We're only halfway through 2018, but we've already seen a fair number of box office bombs. For some films, failing to make a dent in the market can still deliver a cult-classic, but for Hollywood’s overblown film fiascos, home media distribution may not always lead to profits. It’s not only the expanding production costs that threaten a film with the fearsome "box office bomb" moniker, but the gambler’s attitude towards promotional spending. Films can be expensive to make (often too expensive), but with an excitable marketing team spending millions to try to fill seats, the production budget and the domestic take only tell part of the story.
While some items on this list do seem target-painted from first blush, a few may come as a surprise. With a mixture of questionable quality, noble intentions, bankable franchises, and excellent source material, the following list represents 2018's biggest flops...so far.
Note that the total amount of money lost on the following film ventures combined is in the estimated range of $200 million. In other words, another Gnomeo & Juliet box office success would mostly cover everyone's losses. Also note that the production budgets listed do not factor in marketing and distribution costs, which is why even movies that surpassed their budget at the box office are considered bombs.
8. Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Box Office: $344,306,523 ($197,203,695 Domestic)
- Budget: $250 million
It's true, Star Wars films have seen better opening weekends. That doesn’t quite save Solo: A Star Wars Story from inclusion on this list — and, bear in mind, merely budget-matching does not a successful Star Wars wide release make.
With a $250 million budget — comparable to Rogue One, which hit that magic billion dollar gross at the box office — Solo’s lackluster domestic theater take is an alarming development to investors. Technically, with its total worldwide sales, the movie is currently doing better than breaking even, but Lucasfilm don't go into the business of making Star Wars movies to simply break even, they do it to break records, and Solo: A Star Wars Story currently stands as the worst-performing film in the franchise.
Critically above-average, Solo may very well see good numbers in the DVD/digital media market, but the ramifications of its opening weekends may possibly affect further Star Wars Story films to come.
7. Early Man
- Box Office: $53,431,158 ($8,267,544 domestic)
- Budget: $50 million
Speaking of breaking even, Aardman Studio’s latest offering Early Man recently reached that milestone, effectively matching its $50 million budget. The stop-motion film is the latest release from Aardman Studios, the people who brought you the Wallace & Gromit films and Chicken Run, with their usual roundup of strong voice talent pulled from the zeitgeist, like Tom Hiddleston and Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams.
With higher ratings than most any other movies on this list, the ramifications of Early Man’s stumble in theaters might be a distressing klaxon for this style of animation, where visual (and expensive) knockouts like Kubo and the Two Strings also struggle in theaters — note, though, that Kubo did manage to outperform Aardman’s film. For a dying art-form immediately distinct from the computer-animated cartoons du jour, this is hopefully not the case.