty of acclaimed films like Iron Man to his name, so this hit his ego.
Hollywood is left to ponder what went wrong with Cowboys & Aliens and what the future holds for big-budget genre movies similar to this.
Gemini Man – Lost Around $75 Million
Gemini Man, the ambitious sci-fi flick directed by Ang Lee and starring Will Smith, had a high budget, costing $138 million, but quickly became a box office disaster. Despite the star power of Will Smith, the film failed to pull in audiences both domestically and overseas. Poor reviews and a significant focus on the technology behind the film rather than the actual storyline and characters are cited as reasons for its underperformance.
In an era where star power alone isn't enough, Gemini Man joins the list of films that have struggled in a franchise-driven market.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – Lost Around $75 Million
The sequel to the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, experienced a few major roadblocks that prevented it from becoming a successful franchise. Whereas the first movie suffered from a lack of advertising, this time around, there was way too much of it. The over-saturation of TV spots, trailers, and clips left moviegoers feeling like they had already seen the entire film!
Even the pizza-munching reptiles and iconic Megan Fox couldn't save this film from falling short, ultimately losing Paramount over $75 Million, quite a hefty price tag.
Solo: A Star Wars Story – Lost Around $77 Million
The Star Wars spinoff Solo: A Star Wars Story didn't live up to box office expectations, which was a shock considering how strong the Star Wars films are usually received. Could people have possibly been sick of the franchise? Well, several things, including bad timing and tough competition, and criticism of Alden Ehrenreich's performance as a young Han Solo, could ultimately be attributed to this film absolutely bombing in theatres.
The lesson learned here is that Star Wars films shouldn't be released so close together and at the same time as huge films like Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2.
Ghostbusters – Lost Around $80 Million
The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot was met with criticism from the start, with fans of the original film expressing their disapproval of a female-led cast. Despite boasting a talented cast including Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon, the film struggled to overcome the negativity surrounding it, leading to its underperformance at the box office. The negative buzz around the film likely turned off audiences who were open to giving the reboot a chance.
This disappointing performance is a reminder that trailers play a crucial role in a film's success and can make or break a movie before it even hits theaters.
Speed Racer – Lost Around $81 Million
Speed Racer, an offering from the same Wachowski siblings who directed The Matrix films, was touted as the next big summer blockbuster of 2008. But instead, it became a tremendous flop! With big names like Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon, and John Goodman, the filmmakers, had high hopes. However, the film's big problem was with the advertising, which should have been focused on kids and parents rather than trying to appeal to everyone, resulting in appealing to no one.
The film appealed to a niche audience resulting in a turnout of only $20 million. Speed Racer is officially a resident of flop city, and the population only gets larger as the movie flops continue.
Allied – Lost Around $83 Million
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard's Allied was set to be a big blockbuster with a steamy love affair between a handsome Allied intelligence agent and a French resistance fighter. Allied received mixed reviews, killing off any awards buzz, and opened under expectations with only $12 million in the first weekend. Maybe audiences were tired of Pitt in WWII movies or the rumors of the co-stars having an affair all over the tabloids; either way, the film was disappointing.
The question remains, will Allied be remembered as a war classic or for the speculation surrounding the relationship between its two stars?
Evan Almighty – Lost Around $88 Million
It's the story that just won't go away; the sequel curse strikes again! Remember the 2003 Jim Carrey blockbuster Bruce Almighty? It grossed nearly $500 million, and a follow-up was all but guaranteed. However, with Carrey and Aniston declining to reprise their roles, the studio went with Steve Carell and an all-star cast. But the budget spiraled out of control, and the special effects were a disaster. There were even allegations of animal abuse during production.
The critics were brutal, the audience was underwhelmed, and the movie was a flop of epic proportions. So, don't expect a third Almighty movie anytime soon!
Fantastic Four – Lost Around $90 Million
The Fantastic Four film was filled with behind-the-scenes drama, resulting in a major disappointment for fans and the franchise's death. Despite being a solid comic book and having a talented cast, the film turned out to be a failure. On the day of the film's release, director Josh Trank took to Twitter to express his frustration about the cut of the film being released in theaters, which cost Fox $10 million on top of the $90 million losses.
