15 Worst High-Budget Movies of All Time

When a movie comes with a massive budget, expectations soar. Hollywood has a long history of producing such high-budget spectacles, hoping to draw large audiences with stunning visuals, star-studded casts, and captivating storylines.

However, not all of these big-budget endeavors turn into box office gold. Some end up as memorable flops, leaving both critics and moviegoers underwhelmed and questioning where all that money went.

1. John Carter (2012)

John Carter.
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.


Despite its visually stunning effects and epic setting, “John Carter” struggled to make an impact at the box office and with critics. The film, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series of novels, had a colossal budget of over $250 million but ended up grossing only around $284 million worldwide.

The complex plot and unfamiliar characters made it hard for audiences to connect with the story. The film’s financial performance was so disappointing that it led to significant financial write-offs for Disney and aborted plans for any sequels.

2. The Lone Ranger (2013)

The Lone Ranger (1).
Image Credit: Walt Disney.


This adaptation of the famous TV and radio serial faced significant issues right from its release. Starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, “The Lone Ranger” had a budget that ballooned to approximately $250 million due to production delays and reshoots.

The movie grossed only $260 million globally, making it one of the notable box office flops. Critics and audiences criticized its uneven tone and the controversial casting of Depp as the Native American character Tonto, which sparked debates on cultural representation.

3. Cutthroat Island (1995)

Cutthroat Island.
Image Credit:
Beckner/Gorman Productions.


Often cited as one of the biggest box office bombs in Hollywood history, “Cutthroat Island” was a pirate adventure that sank without trace. Despite having a budget of about $98 million, it earned a meager $10 million in the U.S.

The film’s failure was attributed to a lackluster script and poor marketing. Its disastrous performance contributed to the bankruptcy of Carolco Pictures, the production company behind it.

4. Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Heaven's Gate.
Image Credit:
Partisan Productions.


“Heaven’s Gate” is infamous for its role in ending the era of directorial control in Hollywood. Directed by Michael Cimino, the film had an original budget of $44 million but faced cost overruns that nearly doubled it.

The movie was a critical and commercial failure, recouping only a fraction of its costs at the box office. The film’s excessive length, overindulgent scenes, and production issues became a Hollywood cautionary tale.

5. Waterworld (1995)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.


Dubbed “Fishtar” and “Kevin’s Gate” after its lead Kevin Costner and echoing the failure of “Heaven’s Gate,” “Waterworld” was notorious for its troubled production and enormous budget of $175 million, which was astronomical at the time.

The film eventually made $264 million globally, barely covering its production and marketing costs. While it has gained a cult following over the years, at the time of its release, it was considered a significant financial disappointment due to its high expectations and cost overruns.

6. Battlefield Earth (2000)

Battlefield Earth.
Image Credit:
Warner Bros.


Featuring John Travolta, “Battlefield Earth” is often mentioned in discussions of the worst films ever made. It was both a critical and financial disaster, grossing only $29 million against a budget of $73 million.

The movie was criticized for its poor script, awkward cinematography, and unconvincing performances. Based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s novel, the film’s association with Scientology also stirred controversy and likely impacted its reception.

7. Mars Needs Moms (2011)

Mars Needs Moms
Image Credit: Disney.


This animated film is one of the most expensive box office flops in cinema history. With a budget of $150 million, it grossed only $39 million worldwide. The film’s style of animation was criticized for falling into the uncanny valley, making characters appear creepy rather than endearing.

“Mars Needs Moms” serves as an example of how even with high-end technology and substantial investment, a movie can fail to resonate with its intended audience.

8. 47 Ronin (2013)

47 Ronin.
Image Credit:
Bluegrass Films.


“47 Ronin” stars Keanu Reeves in a film that mixes fantasy with a classic Japanese story. Despite the intriguing premise and substantial visual effects, the film failed to capture the audience’s interest, grossing just $151 million against a budget of approximately $175 million.

