Each year, hundreds of movies arrive on the big screen hoping to draw audiences into their cinematic worlds. While some films become worldwide blockbuster hits — like "Black Panther" or "Avengers: Infinity War" — others flop at the box office. Join Wonderwall.com as we look back at the biggest flops of 2018… starting with "Mortal Engines." The big screen adaptation of the Philip Reeve novel of the same name opened in American theaters on Dec. 14 to a measly $7.5 million. According to reports, the dystopian action-adventure from the makers of the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy — which also earned $34.8 million abroad — had a budget of somewhere between $100 million and $150 million. Adding insult to injury, the movie scored a 28 percent rotten rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Ouch! Now keep reading for more of the year's biggest box office duds…
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"Robin Hood" starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn and Jamie Dornan was a big bust at the box office when it debuted over Thanksgiving weekend. According to The Wrap, it made only $14 million domestically during its five-day opening against a budget of just under $100 million. Worldwide, it hardly fared better, earning just $22.8 million — "the worst start for any film this year with a budget of $90 million or higher" (until "Mortal Engines" came along), The Wrap explained.
With an all-star cast including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Zach Galifianakis, Ava DuVernay's "A Wrinkle in Time" was marked for success. Sadly, the long-awaited novel-turned-fantasy film was never able to live up to the hype and suffered an abysmal opening weekend, followed by lower than expected ticket sales, bringing in just $100 million domestically against a reported $103 million production budget (which doesn't include marketing costs).
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Although "Solo: A Star Wars Story" isn't a flop in the traditional sense of the word (as of October 2018, it's one of the highest grossing films of the year), it still failed to meet the box-office expectations of studio execs. With worldwide ticket sales of more than $392 million, "Solo" starring Alden Ehrenreich was supposed to be a certified hit in a long list of "Star Wars" films, but with an inflated budget of more than $250 million, it ended up becoming the least popular and lowest selling movie in the franchise.
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Bald and brawny Dwayne Johnson is one of Hollywood's hottest leading men, but even his smoldering sexiness couldn't save the hellfire that was "Skyscraper." The film, about a former FBI agent who stops at nothing to rescue his family from a fiery skyscraper while fighting an elite team of bad guys, wasn't able to draw in U.S. audiences, leading to a domestic box office haul of little more than $67 million. With a $125 million production budget, the film was almost a complete loss had foreign audiences not saved the day, bringing in an additional $236 million.
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Things did not go well for Disney's holiday movie "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms," which had a terrible November opening. With a $130 million price tag to create the flick, the movie brought in a meager $20 million during its opening weekend. Similarly, the film — which stars Keira Knightley and Mackenzie Foy — is the worst reviewed Disney movie of the year, beating out "A Wrinkle in Time." Yikes!
Audiences love "This Is Us," but the same can't be said for creator Dan Fogelman's 2018 flick "Life Itself." The drama film follows multiple couples over numerous generations (played by the likes of Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas) and reveals how they're all connected by a single event. "Life Itself" performed abysmally at the box office, earning only $4.1 million. It's opening weekend haul of $2.1 million became the second-worst opening of any film that opened in more than 2,500 theaters since 1982.
Not even Melissa McCarthy could make "The Happytime Murders" a box-office success. The 2018 black comedy imagined a world where puppets and humans co-exist. After several retired sitcom stars are murdered, a police officer and a puppet team up to solve the case. The concept didn't go over very well with audiences, and "Happytime Murders" only grossed $26.5 million worldwide on a $47 million budget. Yikes.
Opening the same weekend as "Black Panther" probably wasn't a good idea for the stop-animation family film "Early Man." Featuring the voices of British actors Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne and Maisie Williams, this comedy adventure about two prehistoric men who unite their tribe to fight an evil enemy had an estimated production budget of $50 million but only managed to bring in a little over $8 million in domestic sales.
After a promising opening weekend, the Jennifer Lawrence-led thriller "Red Sparrow" wasn't able to take flight at the box office. The film, about a Russian operative tasked with finding a mole in her organization, received mixed reviews from critics, with some calling it a "sexy spy thriller" while others labeled it a "cheap exercise in exploitation." With a $69 million production budget, the film only managed to bring in a little more than $46 million in domestic sales, landing it firmly in "flop" territory.
Sadly, "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth couldn't save the historical war drama "12 Strong" from box-office failure. The film, about the first special forces unit to arrive in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terror attacks, reportedly cost $35 million to produce and only made $45 million in domestic sales. Although not a complete loss, Chris's other 2018 film, "Thor: Ragnarok" — which opened just two months earlier — managed to bring in a whopping $315 million at the U.S. box office, making "12 Strong" look financially weak in comparison.
In a box-office gamble, director Clint Eastwood cast the actual heroes of the 2015 Paris train terrorist attack to star in the film "The 15:17 to Paris." Unfortunately, the gimmick didn't pay off and the movie, which cost approximately $30 million to make, only wound up pulling in $12 million in domestic sales on opening weekend (and finished its run at $36 million). The film was cursed by bad reviews prior to its release and managed to earn just a 23 percent fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Although "Tomb Raider" starring Alicia Vikander was a hit with foreign audiences, in the U.S., it was a massive flop. Domestic sales of the action-adventure flick have only reached $57 million, which, when compared to its production budget of more than $94 million, is a stunning loss. Thankfully, the studio recouped its costs abroad (and earned a hefty profit), bringing in an additional $216 million in worldwide sales.
