It’s impossible for any actor to consistently deliver hits after hits in their careers. Especially in today’s’ date when there are so many platforms – both legal and illegal – to watch a movie. Some films are meant for the box-office while some are for your heart and soul. When these two prerequisites meet it’s a bonus but in a year we get only a handful of such films to pick and choose from. Today we are going to talk about some epic disasters at the box office that almost ruined the careers of some very talented and respected actors of Hollywood. The actors would definitely like to forget these flops.
15. Ben Affleck in ‘Gigli’ (2003)
When two sizzling hot movie stars – rumoured to be dating each other – came together for a big budget mob thriller, it was natural that people expected fireworks at the ticket counters. However all the excitement dimmed down once the film got released. Everyone was unanimous in their negative critique of the film and the best thing that can be said about it is that it is as basic as it gets. A young mobster undergoes a change of heart and falls in love with his nemesis. That’s a story which we have seen being employed in dozens of films to varying degrees of success but boy do they get it wrong here and how. The main defect of the film is the star cast itself – Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Although they are easy on the eyes they lack synchronization and depth which results in a clumsy screen presence and a cold chemistry. Even the presence of Al Pacino does nothing good for the film. Add to it poor execution, clichéd treatment, predictable screenplay and we get a film that has no chance of redeeming itself in any manner.
14. Reese Witherspoon in ‘How Do You Know’ (2010)
This Reese Witherspoon star vehicle breaks the first rule of a romantic comedy. It doesn’t feel good or warm enough to keep you hooked to your seats. A box office flop of the highest order, it has a few moments of sparks here and there but aren’t sufficient to qualify ‘How Do You Know’ as a mention worthy rom-com. It also featured a string of talented actors more famous for their acting skills than their looks such as Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd but actors are only as good as the film. It was an out and out disappointment for everyone involved to say the least. Reese Witherspoon was in the prime of her career when the film released but a placid tale of a woman juggling two men found very few takers. It’s also particularly sad because films far worse than this fares better at the box office.
13. Ben Kingsley in ‘A Sound of Thunder’ (2005)
Apart from Oscar winner Ben Kingsley the story – involving time travel – was the biggest draw of the film but vicious reviews killed the film before it took off. But one can hardly blame the critics for doing their job and clearly the audiences were also not impressed as they decided to stay away from it. ‘A Sound of Thunder’ hangs to a noble idea – how altering events of the past can have a devastating effect on the future – for so long that it loses its novelty and the interest of the audience. The second rate visual effects also don’t help. It is a film burdened and buried under the weight of its own ambitiousness. A couple of more popular faces would have helped it to break even as far as finance was concerned but there’s no doubt that it was a grand idea executed without proper planning and a vision.
12. Geena Davis in ‘Cutthroat Island’ (1995)
After starring in the now considered feminist road trip film ‘Thelma & Louise’ Geena Davis picked another gender bending role in ‘Cutthroat Island’ as a badass female pirate. The film is a standard sea adventure saga with eye catching action sequences and laudable state of the art cinematography. The problem lies not so much with the story or any other such technicalities but with the budget. Production delays made sure that the budget touches almost a hundred million dollar and its disastrous collection of just over $10 million at the box office was reason enough for the production company to shut down temporarily. The film as a whole was not great either. Miss Davis is a delight to watch – skimpily clad and athletic enough to match her male counterparts – but the film has nothing new to offer and it doesn’t even match up to the numerous run of the mill pirate movies churned out by Hollywood.
11. Anthony Hopkins in ‘The Wolfman’ (2010)
A modern day remake of a path breaking Hollywood film of the same name – ‘The Wolfman’ – is bound to have its own share of pros and cons. The 2010 version is more technically equipped with a production budget of around $150 million. Unfortunately that’s the only good thing that can be said about the film. The presence of competent actors and good visual effects couldn’t make up for the lack of excitement in the film. It was well promoted and depended heavily on international audiences to recover its cost but failed to do so. Los Angeles Times labeled ‘The Wolfman’ as one of the biggest Hollywood flops of all time and even the studio owners later accepted that their film was substandard. The Academy award victory in the Best Makeup category provided a temporary sigh of relief to the makers but it wasn’t enough to make us forget the nightmarish experience of watching the film.
10. Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’ (2014)
Lawrence is currently the highest paid actress in the world and has been on a roll since her Oscar nominated turn in 2010’s ‘Winter’s Bone’. ‘Serena’ proved to be that odd flop in her career that is painful for more reasons than one. To begin with she teamed up with her award winning co-star Bradley Cooper for the third time in this beautiful looking but bland film. Individual performances are good but the critics used words like boring, clichéd and downbeat to describe the film. It was disheartening for the fans to see the film bomb at the box office as there was so much expectation and also it raised questions about their stardom as it failed to gross even $10 million at the box office (not even close). The trailer in particular looked very promising but it proved to be a dampener both at the film festivals and at the ticket counters.
9. Charlize Theron in ‘Æon Flux’ (2005)
It wasn’t the first live action film based on an animated TV series but there was a lot of excitement around it mainly because of its star Charlize Theron who is known for her ass kicking skills on-screen. Despite being made on a moderate budget ($65 million is moderate for a sci-fi movie by Hollywood standards) it only failed to recover its investment but also left everyone asking for more. It couldn’t match up to the originality and inimitability of the MTV animated series and also did nothing to ensure a sequel to the new franchise hopeful. Charlize Theron as an assassin sounds and looks good and perhaps that explains the film’s decent success at the home video circuit but it’s at the best passable pop corn entertainer for wide eyed teenagers who might marvel at few slick action moves. ‘Æon Flux’ is all gloss and no substance.
8. Eddie Murphy in ‘The Adventures of Pluto Nash’ (2002)
Get this straight. The film was made on a budget of $100 million and it grossed only $7.1 million. So it won’t be an exaggeration to call it a disaster of epic proportions. But that’s just the economics involved in the film. Now pay attention to the storyline. The film is set in the future (2080) in a lunar colony called Little America. The story revolves around an ex con Pluto Nash played by Eddie Murphy who owns a nightclub and his various adventures and misadventures around the moon. And hold on, there’s not one but two Eddie Murphy in the film, which might have been a good thing if the film was remotely funny but here it is a classic case of double the trouble. It wasn’t surprising when the film was nominated for 5 Razzie awards but failed to win even there, which makes the film an out an out loser. It’s neither a genuine comedy by a long shot nor it belongs to the ‘so bad that it’s good’ category.
7. Ryan Reynolds in ‘Green Lantern’ (2011)
When one of the most desirable actors of Hollywood – Ryan Reynolds – joined forces with the DC universe to bring ‘Green Lantern’ to the big screen many a things were expected and taken for granted. First that it will take the box office by storm and give rise to a new solo franchise. But the opposite happened with the film performing much below expectations which forced the disheartened makers to cancel any possibility of a sequel. It is one of the most high profile failures of recent times. Reynolds thankfully bagged ‘Deadpool’ (which belongs to the rival Marvel universe) and moved on to a better position in his career but we as an audience are still scarred by the ‘Green Lantern’ experience. His victory at the People’s choice award as the Favourite Superhero is ironical in the sense that his loyal fans were not with him when he needed them the most i.e. to watch the movie in theatres.
6. Will Smith in ‘Wild Wild West’ (1999)
If you jog your memory than you will remember that Chris Rock said in his Oscar opening speech (among many other things) that “…It’s also not fair that Will Smith was $20 million for Wild Wild West”. Well he had a valid reason for saying that and we all know what that is. To put it simply ‘Wild Wild West’ is both uninspired and uninspiring. Based on a TV series the film suffers from what many present day remakes or big screen adaptations display – high on presentation and low on building a proper story. The film had an exotic cast and some eye catching production design to boast of but the wafer thin plot and the caricaturist acting (the film was designed as a parody) only highlights the inherent artificiality of the film. It was nominated for 11 Golden Raspberry Award and won eight of them, deservingly so.
