When Johnny Depp‘s mustache comedy “Mortdecai” brought in less than $5 million on opening weekend, it marked the A-list actor’s fifth straight box office bomb. But he’s far from the only top billed actor to endure a tanker or two.
Here are 41 other Hollywood actors who have bombed big at the box office:
“Mary Reilly” (1996) – Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts has an Oscar, plenty of box office appeal and one of the world’s most recognizable smiles, but even that doesn’t make her immune to the occasional flop. “Mary Reilly,” a story about Mr. Jekyll’s servant, cost an estimated $47 million to make, but only brought 12 back. John Malkovich, Michael Sheen and six-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close also co-starred in the tanker.
“What Planet Are You From?” (2000) – Mike Nichols
What was the Oscar-winning director of “The Graduate” doing at the helm of silly space spoof? He had to have wondered himself, and ditto for the starry cast. Ben Kingsley, Annette Bening, John Goodman, Greg Kinnear, Judy Greer and Gary Shandling must have gulped when the $60 million Sony comedy opened to $3 million and topped out at $6 million in 2000.
“Donnie Darko” (2001) – Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone
Jake Gyllenhaal may have worked his way on to the world stage with “Donnie Darko,” but that doesn’t mean the movie made any money. Richard Kelly’s time-travel mind-scrambler cost $6 million to make and returned only around $110,000 on its opening weekend, eventually pulling in $1.2 million at theaters. The film grew to be a cult classic, however, and has since even enjoyed a Director’s Cut reissue on DVD.
Katherine Heigl has actually only had one movie break the $100 million mark domestically (“Knocked Up”), but since most of her films are relatively low-budget comedies it’s hard to hold that against her. “One for the Money,” however, is an the exception. Accomplished TV director Julie Anne Robinson helmed the action-comedy-crime film, which had a production budget of $40 million and brought back only $36 mil domestically.
“The Adventures of Pluto Nash” (2002) – Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy comedies made more money in the 80’s than cocaine dealers and the inventor of the slap bracelet combined, but he isn’t without his share of bombs including “Life,” “Holy Man,” and, most famously, “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.” The funny-man’s poorly received space romp cost around $160 million to make and only drew in a hair over $7 million worldwide. Of course, with cash cows like “Daddy Day Care,” a “Nutty Professor” sequel and a few “Shreks” coming out at the same time, he probably didn’t feel the sting for long.
Matthew McConaughey had a string of misses about a decade ago, including “Frailty,” “Reign of Fire,” “Two for the Money” and “Sahara,” which was so poorly received it inspired the LA Times to do an investigative report on its misfires. The Breck Eisner-directed adaptation of Clive Cussler’s adventure novel, which cost around $130 million to produce, wound up pulling in $120 in combined domestic and worldwide box offices. But with marketing costs factored in McConaughey’s poorly received film is estimated to have lost about $100 million overall. Of course, the acclaimed actor is doing alright, alright alright now with his recent Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy nomination.
It wasn’t a shock when the $225 million fantasy action film about medieval Samurai warriors in Japan top-lined by “The Matrix” star didn’t make its money back. Keanu Reeves had belly-flopped at the box office before, with “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee,” “Thumbsucker” and “Henry’s Crime.” But he outdid himself with this one, which bombed so badly that it cost Universal Pictures nearly $150 million.
“Fight Club” (1999) – Brad Pitt, Edward Norton
These days David Fincher’s “Fight Club” is considered a must-own for film fans, but when the trippy Brad Pitt-Edward Norton adaptation hit the box office is was actually poorly received by fans and even some critics. The $63 million film grossed just $37 domestically and infamously earned a D review from EW. But with the DVD release the film eventually found a cult following. Pitt also had trouble recouping at the box office opposite James Gandolfini in “Killing Them Softly,” but he has 11 films that have earned over $100 mil domestically, including all of his “Oceans” movies, “World War Z,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and even “Seven”.
“R.I.P.D.” (2013), “Green Lantern” (2011) – Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds may be one of America’s most beloved movie stars, but he’s far from a surefire hit at the box office. He and Sandra Bullock struck gold with “The Proposal,” but some of his bigger budget pictures have had more difficulty making their money back, including “R.I.P.D.,” which co-starred Jeff Bridges,” and “Green Lantern,” one of the biggest comic catastrophes in the recent era. “R.I.P.D.” had an estimated production budget of $130 mil, but only made a fifth of that at the domestic box office. “Green Lantern,” meanwhile, cost $200 million to make. While it did make $220 worldwide, it’s safe to assume it lost big when marketing budgets are factored in.
“Stealth” (2005) – Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, Josh Lucas
Between Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas, “Stealth” may have had the prettiest cast of 2005, but that didn’t stop the fighter pilot film from, well, bombing at the box office. The Rob Cohen movie cost $135 million to make, but only pulled in $32 million domestically. Maybe the A-list actors shouldn’t have obscured those adorable faces with helmets for so long?
No one doubts what Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson can do when they throw on spandex to ward off alien invaders, as they did in “Marvel’s The Avengers” which pulled in over $1.5 billion worldwide. But the duo had less success alongside Erika Christensen in “The Perfect Score,” a poorly received comedy which about a group of kids who formed an unlikely union to cheat in order to cheat on their SATs. The film cost around $40 million to make and only brought back about $11 million worldwide.
