Special Report

Biggest Box Office Bombs of the Last 10 Years

While films like “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, and sometimes even top $1 billion in international ticket sales, many movies barely break even – and some are real box office bombs, failing even to recoup their production costs. (See this list of the highest-grossing movie every year since 1975.)

To determine the biggest box office bombs of the last 10 years, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on ticket sales and production budgets from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. Movies released between 2012 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in February of 2020 were ranked based on net box office loss – the difference between production budget and worldwide ticket sales. Only movies that received wide theatrical distribution were considered. User ratings and cast data come from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon.

A movie can fail to win audience support for a variety of reasons: a poorly written script, directionless direction, miscast characters, unappealing subject matter, mistimed release….

Box office bombs aren’t always bad films, though. Some are well-received by critics. Six films on our list have Rotten Tomatoes Freshness scores of 83% or higher. But the public’s opinion is not always in sync with that of professional reviewers. On our list, there are wide gulfs of opinion between Rotten Tomatoes critics and audience members on movies such as “The Promise,” “The Goldfinch,” and “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.” (Here’s a look at the worst movies that made the most money.)

Click here to see the biggest box office bombs of the last 10 years

Some years have had more bombs than others. Our list includes 10 box office misfires from 2016 – including three of the movies that lost the most.

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