The 20 Biggest Box Office Flops of All Time

When someone produces a movie, everyone involved hopes for a blockbuster. All too often, though, the result is a bust, a movie that for whatever reason doesn’t connect with audiences and fares poorly at the box office.

Worst of them all are the true bombs that actually lose money; ticket sales fail to meet or exceed production costs. Let’s look at the 20 biggest money-losing movies ever, based on worldwide earnings.

Turning Red

LIFE IS GOOD – In Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red,” 13-year-old Meilin Lee is happy with her friends, school and, well, most of the time her family—until the day when she begins to “poof” into a giant red panda at decidedly inconvenient times. Featuring Rosalie Chiang as the voice of Meilin, “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) on March 11, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: Disney/Pixar.

This Pixar film follows a 13-year-old girl who, when experiencing strong emotions, turns into a giant red panda. Although critics loved the film, audiences didn’t nearly as much.

 

Production Cost: $175,000,000, Loss: $167,444,190

 

Jungle Cruise (2021)

(L-R): Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff, Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton and Jack Whitehall as MacGregor Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo courtesy of Disney.

 

Despite having a strong cast, this film was a dud where it really mattered. A Disney production, it’s a fantasy adventure based on the eponymously named Disney ride. In it, a riverboat captain steers a scientist through the jungle in search of the Tree of Life.

 

Production Cost: $264,216,000, Loss: $150,196,038

 

Mars Needs Moms (2011)

Mars Needs Moms
Image Credit: Disney.

Another Disney dud, this animated film starts with Martians needing to kidnap and Earthling mom. The goal: extract her “mom-ness” and implant it into nanny-bots.

 

Production Cost: $170,166,000, Loss: $143,382,285

 

Mulan (2020)

Mulan 2020.
Image Credit: Disney.

This live-action remake of the animated Disney classic had some strong headwinds. First, it came out during the pandemic, when ticket sales plummeted. Additionally, fans of the original didn’t like it, and there was strong criticism of its depictions of Chinese people and culture.

 

Production Cost: $200,000,000, Loss: $140,694,174

 

Moonfall (2022)

Halle Berry in Moonfall (2022).
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

When the moon suddenly leaves its orbit, two former astronauts and a conspiracy theorist learn a hidden truth about it. Unfortunately, this ship never really took off, and it was one of the biggest box-office bombs ever.

 

Production Cost: $170,784,000, Loss: $138,088,546

 

Strange World (2022)

Strange World.
Image Credit: Disney.

In this animated sci-fi adventure, a legendary family of explorers goes on a quest to a subterranean world. Their goal is to save a miracle plant that’s the source for the energy on their planet.

 

Production Cost: $172,646,000, Loss: $137,392,632

 

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Wonder Woman.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

A sequel to the 2017 hit, this one didn’t do nearly as well, largely because of the pandemic. Set in 1984 during the Cold War, Wonder Woman and a former love square off against two villains who want to steal strength and life force from people.

 

Production Cost: $258,940,000, Loss: $136,592,512

 

The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

The Matrix Resurrections.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Maybe 18 years was too long to wait to produce the 4th installment in this series. Criticisms included casting decisions, the writing, and fight sequences that fell short of their predecessors.

 

Production Cost: $218,710,000, Loss: $130,403,393

 

Onward (2020)

Onward.
Image Credit: Disney/Pixar.

Another victim of the pandemic, this film received generally positive reviews and did well in VOD (Video on Demand). It follows two elf brothers who embark on a quest for an artifact that can bring their dead father back for 24 hours.

 

Production Cost: $217,240,000, Loss: $130,217,979

 

Lightyear (2022)

MAKING SPACE – Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” introduces Alisha Hawthorne (voice of Uzo Aduba), Buzz’s long-time commander, fellow Space Ranger and trusted friend. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure opens in U.S. theaters on June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: 2022 Disney/Pixar.

 

Given the success of the Toy Story films, everyone assumed this spinoff about Buzz Lightyear as a human, not a toy, would do well, too. That wasn’t the case, and Pixar lost big on it.

 

Production Cost: $235,160,000, Loss: $122,285,129

 

The Suicide Squad (2021)

Suicide Squad.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Comic book adaptations have generally done well in recent years, but this was an exception. In exchange for lighter sentences, some convicts join a “Suicide Squad” sent on a mission to destroy a giant alien starfish.

 

Production Cost: $218,942,000, Loss: $119,596,500

 

John Carter (2012)

Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

A sci-fi adventure film, this movie is about a man who goes on an interplanetary adventure. While at it, he tries to mediate between two warring kingdoms. The characterization and plot got most of the blame for its poor performance.

 

Production Cost: $295,824,000, Loss: $112,492,391

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Director Guy Ritchie’s films typically do well, but this one fell short. Based on the legends but not strictly following them, the film features a tyrannical king out to kill Arthur.

 

Production Cost: $199,580,000, Loss: $112,408,189

 

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Deepwater Horizon.
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

This disaster epic based on the real-life oil spill seemed to have plenty going for it, including an excellent cast and generally good reviews. It was a major disappointment at the box office, though.

 

Production Cost: $189,348,000, Loss: $112,263,856

 

Chaos Walking (2021)

Chaos Walking Tom holland.
Image Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate.

On a dystopian planet where there are no women, a young man meets a woman who crash-lands and decides he must protect her. This movie suffered from an underdeveloped plot, bad pacing, a lack of character development, and poor chemistry between the two main characters.

 

Production Cost: $128,552,000, Loss: $111,715,731

 

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

Space Jam: A New Legacy.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The original was a hit, but this sequel featuring LeBron James instead of Michael Jordan wasn’t. James even “won” a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor.

 

Production Cost: $187,638,000, Loss: $110,715,821

 

Monster Trucks (2017)

Monster Trucks.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Stars such as Danny Glover and Rob Lowe weren’t enough to save this one. It’s about a high-school boy who finds that an escaped monster is living in his truck.

 

Production Cost: $149,450,000, Loss: $108,847,638

 

West Side Story (2021)

West Side Story.
Image Credit: 20th Century.

 

The remake of the classic musical had Steven Spielberg as director, a stellar cast, critical acclaim, and numerous awards and nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. That didn’t win audiences over, and the film bombed.

 

Production Cost: $143,240,000, Loss: $104,470,194

 

How Do You Know? (2010)

Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd in How Do You Know (2010)
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Reese Witherspoon plays a softball player caught in a love triangle with two men. Critics hated this romantic comedy, and so did audiences. Not even Jack Nicholson was able to breathe some life into it.

 

Production Cost: $140,454,000, Loss: $104,263,000

 

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

Jack the Giant Slayer.
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

This is an adaptation of the well-known fairy tale about Jack and the beanstalk. The director wanted something darker and geared more to adults, but the studio wanted it more family-friendly. The PG-13 compromise ended up pleasing neither target demographic.

 

Production Cost: $228,504,000, Loss: $102,850,363

 

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Image Credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

 

 

 

 

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