What's the biggest box-office bomb of all time? We've got an answer.
Using stats from the box-office site The Numbers, we've compiled a list of the 42 movies that, versus their production budgets, lost the most at the box office.
We came up with our Hollywood hall of shame by culling through The Numbers' rundown of the most expensive movies ever made, focusing on 508 movies with reported budgets of $90 million or more. From this group, we zeroed in on the films that failed to make back their budgets at the worldwide box office. We eliminated titles that had no reported grosses because they debuted on streaming (a la Will Smith's "Bright"). We also eliminated films (such as "Call of the Wild" and "Tenet") that were released in 2020 amid the theater-shuttering coronavirus outbreak.
In the end, we came up with a list that includes movies that have competed at the Oscars and been mocked at the Razzies. Read on for the list, ranked from the smallish-sized bombs to the biggest. (The Numbers stats were current as of September 6, 2020.)
42. "Gods of Egypt"
Shortfall: $1.2 million
(Budget: $140 million; worldwide gross: $138.8 million)
41. "The Flowers of War"
Shortfall: $1.8 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $98.2 million)
Christian Bale starred in this 2012 Chinese production set in the years before World War II, when Japan invaded China and massacred residents of Nanking. Released with apparent award-season ambitions, it failed to rate any Academy Award nominations.
40. "Green Zone"
Shortfall: $2.5 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $97.5 million)
This 2010 Matt Damon action-thriller was set in war-torn Iraq.
39. "Bicentennial Man"
Shortfall: $2.6 million
(Budget: $90 million; worldwide gross: $87.4 million)
Robin Williams was just a year removed from one of the biggest hits of his career ("Patch Adams") when he starred in this poorly-received 1999 movie about a robot who wants to be human.
38. "Ben-Hur" (2016)
Shortfall: $3.3 million
(Budget: $95 million; worldwide gross: $91.7 million)
Morgan Freeman was one of the stars of this film, which was Hollywood's third - and least acclaimed - iteration of the chariot-racing Biblical epic.
37. "The Stepford Wives" (2004)
Shortfall: $3.8 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $96.2 million)
Nicole Kidman stars in this comic take on the same-titled 1970s horror novel (which was previously made into a 1975 cult classic). The film had a troubled production history, and lived up to its bad buzz with poor reviews and blah box office.
36. "Peter Pan" (2003)
Shortfall: $4.7 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $95.3 million)
This film is another failed attempt to mine a familiar property for more box-office gold. This live-action version of the beloved J.M. Barrie tale stars Jason Isaacs as the dastardly Captain Hook.
35. "The Wolfman" (2010)
Shortfall; $7.4 million
(Budget: $150 million; worldwide gross: $142.6 million)
This remake of the Universal Pictures horror classic (titled "The Wolf Man," two words) features Oscar-winners Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro. It even went on to an Oscar (for makeup). But it failed to scare up much business. Universal is going to try again with a new "Wolfman" film to star Ryan Gosling.
34. "Treasure Planet"
Shortfall: $8.2 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $91.8 million)
This 2002 animated film, starring the voice of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is an intergalactic take on the Robert Louis Stevenson tale, "Treasure Island." But it failed to blast off at the box office.
33. "In the Heart of the Sea"
Shortfall: $10.3 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $89.7 million)
Before Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland first shared the MCU screen in "Captain America: Civil War," they hit rough waters in this 2015 epic from director Ron Howard. Audiences and critics were cool to the drama about the real-life adventure that supposedly inspired the whaling novel "Moby-Dick."
32. "The Chronicles of Riddick"
Shortfall: $12.8 million
(Budget: $120 million; Worldwide gross: $107.2 million)
This 2004 sci-fi/action film is the second installment in Vin Diesel's Riddick franchise. And while it grossed more money than its 2000 predecessor, it wasn't close to being the earlier film's box-office equal. The $23 million "Pitch Black" more than doubled its budget at the worldwide box office. "Chronicles of Riddick" didn't.
31. "Robin Hood" (2018)
Shortfall: $13.8 million
(Budget: $99 million; worldwide gross: $85.2 million)
Once again, a reliable film property of the 20th century failed to generate box-office success in the 21st century. This take on the oft-told Robin Hood tale stars Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.
30. "Mortal Engines"
Shortfall: $14.7 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $85.3 million)
This 2018 fantasy-adventure, featuring Jihae, is based on the young adult novel of the same name. It proved to be a rare box-office fail for screenwriters/producers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the team behind the live-action "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" trilogies.
Shortfall: $17.9 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $82.1 million)
Halle Berry broke barriers, but also bottomed out with a Razzie for her star turn as the titular anti-hero in this film. Released in 2004, one year before Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins," "Catwoman" would essentially represent the end of an unacclaimed era for DC Comics films.
