List of box office bombs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

  (Redirected from List of biggest box office bombs)
Jump to: navigation, search

A film released in theaters is considered a bomb when it fails to break even at the box office by a large amount, thus losing money for the studio and/or production company that invested in it. Unless officially acknowledged by studios, figures of losses are usually rough estimates at best. This is mostly due to Hollywood accounting practices that typically manipulate profits or keep information on costs a secret in order to avoid profit-sharing agreements.

In some cases, the production studio can make profits from a box office bomb when ancillary revenues are taken into account, such as home media sales and rentals, television broadcast rights, licensing rights, or from selling distribution rights and covering costs before it is released, so a box office bomb can still eventually break even after its theatrical run. Included on the list is a chart of films that failed to recover their production costs on their theatrical run from worldwide box office revenue, ranked by the nominal value of their losses.

Because studios rarely release official distribution, prints, and advertising costs for most films, costs are limited to production budgets. The losses presented in this list are just an indication for the size of the failure and do not represent precisely the actual losses by studios.

Estimating loss[edit]

Production outfits do not retain all of the box office revenue their films generate, and their share—which can often be variable throughout a film's run—largely depends on their deals with distributors and exhibitors as well as the various taxes that are imposed. For example, the tax filings for Cinemark Theatres in 2010 showed that 54.5 percent of the box office revenues were paid to distributors. Earnings from outside of the US and Canada are even harder to gauge because of various cost factors, like the "dollar fluctuat[ing] against foreign currencies" and tariffs. Because of this, it is not possible to calculate exactly how much a film has earned for its backers, but industry analysts regularly apply the rule of thumb that film studios take half of the box office receipts, with theaters taking the other half; thus, a film would normally need to make twice its production budget worldwide to break even.[1][2][3][4]

In keeping with industry analyses, losses are calculated by subtracting the production budget from half of the theatrical box office revenues:

{TWG \over 2} - {PB}

Biggest box office bombs[edit]

With a worldwide box-office gross of around $39.0 million on a production budget of $150 million, Mars Needs Moms is estimated to be the biggest box office bomb based on absolute loss on worldwide gross. However, such claims usually refer to losses when only taking into account theatrical revenue and production budget. It is not immediately clear which film loses the most when home video and television income, which can form a significant portion of a film's earnings, and the prints and advertising budget, which can inflate a film's overall cost, are factored in. In addition to the $250 million production budget, it was estimated that Disney spent $100 million on worldwide marketing for John Carter,[5] causing Disney to ultimately take a $160 million write-off on the film.[6] The cost of Sahara also spiraled out of control: Los Angeles Times provided an extensive special report about the film's financial troubles two years after its release, which included an actual loss of $105 million through 2006.[# 1]

Sometimes a film can be financed by selling its distribution rights to cover costs before production begins. C2 Pictures made deals with Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Toho-Towa to release Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in their respective territories in return for $149 million, with another $11 million earned by transferring the copyright to German tax shelters. The final budget was estimated to be $187.3 million, so at least 85% of costs had been covered for the producers before any box office revenue came in.[7]

Only the revenues from theatrical exhibition and production budgets at their nominal value are included here, which sees Mars Needs Moms rank in the top position. Up to eight films in total have lost in excess of $100 million. The films on this chart have all had a theatrical run since 1995, and films that have not played since then do not appear on the chart due to ticket-price inflation, population size, and ticket purchasing trends not being considered. The most represented years are 1999, 2001, and 2005, all with five films.

