The year 2017 is now officially behind us, and that means award season is now finally in full gear. It’s that special time when award shows like the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards celebrate the most exciting performances of last year.
However, while awards buzz can propel actors into superstardom, history is also littered with celebrities that have done the exact opposite by running their reputations completely into the ground.
Picking the right project in Hollywood can either make or break your career, and the next fifteen names on this list chose poorly– very poorly.
Box office bombs are like overnight resume killers. One day you’re considered the next big blockbuster star; the next day your entire career has been flushed down the cinematic toilet due to a steaming mound of terrible movie.
The following entries on this list are made up of actors and actresses that have fallen off the face of the Earth along with the movies that pushed them over.
Granted, every actor has had at least one dud in their filmography, but these movies were so rotten, considered such box office poison, that they’ve knocked A-list actors all the way down to the C-list.
Here are the 15 Actors Who Completely Disappeared After Their Movies Bombed.
15. Taylor Kitsch – John Carter/Battleship
Taylor Kitsch was once tapped to be the next blockbuster megastar. After getting his start in the business in goofball comedies (John Tucker Must Die), this former Canadian model moved up in the ranks by taking a series of high-profile roles in blockbuster behemoths.
Unfortunately, it was this series of epic duds that ultimately sank Kitsch’s career. It started when the actor made the unwise decision to star alongside Hugh Jackman in the ill-fated X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and then followed up on the disaster with two disastrous box-office bombs: John Carter and Battleship.
With Oliver Stone’s crime/drama misfire, Savages, the death blow had been dealt to Kitsch’s résumé. With so many tentpole disasters on his hands, Kitsch has wisely stayed clear of blockbusters, focusing his attention mostly on TV projects instead.
14. Lindsay Lohan – I Know Who Killed Me
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Lindsay Lohan’s career went screeching off the rails. Partying fiascos and showing up late to movie sets were crucial mistakes, but a starring role in the poorly received psychological thriller I Know Who Killed Me certainly didn’t do her any favors, either.
Before collapsing on herself like a dying star, Lohan had quite the budding career, starring in hit comedies like Freaky Friday and Mean Girls.
Fast forward a few years, however, and the once promising actress had entered a downward spiral with one public meltdown after another. It all culminated in I Know Who Killed Me, a movie savagely torn apart by critics while earning a record for most Razzie nominations.
13. Mike Myers – The Love Guru
Mike Myers was at the height of his powers in the early 2000’s. He had achieved major mainstream success with his raunchy Austin Powers series, as well as the family-friendly Shrek franchise.
It seemed like the Canadian comedian was on a never-ending hot streak. Then 2008’s The Love Guru came along and proved no one is immune to a massive commercial bomb.
Co-written by Myers himself, The Love Guru was immediately slammed by critics and audiences for being unfunny, mindless, and even racially intolerant. Just like that, Myers’s star power went down the drain right with The Love Guru’s abysmal box office returns.
Today, the SNL alum has mostly stayed away from the limelight. However, every few years there are rumblings of an Austin Powers 4 in the works. Let’s hope he puts more attention into that project than he did this disaster.
12. Geena Davis – Cutthroat Island
It’s always heartbreaking to see a star as talented as Geena Davis completely ruined by one lousy box-office catastrophe. Sadly, that was exactly the case when the actress made the unfortunate decision to star in Cutthroat Island, a movie that became one of the biggest financial losses in Hollywood history.
Before the swashbuckling disaster, Davis was considered one of the most bankable stars in the business, with an impressive list of hits under her belt like Beetlejuice, The Fly, and Thelma & Louise.
However, Cutthroat Island (directed by then husband Renny Harlin) was panned so harshly by critics and such a dud with audiences that her career was never able to fully recover.
11. Elizabeth Berkley – Showgirls
Poor Elizabeth Berkley. Unlike the majority of the careers on this list, Berkley’s was ruined before it ever got started. Before getting her chance to act in movies, the actress became a household name with her role on the hit teen comedy series Saved by the Bell.
That success was enough to catch director Paul Verhoeven’s attention, who cast Berkley in the starring role in his new scathing satire, Showgirls. Unfortunately, the romp didn’t click with audiences and even less with critics, who skewered the film for its lewd content and excessive self-indulgence.
It was inevitable that Showgirls became a box-office nightmare, effectively crushing Berkley’s dreams of becoming a bona fide movie star. Her career has limped on ever since, with Berkley popping up in bit roles in various indie flicks and modern sitcoms.
10. Chris Kattan – Corky Romano
Just because Jim Belushi, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, and Bill Murray became cinematic icons, doesn’t mean that every SNL alum is cut out for the big screen. Take Chris Kattan for example, who left television audiences laughing their butts off, but had movie audiences running for the exit with Corky Romano.
Released in 2001, Corky Romano was Kattan’s first star vehicle after his successful role in A Night at the Roxbury, but instead of it catapulting his film career, the movie completely deflated it. Sporadic, boring, and just plain unfunny, audiences didn’t warm up to the Mafioso goofball caper, and Kattan was left emptyhanded as a result.
9. Tom Green – Freddy Got Fingered
Notorious for his absurd brand of humor, Tom Green was already quite the divisive figure when he transitioned from MTV personality to a career on the big screen.
What should have been an outright disaster proved to be a moderate success, as Green found work in supporting roles in comedies like Road Trip and Charlie’s Angels.
However, in 2001 the comedian finally got his chance to headline his own project with Freddy Got Fingered. Directed and also written by Green, the comedy struggled to find an audience to embrace its juvenile humor and barely made its production budget back of just $14 million.
While Freddy Got Fingered occasionally gets some cult-status love today, it’s widely regarded as one of the worst movies of all time by film critics, effectively ending Tom Green’s short reign of gross-out comedy king.
