First, here’s the good news:
It seems like every year, I read box office analysts and experts talking about how the theater-going experience is in decline and/or that the summer blockbuster is in its death throes; in particular, that the superhero genre is in its death throes or that Hollywood is over-reliant upon franchise fare and sequels and prequels and the like. There’s some gripes to be had in there, for sure, but look: 2015 had a record $11 billion year.
Now, you may be saying to me, what about price inflation? It’s true that today a ticket costs more, $5.66 in 2001 to $8.34 in 2015, for comparison, and there’s also the even pricier 3D ticket pricing and IMAX. Furthermore, also courtesy of Box Office Mojo:
So, maybe you think the earlier discussed $11 billion isn’t as impressive now when you’re looking at estimated tickets sold (although selling $1.32 billion $8.34 tickets vs. selling $1.57 billion $5.66 tickets seems more impressive to me)? Well, consider that since 2002, we’ve had an explosion in digital streaming services, the speed at which films go in and out of theaters and an increase in the quality of home viewing systems in general.
I think it all evens out myself. Anyhow, I want to go over the eight biggest flops this year at the box office because what the fuck were they thinking?!
The typical criteria for a flop is comparison of its budget (and hype, but that’s harder to judge, so I’m just looking at budget, if it’s available) vs. its domestic take. Many of these films may have made back its budget somewhat if we count the foreign take, but it gets flop status because of how poorly it performs in the United States typically.
Here’s a quick list:
8. Pixels, -$10 million
7. Fantastic Four, -$64 million
6. Terminator: Genisys, $-66 million
5. In the Heart of the Sea, -$78 million (budget not reported on Box Office Mojo, but Wiki has it at $100 million)
4. Seventh Son, -$78 million
3. Tomorrowland, -$97 million
2. Pan, -$116 million
1. Jupiter Ascending, -$129 million
Expanded list (where you can also see the big actors involved and foreign total):
It actually did pretty decent overseas, but it still under-performed domestically. Another disappointing Sandler flick. You can rest-assured much of that $88 million budget is his salary.
7. Fantastic Four
This one hurts because I love Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan, but the script and direction were just crap. Consider: the above Pixels made almost $100 million more globally than this did. Wow.
6. Terminator: Genisys
Even bringing Arnold back couldn’t save this flick at the domestic box office. It had quite a big marketing push, too, but only opened to $27 million. At least it made its money back overseas — almost half a billion globally ain’t too shabby.
5. In the Heart of the Sea
This might be the real biggest flop on the list. Consider, even with the foreign market, it still didn’t get anywhere near making back its $100 million budget. But just looking at the domestic, it’s particularly pathetic. Certainly doesn’t help that it was near Star Wars, but still. It also had Ron Howard and Thor, aka, Chris Hemsworth, but that doesn’t seem to be a winning combination.
4. Seventh Son
As you may be able to tell, I pay a lot of attention to movies and their corresponding box office, but for the life of me, I don’t even remember this flick, but a $95 million budget ain’t too shabby. That’s almost blockbuster budget money and it has Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore…
This has to be a tough one to swallow for Disney. It had a big push and it has George Clooney. And yet, even with foreign money, it still barely made back its budget. Its opening wasn’t exactly terrible, it just didn’t have any legs beyond that point.
Like Seventh Son, I only vaguely remember this Hugh Jackman vehicle. And boy did it disappoint. Even with foreign money, it still didn’t get near making back its budget, which is definitely blockbuster territory. Sorry, Warner Brothers.
1. Jupiter Ascending
Much like the above, it’s a Warner Brothers film, it has two big, young stars and a huge budget. It barely made it back even with the foreign money. But for something like this to open to only $18 million? Hugely disappointing and yes, a big flop.
Poor Warner Brothers. They had the top two flops, plus another one on the list (In the Heart of the Sea).