5. Matthew McConaughey in ‘Sahara’ (2005)
This book to screen adaptation starring Matthew McConaughey (yet to come to his own) and Penelope Cruz (when she was more a sex symbol than an actress in Hollywood) was lavishly produced and aggressively promoted but none of those qualities were to be found or seen in the final product. The film has a very jaded look and feel to it with some poorly done visual effects and a lot of cultural appropriation. It’s almost like a poor man’s ‘The Mummy’ (1999) with similar looking locations and scenarios. ‘Sahara’ belongs to that category of countless big budget Hollywood potboilers that tries to pass off meaningless and forceful adrenaline rush – Penelope Cruz got ample opportunities to showcase her action skills – as summer blockbuster worthy entertainers but fails to satisfy any section of the viewers let alone the critics.
4. Diane Keaton in ‘Town & Country’ (2001)
‘Town & Country’ has made its way to multiple cinematic disaster – both commercial and critical – lists. It is a pretentious film starring a bevy of talented actresses – Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn to name a few – which fell prey to its own convoluted plot and the fact that it was long in the making clearly showed in the forcefully put together scenes. Just to get a clear idea it grossed only $10.4 million at the box office against a budget of $90 million. LA Times and The Hollywood Reporter decorated it as one of the most celebrated films of all time and was nominated for three Razzie awards. It’s really sad to see some of the finest talents of Hollywood navigating through such a weak film that is neither funny nor has the capacity to turn a skeptic into a believer in the idea of romance. ‘Town & Country’ is not even rental worthy.
3. Keanu Reeves in ’47 Ronin’ (2013)
Technically sound but aesthetically hollow would be an apt description for this Keanu Reeves starrer. ’47 Ronin’ is ambitious in scale and vision but lacking in depth. It’s your regular Hollywood spectacular showpiece which failed to overcome its own budget and uninspiring narrative. It was made along the lines of those classic Japanese Samurai movies with disciplined choreography by the action director and although it garnered a lot of praise for in that department it wasn’t enough to pull off a blockbuster run at the box office. According to Wikipedia ’47 Ronin’ lost an estimated $152 million at the box office. The makers had high hopes from the international market especially from Japan but as they say a bad is a bad film everywhere. This one is strictly for hardcore fantasy movie fans who enjoys the visual aspect part from than the narrative.
2. Halle Berry in ‘Catwoman’ (2004)
Just two years after becoming the first Black woman to win an Academy Award Halle Berry starred in the worst film of her career so far. ‘Catwoman’ is a big screen adaptation of a female DC Comics superhero of the same name and add to it the superstar appeal of Halle Berry, it was supposed to be a path breaking film with a female protagonist in the lead but it fizzled in a big way. Take a poll of the worst films of all time and ‘Catwoman’ will make it to the top three any day. Against a budget of $100 million it managed to recover only $82.1 million on ticket sales and had it not been for the presence of Halle Berry it would have been a bigger disaster. To give credit where it’s due, Halle Berry did try her best to carry the film on her shoulder – which she manages to do somewhat – but when the content itself is weak, nothing can save a film.
1. Johnny Depp in ‘The Lone Ranger’
The lethal combination of Johnny Depp (in yet another outrageous get up), Walt Disney Pictures and the genre of high-concept American Western films should have ensured a safe territory as far as matters of money were concerned but ‘The Lone Ranger’ proved to be one of the biggest losers at the box office starring an A list actor. Johnny Depp made sure the fans keep coming to the theatres but the far from subtle Walt Disney production was too much even for the loyal fans of the megastar. As per trade sources the film lost around $96-$120 million when taken everything into account. The films of Johnny Depp are never too high on logic but most of them are pure entertainers but alas the same cannot be said of ‘The Lone Ranger’.
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