2019’s Biggest Box Office Bombs


Box office victory is a tricky thing to capture,
whether you’re a bold new idea with some heavy star power or the latest installment of a
reliable franchise. Quite a few 2019 movies with big names and
big budgets have received painfully disappointing thumbs downs from critics and audiences alike,
and no genre seems immune. Here are 2019’s biggest box office bombs. In spite of mostly positive reviews, Missing
Link missed pretty spectacularly at the box office. A yeti named Susan, voiced by Zach Galifianakis
is found in the Pacific Northwest by Sir Lionel Frost, voiced by Hugh Jackman. Susan, Frost, and Frost’s old romantic partner
Adelina Fortnight, voiced by Zoe Saldana embark on a quest to unite Susan with other yeti
in the Himalayas. While it got thumbs-ups from critics, Missing
Link didn’t just do badly, it made history. According to the website Cartoon Brew, Missing
Link had the lowest opening ever for a film released in more than 3,200 theaters with
its opening weekend take of $5.8 million. It was also the lowest grossing release for
the stop-motion animation studio Laika, whose first film, 2009’s Coraline, enjoyed a worldwide
gross of $75.3 million, compared to Missing Link’s $16.2 million. “Sir Lionel, have you ever wanted something
so bad it hurt inside? Like gas, but sadder?” Laika has taken modern animation in creatively
satisfying new directions in the past, but they may actually be the problem. Since Coraline, each successive new movie
from the studio has performed worse than its predecessor. Keeping this in mind and paying attention
to those few critics who panned Missing Link paints the picture of a studio that’s lost
its edge. Here’s hoping they can get it back together
for their next release. In a universe where dolls are tailor-made
for specific children, Uglyville is the receptacle for the ones too strange to survive the Institute
of Perfection’s standards. In UglyDolls, one of the toys dumped in Uglyville,
named Moxy, voiced by Kelly Clarkson, leads her friends to the outside world to find out
what exists beyond their town. Sounds like an okay premise, right? Anthropomorphic dolls, singing, plenty of
laughs, a good message for kids that being different isn’t bad. It’s what makes you unique! What could go wrong? According to the critics, very little went
right. UglyDolls may say it’s about celebrating difference,
but critics thought it was just another helping of the same old stuff, with a boring plot
that couldn’t even get to the level of being interestingly bland. Another common complaint is that, while we
all know movies aimed at kids work hard for the merchandise revenue, UglyDolls seemed
to be doing nothing but advertising its merch, in this case a toy line that launched back
in 2001. Parents seemed to pick up on all this, and
as a result, UglyDolls pulled in a worldwide gross of $19.7 million, not even half its
budget of $45 million. The delightful coming-of-age comedy Booksmart,
the directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde, is exactly the kind of film that modern audiences
say that they want, but that Hollywood just won’t give them. It’s not a superhero film, a sci-fi adventure,
or an adaptation of an existing property; it’s smart, funny, and is led by a pair of
talented young women in Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein. Comedic heavies including Lisa Kudrow, Jason
Sudeikis, and Will Forte stocked its supporting cast. It even had the seal of approval from critics
who absolutely loved the movie. Audiences, however, could not have cared less. “It’s basically a popularity contest, he’s
useless.” Sure, the film opened to some stiff competition. Disney’s live-action Aladdin opened in the
same weekend, John Wick: Chapter 3, Parabellum dropped the weekend before, and Avengers:
Endgame was still chugging along toward eventual world domination. Booksmart wasn’t really aiming for the same
audiences, though, going for a crowd with a preference for well-made, thoughtful, original
fare over big-budget tent poles. The problem? That crowd simply failed to show up, maybe
because they’re content to wait for smaller, more cerebral flicks to show up on streaming
services. If this describes you, take note: if you’d
like Hollywood to make more films like Booksmart, you may want to see the ones they do give
us in the theater. It wasn’t at all clear whether audiences even
wanted another installment in the Shaft series, which fielded three entries starring Richard
Roundtree as the legendary private eye who would risk his neck for his brother man in
the ’70s, and was revitalized with a 2000 entry starring Samuel L. Jackson as the legendary
P.I.’s nephew. Nearly 20 years later, Jackson and Roundtree
returned for a multi-generational teamup which also included the talented Jessie T. Usher
as J.J. Shaft, the son of Jackson’s character. Rather than giving moviegoers an updated take
on the franchise, however, Shaft 2019 went backwards in all the worst possible ways. Critics found the film to be jaw-droppingly
regressive, with misogynistic and homophobic streaks each a mile wide; its outdated aesthetic
wasn’t helped by a flimsy, predictable plot and a troubling reliance on stereotypes that
that haven’t played well for decades. Shaft is a case in which a film’s failure
can’t be chalked up to anything other than what’s right there on the surface. The flick was simply an awful, borderline
depressing waste of time, so bad that studio New Line dumped the film straight to Netflix
internationally. It failed to even make back its meager $30
million dollar budget, proving that, contrary to a rightfully widely-held popular belief,
it takes more than Samuel L. Jackson to make an awesome, profitable picture. Terminator: Dark Fate seemingly had all of
the ingredients to successfully resurrect the long-floundering franchise: the return
of James Cameron as a producer, the involvement of Deadpool director Tim Miller, Linda Hamilton
saddling up once again as Sarah Connor, and a slew of talented young actors filling out
the cast. Ignoring the three increasingly ridiculous
installments that came after Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the flick even garnered mostly
positive reviews, so how did it become perhaps the biggest money loser of the year? “Talk. Talk fast.” “You first.” There’s no easy answer, but one thing seems
