Steven Spielberg’s 1990s Cult Classic Is the Worst Reviewed Movie He Directed

Steven Spielberg tends to have the Midas touch. Between the movies he directs and produces, the filmmaker has a keen instinct when it comes to making hit movies. In addition to movies like Jaws and Jurassic Park, Spielberg has produced classics such as Back to the Future and Men in Black. Of course, that doesn’t mean every movie works. But even his worst-reviewed film has managed to attract a cult following since its release.

Steven Spielberg smiles in sunglasses and Dustin Hoffman in costume on the set of ‘Hook’
Steven Spielberg and Dustin Hoffman | Murray Close/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

How many films has Steven Spielberg directed?

From his very first movie back in the 1960s — a $500 amateur production called Firelight — onward, Spielberg has directed more than 30 films. Of course, his career really exploded with 1975’s Jaws. The movie was the highest-grossing film of all time for a couple of years there until Star Wars. And it shaped Spielberg’s future as a filmmaker as well as cinema in general.

Subsequently, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial cemented his status among A-list directors. And The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan proved he could do a whole lot more than adventure and sci-fi movies. Somewhere along the way, an icon was born. And Spielberg has been around ever since.

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His worst-reviewed movie came out in the 1990s

Among his filmography, Jurassic Park stands as the biggest hit he directed. It also stands as one of his most critically acclaimed movies. And ironically, it served as Spielberg’s follow-up to the worst-reviewed movie of his career: 1991’s Hook. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the Peter Pan update has only 29 percent positive reviews, despite the presence of A-list stars such as Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Julia Roberts.

Hook might be the lowest-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes that Spielberg has directed. But it’s far from the worst-received one he’s been involved with. At the absolute bottom is 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight, topped barely by its predecessor Transformers: Age of Extinction and 2019’s critically derided Cats. Spielberg served as an executive producer on all three movies.

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‘Hook’ still has a loyal cult following even to this day

The combination of Peter Pan, Williams, and Spielberg likely felt like a can’t-miss formula for success at the time. However, Hook went on to become only a moderate box office success. Against a $70 million production budget, the film earned $120 domestically, according to Box Office Mojo. Yet, its legacy has endured.

To a certain subset of 1990s kids, Hook has remained a classic. Hoffman’s over-the-top performance and Williams’ childlike enthusiasm — at least in the film’s latter half — have kept fans coming back. Looking back, perhaps Hook was ahead of its time, reimagining classic heroes and villains long before Disney made Cruella.