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Sunday
Nov292009

The Biggest Flops of the Decade? Not Exactly

Here's the problem I have with a new list by The Hollywood Reporter covering the biggest flops of the decade. When dissecting the movies that lost the most money over the past ten years, The Reporter writes, "Any judgments of flopitude are necessarily subjective." Really? How?

In much the same way that you calculate hits based on money spent versus money earned, flops are determined by how much money they don't make. There are, without question, some enormous failures here, but others are no bigger disappointments than several disasters from the past decade, whether you're looking at percentages or gross dollars, and we'll compare those, too.

First, the Reporter list:

1 - The Adventures of Pluto Nash
$100 million/$4.4 million

2 - Battlefield Earth
$75 million/$21 million

3- Land of the Lost
$100 million/$65 million

4 - Gigli
$54 million/$6.1 million

5 - Town and Country
$90 million/$6.7 million

6 - Catwoman
$100 million/$40 million

7 - The Invasion
$80 million/$15.1 million

8 - Rollerball
$70 million/$19 million

9 - Grindhouse
$67 million/$25 million

10- The Spirit
$60 million/$19.8 million

I don't think anyone is proud of those movies, but you can tell just by looking that the ten films they have aren't even in the proper order. How is Land of the Lost a bigger flop than Town and Country or The Invasion, just looking at the raw numbers? Ah: Subjectivity. Then why even list the dollars?

Beyond that, though, is the obvious evidence that these aren't the ten biggest flops of the decade. Around the World in 80 Days cost more than Land of the Lost and made less. In fact, the numbers for the Will Ferrell bomb are almost exactly the same as K-19: The Windowmaker, so where's that? The Alamo is a bigger flop in terms of total revenue than anything but Pluto Nash, which also reminds me that there should be more Eddie Murphy here. Take your pick: Showtime, I Spy, Meet Dave, and Imagine That all lost mountains of money.

Absent as well are the following movies that all left millions of dollars on the table:

Sahara
$150 million/$121 million

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
$137 million/$85 million

Red Planet
$80 million/$33 million

A Sound of Thunder
$80 million/$6.3 million

Hart's War
$70 million/$33 million

Stealth
$138 million/$76 million

Rollerball
$70 million/$26 million

Gods and Generals
$55 million/$13 million

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
$70 million/$14 million

Son of the Mask
$100 million/$59 million

All the King's Men
$55 million/$9 million

The Last Castle
$60 million/$20 million

Femme Fatale
$35 million/$6.6 million

So don't take the Reporter list as gospel, because only about half of the ten should even be included. Well done, industry-leading trade magazine.

Reader Comments (4)

Also missing: Delgo. The movie cost $40 million to make and grossed $694,782 at the box office. Which I would have to assume would make it the most expensive film to ever make less than a a million dollars in theaters. That means the movie's cost 57.57 times greater than its gross. For comparison Pluto Nash's costs were 22.72 times its gross. Obviously Nash resulted in a larger net loss for the studio, but it does show exactly how putrid Delgo's performance really was.

Sunday, November 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterD

The list would have had more Eddie Murphy films but his publicist wanted to include movies he will be making in the future...

Sunday, November 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBoozecoma

Also in terms of Flops some factor of what it cost the producers.
"Square-Soft" made "Final Fantasy Spirits within"
It basically bankrupted the company so that "Enix" could buy it to make what is still around today "Square-Enix"

Monday, November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOrinn

Anyone notice that Rollerball is listed in both colums? AND with different totals for money earned!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXopher

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