certain: Dark Fate failed to garner any interest whatsoever among younger moviegoers, many
of whom weren’t even born when Terminator 2 became a cultural phenomenon in 1991. It could very well be that the older fans
who loved that film and its 1984 predecessor simply failed to pass that love down to the
new generation, whose familiarity with the franchise mostly began and ended with three
critically reviled movies, 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2009’s Terminator:
Salvation, and the relatively recent Terminator: Genisys from 2015, that Dark Fate completely
ignored. In any event, the aptly titled Dark Fate,
which was intended to kick start a new trilogy, will almost certainly end up being the final
nail in the coffin of the franchise. The filmmakers can at least take solace in
the fact that Terminator went out on a high note, but this time, it sure looks like he…won’t
be back. Okay, sorry about that one. We kinda had to. Waiting decades to make a sequel to a beloved
film is always a tricky endeavor. Just ask the filmmakers behind Blade Runner
2049, a very good movie that underperformed severely at the box office. Doctor Sleep, adapted from Stephen King’s
2013 sequel to his classic novel The Shining, positioned itself as a continuation of Stanley
Kubrick’s much-adored 1980 film version of the original novel. And while this certainly seems like a sure-fire
formula for box office gold, the movie’s shockingly poor performance illustrated that, decent
reviews aside, audiences were simply uninterested in picking up with an adult Danny Torrance
nearly four decades after Kubrick’s film hit screens, even if he’s played by Ewan McGregor. To be fair, Doctor Sleep debuted during a
Veterans’ Day weekend during which it seemed that nobody could be bothered to go to the
movies at all, but as was the case with the Terminator: Dark Fate, it seemed that younger
audiences simply didn’t give a rip about a sequel to a movie that probably came out before
their parents were even old enough to see it. With September’s It: Chapter Two failing to
hit the heights of its 2017 predecessor, it could also be that the Stephen King Renaissance
is winding down, adding up to a perhaps the biggest mid-budget flop of the year. One thing can be said for the director of
the latest Charlie’s Angels reboot, Elizabeth Banks: she got right out in front of the movie’s
failure. In an interview shortly before the flick’s
release, she gave her opinion that if the film tanked, the blame would be on both guys
who don’t like female action leads, and the entire superhero genre. Apparently, even successful female-focused
superhero films like Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, according to Banks, were part of a,
quote, “male genre.” Right before the movie opened to a downright
dismal box office, she doubled down, saying that nobody has complained about all the Spider-Man
movies that have hit the box office in the past 20 years, like, say, the three Elizabeth
Banks was in back in the 2000s. Of course, that comparison conveniently ignores
the fact that Spidey is a beloved cultural icon, while Charlie’s Angels is mostly known
as a cheesy ’70s television show which was never terribly highly-regarded. Despite the 2019 film’s capable leads, it
seems like moviegoers simply had no use for another Charlie’s Angels movie. They’re not likely to get another one, either
as the flick’s paltry $8 million dollar opening weekend qualified it as a candidate for one
of the year’s biggest money-losers. Fox’s X-Men series wasn’t supposed to end
this way. Dark Phoenix was supposed to be epic, a proper
adaptation of one of the most iconic storylines in all of Marvel comics history, one that
fans were ready to give a second chance after it was already botched pretty badly in 2006’s
X-Men: The Last Stand. Since Disney acquired Fox’s television and
film assets with their 2019 merger, the X-Men seem destined to enter the Marvel Cinematic
Universe at some point, but Fox could have given their series, which ran for two decades
and twelve films, the kind of mind-bending sendoff it deserved. So what went wrong? It wasn’t just one thing. The flick’s third act famously had to be extensively
retooled due to similarities to Captain Marvel, and much of the cast, including star Sophie
Turner, were rightly accused of phoning in their lackluster performances by the critics
that lambasted the film. “And you couldn’t even do that. Let me show you how.” Dark Phoenix was supposed to be final entry
in a franchise that had been producing diminishing returns for years. While 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past successfully
traded in nostalgia by merging the older and younger mutants, 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse
was far less inspired, annoying critics and underperforming at the box office, setting
up Dark Phoenix for an epic failure. Perhaps if the film had simply been better,
it could have avoided its fate, but it was, unfortunately, simply terrible. What do you get when you put Matthew McConaughey
and Snoop Dogg in the same stoner comedy? Apparently not money, because The Beach Bum
racked up only $1.8 million on its opening weekend, the lowest opening gross of McConaughey’s
career. The film is based on writer/director Harmony
Korine’s experiences filming Spring Breakers. McConaughey stars as stoner poet Moondog as
he wanders through a smoky life in the Florida Keys, which mostly amounts to listening to
a lot of Jimmy Buffet until tragedy strikes. Isla Fisher co-stars as Moondog’s wife, Minnie,
who finances her husband’s shenanigans while she has an affair with Moondog’s friend Lingerie,
played by Snoop Dogg. While assessing numbers for The Beach Bum’s
opening weekend, Deadline made a point suggesting the film’s poor performance might have more
to do with demographics than taste. Recalling that Korine’s previous film, Spring
Breakers enjoyed a stronger opening, the article points out that film’s cast, including James
Franco, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens, had a much stronger cast for a millennial
audience than one with the 50-year-old McConaughey and a rapper whose star shone brightest in
the ’90s. Then again, a plot that’s repetitive at best
and depressing at its worst doesn’t help matters much either. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about famous
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