The film’s blending of Western and Eastern storytelling elements didn’t resonate well, and it was critiqued for its lack of authenticity and emotional depth. This was a disappointing outcome for such a visually ambitious project.

9. Pan (2015)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Attempting to provide a new take on the origins of Peter Pan and Captain Hook, “Pan” featured high production values and a star-studded cast including Hugh Jackman. However, with a budget of $150 million, the film only managed to bring in $128 million worldwide.

Critics and audiences alike found the film confusing, with a disjointed narrative that failed to engage. The film’s attempt at reimagining a beloved classic fell flat, leading to its poor box office performance.

10. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)

The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.


Eddie Murphy starred in this sci-fi comedy, which is often cited as one of the worst films of all time. With an astronomical budget reported to be around $100 million, the film earned less than $7 million at the global box office.

The humor was poorly received, the plot was considered nonsensical, and the film lacked the charm usually associated with Murphy’s earlier works. “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” became a textbook example of a box office disaster.

11. Stealth (2005)

Image Credit:
Columbia Pictures.


This action film about a rogue artificial intelligence piloting a military jet aimed to thrill but ended up disappointing. “Stealth” had a budget of $135 million but grossed only about $76 million worldwide. The movie was criticized for its clichéd script and the lack of chemistry among its leads.

It serves as an example of how films that rely heavily on CGI effects can still fail to draw crowds if the storyline is not compelling enough.

12. Speed Racer (2008)

Speed Racer.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.


Directed by the Wachowskis, “Speed Racer” was an adaptation of a popular manga and anime series known for its vibrant visuals. Despite the innovative and colorful visual design, the film did not do well financially, grossing $94 million against a budget of $120 million

. Critics appreciated the unique style and ambition but criticized the movie for its convoluted plot and pacing issues. The film’s failure at the box office demonstrated the difficulties of adapting such a niche property for a broader audience.

13. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

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


Directed by Guy Ritchie, this reimagining of the classic Arthurian legend was meant to kickstart a new franchise but ended up being a flop. With a massive budget of $175 million, the film only earned $148 million worldwide.

The film’s attempt to blend Ritchie’s fast-paced, snappy dialogue with a medieval setting did not translate well, and the plot was seen as overly complex. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” illustrates the risks of reinterpreting well-known stories without a clear narrative focus or audience engagement.

14. Gigli (2003)

Image Credit: Revolution Studios.


This romantic comedy starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez is infamous for its failure both critically and at the box office. With a budget of $75 million, it earned a paltry $7 million globally.

The chemistry between the leads could not save the film’s incoherent plot and awkward dialogue. “Gigli” is often used as a prime example of how star power alone is not enough to guarantee a movie’s success.

15. Green Lantern (2011)

Green Lantern.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.


“Green Lantern,” starring Ryan Reynolds, was intended to launch a new superhero franchise but instead became notorious for its poor reception and disappointing box office returns. With a hefty budget of around $200 million, the film only managed to scrape together about $219 million worldwide.

Critics and audiences criticized its heavy reliance on CGI, unimpressive special effects, and lackluster script. The failure of “Green Lantern” was a significant setback for DC’s cinematic ambitions at the time.

The 12 Most Genius Movie Plot Holes You Never Knew Were Actually Explained

Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998),
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.


Friends (and strangers) trying to sound smart by pointing out a movie mistake that isn’t really a mistake?

We found the best answers to “What infamous movie plot hole has an explanation that you’re tired of explaining?” with these 12 movie plot holes that actually have perfectly good explanations.

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19 Hyped-Up Movies That Were Actually Terrible

Brid Box.
Image Credit: Netflix.


So, you know how there’s always this buzz around those hyped-up movies, right? Like, the ones that everyone’s talking about, the trailers that give you goosebumps, and the anticipation that’s through the roof?

Yeah, those. But here’s the kicker- sometimes, they turn out to be total duds.

19 Hyped-Up Movies That Were Actually Terrible

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