Hollywood movies can make billions of dollars. In 2019, the superhero film Avengers: Endgame grossed an incredible $2.790 billion, making it the biggest movie of all time. That title was previously held by the 2009 epic science fiction film Avatar, which isn’t far behind at $2.789 billion. Although, if you take inflation into account, the 1939-classic Gone with the Wind is still estimated to be the highest-grossing movie, at around an incredible $7.4 billion. Not every feature film is destined for such greatness, though. Some expensive movies have lost millions. Here are four of the biggest box office bombs of recent years.
Conan the Barbarian
The fantasy hero Conan the Barbarian was created way back in 1932; by writer Robert E. Howard. His adventures first featured in pulp magazines, and the character has since gone on to star in comic books, video games, roleplaying games, and, most-famously, movies. Most people know Conan the Barbarian from the epic 1982 feature starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Worldwide, Conan the Barbarian grossed $68,851,475 at the box office upon its release. So, it’s no wonder that movie executives were keen to make another triumphant sword and sorcery film featuring the iconic musclebound warrior. In 2011, another movie, also called Conan the Barbarian, was released. Unrelated to the original film with Arnie, the new Conan the Barbarian movie looked set to become just as big as that film. However, that was not to be the case. By the end of its box office run, the film had grossed $48,795,021 worldwide. That may seem like a lot at first, but compared to its $90 million budget, Conan the Barbarian was a major box office bomb.
This 2013 movie starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford is an adaptation of the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card. The plot concerns an unusually gifted child who is sent to a military academy in outer space to train for a forthcoming alien invasion. With the book’s popularity and a renewed interest in Harrison Ford, Ender’s Game looked like it was going to become the box office smash of the fall. But that never happened. Although the movie received mixed responses from film critics and audiences, it lost $68 million at the worldwide box office. The New York Daily star called the movie one of the dullest, dumbest, and most tedious films of the year and gave it zero stars. Furthermore, Variety included Ender’s Game in its list of Hollywood’s Biggest Box Office Bombs of the year.
Gods of Egypt
With action-packed scenes and major stars like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gerard Butler, there were high hopes for this 2016 fantasy action film. Directed by Alex Proyas, Gods of Egypt depicts ancient Egyptian deities at war. The movie portrays a mortal Egyptian hero who teams up with the god Horus to rescue his love and save the world from the evil Egyptian deity Set, the god of war, chaos, and storms. However, the film didn’t create the storm it had hoped to achieve. Gods of Egypt was reviewed poorly by film critics for its choice of script, cast, and special effects. With a budget of $140 million, the movie only grossed £150.7 million worldwide at the box office. When factoring together all other expenses and revenues, Hollywood Reporter estimated the movie lost a whopping $90 million.
With the continual popularity of films based on comic books, Warner Bros. thought they couldn’t go wrong with this 2017 movie inspired by the DC Comics’ superhero team. Justice League is the fifth installment of the DC Extended Universe. It stars an ensemble cast, including Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jeremy Irons, and Amy Adams. The plot involves Batman and Wonder Woman recruiting Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg so they can team up to defeat the evil Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons. However, although the film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, it was a commercial flop. The New York Post gave the film only 1.5 stars out of 4. With a production budget of around $300 million, Justice League is one of the most expensive movies ever made, but it lost the studio an estimated $60 million. It is, therefore, the highest-grossing film to become a box office bomb.