Movies are a big investment. Studios spend millions of dollars making them, then millions more marketing them. But once they’re in the theatres, it is up to the audience to decide whether they want to see it. If we hear that a movie is awful from friends, family, or film critics, we’re less likely to give it a shot.
If a movie is badly received, it’s likely that they will be shown in less locations. If they do well, they might even get distributed to more. But in some cases, the movies are so badly received that the studio has no choice than to remove the movie from theatres entirely.
1. Mortdecai (2015)
Johnny Depp is one of those actors that can sell a movie based on his name alone. Or at least, that’s what we thought. Surprisingly, Depp’s appearance as the “unscrupulous art dealer and swindler” Lord Charlie Mortdecai only rose as high as 12 per cent on movie score aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, while it was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards that year. After its third weekend, Lionsgate pulled it from 2400 theatres, a stunning 90 per cent drop – the 3rd biggest in history.
2. Swept Away (2009)
Regardless of her successes as the Queen of Pop, Madonna hasn’t had the best of luck in at the movies. This romantic comedy was written and directed by Guy Ritchie, who was her husband at the time. It ended up being a catastrophe for both. Initially released to only 196 screens, after two weeks it was reduced to only 59, and barely made 10 per cent of its budget back.
3. Max Steel (2016)
Superhero franchises are all the rage right now, so the toy manufacturer Mattel was keen to join in on the fun last year. The line of action figures has had its own TV series and 9 direct-to-video animated films, so the next step was to make a live-action origin story for Max. Unfortunately, it was as low as zero per cent on Rotten Tomatoes and made $3 million less than its lowest expectations, and was pulled from theatres after only three weeks.
4. Jem and the Holograms (2015)
This musical fantasy is a live action adaptation of something kids of the 80s will be fond of – the animated series Jem. That fondness didn’t extend to the movie however, as it ended up with the worst wide release box office opening of 2015. Universal pulled the film from its release 2 weeks after it opened, and never even made it to Australia, where it ended up a direct-to-DVD release.
5. Seeking Justice (2011)
Nicolas Cage had to be on this list, didn’t he? Despite being nominated for two Oscars (and winning one), Cage has a habit of appearing in disposable action movies every year. Cage earned himself a nomination for Worst Actor at the Razzie Awards for this one, while the movie itself barely got halfway to earning its budget back. Over three weeks, the film was dropped from 200 theatres to a staggeringly low eight.
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