You can’t be an actor without being in at least one bad movie. It’s pretty much impossible, statistically speaking. While art is subjective, there are just some films that would be better left in the writing room. Even the Queen of Hollywood Meryl Streep has starred in a few duds – The Giver and Lions for Lambs to name a couple.
Flops are unavoidable in Hollywood and big part of being an A-list star is being able to take the hits and keep on coming. Great examples of this are Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder, who were superstars in the ’80s, but sabotaged their own careers, and then found A-list redemption in recent years.
Unfortunately, not all stars are able to bounce back. The entertainment industry is all about risk taking, but what happens when those risks don’t pay off? More times than not, actors get the brunt of the blame for a bad film, even when it’s totally out of their hands.
The following actors either stopped acting completely or never quite got their stardom back after these terrible movies ended their careers.
Here are 15 Movies That Ended Actors’ Careers.
15. Freddie Prinze Jr. – Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
There was a time in Hollywood when even a bad movie couldn’t stop Freddie Prinze Jr. from maintaining his star power. Films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and She’s All That weren’t exactly masterpieces, but they still made Prinze a popular ’90s heartthrob.
In 2002, Prinze strayed from his usual teen drama or romantic comedy and starred as Fred in the Scooby Doo franchise. A chance to star in a huge blockbuster has its perks – a big paycheck, for one – but the aftermath may not have been worth it.
By the time Warner Bros. made Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, it was clear that Prinze’s star power wasn’t enough to make these movies a success. Both films scored in the low 30s on Rotten Tomatoes, and overall underwhelmed audiences. Since Monsters Unleashed, Prinze has done a few movies and some work on TV, but nothing to top his earlier years.
14. Madonna – Swept Away
Madonna is clearly not lacking in the success department. She owes her star power to her prolific music career, but at one point Madonna tried her hand at acting as well. Let’s just say, it turned out to be one of those “stick to what you’re good at” learning experiences.
The film Swept Away, directed by Madonna’s then-husband Guy Ritchie, flopped so badly it barely totalled $1 million at domestic and worldwide box offices.
Though Ritchie took a lot of criticism as a director, Madonna got the worst of it.
That year Madonna won a Razzie for Worst Actress for Swept Away, as well as a Worst Supporting Actress Razzie for Die Another Day. It’s safe to say that 2002 is the year that solidified Madonna solely as a musician, and not a movie star.
13. Mike Myers – The Love Guru
Mike Myers used to be an untouchable name in comedy. He was the star of both Wayne’s World and the Austin Powers franchise, so when his first major flop Cat in the Hat came along, most were willing to forgive him. It was chalked up to a bad attempt at banking on the success of Jim Carey’s Grinch, and we all moved on.
What audiences weren’t willing to forgive was the abominable “comedy” The Love Guru. It was universally hated and flopped big time. Myers couldn’t even push off the blame, seeing as how he both wrote and starred in the film.
If Myers hadn’t already filmed his scene in Inglorious Basterds by then, Tarantino may have rethought his casting choice. The Shrek movies were the last big thing Myers had going for him, and it isn’t clear if he’ll make a comeback anytime soon.
12. Taylor Lautner – Abduction
Once considered the “next big thing”, Taylor Lautner has quickly become another victim of “too much, too soon.” Lautner got his big break in a huge way – by playing the role of Jacob in the Twilight saga. Because of this role, and the immense fanbase of Team Jacob, Lautner had all the right ingredients to be a star.
While Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have both gone on to become respected actors, Lautner just couldn’t make the leap to lead a film successfully. Abduction was Lautner’s first try at banking on his Twilight fame, and the movie was a complete bomb. Lionsgate tried to market Lautner as the hot new action hero, but instead they solidified him as a one-hit wonder.
11. Demi Moore – Striptease
At least Demi Moore can say that she was paid $12.5 million for her big screen downfall. At the time, $12.5 million broke the record for a single actress’s payday for one film.
There was a time when you couldn’t turn around without seeing Demi Moore in a hugely successful film – Ghost (1990), A Few Good Men (1992), and Indecent Proposal (1993) to name a few. When Striptease came out in 1996, that all changed.
Striptease won 6 Razzie awards, including Worst Actress for Moore, proving the $12.5 million payday to be a mistake. With the underwhelming G.I. Jane coming out one year later, it was officially clear that Moore’s star status had shifted. While her personal life stayed a hot topic in the media, her acting career took a huge hit.
10. Jake Lloyd – Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
When Jake Lloyd signed on to play Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, he had no way of knowing it was both the beginning and end of his career as an actor. For one, he was a child, and it’s well-known how hard it can be to live up to fanboy hype. The Phantom Menace not only disappointed, but also got serious backlash from both fans and critics.
While Lloyd really had nothing to do with the quality of the film or his character, he still got the short end of the stick. He has said that the severe bullying he endured at school was a major reason why he decided to quit acting altogether.
Unfortunately, this child actor’s career pretty much ended before it began.
9. Sean Connery – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
It’s no exaggeration to say that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ended Sean Connery’s career for good. While most actors still find some work after their biggest flops, Connery wasn’t even looking for any.
Had Connery wanted to continue making films, there are plenty of people who would have worked with him. The only problem is, Connery was so fed up with the industry after The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen flopped, he announced his retirement and hasn’t been in a single film since. The film not only encouraged Connery’s retirement; it virtually ended the career of Stephen Norrington – to this day, it’s the last film he has ever directed.