Shortfall: $21.3 million
(Budget: $109 million; worldwide gross: $87.7 million)
Will Smith would earn his first career Oscar nomination for his performance as boxer Muhammad Ali in this 2001 biopic. But the film performed only modestly at the North American box office, and grossed less than $30 million internationally, per The Numbers.
27. "47 Ronin"
Shortfall:: $23.28 million
(Budget: $175 million; worldwide gross: $151.72 million)
Keanu Reeves starred in this 2013 fantasy-samurai film that was killed by critics - and ignored by moviegoers.
Shortfall: $23.3 million
(Budget: $145 million; worldwide gross: $121.7 million)
Some films are flops, and some flops are disasters. "Sahara," which stars Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz, was supposed to launch a new adventure franchise based on author Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt series. But the biggest thing it generated was a protracted legal battle between Cussler and the company behind the 2005 film.
25. "The Widowmaker"
Shortfall: $24.3 million
(Budget: $90 million; worldwide gross: $65.7 million)
The 2002 Harrison Ford vehicle is a Russian sub drama that sunk with audiences.
Shortfall: $24.5 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $75.5 million)
The claws were out for this 2019 musical as soon as it dropped its trailer. Where once "Cats" won Tonys and the devotion of theatergoers, now it merely puzzled the Twitterverse, which recoiled at the movie's CGI-enhanced cat outfits. Despite a diverse cast that ranged from newcomer Francesca Hayward to Idris Elba and Judi Dench, the film came and went during its award-season release without much of a meow.
23. "Speed Racer"
Shortfall: $26.61 million
(Budget: $120 million; worldwide gross: $93.39 million)
Despite being based on the beloved Generation X-era cartoon series of the same name, and boasting the filmmaking team behind the Matrix franchise, "Speed Racer" never got out of first gear with audiences. At least not at first; the film, starring Emile Hirsch, is now regarded as a "cult classic".
22. "Conan the Barbarian" (2011)
Shortfall: $26.64 million
(Budget: $90 million; worldwide gross: $63.36 million)
Before he reigned as Arthur Curry in "Aquaman," Jason Momoa tried, but failed, in this film to bring new box-office life to Robert E. Howard's classic warrior character, first brought to the screen by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
21. "The Road to El Dorado"
Shortfall: $29.3 million
(Budget: $95 million; worldwide gross: $65.7 million)
A cartoon-styled Elton John appears as the narrator in this animated tale about the search for the fabled city of gold; the real Elton John helped compose songs for the film. Neither version of the pop star was able to bring the Midas touch to this 2000 misfire from DreamWorks.
20. "Land of the Lost"
Shortfall: $30.5 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $69.5 million)
Will Ferrell stars in this big-budget comedy take on the less-pricey 1970s children's series of the same name. Despite the presence of Ferrell and CGI dinosaurs, the movie was declared 2009's "first bomb of the summer."
19. "Deepwater Horizon"
Shortfall: $33.4 million
(Budget: $156 million; worldwide gross: $122.6 million)
This 2016 Mark Wahlberg movie dramatizes the oil-rig disaster that killed 11, and caused what Smithsonian said is "recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history." Despite the high stakes, the film underperformed at the box office, though it did go on to earn two Oscar nominations.
18. "Home on the Range"
Shortfall: $33.5 million
(Budget: $110 million; worldwide gross: $76.5 million)
This animated Disney film about talking farm animals features the voices of Judi Dench and Roseanne Barr. Critics gave it so-so reviews. In the spring of 2004, movie-going audiences in the market for a family-friendly film generally bypassed it for "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed."
17. "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword"
Shortfall: $35.4 million
(Budget: $175 million; worldwide gross: $139.6 million)
This movie is yet another case of and age-old tale not translating to 21st-century ticket-buyers. This 2017 film, starring Charlie Hunnam, possessed little box-office magic.
Shortfall: $37.4 million
(Budget: $115 million; worldwide gross: $77.6 million)
In the summer of 2002, this John Woo-directed World War II drama, starring Nicolas Cage, was supposed to be counter-programming to Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man." Instead, it disappeared down the same hole as "The Widowmaker," which was released in theaters about a month after "Windtalkers."
15. "Around the World in 80 Days" (2004)
Shortfall: $38 million
(Budget: $110 million; worldwide gross: $72 million)
The first time Hollywood adapted Jules Verne's classic adventure novel, in 1956, the result was a popular success that won five Oscars, including Best Picture. This more recent attempt at Verne's tale, with Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan, did not fare nearly as well.