The film's negative reaction, Trank's tweet, and rumors about his behavior on set resulted in Trank being dropped as director for an upcoming film. Clearly, a bomb was dropped on this movie and his career.
Hugo – Lost Around $92 Million
Martin Scorsese's film Hugo seemed to be a success, earning 11 Oscar nominations and 5 wins, but it was a financial bust. Production was plagued by difficulties, including Scorsese's struggle to adjust to 3D filming, and the final cost was around $180 million. The film had no major stars, poor marketing, and bad time management and scheduling. Martin Scorsese is one of the most esteemed directors in Hollywood, but his name wasn't enough to save this sinking ship.
The film serves as a cautionary tale of how even the most critically acclaimed successes can be a financial disappointment. However, the flops in Hollywood are just getting bigger and bigger.
The Nutcracker: The Untold Story – Lost Around $95 Million
The Nutcracker: The Untold Story, formerly known as The Nutcracker in 3D, was not well-received by critics and audiences, who felt that it did not understand the appeal of the stage versions of The Nutcracker. The film was criticized for being too dark and having poor special effects, particularly in its 3D presentation. The movie was seen as an awkward adaptation of Tchaikovsky's ballet, which was turned into a war story between the Nutcracker Prince and the Rat King.
It wasn't exactly the kid-friendly movie that audiences expected. With movies like this losing almost $100 million and other films losing even more, the movie industry faces waves of epic failures.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash – Lost Around $96 Million
Eddie Murphy, one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars, has had a rollercoaster career, delivering box office hits and misses alike. In 2002, Murphy starred in the science fiction comedy The Adventures of Pluto Nash, where he played a nightclub owner on the moon who goes from ex-con to legit. Despite Murphy's star power, the film was a major flop, described as boring and cliché, grossing only $7 million on a $100 million budget.
Despite the mixed reviews, Murphy was lucky that this movie didn't tank his career. However, it did set the production company back almost $100 million.
Stealth – Lost Around $96 Million
Jamie Foxx, the legendary actor and Academy Award winner, made a shocking confession about one of his past films. In an interview, Foxx revealed that he hated promoting the film Stealth. Despite his A-list status and acclaimed talent, Foxx knew that the movie was going to be a disaster before it even hit theaters. The movie, which starred Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas, was ultimately memorable for being easy to forget about.
It was even described as "basically the videogame version of Top Gun... on steroids!" Maybe it's not surprising it lost $96 Million, considering its star actor didn't like it either.
47 Ronin – Lost Around $98 Million
Hollywood heartthrob Keanu Reeves has been ruling the silver screen since the late 80s with iconic roles in hit movies like Point Break, Speed, and The Matrix. But even legends face failures, and in 2013, Reeves faced a major flop with 47 Ronin. Despite the movie being a big-budget spectacle, it failed to connect with audiences, earning just $38 million domestically. Despite the movie's failure, the action star managed to bounce back and reclaim his A-list status shortly after.
But it is hard to forget this film and its epic loss of $98 Million. Though we're sure, Keanu Reeves will continue to steal hearts on-screen.
Green Lantern – Lost Around $98 Million
Martin Campbell the mastermind behind two of the best James Bond movies, GoldenEye and Casino Royale, and the hit blockbuster The Mask of Zorro, but his superhero film Green Lantern was a complete flop. Campbell recently opened up about his struggles with the production, revealing that he had to fight every day to save his vision for the film's ending, which he thinks is the reason it didn't do well.
Despite its star-studded cast, Green Lantern failed to deliver at the box office, leaving the studio with a loss of nearly $100 million.
Titan A. E – Lost Around $100 Million
The animated movie Titan A.E. was a box-office disappointment in 2000, despite its popularity among a generation that grew up watching it on VHS. The film underwent many changes, and the studio went through downsizing from being all traditional animation to completely CG. It also took a different content approach, from being kid-friendly to including some swearing, sexual innuendos, and intense violence. Not sure moms wanted to take their kids to see this after all.
Despite the film's difficulties and the major hit it took with a loss of around $100 million, it has become a beloved classic to this day.