  film currently playing Background shading indicates films playing in the week commencing 31 January 2014 in theaters around the world.
Biggest box office bombs
RankTitleProduction budgetWorldwide grossEstimated lossesYearRef
1Mars Needs Moms$150,000,000$38,992,758$130,503,6212011[# 2]
2The 13th Warrior$100—160,000,000$61,698,899$69,150,551—129,150,5511999[# 3]
3The Lone Ranger$225—250,000,000$260,502,115$94,748,943—119,748,9432013[# 4]
4R.I.P.D.$130—154,000,000$78,324,220$90,837,890—114,837,8902013[# 5]
5John Carter$250,000,000$282,778,100$108,610,9502012[# 6]
6Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within$115—145,000,000$85,131,830$72,434,085—102,434,0852001[# 7]
7Jack the Giant Slayer$185—200,000,000$197,687,603$86,156,199—101,156,1992013[# 8]
8Sahara$160,000,000$119,269,486$100,365,2572005[# 1]
9Stealth$135,000,000$76,932,872$96,533,5642005[# 9]
10The Adventures of Pluto Nash$100,000,000$7,103,973$96,448,0142002[# 10]
11The Alamo$107,000,000$25,819,961$94,090,0202004[# 11]
12Green Lantern$200,000,000$219,851,172$90,074,4142011[# 12]
13Cutthroat Island$98,000,000$18,517,322$88,741,3391995[# 13]
14Evan Almighty$175,000,000$173,418,781$88,290,6102007[# 14]
15Treasure Planet$140,000,000$109,578,115$85,210,9432002[# 15]
16Town & Country$90,000,000$10,372,291$84,813,8552001[# 16]
17Supernova$90,000,000$14,828,081$82,585,9602000[# 17]
18The Nutcracker in 3D$90,000,000$16,178,959$81,910,5212010[# 18]
19Windtalkers$115—120,000,000$77,628,265$76,185,868—81,185,8682002[# 19]
20The Wolfman$150,000,000$139,789,765$80,105,1182010[# 20]
21XXX: State of the Union$113,100,000$71,022,693$77,588,6542005[# 21][8]
22Hugo$150—170,000,000$185,770,160$57,114,920—77,114,9202011[# 22]
23How Do You Know$100,000,000$48,668,907$75,665,5472010[# 23]
24Cowboys & Aliens$163,000,000$174,822,325$75,588,8382011[# 24]
25The Great Raid$80,000,000$10,769,311$74,615,3452005[# 25]
26A Sound of Thunder$80,000,000$11,665,465$74,167,2682005[# 26]
27Around the World in 80 Days$110,000,000$72,178,895$73,910,5532004[# 27]
28Speed Racer$120,000,000$93,945,766$73,027,1172008[# 28]
29Gigli$75,600,000$7,266,209$71,966,8962003[# 29][8]
30Alexander$155,000,000$167,298,192$71,350,9042004[# 30]
31Monkeybone$75,000,000$7,622,365$71,188,8182001[# 31]
32The Postman$80,000,000$17,626,234$71,186,8831997[# 32]
33Peter Pan$130,600,000$121,975,011$69,612,4952003[# 33][8]
34Zoom$75,600,000$12,506,188$69,346,9062006[# 34][8]
35Poseidon$160,000,000$181,674,817$69,162,5922006[# 35]
36Beloved$80,000,000$22,852,487$68,573,7571998[# 36]
37K-19: The Widowmaker$100,000,000$65,716,126$67,141,9372002[# 37]
38Land of the Lost$100,000,000$68,777,554$65,611,2232009[# 38]
39Conan the Barbarian$90,000,000$48,795,021$65,602,4902011[# 39]
40The Astronaut's Wife$75,000,000$19,598,588$65,200,7061999[# 40]
41Dudley Do-Right$70,000,000$9,974,410$65,012,7951999[# 41]
42Chill Factor$70,000,000$11,263,966$64,368,0171999[# 42]
43Red Planet$80,000,000$33,463,969$63,268,0162000[# 43]
44Ali$107,000,000$87,713,825$63,143,0882001[# 44]
45Osmosis Jones$70,000,000$14,026,418$62,986,7912001[# 45]
46Instinct$80,000,000$34,105,207$62,947,3971999[# 46]
47Sphere$80,000,000$37,020,277$61,489,8621998[# 47]
48Lolita$62,000,000$1,071,255$61,464,3731997[# 48]
49Hard Rain$70,000,000$19,870,567$60,064,7171998[# 49]
50Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever$70,000,000$19,924,033$60,037,9842002[# 50]

Biggest box office bombs adjusted for inflation[edit]

