Special Report

25 Great Directors With the Most Box Office Bombs

Source: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

25. Jay Roach
> Pct. movies grossing less than production budget: 20.0%
> Avg. box office ROI: +$3.83 gross for every $1 of production budget
> Biggest hit: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) ($312.4 million gross on $35.0 million budget)
> Biggest flop: Mystery, Alaska (1999) ($8.9 million gross on $28.0 million budget)

Jay Roach has enjoyed film success with the three “Austin Powers” movies and the three “Fockers” films. Five of those six grossed more than $100 million each at the box office. The average return on investment for Roach’s films is $3.83 gross for every $1 of production budget, one of the higher averages on this list. “Mystery, Alaska,” a film about a motley group of hockey players from the town in the title, was not the success Roach was hoping for, grossing just $8.9 million on a budget of $28 million.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

24. Rob Cohen
> Pct. movies grossing less than production budget: 20.0%
> Avg. box office ROI: +$2.11 gross for every $1 of production budget
> Biggest hit: The Boy Next Door (2015) ($53.4 million gross on $4.0 million budget)
> Biggest flop: Stealth (2005) ($76.4 million gross on $138.0 million budget)

Rotten Tomatoes characterized Rob Cohen as one of Hollywood’s “baby moguls” of the 1970s, enjoying success with movies featuring African-American actors, including “Mahogany,” and “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings.” His film “Stealth,” about AI technology in a jet fighter gone haywire, was criticized as overly borrowing from “Top Gun” and “2001” and it failed at the box office.

Source: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

23. Peter Berg
> Pct. movies grossing less than production budget: 20.0%
> Avg. box office ROI: +$1.88 gross for every $1 of production budget
> Biggest hit: Hancock (2008) ($624.2 million gross on $150.0 million budget)
> Biggest flop: Deepwater Horizon (2016) ($122.6 million gross on $156.0 million budget)

Peter Berg’s greatest box-office achievement so far has been “Hancock,” starring Will Smith as a disheveled superhero. Berg also gained critical plaudits with the Afghanistan war story “Lone Survivor” with Mark Wahlberg, also a box-office success. Another Berg movie starring Wahlberg, “Deepwater Horizon,” about a real-life catastrophic oil-rig explosion in 2010, did not earn enough at the box office to cover its $156.0 million budget.

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

22. Sam Raimi
> Pct. movies grossing less than production budget: 25.0%
> Avg. box office ROI: +$3.44 gross for every $1 of production budget
> Biggest hit: The Evil Dead (1981) ($29.4 million gross on $375,000 budget)
> Biggest flop: The Quick and the Dead (1995) ($18.6 million gross on $32.0 million budget)

As a director, producer, and writer, Sam Raimi has made a career of scaring the wits our of audiences. Raimi made “The Evil Dead” – the start of a long-running franchise – on a budget of just $375,000, and the horror flick grossed $29.4 million at the box office. He also did well with his “Spider-Man” trilogy. Raimi’s venture into Westerns, “The Quick and the Dead,” had plenty of star power – Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe – but it failed to attract filmgoers.

Source: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

21. Steven Soderbergh
> Pct. movies grossing less than production budget: 25.0%
> Avg. box office ROI: +$3.25 gross for every $1 of production budget
> Biggest hit: Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) ($36.7 million gross on $1.2 million budget)
> Biggest flop: The Good German (2006) ($6.7 million gross on $32.0 million budget)

Steven Soderbergh’s breakthrough movie, “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” in 1989 was also his most successful cinematic effort. Other hits followed, including “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic,” the latter of which he won a Best Director Oscar. Soderbergh has had 11 movies achieve a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score of more than 90%. Soderbergh’s homage to post-war noir films, “The Good German,” however, was a box-office disappointment.

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