The 50 Biggest Box Office Flops of All Time

Sophie Turner stars in Dark Phoenix (2018).
Sophie Turner stars in Dark Phoenix (2018).
20th Century Fox

Considering the convenience of streaming services—not to mention the unconscionably high price of movie tickets these days—it’s a wonder anybody still makes the trek to the movie theater. But, as Avengers: Endgame proved earlier this year, some flicks still have the power to lure us off our couches and into the cinema.

Others, however, perform so abysmally at the box office that they end up costing their producers millions of dollars. To find out which films had the highest losses, musicMagpie compared production budgets with worldwide box office stats for more than 1000 films on Numbers.com, and created a list of the 50 biggest flops of all time.

The biggest loser was 2011’s Mars Needs Moms, which cost $150 million to make and only earned back about $39.5 million at the box office. If you’re quick with math (or you looked ahead to the chart below), that’s a staggering loss of more than $110 million. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mars Needs Moms featured expensive 3D image-capture technology produced by Robert Zemeckis’s company ImageMovers.

An innovative, high-tech filmmaking process is one of many reasons a movie might have a hefty production budget. Another, of course, is A-list actors’ salaries. Case in point: 2019’s Dark Phoenix, which finished just behind Mars Needs Moms with almost $104 million in losses. The X-Men film starred Game of Thrones's Sophie Turner, along with Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence, to name a few.

Also on the list are the Reese Witherspoon-led romantic comedy How Do You Know? from 2010, the 1995 swashbuckling epic Cutthroat Island with Geena Davis and Matthew Modine, and 2004’s The Alamo, which Dennis Quaid, Patrick Wilson, and Billy Bob Thornton would probably rather not remember.

Just because people weren’t willing to go see a certain movie in theaters doesn’t necessarily mean that the movie itself was bad—maybe it had some serious competition during its opening weekend, or maybe it’s just not the type of movie people are clamoring to watch on a giant screen. If this list of highest-grossing films is any indication, a franchise action movie is much more likely to draw a crowd than pretty much any other genre. Having said that, the dreadful Rotten Tomatoes scores for most of the biggest flops suggests that there’s at least some correlation between the quality of a movie and its audience turnout.

Read on to find out how many of Hollywood’s biggest box office disappointments you’ve seen in theaters (or at all), and explore musicMagpie’s study here.

1. Mars Needs Moms (2011)

Production budget: $150,000,000
Worldwide gross: $39,549,758
Total loss: -$110,450,242

2. Dark Phoenix (2019)

Production budget: $350,000,000
Worldwide gross: $246,356,895
Total loss: -$103,643,105

3. Town & Country (2001)

Production budget: $105,000,000
Worldwide gross: $10,364,769
Total loss: -$94,635,231

4. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)

Production budget: $100,000,000
Worldwide gross: $7,094,995
Total loss: -$92,905,005

5. The Promise (2016)

Production budget: $90,000,000
Worldwide gross: $10,551,417
Total loss: -$79,448,583

6. Renegades (2019)

Production budget: $77,500,000
Worldwide gross: $1,521,672
Total loss: -$75,978,328

7. A Sound of Thunder (2005)

Production budget: $80,000,000
Worldwide gross: $6,300,451
Total loss: -$73,699,549

8. Cutthroat Island (1995)

Production budget: $92,000,000
Worldwide gross: $18,517,322
Total loss: -$73,482,678

9. How Do You Know? (2010)

Production budget: $120,000,000
Worldwide gross: $49,628,177
Total loss: -$70,371,823

10. Monkeybone (2001)

Production budget: $75,000,000
Worldwide gross: $5,409,517
Total loss: -$69,590,483

11. The Nutcracker in 3D (2010)

Production budget: $90,000,000
Worldwide gross: $20,466,016
Total loss: -$69,533,984

12. The Alamo (2004)

Production budget: $92,000,000
Worldwide gross: $23,911,362
Total loss: -$68,088,638

13. Air Strike (2018)

Production budget: $65,000,000
Worldwide gross: $516,279
Total loss: -$64,483,721

14. Monster Trucks (2017)

Production budget: $125,000,000
Worldwide gross: $61,642,798
Total loss: -$63,357,202