8. Elizabeth Berkley – Show Girls
Many people remember Elizabeth Berkley for her role as Jessie on Saved By the Bell – and that’s probably the way she prefers to be remembered. But many of us also remember the cult classic Showgirls, in which Berkley played Nomi Malone. Malone moves to Vegas to become a showgirl, but starts at a strip club to work her way up.
The film was not a success. Many compared it to a B-list film verging on adult cinema, as well as calling out the film’s misogyny. Showgirls wanted so badly to be a brilliant commentary on the Vegas entertainment industry, but it missed the mark in almost every way. It even got nominated for 13 Razzies.
7. Gene Hackman – Welcome to Mooseport
When a well-respected actor abruptly ends their career, people tend to wonder why. This is exactly what happened with Gene Hackman back in 2004 with Welcome to Mooseport.
It would be better to remember Hackman’s last big role as the patriarch in The Royal Tenenbaums, but sadly his last starring role was definitely more underwhelming. Playing the President of the United States in a bland comedy that got horrible reviews, Hackman definitely didn’t end his career on a high note. In fact, he didn’t even show up for the premier of Welcome to Mooseport or do any press for the film.
6. Geena Davis – Cutthroat Island
Starring in one of the biggest box office flops in history is not easy to recover from – just ask Geena Davis. After starring in Cutthroat Island, Davis’ career took a drastic turn for the worse. In the film, Davis unconvincingly plays a pirate who sets out to find treasure, which is ironic considering how much money the movie lost.
With a budget of $98 million, Cutthroat Island only made back about $10 million. Unfortunately the highly respected Davis couldn’t even save this film, and it may be the reason Hollywood has been hesitant to cast her in many leading roles since.
She had a pretty successful run on the show Commander in Chief, and as a surgeon with a brain tumor on Grey’s Anatomy. While Davis is still a respected actress, her big screen presence has all but vanished.
5. Tom Green – Freddy Got Fingered
It might be hard to remember a time that Tom Green was considered a big thing, but in the early 2000s, he was on everyone’s radar. MTV picked up The Tom Green Show in 1999 and Green’s gross and shocking comedy garnered him a huge following.
As with most things in Hollywood – if it works once, they try to make it work again. Green was given the go-ahead to write and star in his own movie. The hopes were that Green’s fanbase would follow him to the big screen, and his current success would grow even more.
Freddy Got Fingered not only failed to turn a profit, but was a critical flop. Nobody was expecting an Osca- worthy film, but even fans agreed that whatever appeal Green had on TV didn’t translate. Ironically, Freddy Got Fingered has turned into a cult classic, but Green himself never recovered.
4. Hayden Christensen – Jumper
It can be argued that Star Wars Epsiode I and Episode II were the real rise and fall of Hayden Christensen, but despite his lackluster performance, the movies still made a lot of money. Apparently this was enough for Hollywood to try its hand at making Christensen a big action star.
His lead role in the film Jumper was supposed to be the start of a series.
Unfortunately audiences could barely be bothered to get through the first film, so the possibility of sequels was quickly given up. Hollywood was clearly testing how bankable Christensen was on his own, and with the help of a poorly written movie, he didn’t live up to expectations.
3. Jessica Alba – The Mechanic: Resurrection
Let’s get right to the point: Jessica Alba has been in a lot of flops. When it comes to acting, Alba has never quite been able to hit the mark.
It may be too early to say, but it seems as though The Mechanic: Resurrection has marked the end of Alba’s acting career. The film was an attempt to literally “resurrect” the previously successful Jason Statham-driven action flick, with Alba as his leading lady. The film didn’t do well, and Alba’s performance was especially bland.
There’s something about Alba that has never quite stuck with audiences. It may be her acting skills, or it may be Hollywood’s incessant need to cast her as the damsel in distress with little to no character depth. Alba’s acting career may be past saving, as she has no planned projects as of now. At least she has a multi-billion dollar business The Honesty Company to fall back on.
2. Warren Beatty – Town & Country
Sitting at a sad 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, Town & Country is definitely one of Warren Beatty’s biggest acting regrets. The signs were there all along that this film would be a huge flop, but unfortunately that didn’t stop anyone from making it.
Town & Country went through a ridiculous amount of re-writes and re-shoots, causing the production budget to nearly double before the film’s release. It looks like that $90 million budget went to waste, and the film only made back $6.7 million.
For 16 years after Town & Country, Beatty hasn’t appeared in any feature films except for one, Rules Don’t Apply, which he wrote and also starred in. The film came nowhere near making its budget back, and was sadly another flop. After last years’ Oscars debacle, Beatty may just give up on Hollywood for good.
1. Jennifer Love Hewitt – Jewtopia
Jennifer Love Hewitt is yet another star who has gained fame despite never having been in a critically well-ceived film. It was easier for her to get away with it at her prime. I Know What You Did Last Summer and Heartbreakers were no Oscar winners, but they helped Hewitt stay in the spotlight and get multiple movie offers.
In 2013, things really went downhill when Jewtopia was released.
Most people didn’t see it, which is probably for the best.
Originally an off-Broadway play, Jewtopia had potential, but instead it flopped miserably.
After this flop, Hewitt’s big screen pull seemed to fade completely. Without the campy teen dramas, she just couldn’t shine. Hewitt has had roles on TV since, but she will likely never live back up to her stardom in the ’90s.
Can you think of another bad film that ended an actors’ career? Let us know in the comments!
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