Eight of the most embarrassing movies to crash and burn at the box office
With the news that Harrison Ford’s latest movie Paranoia, which hits UAE cinemas this week, bombed at the US box office on its opening weekend, Andy Sherwood looks at other films that spectacularly crashed and burned.
Hollywood can employ the biggest names and use many a spectacular special effect, but that doesn’t mean a film will be any good – or that audiences will flock to see it. Harrison Ford’s new thriller Paranoia, which also stars British actor Gary Oldman, only took Dhs12.8m on its opening weekend, and has had the worst first days at cinemas of any film in 2013 (the flick cost Dhs147m to make). But Ford’s not alone in releasing the odd clunker, as other big hitters have failed to deliver this year, including Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger, Apple boss biopic Jobs and Will Smith’s After Earth. And Hollywood history is littered with box office turkeys, as this list shows.
1941 Not everything Steven Spielberg touches turns to gold. His fifth film, this comedy set around the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbour in 1941, starred John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and cost Dhs128m to make, yet only grossed Dhs116m in the US. It fared better overseas, earning Dhs220m. While regarded as an unfunny slapstick parody, the film does have its moments, including a gigantic Ferris Wheel rolling down a promenade into the ocean after being torpedoed by the Japanese.
Run For Your Wife This 2011 UK comedy starring cockney actor Danny Dyer (who almost become a movie outcast after sexist comments he made to a British men’s lifestyle magazine) is an adaptation of a play from London’s West End about a taxi driver who must prevent his two wives meeting each other. It took a paltry Dhs3,469 on its opening weekend in the UK. As if one-trick pony Dyer wasn’t bad enough casting, it also starred Sarah Harding from pop group Girls Aloud.
Battlefield Earth John Travolta will always be remembered for his seminal roles in Grease and Pulp Fiction. But one flick even he most likely would like to forget is this sci-fi flop made in 2000. Set in the year 3000, it’s based on the writings of Church of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard’s novel of the same name. Regarded as one of the worst films ever made, it grossed around Dhs77m in the United States and Canada and a total of Dhs106m worldwide, considerably less than the Dhs348m reported production and marketing budget. It has a rating on respected movie website Rotten Tomatoes of two percent.
Howard The Duck George Lucas might have made millions with Star Wars, but audiences didn’t get his 1986 flop based on a 1970s Marvel Comics character, a duck from another planet who fights crime in Cleveland using quack-fu. The film, which cost Dhs136m to make, only took Dhs58m at cinema ticket booths. It pretty much was the death knell of the career of director and writer William Huyck, who has never directed a film since (and has only written three screenplays). His previous work had included American Graffiti and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
The Postman Regarded as one of the biggest movie flops of all time, Kevin Costner’s 1997 post-apocalyptic adventure about a postman (he starred, directed and even gave roles to several of his kids) was reported to have cost Dhs367m to make but only took Dhs646,461 at the US box office.
Love’s Kitchen It must have seemed such a good idea. Get a real celebrity chef (foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay) to star in a romantic comedy about a grief stricken cook (Dougray Scott) who, after losing his wife in a car accident, decides to open a gastro pub in the countryside. It was absolutely destroyed by the British press in 2011 and audiences weren’t impressed, either. It was only released in five UK cinemas and took a miniscule Dhs697 at the box office.
John Carter This overblown 2012 sci-fi starring Taylor Kitsch managed to make The Phantom Menace look as sophisticated as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. It was muddled, over-reliant on CGI and incredibly boring and the film’s studio Disney was forced to admit the movie recorded a loss of Dhs734m. The company’s studio boss Rich Ross resigned shortly after the film’s release.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash No stranger to a movie shaped like a turkey, the once funny Eddie Murphy’s sci-fi debacle cost around Dhs441m to make, but only grossed Dhs26m at the box office. The script was re-written multiple times and the studio thought it was so bad, it didn’t release it for two years.