Predicted to be this year’s biggest blockbuster turkey, John Carter could just be the latest in a long line of box office flops. Coming in with a bloated budget of $300m, and based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel A Princess of Mars, it’s been marked for failure since the weekend when it took in just $35m. 

But latest reports show that despite predictions of a $150m loss for Disney, it may not be that bad, as it seems to be going down well in non-US markets, as well as the potential DVD and download sales – leading experts to believe that maybe there’s still hope of the film breaking even, or potentially even making a small profit.

So, maybe not the biggest movie disaster of all time – so what is? Let’s find out by taking a look at some of the most memorable all-time worst box office flops.


Waterworld (1995)The superstitious among us might have gotten a bad feeling about this film almost from the start, with the set being destroyed by hurricanes, stuntmen being lost at sea, the firing of a composer, and rumors of “the two Kevins” getting in a bust-up (well, Costner either fired director Kevin Reynolds, or he walked out, maybe we’ll never know), but the worst signaller was the out-of-control budget. In fact, so much was spent on the budget of this movie, that the state of Hawaii’s economy was boosted by $35m – at least it was good for something, huh? Waterworld cost $175 million to make, and is one of the most memorable blockbuster turkeys, although, most people don’t realize it did eventually make a profit – eventually. It just took a while. And it won a Golden Raspberry (and was nominated for four).
Catwoman (2004)An atrociously bad film, but at least Halle Berry looked hot, right? It lost $18m at the box office (which isn’t actually too bad compared to some of the flops on this list). Can you believe that 28 writers claimed to be involved with writing the script… yet none of them came up with ONE good line?! This film was awarded four Golden Raspberries out of seven nominations.

Halle Berry collected the Razzies herself, and this is what she said: “First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of shit, god-awful movie . . . It was just what my career needed.”
The Love Guru (2008)This was one Mike Meyers movie which didn’t go down so well. After his early-mid ‘90s success, it kind of went a bit wrong, as this tale of an Indian psychotherapist coaching a famous hockey player in-the-name-of-love, goes to show. Bit of a disaster really, taking in under $14m on its opening weekend. Hardly anyone remembers it, and (almost) nobody likes it. The end.
Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)Keanu Reeves said no to this movie. Why? Because for one, he’d read the script, and he saw it for what it was. Sandra Bullock, however (not always known for having the best choice in roles), did make it back to the Speed sequel, with the promise that her pet project Hope Floats, would be greenlit as a result. But did anyone stop to consider that maybe setting this movie on a BOAT might have been a bad idea?! Where’s the friggin’ tension? Well, despite that, it did eventually turn a profit after its worldwide release.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)The story of Pluto Nash actually began in the ‘80s, and went through a lot of rewrites before finally going into production around 20 years later. Jennifer Lopez actually turned this movie down, leaving Rosario Dawson and Eddie Murphy to star. The story takes place in the future, and Murphy plays a man struggling to keep control of his nightclub from some space mafia… or something. The Adventures of Pluto Nash lost $92m and Murphy later joked: “I know two or three people that liked this movie.”
Treasure Planet (2002)Originally pitched alongside The Little Mermaid, Treasure Planet was cast aside in favour of the little red-haired fish woman with the cute little purple shell bra. But unfortunately, the idea came back around again in the late ‘90s and Disney must have been a little short of ideas that year, because Treasure Planet – an animated space version of “Treasure Island” – got the green light. It took four and-a-half years to produce, and it took even longer for Disney to get their money back on this one – but, at least they did get it back. Reviews aren’t all bad for this film, bit of a mixed bag, really, even managing to be nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. Spirited Away won, though – YAY!!!
Grindhouse (2007)It’s yet another Razzie winner! The story goes, that Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino were making the good cash on their many indie projects, bless ‘em, and then some idiot decided to give them a big budget and a final cut. Bad idea – at least, financially speaking. A lot of people actually enjoyed this odd back-to-back bonanza, described as “2 and-a-half hours of pure dynamite!” – they got the joke. Rodriguez’s half was actually better received than Tarantino’s effort, which has been described as “yet another self-indulgent burp”. I personally couldn’t sit through this. It’s not great, but does have its fans, which I’m sure we can all respect.
Gigli (2003)Winner of six Razzies and some absolutely godawful reviews – actually, quite possibly some of the worst reviews known to mankind – Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck star in this… movie. There’s not much to Gigli‘s plot, the script is awful, the acting worse – what’s more to say? It seemed someone decided just because they had Lopez and Affleck in the film, they didn’t need to put any actual effort into the story, and it sucks. Not one critic went easy on this film, and the audiences listened. Ticket sales plummeted by 82% in the second week, which actually broke some kind of record at the time. It opened on 2000 screens, yet by week three, Gigli was only showing in 73, and within a month of release it was gone. Good riddance to bad rubbish?
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)I was actually really looking forward to this movie when it came out – back then, the Final Fantasy series was still exciting for me, it hadn’t yet been spoiled by some of the… games that were to come out in later years. And The Spirits Within was actually the first photo-realistic CGI movie, paving the way for many others like it as well as special effects on movies such as The Matrix. But I just didn’t enjoy this film. It just didn’t feel much like Final Fantasy to me.

Let’s talk a little about where the budget went; it was largely spent on a ‘render farm’, involving 1000 workstations and 200 animators, who worked on producing the film for FOUR YEARS. Square Pictures had high hopes for this movie, even going so far as to envisage the leading CGI actress to be so well-rendered that she would be able to make appearances in different roles and movies, just like a real actress – which is, quite frankly, laughable. She even creeped half of the audience out.

Well, this release was the end of Square Pictures. Buh-bye, Square Pictures.
Speed Racer (2008)The story features a young driver – a “Speed Racer”, who aspires to be a racing world champion with the help of his family and his high-tech Mach 5 automobile. Ooooh. Sound good? Well, it wasn’t. In fact, it lost $70m at the box office, after it having taken 14 years to get it to the screen in the first place. Warner Bros decided, for some reason, that they might be able to recoup some of the lost profit in merchandising – wrong again! Oops. I’ll admit, I haven’t actually watched this one myself, and I don’t want to.
Basic Instinct 2 (2006)So, what did we like about Basic Instinct? Well, there was Michael Douglas’s backside, and that famous Sharon Stone moment in THAT little white dress. So, of course, we’d want to see some more of that action, right? Let’s fast forward 14 years to the sequel… ummm… right. Maybe not. Being in “development hell” for years, apparently this movie only went into production when Stone threatened everyone with legal action if they didn’t show her 48-year-old scantily clad body on the big screen. It didn’t work too well, really, and by that time she had lost a lot of her appeal to audiences. Stone, alongside David Morrissey’s confusion, Stan Collymore’s death scene, and the unintentionally funny ending, made it an awful, awful movie. And the winner of four Razzies. Congo rats for that!

More to Come?

Well, that’s the end of this list. I hope you’ve all had fun, and don’t worry, what with all the sequels and remakes around at the moment, I’m sure there’s bound to be plenty more where that came from as we watch Hollywood go down the toilet.