The BFG – Lost Around $100 Million
Steven Spielberg’s movie The BFG took a giant-sized dive at the box office, despite a $140 million budget. Producers had high hopes for the film, with Spielberg adapting the beloved Roald Dahl novel. But the film’s trailer failed to capture the audience’s attention. Even the film’s main strength, the tender relationship between the giant voiced by Mark Rylance and the protagonist Sophie, was not enough to sell the movie. Add another film to the long list of flops.
The beloved children's classic adaptation ultimately fell short. Apparently, the nostalgia card didn't work this time.
The Promise – Lost Around $102 Million
It's a tough road to success in Hollywood, even more so when it comes to biopics. The Promise, which starred some of the biggest names in the business, including Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, and James Cromwell, is a testament to that. Despite an impressive cast and a heart-wrenching story set during the Ottoman Empire, the film failed to win over audiences and critics alike. It's a reminder that not even the biggest stars in the industry can guarantee success every time.
With a budget of over $90 million and a measly $12 million in box office returns, the loss was impactful.
How Do You Know – Lost Around $105 Million
How Do You Know featured Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson, and direction from James L. Brooks! With this lineup, the film was expected to be an absolute box office smash. So where did it fail and go so wrong? Over $100 million was spent on securing its star power, but the film lacked a strong story, resulting in a huge loss for the studio, estimated to be $105 million.
This proves again that A-list stars aren't always enough to guarantee success. It looks like Sony Pictures will take a closer look at their projects before handing out the big bucks next time!
Sahara (2005) – Lost Around $105 Million
Sahara was one film that failed to live up to the hype! The movie, based on Clive Cussler's 1992 novel, starred A-listers Matthew McConaughey, William H Macy, and Penelope Cruz. Directed by Breck Eisner and with a budget of $130 million, it was expected to be a hit. But they encountered many legal issues while making the film which ultimately cost more than it was worth. Cussler vowed never to let his books be adapted again.
It looks like Sahara was not the next Indiana Jones franchise they had hoped for.
Jupiter Ascending – Lost Around $110 Million
Jupiter Ascending star Mila Kunis spilled the tea when she admitted in an interview would be a failure when the budget suddenly got slashed in half. The filmmakers struggled to bring their vision to life, and consequently, the movie turned out differently than they had all hoped for. With a 28% score on Rotten Tomatoes, it's clear the budget cut had a major impact on the film's success. Yet another flop for the Wachowski siblings.
The film even had great A-list talents like Channing Tatum and Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, but everything seemed to go wrong. Wait until you see what takes the cake for the most expensive movie flop ever.
R. I. P. D. – Lost Around $110 Million
It was supposed to be a blockbuster hit! Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges were paired up for the ultimate zombie adventure, but R.I.P.D. was met with a resounding thud. The film was criticized for its poor CGI effects, boring and redundant storyline, and awkward jokes. It marked a significant loss for Universal Pictures. But don't feel too bad for Reynolds; he's gone on to star in several box office smashes since then.
It looks like this R.I.P.D. is one adventure he won't miss! So how can a film get any worse than this and lose even more money? Oh, well, it can.
Ben-Hur – Lost Around $120 Million
Jack Huston was Hollywood's hottest new thing, but his stardom seemed short-lived. The rising star was cast as the lead in the biblical epic Ben-Hur, co-starring the legendary Morgan Freeman, with the hopes of generating buzz for the film. However, production delays and issues plagued the film, leading to a less-than-stellar performance by Huston. Critics and audiences were unimpressed, resulting in a major box office flop with losses estimated at over $120 million.
Jack Huston did, however, get a chance for a comeback in the film House of Gucci, despite the severe loss this film experienced.
Terminator: Dark Fate – Lost Around $120 Million
Terminator: Dark Fate was a movie that was supposed to save the classic franchise, but it turned out to be a flop that marked the end of the Terminator series. Despite the return of James Cameron as a producer and the presence of legendary stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, the movie failed. With bad reviews and a lackluster box office performance, the film's poor reception sealed the franchise's fate and plans to continue promptly canceled.
The film's biggest downfall was its inability to establish new and compelling characters that could carry the mantle. With a budget so high, it left everyone wondering how this franchise's latest installment could've wasted so much money.
