There are plenty of ways to measure the success of a movie. Studios often base this on the film's box office performance because the dollar bill is their bottom line. However, some of those smash hits turn out to be pretty terrible movies. On the flip side, a lot of financial flops are phenomenal films.
Those are the ones we're here to talk about. Using Rotten Tomatoes as a way to judge these films, since it combines reviews from critics all over the world. These are 10 movies that were lauded by those critics but ended up flopping at the box office.
10 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The fact that Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping was a box office failure is rather surprising. The 2016 comedy was led by the fantastic and talented musical trio known as the Lonely Island. Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer are a beloved group who always bring the laughs. Throw in a supporting cast including Maya Rudolph, Emma Stone, and Bill Hader and you've got something special.
This film is a mockumentary centering around a musical prodigy and the ups and downs of Conner's (Andy Samberg) career. Audiences missed out, as the film brought in just $9 million on a $20 million budget. But it currently holds a solid 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for consistently nailing the funny.
In 1995, Sylvester Stallone had a mild hit with Judge Dredd. Still, nobody seemed to be clamoring for a remake. And yet one was released in 2012. Dredd, played this time by Karl Urban, had half the budget of the 1995 version at $45 million and still could only bring in $41.5 million.
But anyone who saw the movie understands how great it is. Many call it one of the most underrated action films of the decade thanks to featuring a ton of violence and some sweet special effects. The 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes isn't sparkling, but it shows that this was a quality movie that deserved more views.
8 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Comic book movies are all the rage these days. So it's shame that 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World did so poorly at the box office, raking in just $47.7 million on a $90 million budget. Many viewers have called it the most faithful comic book adaption in movie history.
This is a movie that makes you feel like you're right in the pages of the comic. It is funny, has eye-popping visuals, and features a cast filled with outstanding talent. We're talking Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Chris Evans, and more. Those are all key factors in why the film scored an 81% rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics and an 83% score from fans. It's also an ideal date night movie for comic book fans.
As the 2010s began, the world of mixed martial arts grew immensely in popularity. It is currently one of the most watched sports around the globe. In 2011, a film focusing on it was released called Warrior. The film is about two brothers with totally different lives who both enter an MMA tournament.
Warrior boasts a strong cast led featuring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison, Nick Nolte, and Frank Grillo. The story is full of emotion and the fight scenes look great. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes have the film at 83% while audiences rate it with a 92% score. Yet in theaters, it grossed just $23.1 million on a $25 million budget.
For the people who saw Thoroughbreds, it often ranked among their picks for the best films of 2018. The film is notable for being the final performance of the late Anton Yelchin. However, it also has fantastic work from its leads, Anya-Taylor Joy and Olivia Cooke.
Thoroughbreds focuses on two girls with vastly different personalities and emotional states who plot to kill one of their stepfathers. The lauded movie holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sadly, this dark comedy only pulled in a paltry $3 million on its minuscule $5 million budget.
5 Blade Runner 2049
Instead of going the remake route for 2017's Blade Runner 2049, the filmmakers opted to have it be a sequel. That worked in many ways but disappointed in others. One of those lackluster aspects was the box office take, which was a lower-than-expected $260.5 million on a $185 million budget.
Director Denis Villeneuve continued his trend of making fantastic movies. Ryan Gosling was stellar as the lead with a supporting cast who was up to the task. Blade Runner 2049 is one of the most visually breathtaking and beautiful movies of all time, which was clear by its Oscar wins for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. It currently holds an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Alex Garland has quickly become one of the most innovative and impressive directors in all of Hollywood. After his Academy Award-nominated Ex Machina, he returned in 2018 with Annihilation. It is a trippy film about scientists who explore a mysterious quarantined zone.
With an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Annihilation was heavily praised for its visual style and the ambitious themes within the plot. Audiences were a bit more down on it with a 66% rating. That might have a little something to do with the film grossing just $43.1 million on a reported $55 million budget.
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox
This is another case of a director with a vast amount of talent and a unique style. Wes Anderson has crafted some of the most interesting movies of his era. 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox is right up that alley. Everyone loved it, thanks to an 85% Rotten Tomatoes rating from fans and 92% from critics.
But the film struggled in theaters, as it barely surpassed the $40 million budget by bringing in $46.5 million. This stop-motion film is about a fox who steals food from farmers and must deal with their attempts to kill him. It nails Anderson's brand of comedy and is led by a noteworthy voice cast including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Bill Murray.
2 The Nice Guys
Buddy action movies usually do very well at the box office. Think about the Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour franchises. So you would think that one starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe would do a lot better than just $62.8 million on a $50 million budget.
That's especially true when you consider that acclaimed director Shane Black was at the helm. 2016's The Nice Guys sees a tough enforcer team with a private eye in the 1970s as they search for a missing girl. Critics loved this film, as evidenced by its 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
1 The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant has gone on to become a cult classic that is beloved by almost everyone. But when it first hit theaters in 1999, it was a swing and a miss financially. Directed by Brad Bird, who would go on to helm The Incredibles, this film brought in a low $31.3 million against its budget of $50 million.
It's a tale about a young boy who befriends a giant robot who fell from space during the Cold War. The heartwarming film has gone on to get mentions in popular movies like Ready Player One. It's easy to see why, as it holds a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 90% from the audience.