Making an expensive Hollywood movie is kind of like steering a gigantic cargo ship through a thunderstorm. Onboard are hundreds of crew members, with each one performing a specific function. At the vessel’s main helm are a handful of leaders, including the captain (the director), who may still be beholden to the powers that be. Like any crisis, tensions run high, and opinions can clash over what the best course of action may be. With so much turbulence afoot, and with so much at stake, it can seem like a miracle when the vessel arrives at its destination intact.
Stacker is honoring the occasions in which big-budget vehicles fail to deliver the goods—ranking the biggest box office bombs of all time. Using The Numbers as a data source, rankings were compiled based on worldwide box office earnings only, and do not incorporate video or other retail sales. Also note that only the first 1,000 movies with the highest reported budgets were considered for this story, and numbers have been adjusted for inflation.
Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint where it all went wrong. Perhaps the storyline was difficult to follow or there were unexpected bumps that required a major change such as bringing in a new director or having to recast the lead. Even a top-notch director and a stellar cast aren’t always enough to prevent disaster at the box office. The biggest flop on this list had a talented and popular leading cast, but the film saw an estimated loss of $134 million.
Read on to find out which two films based on Michael Crichton novels and which three of Kevin Costner’s films landed on this list. Without further ado, here are the biggest box office bombs of all time—see if you can recall seeing any of them in theaters.
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