One of the worst box-office flops of 2018 was, undoubtedly, the mobster drama "Gotti" starring John Travolta. The criminal biopic was also criminally bad, earning terrible reviews from critics and an unheard of zero-percent rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. After an abysmal opening weekend on June 15, the movie only managed to earn $4.3 million in total domestic sales, which didn't recoup the film's $10 million production price tag.
Although the Taraji P. Henson-led crime thriller "Proud Mary" had all the elements of a successful movie — a strong female lead, an emotional plot and lots of action — it failed to catch on with audiences. It didn't help that critics panned the film as "shallow" and "neo-blaxploitation." Not a complete flop, the movie managed to earn $21.7 million in worldwide sales, recovering production costs of $14 million.
Despite largely positive critic reviews, viewers had a hard time getting behind the slow, haunting sci-fi thriller "Annihilation." The film, starring Natalie Portman as a biologist who joins an expedition into a strange alien zone on Earth, had a $40 million production budget but only managed to earn $32.7 million in domestic sales. There were no plans for a theatrical release abroad as Netflix reportedly acquired the international rights.
Throughout the '80s and '90s, Bruce Willis was considered a box-office Midas as every film he touched turned to gold. Sadly, it seems his star power has waned as his action-crime drama "Death Wish" barely broke even. With a $30 million budget and only $34 million in sales, plus negative reviews from critics who called Bruce's character in the film a "fascist, gun-loving, right-wing nut job," it seems like this film was destined to die, hard.
Following a phenomenal $193 million in sales for 2011's "Gnomeo and Juliet," producers got to work on the animated adventure "Sherlock Gnomes" featuring the voices of major Hollywood stars like James McAvoy, Emily Blunt and Johnny Depp. Unlike "Gnomeo," however, this film wasn't destined for the same success. With a reported $59 million budget, the movie was only able to earn $43 million in domestic sales since its March 23 release, proving that the novelty of talking gnomes was officially over.
"The Hurricane Heist" starring Maggie Grace and Toby Kebbell was a massive flop at the box office. The movie, about a group of thieves who plan to rob the U.S. Treasury during a major hurricane, arrived in theaters on March 9 with a hefty $35 million production debt. Sadly, the film quickly flatlined, making a little over $6 million in domestic sales total. To the movie's credit, it's been called so bad, it's actually kind of good, which might be the only compliment it's received this year.
One of the most phenomenally bad movies of the year has to be the comedy "Action Point" starring Johnny Knoxville. The movie debuted on June 1 and only managed to pull in $2 million in sales on its opening weekend, making it the most unsuccessful film of Johnny's entire career. The humiliation didn't end there. The film only managed to bring in $5 million in total sales domestically, even though it cost more than $19 million to make.
Shailene Woodley's ocean drama "Adrift" seemed like it would ride the wave of success, but sadly, it capsized in the U.S. The movie, which tells the true story of a young couple that mistakenly sailed into a category 5 hurricane and had to fight to stay alive, had a meager $35 million production budget yet only managed to bring in $31 million in domestic sales. Thankfully, foreign fans came to the film's rescue, helping bring in an additional $25 million, thus saving it from totally sinking.
Expected to be one of the biggest blockbuster hits of the year, "Pacific Rim: Uprising" starring John Boyega and Scott Eastwood racked up jaw-dropping production costs of $150 million. Based on the worldwide success of its predecessor, "Pacific Rim" (which brought in $411 million in sales), the stakes were high for this sci-fi action-adventure flick. Sadly, domestic sales fell far short and brought in just $59.5 million. While the movie did pick up steam abroad (pulling in another $230 million), it just wasn't able to match the first film's success and rumor has it an anticipated third film in the franchise won't be happening after all.
Although the production budget for "7 Days in Entebbe" is unknown, we do know the film about the real-life hijacking of an Air France flight in 1976, which stars Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl, hasn't fared well at the box office or with critics, who've said the film is "weirdly sluggish and dull" and "lacks in both drama and thrills." With a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of just 39 percent fresh and worldwide box office earning of just $8.6 million, it seems moviegoers agreed.
Paul Rudd, who is arguably at the height of his Hollywood career, couldn't save the dumpster fire that was "The Catcher Was a Spy." The biographical war drama co-starring British actress Sienna Miller debuted in limited release on June 22 and only brought in $114,000 on its opening weekend. With critics calling the film "dull" and Paul's performance "impassive," it seems the project was destined to bomb at the box office. Once all the receipts were tallied, it didn't even managed to crack the $1 million mark in worldwide sales.
Although "A Kid Like Jake" — a movie about parents who have a 4-year-old transgender child — had the makings of an interesting and timely story, it suffered from poor reviews and an incredibly limited release (only debuting in 13 theaters), causing it to flop at the box office. Critics called the family drama starring Claire Danes and Jim Parsons "underwhelming" and "too polite," which might have influenced moviegoers to avoid the film. Ticket sales topped out at just $45,000.
"The Predator" had all the ingredients to be a box-office smash — suspense, action, franchise fans — and yet it bombed. The sci-fi flick only grossed $127 million worldwide against a reported production and advertising budget of $208 million a month after its September release. In fact, it only made $24 million in its opening weekend, well below the projected $32 million that was anticipated. Nevertheless, there have been talks of at least two more "Predator" sequels.
The low turnout for "Fahrenheit 11/9" hints that the American people might be a little fatigued when it comes to President Trump news. The documentary, which centers on the 2016 United States presidential election and the subsequent presidency of Donald Trump, earned rave reviews but only earned $6.2 million at the box office — barely making a profit on its $5 million budget.