15. The 13th Warrior (1999)

Production budget: $125,000,000
Worldwide gross: $61,698,899
Total loss: -$63,301,101

16. Stealth (2005)

Production budget: $138,000,000
Worldwide gross: $76,416,746
Total loss: -$61,583,254

17. Soldier (1998)

Production budget: $75,000,000
Worldwide gross: $14,623,082
Total loss: -$60,376,918

18. The Postman (1997)

Production budget: $80,000,000
Worldwide gross: $20,841,123
Total loss: -$59,158,877

19. Osmosis Jones (2001)

Production budget: $70,000,000
Worldwide gross: $13,596,911
Total loss: -$56,403,089

20. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)

Production budget: $70,000,000
Worldwide gross: $14,294,842
Total loss: -$55,705,158

21. Lucky Numbers (2000)

Production budget: $ 65,000,000
Worldwide gross: $10,014,234
Total loss: -$54,985,766

22. Timeline (2003)

Production budget: $80,000,000
Worldwide gross: $26,703,184
Total loss: -$53,296,816

23. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

Production budget: $137,000,000
Worldwide gross: $85,131,830
Total loss: -$51,868,170

24. R.I.P.D. (2013)

Production budget: $130,000,000
Worldwide gross: $79,076,678
Total loss: -$50,923,322

25. Blackhat (2015)

Production budget: $70,000,000
Worldwide gross: $19,665,004
Total loss: -$50,334,996

26. Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)

Production budget: $80,000,000
Worldwide gross: $29,725,663
Total loss: -$50,274,337

27. Hard Rain (1998)

Production budget: $70,000,000
Worldwide gross: $19,870,567
Total loss: -$50,129,433

28. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (2014)

Production budget: $70,000,000
Worldwide gross: $20,107,933
Total loss: -$49,892,067

29. The Great Raid (2005)

Production budget: $60,000,000
Worldwide gross: $10,597,070
Total loss: -$49,402,930

30. Father’s Day (1997)

Production budget: $85,000,000
Worldwide gross: $35,681,080
Total loss: -$49,318,920

31. Last Man Standing (1996)

Production budget: $67,000,000
Worldwide gross: $18,115,927
Total loss: -$48,884,073

32. Beyond Borders (2003)

Production budget: $60,000,000
Worldwide gross: $11,427,090
Total loss: -$48,572,910

33. Holy Man (1998)

Production budget: $60,000,000
Worldwide gross: $12,069,719
Total loss: -$47,930,281

34. Hudson Hawk (1991)

Production budget: $65,000,000
Worldwide gross: $17,218,916
Total loss: -$47,781,084

35. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)

Production budget: $60,000,000
Worldwide gross: $13,233,220
Total loss: -$46,766,780

36. Red Planet (2000)

Production budget: $80,000,000
Worldwide gross: $33,463,969
Total loss: -$46,536,031

37. Flyboys (2006)

Production budget: $60,000,000
Worldwide gross: $14,816,379
Total loss: -$45,183,621

38. Supernova (2000)

Production budget: $60,000,000
Worldwide gross: $14,816,494
Total loss: -$45,183,506

39. Virus (1999)

Production budget: $75,000,000
Worldwide gross: $30,626,690
Total loss: -$44,373,310

40. Rollerball (2002)

Production budget: $70,000,000
Worldwide gross: $25,852,508
Total loss: -$44,147,492

41. 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)

Production budget: $62,000,000
Worldwide gross: $18,708,848
Total loss: -$43,291,152

42. Live by Night (2006)

Production budget: $65,000,000
Worldwide gross: $21,774,432
Total loss: -$43,225,568

43. The Last Legion (2007)

Production budget: $67,000,000
Worldwide gross: $25,357,771
Total loss: -$41,642,229

44. Flight of the Phoenix (2004)

Production budget: $75,000,000
Worldwide gross: $34,009,180
Total loss: -$40,990,820

45. The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000)

Production budget: $76,000,000
Worldwide gross: $35,129,610
Total loss: -$40,870,390

46. Meet Joe Black (1998)

Production budget: $85,000,000
Worldwide gross: $44,650,003
Total loss: -$40,349,997

