2017 was a big year in Hollywood, but it certainly came with its share of forgettable box office flops. The past twelve months proved to be huge for superheroes and horror (those two genres alone pulled in nearly $6 billion), but 2017 is actually lagging behind last year’s total box office by roughly $1 billion. While that number isn’t quite as scary as you might think, it certainly wasn’t helped by the year’s big time underperformers — its box office bombs.
What actually constitutes a bomb in Hollywood these days is far from an exact science. Multiple factors need to be considered beyond simply comparing a film’s worldwide box office take to its budget. Marketing costs for big budget films often swell well into the triple digits, and its not like studios are taking home all of the box office proceeds, either. Studios usually only pocket about 60% of those figures, with the rest going to the theaters themselves. (Overseas, that percentage is even lower.) There are several other costs that bear consideration, but it’s safe to say that the old, unofficial rule of ‘double the budget, and everything after that is straight profit’ no longer applies.
You’ll notice that several of the year’s most notable bombs (see: Ghost in the Shell, Valerian, The Dark Tower) didn’t make the cut here. The key word there was notable; all of those films were surrounded by significant hype and/or fan curiosity. All three were major bombs that won’t soon fade from the public memory. The following five misfires, however, have likely already been forgotten by most moviegoers. In fact, there was so little hype surrounding their release, they probably never stood a chance at profitability. Here are 5 Box Office Flops From 2017 You’ve Probably Already Forgotten About.
5. Monster Trucks
Monster Trucks was actually filmed way back in 2014, and its release date was pushed back several times. (It would seem that Paramount knew it had a stinker on its hands.) The Lucas Till vehicle finally landed in theaters in January of 2017, and to the shock of absolutely no one, it came and went without making much noise. It ultimately earned just under $65 million worldwide amidst poor reviews.
While that total doesn’t sound too terrible, its $125 million price tag — seriously, who gave the go-ahead on that?? — renders Monster Trucks one of the year’s priciest misfires.
While many scoffed at the idea of a vulgar, violent, and R-rated reboot of a largely-forgotten ’80s cop show, it wasn’t actually a terrible idea to give CHiPS a go on the big screen. After all, box office darling 21 Jump Street had employed that exact formula just a few years prior. And with a meager $25 million budget, it was a relatively low-risk gamble for Warner Bros.
Alas, CHiPS couldn’t quite recapture the magic. Writer/director/star Dax Shephard’s film did just manage to outgross its budget, but once you consider advertising costs, the profit cut for theater chains, and other factors, WB likely lost a tidy sum on this one. At least it’s about as forgettable as buddy cop flicks get, right?
3. The Mummy
Hey, remember when Universal announced plans for a shared monster movie universe, and the world responded with an emphatic “meh”? The Mummy was in place to kick off that universe, though things didn’t quite go according to plan.
Again, it may seem like this Tom Cruise actioner made a tidy little bundle, given that it grossed $409 million. But it’s important to keep in mind that studios see far less profit from foreign grosses than domestic. (Chinese theaters, for instance, usually only return about 25% of their earnings back stateside.) And considering that over 80% of The Mummy‘s profits came from overseas, it’s rumored that Universal may lose around $95 million on this one when all is said and done.
Good thing no one was really all that excited about a shared monster universe to begin with. It’s almost certainly not happening at this point.
2. The Promise
Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale starred in a movie together last year? It cost $90 million dollars to produce it, but it ended up grossing just over $10 million? Someone in the marketing department thought that that photoshop of Isaac’s face wasn’t distractingly bad?
Unfortunately, the answer to all three of those questions is ‘yes’. The Promise was one of the most under-the-radar box office bombs ever, releasing last April to insanely little fanfare. The film polarized critics (it sports an exact 50% on Rotten Tomatoes), but outside of its IMDB rating controversy, it looks destined to be forgotten.
It’s no small feat being the most forgettable big-budget disaster movie ever. But that’s the precise distinction we’ve elected to bestow upon Geostorm, Gerard Butler’s utterly unremarkable box office bomb. The film’s release was delayed by over a year and a half to allow for a lengthy reshoot process and a directorial change. Neither of those adjustments seemed to help all that much, in the end.
It’s received its share of savage reviews, sure, but Geostorm isn’t even cheesy enough to enter so bad-it’s-good territory, either. It’s a decidedly poor way to spend 109 minutes, really, and that’s about it. It could lose Warner Bros. as much as $100 million, but perhaps most embarrassingly, Geostorm‘s opening weekend didn’t even cover the cost of its reshoots.
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