8. Robert Benigni – Pinocchio
In 1999, Robert Benigni won the Oscar for Best Actor for Life is Beautiful, a moving tale about a resourceful Jewish father trying to protect his son from the horrors surrounding the holocaust. The film charmed all of Hollywood, but unfortunately the response wasn’t as receptive when Benigni decided to remake Pinocchio just a few years later.
Loud, obtuse, and full of awkward slapstick humor, Pinocchio fell flat on its face when released to audiences in 2002. Moviegoers and critics alike were left with a bade taste in their mouths from Benigni’s passion project, causing the movie, which was the most expensive production in Italian film history at that point, to completely bomb as a result.
7. Chris O’Donnell – Batman & Robin
Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin was not just responsible for killing the Batman franchise for the better part of a decade, but also for squashing the careers of its actors. One of those careers belonged to Chris O’Donnell, who was never able to bounce back after the role of Robin.
Before the Schumacher’s neon-drenched nightmare, O’Donnell was acting alongside stars like Al Pacino and Kathy Bates in critically acclaimed hits like Scent of a Woman and Fried Green Tomatoes.
However, it was Batman & Robin’s awful reception that tarnished O’Donnell’s reputation so badly that he was never again able to headline a major studio film again.
6. Jamie Kennedy – Son of the Mask
There’s a reason why 1994’s The Mask was a hit with audiences, and that reason was the comedic brilliance of Jim Carrey. Doing a sequel to The Mask without Carrey is like doing a sequel to The Pink Panther without Peter Sellers– it just doesn’t work.
Of course it didn’t work when Son of the Mask hit theaters in 2005 and became a legendary piece of box-office kryptonite. The filmmakers decided to put actor Jamie Kennedy into the empty slot left by Carrey and the results from the laugh-less comedy, which barely made back half of its budget, speak for themselves.
Coming off of the equally terrible Malibu’s Most Wanted, Kennedy’s comedy career was given a one-two punch that K.O.’d his chances of stardom. Nowadays, the actor takes any work he can find, including the latest straight-to-video Tremors sequel.
5. Taylor Lautner – Tracers
Remember when Twilight was a thing? Of course you do; everybody does. The young-adult vampire stories were a full-blown cultural phenomenon despite some sappy teen drama, ghastly dialog, and wooden acting, all of which are pretty laughable in hindsight.
However, while Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson managed to build successful, critically-acclaimed careers in the wake of Twilight, the same cannot be said about Taylor Lautner. Lautner, who played the hunky werewolf Jacob, didn’t find the post Twilight life as fruitful.
He was given a handful of vehicle projects to star in, but none of them paid off, and the straw that broke the camel’s back was the 2015 bomb Tracers.
4. Dana Carvey – The Master of Disguise
As we’ve already discussed with Chris Kattan, not every Saturday Night Live star is destined for a profitable career on the silver screen. Sure, Dana Carvey started out well enough with the success of Wayne’s World, but that was mostly because he and Mike Myers were replicating a popular bit they had already built on SNL.
When it came time to headline his own original solo project, Carvey didn’t have the same successful results. The Master of Disguise, a kooky comedy about an inept costume curator, was one of the biggest bombs of 2002.
Though Carvey is undoubtedly a talented comedian, most of the blame can be put on his shoulders for writing such an incompetent and utterly laugh-less script.
3. Emile Hirsch – Speed Racer
Emile Hirsch looked to be the next big Hollywood actor back in the 2000s. After becoming a bankable star with The Girl Next Door, Hirsch took on more serious roles with Sean Penn’s critically-acclaimed Into the Wild, as well as the Oscar-nominated biopic Milk.
However, it all came crashing down in 2008 when Hirsch made possibly the worst decision of his career: a starring role in the Wachowski Sibling’s Speed Racer. The candy-colored CGI fest was slammed by critics and fell flat with audiences, becoming a bona fide box office bomb as a result.
If you ask moviegoers today, Speed Racer doesn’t get as bad a rap as it did ten years ago. Still, the damage had been done to Hirsch’s career, who still manages to find work, but not nearly on the level from a decade ago.
2. Brendan Fraser – The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Starting in the early ‘90s, Brendan Fraser found mainstream success in screwball comedies such as Encino Man, Airheads, and George of the Jungle. Things changed in 1999 when Fraser scored the lead in The Mummy, a swashbuckling reboot of the classic Universal monster flick which launched him into superstardom.
It’s ironic then that the third entry in that franchise, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, was the one that killed his career. With an incoherent plot and a tired rehash of previous ingredients, Dragon Emperor was the nail in The Mummy franchise’s coffin, despite turning a little profit.
It was the beginning of the end for Fraser, who made a series of bad choices (HairBrained, Pawn Shop Chronicles) following Dragon Emperor. Perhaps one day his career will be resurrected after years of dormancy, much like the antagonist of the movies that made him so famous.
1. Brandon Routh – Superman Returns
Audiences lined up around the block in 2006 when Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns hit theaters. It had been nearly two decades since moviegoers had seen the Man of Steel on the big screen, and actor Brandon Routh looked like the perfect candidate to carry on Christopher Reeve’s iconic legacy.
Sadly, even though the critics admired Singer’s superhero sequel, the film received backlash from fans who complained about the movie’s lack of action. Even though Routh was commendable as Clark Kent/Superman, the audience had spoken and the damage had already been done.
Although Superman Returns didn’t bomb, it didn’t come close to the numbers Warner Bros. was hoping the film would generate. The studio scrapped any chance for Routh to return as Krypton’s lone survivor, and the actor has pretty much vanished from the big screen ever since.
Can you think of any other actors who disappeared from the screen after their movies bombed? Sound off in the comments!
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