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Biggest Box Office Flops

Kris King Kris King
August 5th, 2008 9:26am EDT
Cutthroat IslandMovies tank all of the time. Just last weekend the new X-Files movie only managed to make a few dozen live chickens at the box office. Still that's not too bad, not really. Gillian Anderson might have some trouble getting work, but she's probably happy knowing that people still recognize her name. Some movies get a lot of press for their poor performances. Sure, Jessica Simpson's "Blonde Ambition" made about what The Dark Knight makes in an hour-but even that stinker wasn't a huge loss, not really. A genuine box office disaster is something special. The Anti-Dark Knight. Movies that bombard the public with commercials, Burger King tie-ins and endless, horrible insistence to see their super-expensive crap. Then after the storm of hype ebbs away, the next thing you know the movie's out of theaters and the production company has gone out of business. Below you'll find some movies that are rather famous for being utter financial abortions. Movies that tanked so hard the world shook under their weight. Those with sensitive stomachs may want to look away, because some of these get ugly.

Zyzzyx Road - $2 million budget (2006)

Don't feel bad if you've never heard of Zyzzyz Road, you're probably better off not knowing, anyway. The movie is a crime thriller starring a post-My Father The Hero yet pre-Knocked Up Katherine Heigl. Also starring in the movie is perennial rehab attendee Tom Sizemore. Knowing that the film wouldn't garner much attention at home, the film's producers intended to market the film to European audiences; however, a Screen Actor's Guild regulation required that it be released domestically first. To fulfill this obligation, Zyzzyx Road had a week long run in one Texas theater, and-- this part is so awesome-- took in an astounding thirty dollars. That is .0015% of the film's budget. That is six people. That is amazing. Even student films with budgets of thirty dollars can more money that. This movie couldn't buy itself on DVD. Perhaps the best part of this fiasco is that the theater had to refund $10 to two patrons that worked on the movie. This movie made $20. HA!

Even though Zyzzyx Road failed to make any sort of income, the studio only lost about two million dollars in the end. So in an industry where two million dollars probably amounts to the average catering bill, it's not that big of a deal.

Net loss: $1,999,980
Things to buy with $1,999,980: 6,666 Xbox 360s.

Cutthroat Island - $92 million budget (1995)

This pirate themed adventure film stands as one of the most excessive productions of all time. The film cost $92 million to produce. Curious considering it stars Matthew Modine, a man who would probably make birthday party appearances for free cake. What could the producers have squandered $92 million on? V8? It sounds stupid, but it's the truth. According to an interview with "Empire," after the completion of the film, the crew allegedly discovered an entire truck full of unopened cases of V8. It doesn't stop with Geena Davis's obsession with health food either. The amount of excess in the film is clear just by looking at the trailer:




Jesus Christ, did they really have to blow up the entire f*&king boat? Despite its evidently large number explosions, Cutthroat Island failed on its opening weekend and fell behind such stiff competition as Waiting to Exhale, Grumpier Old Men, Tom and Huck, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and Jean-Claude Van Damme's "Die Hard at a hockey game" movie Sudden Death. In fact, it never even cracked the top ten. After spending $92 million on vegetable juice and gunpowder, the movie ended up losing $81,982,678. The film's failure at the box office sent Geena Davis's "career" into a nosedive, and caused the film's production company, Carolco Pictures, to file for bankruptcy. Wow.

Net loss: $81,982,678
Things to buy with $81,982,678: 3,036,395 cases of 12 oz V8 brand vegetable juice.

A Sound of Thunder - $80 million budget (2005)

A Sound of ThunderHow do you spend eighty million dollars on a movie like A Sound of Thunder? It wasn't heavily marketed, the special effects were made-for-TV quality at best, and it doesn't star anyone of note besides Ben Kingsley. Based on the famous Ray Bradbury story of the same name, A Sound of Thunder centers on a group of time traveling tourists who accidentally kill a butterfly sometime in the Jurassic period, which causes all sorts of stupid things to happen in our time. It's easy to see why this movie failed to gain an audience, after all, "The Simpsons'" "Treehouse of Horror" episode based on the same story is probably more popular than both incarnations combined.

A Sound of Thunder is the type of movie you see on the Sci-Fi channel Wednesdays at 4:30am-- it's just not fit for human consumption. Its time travel mechanics are illogical, the acting is horrible, and Ben Kingsley looks like Exeter from This Island Earth. Who funded this shit? Somewhere out there is a millionaire who thought giving money to A Sound of Thunder was a good idea. I'm glad these people lost 78 million dollars.

Net loss: $78,099,549
Things to buy with $78,099,549: 2,604,186 copies of "The Simpsons" Season 6 Box Set

Stealth - $138 million budget (2005)

StealthA sort of mix between 2001 and Iron Eagle, Stealth blasted onto the screen in the summer of 2005 to empty theaters. The film managed to make a decent amount of money, but it couldn't overcome its massive production and marketing costs. After all making over $75 million in box office receipts is no small feat. Still, the movie stands as the second largest box office failure of all time In fact, the most impressive part about Stealth is that it didn't completely ruin the careers of its principal actors and director. Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel kept their A-list status, Josh Lucas never had much a career to begin with, and Universal recently trusted director Rob Cohen with $175 million to make The Mummy 3. Frankly, it's shocking that he's not condemned to a career of shooting tire dealership commercials.

Interestingly enough, Stealth's massive loss slipped under everyone's radar. When The Golden Compass failed to make a return with US audiences last fall, the news of its failure was all over the place. It didn't matter that the movie ended up making a substantial profit overseas. Hell, people think of Waterworld as a box office catastrophe but even that made $186 million more than Stealth. Stealth managed to be so mediocre that people didn't even bother hating it. After all, you have to see something to have an opinion about it. The only thing that could have saved this film would have been the studio acquiring the rights to Top Gun and just calling it Top Gun II: Stealth War. That would have filled some seats.

Net loss: $99,791,627
Things to buy with $99,791,627: 65 Wendy's Frostys each for the entire population of Manhattan.

Town & Country - $105 million budget (2001)

Town And CountryAh Town & Country, one of the few box office bombs whose budget went to the actors rather than to fancy special effects. Who would have thought that moviegoers wouldn't want to see a bloated romantic comedy starring stable of actors nobody cares about anymore? To be fair, unforeseen events did plague the film throughout its three-year production. Re-shoots, shifted cast members, scrapped scripts, and unfortunate weather all contributed to the high cost of the film. By the time the movie was finished, it garnered so much bad press that New Line essentially gave up and reeled in its distribution. In the end, the movie lost $99,817,616 worldwide, and some sources indicate that it lost over $100 million dollars. This massive loss makes Town & Country the single largest absolute loss in motion picture history.

At least a movie like Stealth blew its budget on massive, exploding multi-million dollar jets; all Town & Country has is a bunch of actors with horrible stretched out faces. Did the studio pay for Goldie Hawn's plastic surgery or Garry Shandling's hair plugs? Did the cast and crew hire Gordon Ramsey to cook every meal? What the hell was going on at the set of this movie? New Line could have literally made Sleepless in Seattle five times with this budget. Better yet, they could have just given it to us. We take checks, New Line.

Net loss: $99,817,616+
Things to buy with $99,817,616: 12,477 facelifts.

Kris King
Story by Kris King

Starpulse contributing writer


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