47. Son of the Mask (2005)

Production budget: $100,000,000
Worldwide gross: $59,918,422
Total loss: -$40,081,578

48. The Invasion (2007)

Production budget: $80,000,000
Worldwide gross: $40,147,042
Total loss: -$39,852,958

49. The Last Castle (2001)

Production budget: $60,000,000
Worldwide gross: $20,541,668
Total loss: -$39,458,332

50. Oliver Twist (2005)

Production budget: $65,000,000
Worldwide gross: $26,670,920
Total loss: -$38,329,080

This Innovative Cutting Board Takes the Mess Out of Meal Prep

There's no way any of these ingredients will end up on the floor.
There's no way any of these ingredients will end up on the floor.
TidyBoard, Kickstarter

Transferring food from the cutting board to the bowl—or scraps to the compost bin—can get a little messy, especially if you’re dealing with something that has a tendency to roll off the board, spill juice everywhere, or both (looking at you, cherry tomatoes).

The TidyBoard, available on Kickstarter, is a cutting board with attached containers that you can sweep your ingredients right into, taking the mess out of meal prep and saving you some counter space in the process. The board itself is 15 inches by 20 inches, and the container that fits in its empty slot is 14 inches long, 5.75 inches wide, and more than 4 inches deep. Two smaller containers fit inside the large one, making it easy to separate your ingredients.

Though the 4-pound board hangs off the edge of your counter, good old-fashioned physics will keep it from tipping off—as long as whatever you’re piling into the containers doesn’t exceed 9 pounds. It also comes with a second set of containers that work as strainers, so you can position the TidyBoard over the edge of your sink and drain excess water or juice from your ingredients as you go.

You can store food in the smaller containers, which have matching lids; and since they’re all made of BPA-free silicone, feel free to pop them in the microwave. (Remove the small stopper on top of the lid first for a built-in steaming hole.)

tidyboard storage containers
They also come in gray, if teal isn't your thing.
TidyBoard

Not only does the bamboo-made TidyBoard repel bacteria, it also won’t dull your knives or let strong odors seep into it. In short, it’s an opportunity to make cutting, cleaning, storing, and eating all easier, neater, and more efficient. Prices start at $79, and it’s expected to ship by October 2020—you can find out more details and order yours on Kickstarter.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Writers of Avengers: Endgame Explain Why Captain America Wasn't Able to Lift Thor's Hammer

Chris Evans as Captain America.
Chris Evans as Captain America.
Marvel Studios

One of the best moments of Avengers: Endgame came when Captain America, played by Chris Evans, was worthy enough to lift Thor's hammer during the final fight with Thanos. Steve Rogers/Captain America's journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the most interesting to watch, and seeing him lift Thor's hammer was a stunning conclusion to his arc. However, the moment left some fans wondering why Steve wasn't able to wield the weapon in prior battles.

ComicBook.com recently hosted a quarantine watch party of Avengers: Endgame, where the film's writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, were asked why Steve didn't lift the hammer during the Avengers Tower party scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron. According to Markus, it had to do with Cap's best friend Bucky, a.k.a. the Winter Soldier. Markus said Cap couldn't lift the hammer because he knew the Winter Soldier had killed Tony Stark's parents. However, this information doesn't come to light until Captain America: Civil War, so Steve might have been burdened with the secret, making him unworthy to lift the hammer.

There have been other opinions on why Steve didn't life the hammer until Endgame. As ComicBook.com reported, Marvel Studios executive Louis D'Esposito has his own view on the matter.

"If you remember from Ultron, they were all sitting around in the Avengers complex in Manhattan, and there's a party, and they're all a bit inebriated, and they're loose, and they're having fun, and they're all trying to pick up the hammer," D'Esposito said. "It's Captain America's turn to try, and you look over to Thor's face, and he says, 'I think he might be able to do it,' but Cap doesn't pick it up. But Cap could've always picked it up. He didn't want to at that point because it would've not been right."

No matter the reasoning, watching Cap lift Thor's hammer was incredibly satisfying. Rewatch Avengers: Endgame, along with tons of other fun titles, with a subscription to Disney+ here.

[h/t ComicBook.com]

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