“Deception,” a thriller from Marcel Langenegger that you’ve probably already forgotten about, made less than $5 million at the domestic box office, despite the big name cast members which included Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor and three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams. The film had more success internationally, and eventually pulled in a combined $17 million. But that isn’t nearly enough to keep it from being a money pit.
With a cast like Harrison Ford, Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman and Amber Heard, you wouldn’t expect a film to bomb, but that’s exactly what happened with Robert Luketic’s thriller “Paranoia”. Between the Ford’s “Star Wars” movies, Hemsworth “Hunger Games” movies, Oldman’s “Dark Knight” movies and Heard’s biggest hit, “Pineapple Express,” the foursome has helped bring in buckets of box office dollars. But “Paranoia,” which cost $35 million to make and barely pulled in $13 mil worldwide was an unmitigated flop.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have been cast in critically panned box office bombs before (we’re looking at you, “Daredevil” and “Jersey Girl,”) but none of them were the perfect storm of flop quite like “Gigli.” The rom-com opened in well over 2,000 theaters in its opening weekend and only pulled in $3.7 million. The film, which cost over $60 million to produce, would only crawl to a $7 million take worldwide. Affleck has certainly rebounded, with “Argo,” “Gone Girl” and quite a few other hits, and Lopez has had recent success too, pulling in $15 mil already opposite Ryan Guzman in “The Boy Next Door.”
“Waterworld” (1995), “The Postman,” (1997) – Kevin Costner
If his 1990 Western epic “Dances With Wolves” hadn’t dominated the Academy Awards and earned seven Oscars including his Best Director nod, Kevin Costner never could have found the backing to launch these tankers. But it did, and he did. The post-apocalyptic seas saga “Waterworld” cost $175 million to make, and took in a soggy $88 million domestically, before recouping most of that cost overseas. No such luck for his next post-apocalyptic tale “The Postman,” which was set in far-off 2013. Made for $80 million, it took in less than $18 million in the U.S. and was never released abroad.
Christian Bale Batman films have made billions internationally, but even the Dark Knight isn’t immune to duds. He starred in Scott Cooper’s “Out of the Furnace” in 2013. The film, which also stars Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana had a production budget of $22 million but only earned back about $11 domestically. It certainly didn’t help that “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Frozen” were still dominating the charts when “Out of the Furnace” opened.
It was clear that the young British actor’s star was rising and he was about to break out after he earned high marks for “War Horse,” “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.” But “The Fifth Estate,” a then-timely drama about the Wikileaks scandal, sure wasn’t it. It cost $28 million and grossed less than $9 million for a stunned Disney, which wasn’t wrong about Cumberbatch. His next movie was last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave,” and he’s up for Best Actor this year for “The Imitation Game.”
“Southland Tales,” which starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake and Sean William Scott, cost around $17 mil to make and pulled in less than $400,000 at the box office. The Richard Kelly film (yup, the same guy who made “Donnie Darko” which is also on our list) isn’t the only clunker on Timberlake’s resume, either. He also starred with Amanda Seyfried and Olivia Wilde in “In Time,” with Ben Affleck in “Runner Runner,” with Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson in “Black Snake Moan,” and appeared in Mike Meyers in “The Love Guru.” More on that last one in a second.
Mike Myers poorly received comedy cost an inexplicable $62 million to produce and only pulled in around $40 million at the box office. Between the “Shrek” ($3.5 billion) “Wayne’s World” ($230 million) and “Austin Powers” ($675 million) franchises, the Canadian comedian has certainly collected his fair share of cash at the box offices, but “The Love Guru” remains one of the most expensive comedy bombs in recent memory.
“Speed Racer” (2008), “Cloud Atlas” (2012) – directors Andy and Lana Wachowski
No one argued against the aesthetic draw of “Speed Racer,” but the Emile Hirsch vehicle — pun! — cost a whopping $120 million to make and only pulled in $44 million domestically. More recently the directors put out the Tom Hanks-Halle Berry flop “Cloud Atlas,” which cost an estimated $130 million to make and took in $27 million domestically. Their latest effort is “Jupiter Ascending,” with Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis. Just seven weeks before the inter-galactic sci-fi film was set to open, Warner Bros. pushed it back nearly a year, which is rarely a good sign.
Cameron Diaz is one of the highest paid actresses around and has made nearly a dozen films which have grossed $100 million domestically, but she’s not immune to clunkers. Richard Kelly’s third mention on this list comes in the form of one of her biggest flops, “The Box.” The psychological horror film, set in the ‘1970s and co-starring James Marsden, cost over $30 million to make and brought back only $15 million domestically. Other under-performing honorable mentions include “The Sweetest Thing,” Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor” and, most recently, “Sex Tape” opposite Jason Segel.
“The Lone Ranger” (2013), “Transcendence” (2014) – Johnny Depp
Last but not least is, well, Johnny Depp. “Mortdecai” was a massive misfire to be sure, but it wasn’t the big-name actor’s first. From 2014’s critically panned and fan ignored sci-fi flick “Transcendence” to Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” which is estimated to have cost over $200 million, Depp has been in the flophouse before.
Here’s hoping he takes TheWrap’s “50 Over 50” advice and shakes up his own career!
Source: Majority of box office statistics provide by BoxOfficeMojo.