Biggest box office bombs adjusted for inflation
RankTitleEstimated losses
(constant $)
1The 13th Warrior$96,901,940—180,981,0451999[# 3]
2Cutthroat Island[a]$135,951,1891995[# 13]
3Mars Needs Moms$135,426,4652011[# 2]
4Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within$95,494,288—135,045,1242001[# 7]
5The Adventures of Pluto Nash$125,177,2092002[# 10]
6The Fall of the Roman Empire$125,133,4501964[# 51]
7Sahara$119,962,9032005[# 1]
8The Lone Ranger$94,748,943—119,748,9432013[# 4]
9Heaven's Gate$119,724,8421980[# 52]
10R.I.P.D.$90,837,890—114,837,8902013[# 5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jane Anders, Charlie (January 31, 2011). "How much money does a movie need to make to be profitable?". io9. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (July 31, 1995). "'Waterworld' Disappointment As Box Office Receipts Lag". The New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2013. "(Studios only earn about half of a film's gross; the rest goes to theater owners)." 
  3. ^ Natale, Richard (September 8, 1999). "Company Town : Company Town Film Profit Report". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 12, 2013. "Notes: Cost estimates are for production only. Only half of box-office receipts come back to the studio." 
  4. ^ Pomerantz, Dorothy (November 14, 2012). "The Biggest Box Office Flops Of 2012". Forbes. Retrieved July 21, 2013. "Keep in mind that to begin to even imagine breaking even a film needs to earn at least twice its production budget at the box office." 
  5. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (August 17, 2012). "'John Carter': Disney Scrambles to Save its $250 Million Gamble". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Split screens: A tale of two Tinseltowns". The Economist. February 23, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ Epstein, Edward J. (May 9, 2005). "Concessions Are for Girlie Men". Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d Lang, Brent; Waxman, Sharon (September 1, 2011). "Inside the Revolution Library: Where Joe Roth Went Wrong". The Wrap. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Largest Box Office Loss". Guinness World Records. HIT Entertainment. Archived from the original on November 27, 2005. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  10. ^ McClintock, Pamela (July 8, 2013). "Why 'Mars Needs Moms' bombed for Disney". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 16, 2013. "Other infamous financial flops include Renny Harlin's pirate pic Cutthroat Island -- listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest bomb of all time -- Sahara, The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Gigli." 
Box-office sources
  1. ^ a b c Sahara
  2. ^ a b Mars Needs Moms
  3. ^ a b The 13th Warrior
    • Total worldwide gross: "The 13th Warrior (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
    • Production budget: Sklar, Elizabeth S. (2011). The Vikings on Film: Essays on Depictions of the Nordic Middle Ages. McFarland & Company. p. 122. ISBN 9780786460441. "Despite a lavish production budget for which estimates range from $100,000,000 to $160,000,000 with an additional $25,000 expenditure for marketing..." 
  4. ^ a b The Lone Ranger
  5. ^ a b R.I.P.D.
  6. ^ John Carter
  7. ^ a b Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  8. ^ Jack the Giant Slayer
  9. ^ Stealth
  10. ^ a b The Adventures of Pluto Nash
  11. ^ The Alamo
  12. ^ Green Lantern
  13. ^ a b Cutthroat Island
  14. ^ Evan Almighty
  15. ^ Treasure Planet
  16. ^ Town & Country
  17. ^ "Supernova (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  18. ^ The Nutcracker in 3D
  19. ^ Windtalkers
  20. ^ The Wolfman
  21. ^ "XXX: State of the Union (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  22. ^ Hugo
  23. ^ How Do You Know
  24. ^ Cowboys & Aliens
  25. ^ The Great Raid
  26. ^ A Sound of Thunder
  27. ^ Around the World in 80 Days
  28. ^ Speed Racer
  29. ^ "Gigli (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  30. ^ Alexander
  31. ^ Monkeybone
  32. ^ "The Postman (1997)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Peter Pan (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Zoom (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  35. ^ Poseidon
  36. ^ "Beloved (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  37. ^ K-19: The Widowmaker
  38. ^ Land of the Lost
  39. ^ Conan the Barbarian
  40. ^ "The Astronaut's Wife (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Dudley Do-Right (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Chill Factor (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Red Planet (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Ali (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  45. ^ Osmosis Jones
  46. ^ "Instinct (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  47. ^ "Sphere (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Lolita (1997)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Hard Rain (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  51. ^ "The Fall of the Roman Empire". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  52. ^ "Heaven's Gate (1980)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 16, 2013.