Every one of us has a movie that we felt should have done a lot better, but instead crashed face-first into the ground. But luckily box office results and critical approval are not necessary to discover a classic…
- Blade Runner (Made $33.8 million off $28 million.)
Today Blade Runner is an undisputed pillar of modern movies. But it didn’t look like that with its opening. Already plagued by production issues and budget overruns, Blade Runner opened on 25 June to reflect producer Alan Ladd Jr.’s previous successes with Star Wars and Alien on a 25 May date. But that ended up pitting it against The Thing, Star Trek II and E.T. Blade Runner got creamed, earning low and staying like that for its run. Even critics were lukewarm on it and the movie failed to get anywhere until it was released on VHS.
- Fight Club ($100 million off $63 million.)
Fight Club didn’t do badly when it opened, but expectations were high and it never matched those. It also had marketing problems: 20th Century Fox had no idea of how to position the film and director David Fincher kept fighting some decisions. Basically, nobody got onto the same page about it. Even a $20 million marketing campaign turned out to be a waste. When the movie was finally released after many delays, it struggled to find an audience due to not being ‘date night’ material. It was one of the projects that contributed to 20th Century Fox’s studio head Bill Mechanic resigning a few years later.
- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ($15.7 million off $15 million.)
Despite a great performance, Val Kilmer did not get his career renaissance that was pinned on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Critics loved this sassy crime noir comedy and that helped push it for wider distribution. But audiences didn’t bite, especially in the U.S. and nearly two thirds of the film’s earnings were made in foreign markets. Fortunately a growing cult status has kept it from disappearing into obscurity.
- Reservoir Dogs ($2.8 million off $1.2 million.)
Quentin Tarantino’s debut feature film was not actually a flop, mainly because it was made on an incredibly tiny budget. Still, it hardly doubled that amount – not great for a movie that was the most-talked about title at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival. Still, it gave Tarantino enough clout to get Pulp Fiction made. In the wake of that many people looked up Reservoir Dogs, turning it into a home video hit.
- Serenity ($38.8 million off $39 million.)
It may be much-loved among Firefly fans and science fiction geeks, but Serenity was not a success. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why movies made to tie up TV shows quickly dried up. The $29 million budget does not include what was spent on marketing and Serenity even failed to make a big impact in foreign markets. In some countries its box office debut was even cancelled in favour of a direct-to-DVD release.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ($10.6 million off $18.5 million.)
Even though it had the adoration of Hunter S. Thompson and his many fans, others were less enamoured with Terry Gilliam’s rendition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Critics didn’t like it and the movie also couldn’t grab audiences, falling well short of its budget. Fear and Loathing was a big failure, though it should be said not close to Gilliam’s biggest bomb. Nonetheless, the drug-crazed movie developed a very strong cult following and now frequently sits in top movie lists. It also further helped secure Johnny Depp’s credentials as an actor who marches to a different drum.
Last Updated: May 28, 2015