14. "Son of the Mask"
Shortfall: $40.1 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $59.9 million)
In 1994 "The Mask" helped Jim Carrey show he was a rising box-office power. Made for less than $20 million, the comedy grossed roughly $350 million worldwide. A decade later, a sequel that cost five times as much to make (and that starred Jamie Kennedy instead of Carrey) grossed a small fraction of the original's haul.
Shortfall: $50.9 million
(Budget: $130 million; worldwide gross: $79.1 million)
Two years after "Green Lantern" failed to light up the box office as expected, Ryan Reynolds fired even more blanks with another comic-book adaptation. "R.I.P.D." barely made a dent in its first weekend in domestic release - and went downhill from there.
12. "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within"
Shortfall: $51.9 million
(Budget: $137 million; worldwide gross: $85.1 million)
This 2001 film, based on the "Final Fantasy" video-game series, made headlines as the first motion-capture-animated feature film. It didn't, however, capture much interest at the box office.
Shortfall: $61.6 million
(Budget: $138 million; worldwide gross: $76.4 million)
Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas star in this military-action movie that disappeared in the summer of 2005, while "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" dominated the box office.
10. "The 13th Warrior"
Shortfall: $63.3 million
(Budget: $125 million; worldwide gross: $61.7 million)
This 1999 Antonio Banderas action movie is based on a Michael Crichton novel. Unlike "Jurassic Park" (also based on a Crichton book), this adaptation was not a blockbuster.
9. "Monster Trucks"
Shortfall: $63.4 million
(Budget: $125 million; worldwide gross: $61.6 million)
"Monster Trucks" is a 2016 action-comedy that's about a monster that lives in a truck, hence the title. Spoiler alert: It didn't scare up much business.
8. "The Alamo" (2004)
Shortfall: $68.1 million
(Budget: $92 million; worldwide gross: $23.9 million)
This historical action film, starring Patrick Wilson and Jason Patric, went down without much of a fight at the box office. The John Wayne-produced version of "The Alamo," conversely, was one of the Top 10 grossing films of 1960, and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
7. "The Nutcracker in 3D"
Shortfall: $69.5 million
(Budget: $90 million; worldwide gross: $20.5 million)
Though a box-office bust, this 2010 take on the classic holiday ballet actually did better with moviegoers than it did with critics. And that's because some people bought tickets, but, judging by its 0 rating on Rotten Tomatoes, no reviewers liked it.
6. "How Do You Know"
Shortfall: $70.4 million
(Budget: $120 million; worldwide gross: $49.6 million)
This big-budget comedy about the romantic woes of an elite softball player lined up an all-star cast, including Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson. But it experienced financial woes at the box office.
5. "Cutthroat Island"
Shortfall: $73.5 million
(Budget: $92 million; worldwide gross: $18.5 million)
The price tag on this movie was so high, and the buzz was so bad, that even before this 1995 pirate adventure, starring Geena Davis, opened in theaters, the film company behind "Cutthroat Island" struggled for cash, and filed for bankruptcy.
4. "The Promise"
Shortfall: $79.4 million
(Budget: $90 million; worldwide gross: $10.6 million)
A big-budget indie movie, starring Oscar Isaac, and set against the backdrop of the Armenian genocide, "The Promise" struggled to find a U.S. distributor partly because of geopolitics, producer Eric Esrailian told The Hollywood Reporter: "It became clear that the government of Turkey was going to have an influence on this movie." Turkey denies the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during World War I were genocide.
3. "The Adventures of Pluto Nash"
Shortfall: $92.9 million
(Budget: $100 million; worldwide gross: $7.1 million)
Eddie Murphy's had his share of hits and misses. None of his misses has come up as lopsided at the box office as this 2002 outer-space comedy.
2. "Town & Country"
Shortfall: $94.6 million
(Budget: $105 million; worldwide gross: $10.4 million)
"Town & Country" is not set in outer space, and does not feature expensive CGI set pieces. It is an earthbound farcical comedy that managed to cost north of $100 million, thanks to endless rewrites and a nearly two-year-long shoot. Some productions emerge from chaos with an acclaimed film; Warren Beatty and company did not. "Town & Country" was buried by critics, and ignored by audiences.
1. "Mars Needs Moms"
Shortfall: $110.5 million
(Budget: $150 million; worldwide gross: $39.5 million)
This big flop came from one of Hollywood's biggest moviemakers: Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump," the "Back to the Future" trilogy), who produced. True to Zemeckis form, 2011's "Mars Needs Moms" features what was then cutting-edge technology. Unfortunately for the film, audiences didn't appreciate its motion-capture animation. "The movie looked downright creepy," an unnamed "observer" told The Hollywood Reporter.