2017 was not a great year for the box office. While there were some great movies out – our top ten of the year will be on site tomorrow – there were also some pretty atrocious ones (our ten worst picks of the year will be out the day after tomorrow).
Many of this year’s movies that were terrible or just not up to scratch got their just desserts at the BO but surprisingly, acclaim wasn’t enough to save a few that were adored by the critics.
Bearing in mind that the following takes into account budget figures but does not include marketing, and that the take-in figures considered are international as opposed to domestic, here are some of the year’s biggest box office flops that you were expecting, and others you may be surprised about.
Unsurprising box office flops
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Budget: $175m… Box office: $148.7m
There was just something a bit odd about a Guy Ritchie take on the medieval figure of legend – which included a David Beckham cameo.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Budget: $197m… Box office: $225.2m
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets benefited from the visual splendour that its director Luc Besson is renowned for, but suffered from an obscure source material (a French comic book) and its utter lack of chemistry between the leads (Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne).
mother! – Budget: $30m… Box office: $44.5m
Some were curious to see mother! given the complete division of opinion it caused with some loving the film and others loathing it, but many were just not bothered or likely put off by the movie’s disturbing material. Darren Aronofsy’s exercise in narcissism just about made back its production budget.
Live By Night – Budget: $90m… Box office: $22.7m
Poor aul Ben Affleck cannot catch a break. He both starred in and directed this gangsta flick based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, whose book he previously adapted for Gone, Baby, Gone. The reviews were mixed to negative, and its future rep will likely always be synonymous with Sienna Miller’s Oirish accent.
Patriots Day – Budget: $45m… Box office: $50.5m
Patriots Day (which was one of the year’s releases that earned Mark Wahlberg the title of Most Overpaid Actor of 2017) was regarded as having been made too soon after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and verging on exploitative.
A Cure for Wellness – Budget: $40m… Box office: $26.6m
It was a great year for horror but A Cure for Wellness just didn’t connect with cinemagoers, despite being directed by The Ring helmer Gore Verbinski.
CHiPs – Budget: $25m… Box office: $26.8m
CHiPs just shouldn’t have been remade.
Ghost in the Shell – Budget: $110m… Box office: $169.8m
The Snowman – Budget: $35m… Box office: $43.1m
Michael Fassbender, what are you doing? It can’t be too great a surprise that The Snowman flopped given it was an utter mess of a movie, didn’t make sense and was so poorly edited as to make it unwatchable.
Unexpected box office flops
The general consensus seems to be that neither popular directors nor critical acclaim necessarily mean that your film is going to be a hit. Blade Runner 2049 has been a leading example of this, having made just $258.2m off a budget of $150-185m (and you’d wonder how big a profit that really is given how heavily the film was marketed).
Meanwhile, popular indie director Ben Wheatley had a disappointing box office intake for his latest, Free Fire, and Steve Soderbergh’s comeback movie Logan Lucky, following his success with the Ocean’s movies, was also a big disappointment, particularly considering the great reviews it got.
Oscar buzz-creating movies like Battle of the Sexes and Detroit also fared poorly with audiences while films like Only the Brave and Stronger, which, again, critics were mad about, proved that international audiences have little care for American patriotism while domestically there’s also an evident sense of fatigue with such movies.
Free Fire – Budget: $7m… Box office: $3.8m
Battle of the Sexes – Budget: $25m… Box office: $17.8m
Detroit – Budget: $34m… Box office: $21.5m
Blade Runner 2049 – Budget: $150-185m… Box office: $258.2m
Only the Brave – Budget: $38m… Box office: $23m
Logan Lucky – Budget: $29m… Box office: $46.7m
Stronger – Budget: $30m… Box office: $6.1m