There have been plenty of box office hits in 2019 from “Avengers: Endgame” to “Joker” to “Us.” But as always, there are films that end up taking a dive once they hit theaters. Some have been failed attempts to revive flailing franchises. Others are poorly reviewed films that moviegoers barely notice on the cinema marquee. Either way, they’ve made this list.
“Replicas” $9.2 million grossed ($30 million budget) — Keanu Reeves has had a great 2019. “John Wick: Chapter 3” was a hit, a viral video of his E3 appearance became a meme, and sequels to “Bill & Ted” and “The Matrix” are in his future. But back in January, he starred in this critically panned sci-fi tale of a neuroscientist who defies the law and scientific ethics to create clones of his dead family.
“The Kid Who Would Be King” $32 million ($60 million budget) — Unlike other films on this list, critics were pleasantly surprised by this family film about a British schoolboy who discovers that he is the reincarnation of King Arthur. But it fell victim to early-year box office doldrums as audiences ignored the critics’ praises, turning “The Kid Who Would Be King” into one of several busts for 20th Century Fox in the final months before the Disney merger.
“Serenity” $14.3 million ($25 million budget) — Both critics and audiences panned this thriller starring Anne Hathaway as a woman and her boat captain ex-husband (Matthew McConaughey), whom she offers to pay $10 million to murder her abusive new husband. “Serenity” didn’t even gross that amount in North America with just $8.5 million to go with a D+ from CinemaScore polls.
“Miss Bala” $15 million ($15 million budget) — In 2011, “Miss Bala” became a hit at Cannes and was Mexico’s selection for the Foreign Language Oscar. But this remake starring Gina Rodriguez was far less fortunate, barely making back its production budget.
“Captive State” $8.7 million ($25 million budget) — It’s an interesting concept: a sci-fi allegory for U.S. imperialism, as an alien race conquers Earth and turns it into a vassal state. But between middling reviews and the pop culture dominance of “Captain Marvel,” “Captive State” never went anywhere.
“The Beach Bum” $4.4 million ($5 million budget) — Another swing and a miss for Matthew McConaughey, though he did get praise from critics for this Harmony Korine stoner comedy that also stars Snoop Dogg, Zac Efron, Jonah Hill, of all people, and Jimmy Buffett.
“Hellboy” $44.6 million ($50 million budget) — And now we get to the summer blockbuster bombs, starting with Lionsgate’s failed attempt to revive “Hellboy” with David Harbour instead of Ron Perlman and loads of gore instead of Guillermo del Toro’s guiding hand. The result was one of the most panned films of the year that quickly met its box office demise once “Avengers: Endgame” hit theaters two weeks after its release.
“Men in Black: International” $253 million ($110 million budget) — Sony may have taken a bit of a loss on this “MIB” spinoff, but any write-downs were quickly erased by the success of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” later in the summer. But this was a bust because it was a failed attempt to turn “MIB” into another “Jurassic World,” replacing original cast members with hot new talent. While Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson were lauded for a good attempt, critics and audiences agreed that there’s no replacing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
“Dark Phoenix” $252 million ($200 million budget) — 19 years of “X-Men” films at Fox ended with the biggest thud possible, as Simon Kinberg’s panned take on Jean Grey’s villainous turn became the most high-profile bomb of the summer. Simon Kinberg blamed himself for the bomb, which was identified as the main reason why Fox reported a $170 million operational loss in its first financial quarter under Disney ownership.
“The Kitchen” $15 million ($38 million budget) — Warner Bros. is enjoying a great autumn thanks to “Joker” and “It: Chapter Two,” but the end of summer was a rough period for them with two big bombs. The studio took a risk on Andrea Berloff’s adaptation of “The Kitchen,” a Vertigo graphic novel about mob wives who take over their dead husbands’ business. But despite starring Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss and Tiffany Haddish, critics panned the film’s script and audiences swiftly ignored it.
“The Goldfinch” $9.6 million ($45 million budget) — Then, a month later, WB had another bust with an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-winning novel “The Goldfinch.” But critics at the film’s Toronto premiere weren’t impressed and, like “The Kitchen,” audiences took one look at reviews and moved on.
“Zeroville” $68,000 (Budget unknown) — Over the past several years, James Franco has spent much of his time working on very obscure films that barely see any theatrical release. His latest, an adaptation of Steve Erickson’s “Zeroville,” became the biggest bomb of his career with just $8,900 grossed on its opening weekend. You read that right.
“Terminator: Dark Fate” $102 million and counting ($185 million budget) — After three maligned sequels, the “Terminator” franchise was expected to get a boost from the return of original star Linda Hamilton and creator James Cameron as producer. But despite better reviews, “Dark Fate” barely did better than its predecessor, “Terminator: Genisys,” as casual audiences have lost interest in the series while hardcore fans were put off by the shocking fate of the once destined savior of humanity, John Connor.