Worst of 2015: The 7 Biggest Box Office Flops

After a down year in 2014, Hollywood rebounded in a huge way in 2015. We saw record-breaking box office takes from Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, and Furious 7. But it hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows for all. For every rousing success, there’s been a flop to balance the karmic scales of cinema. Sometimes, we can see the disaster coming a mile away. Others come as a surprise to everyone involved, never quite catching on the way we expected.

Last year’s crop of flops is a mixed bag of over-budget nightmares, bad reboots, and poorly marketed disasters. It’s a diverse bunch to say the least, and features a slew of directors and actors that are new to the world of low box-office numbers. Sadly, not every movie can be a winner. It’s this group that pretty much defines the concept, forever acting as a reminder to the Hollywood powers-that-be: Not every idea is a good idea.

1. Jupiter Ascending

Budget: $174 million

Box Office: $183 million

Keeping in mind that the $174 million budget doesn’t include massive marketing campaigns, Lana and Andy Wachowski’s attempt (they wrote, produced, and directed) at an epic space opera lost Warner Bros. a whole lot of money. Not even a budding global market for CGI-heavy movies could save Jupiter Ascending from its scattered plot, small amount of substance, and bloated 127-minute runtime.

2. Fantastic Four

Budget: $120 million

Box Office: $166 million

It takes a special kind of superhero movie to not succeed in today’s market. Fantastic Four managed to do just that, as the comic book film that no one actually ended up seeing. The production was marred by on-set conflict with director Josh Trank, which saw him almost come to blows with lead actor Miles Teller. The controversy was bad enough for Lucasfilm to fire Trank from one of their upcoming Anthology films; it effectively could spell the end of his days directing blockbusters.

3. Aloha

Budget: $37 million

Box Office: $26 million

If all you knew about a movie was that it starred Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, and Alec Baldwin, there’s a good chance you’d buy a ticket without a second guess. That should tell you just how bad Cameron Crowe’s Aloha ended up being despite its all-star cast. Poor decision-making saw Emma Stone cast as a part-Asian character, and that was really only the tip of the iceberg for the disappointing effort from all involved.

4. Tomorrowland

Budget: $190 million

Box Office: $208 million

Don’t let the reported budget fool you, Tomorrowland lost a lot of money, to the tune of an estimated $120-140 million. Such a loss numbers itself among some of the biggest box office flops that Disney has ever experienced, so that should tell you just how spectacularly this one failed. The movie was hurt by a flimsy marketing strategy and poor execution, ultimately doomed by its bizarrely Randian philosophy and confusing story.

5. Mortdecai

Budget: $60 million

Box Office: $30 million

Mortdecai holds the dubious distinction of being the writing on the wall for this phase of Johnny Depp’s career. His years making money as an affable weirdo appear to be officially over, denoted by the colossal failure that was his early 2015 effort. It wasn’t long before he recovered some semblance of dignity with Black Mass, but Mortdecai will never be forgotten for what it was: the worst performance of Depp’s career. Apparently audiences agreed too.

6. Seventh Son

Budget: $95 million

Box Office: $110 million

Just about anyone could have told Universal that Seventh Son was going to fall flat on its face. Sorry to say, you can’t toss together a bunch of fantasy elements into a movie and hope for the best, which is exactly what this one did. Not even Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore were able to save this one, making it into a warning sign for any other studio trying to wade into fantasy waters. Unless it’s a Lord of the Rings adaptation, this genre is simply not playing well with audiences anymore.

7. Pan

Budget: $150 million

Box Office: $44 million

Pan is the most recent of these flops, and additionally it may be the worst. The Hollywood Reporter estimates that the movie will lose Warner upwards of $150 million, making this a brutal year for the studio’s biggest investments. Expansive product tie-ins weren’t enough to get people into theaters to see the Peter Pan prequel story, showing us what rock bottom looks like when it comes to reboots. Perhaps studios will see this as a cue to stop making unnecessary prequels for universally beloved properties.

All box office numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

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