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas – Lost Around $125 Million
The DreamWorks Animation, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, was expected to blow people away. However, after its release, it was heavily criticized. People didn't like that all of the Middle-Eastern elements were removed from the story. Though the production team claimed it was because they reimagined it as a Greek myth. This still didn't play well for audiences, but they went ahead with it anyway.
Sadly, this was the final nail in the coffin, and the animation never fully recovered from the critiques, losing over $100 million.
A Wrinkle in Time – Lost Around $130 Million
People were excited about what A Wrinkle in Time had to offer, considering the cast included Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and even more A-listers. So why did it majorly flop? Well, audiences were severely underwhelmed by the bad acting, dialogue, and CGI effects. It was based on a famous novel, yet it failed to bring the book to life. Ultimately it was too complicated of a storyline for children anyway.
This movie lost around $130 Million, which is a shocking amount of money, so how could a movie flop harder than this?
Dark Phoenix – Lost Around $133 Million
There's no way to deny that Dark Phoenix had a horrible time at the box office. For being a part of one of the most popular comic book franchises and an X-Men movie, it was shocking that it struggled so much. The release date was moved several times, and the general superhero theme was quite overdone. Jennifer Lawrence may have been at the peak of her career, but this isn't a movie she'll want to mention on her resume.
With the oversaturation of hero movies in the entertainment industry, it's no surprise that one of them was bound to to become a flop.
Pan – Lost Around $140 Million
What is one of the most popular and traditional stories children love? Well, Peter Pan, of course! There have been plenty of remakes, but this one, in particular, was quite disappointing. Pan had many of Hollywood's most popular stars, like Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, and even Amanda Seyfried. Yet, it completely tanked, losing almost $200 million! Everything was criticized, from the acting, CGI, and lack of a Native American actress to play Tiger Lily.
This movie never quite made it to Neverland or earned an esteemed place in Hollywood. However, the movie flop that wasted the most money will surprise you even more.
Tomorrowland – Lost Around $145 Million
Anything with George Clooney as the lead usually sounds absolutely perfect, that is until it loses 145 million dollars. With that star power, you'd expect it would be a hit, but the box office results were far from glamorous. The movie was full of special effects, but no one got a grip on a solid storyline according to fans and critics alike. It seems there was really nothing going for this film.
Around $145 Million was lost at the box office when this movie tanked - what a shame.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Lost Around $150 Million
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was supposed to be the next big thing in Hollywood, and with rising star Charlie Hunnam and director Guy Ritchie, it seemed promising. So how did it crash and burn so hard? The combination of an uninterested audience and male-dominated tone was released on Mother's Day weekend. It seemed that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword just completely missed the mark in every way.
Although it had a massive budget for special effects, it didn't live up to the hype. Whether it was terrible luck or poor studio planning, this film took a hit of $150 million.
The Lone Ranger – Lost Around $160 Million
Disney's The Lone Ranger was one of the most highly anticipated films. With Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer as the leads, the hype and excitement were expected to turn into a blockbuster hit. However, the film was plagued with bad luck from the beginning. Injuries were rampant, and production was nearly stopped a few times. The marketing campaigns were glitzy, yet the film completely flopped and lost over $160 million, a number most people can't even fathom.
It appears that A-list superstars can't save a film from troubled production and lackluster performances. Rather than become a spectacular action-adventure, it became an epic fail.
Mortal Engines – Lost Around $174.8 Million
The future became grim for this post-apocalyptic adaptation of the best-selling book series Mortal Engines. Despite the star power behind the film, including Lord of the Rings' Peter Jackson and director Christian Rivers, the film barely made a splash at the box office. With a confusing plot and stiff competition with other movies being released simultaneously, it hardly generated $7.5 million. The loss was astounding at almost $175 million, which would haunt those who made this movie.
The dystopian world couldn't make an impact and became one of the most expensive yet fascinating failing movies.
John Carter – Lost Around $200 Million
The movie that takes the cake as the number one most expensive box office disaster is John Carter! This flopped at epic proportions, losing over $200 million. With a cast that included Taylor Kitsch, David Schwimmer, and Bryan Cranston, it seemed promising and set up for success. Yet this film misfired and disappointed audiences globally. The marketing completely missed its mark, and it couldn't recoup after all the negative reviews.
John Carter will go down in Hollywood history as one of the biggest movie flops of all time.