We talk a lot about box office success, but which movies were the biggest, stinkiest bombs of 2006? We’ve crunched the numbers, and come up with these answers. Hollywood’s red headed step children are here, some of them deserve it, some of them you screwed over by not showing up to support good filmmaking. Maybe we'll get those right on DVD. Here’s CB’s breakdown of the biggest box office bombs of 2006:
10. Flushed Away
Insert your title related joke here. Claymation animators Aardman’s first attempt at CGI ended up in the sewer. Sure it made $61 million, but DreamWorks gave them $150 million to make it. It’s a great film, and well reviewed by critics. But the ads never did the movie justice, making it look like a clunky Weinstein Company leftover in the vein of Hoodwinked rather than the next masterpiece from the creators of Wallace & Gromit. Those that did discover it loved it, but getting people to buy tickets in the first place was Flushed Away’s problem. It’s a floater theatrically, but Flushed Away is almost guaranteed to be one of those movies that finds an appreciative audience on DVD.
9. The Fountain
Some movies bomb because they’re bad, other because they’re badly advertised. The Fountain failed because it flew right over audiences’ heads. Too smart for popcorn seeking pleasure seekers, the new Darren Aronofsky proved to be a love it or hate it affair. Critics either lauded it as one of the greatest films of all time, or stood around confused and unable to process what they’d been watching. The film then opened against crushing competition like Casino Royale and Happy Feet over Thanksgiving. It was doomed from the start. The result was a dismal $9 million domestic gross after years and years in production and $35 million price tag that hasn’t been recovered. The Fountain may make its money back on DVD, it has cult hit written all over it.
8. A Good Year
Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe reunited for A Good Year, but audiences wanted swords and sandals not sappy French wine. It just wasn’t a fit. The result was a $7 million domestic total, one of the worst box office blats of Crowe’s and Scott’s career. It did do a little better internationally, making $19 million overseas. But this is Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe we’re talking about here. That’s not enough. The movie cost Fox at least $35 million to make, and even more once you figure in marketing costs. Rupert Murdoch isn’t happy.
Another movie with terrible reviews and equally terrible ticket sales. Maybe critics aren’t as irrelevant as Hollywood would like you to think? Or maybe every once in awhile people know a bad movie when they see one. Director Joe Roth’s Freedomland made only $12 million domestically, and though the actual cost of the Richard Price novel’s adaptation has not been disclosed, it’s a sure bet that it hasn’t made back most of it’s production costs. Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore’s paychecks alone had to have been nearly $10 million.
6. Lady in the Water
M. Night Shyamalan’s movies seem to be getting worse rather than better, and moviegoers are catching on. After being burned by The Village, former M. Night fans avoided Lady in the Water altogether, after being warned off by bad reviews and even worse word of mouth. It managed $42 million domestically, but cost $75 million to make. All the money Warner Brothers dumped into marketing it was for nothing. For his next movie, Night should be ready for a much smaller budget.
It’s not just about a sinking ship, it was a sinking ship. Warner Brothers’ remake of the camp 1972 disaster movie Poseidon cost a ridiculous $160 million to make and only made $60 million. Add in international totals and it made $121 million, blunting the box office blow a little bit. But the WB is still out at least $39 million dollars. Is the disaster movie dead? Hard to say, but Poseidon definitely is.
4. The Wicker Man
Neil LaBute’s redo of the 1973 cult horror pic The Wicker Man is just another in a long line of failed horror remakes. Bad reviews and a flood of similar films throughout the year doomed it the $40 million film to a $23 million box office total. Warners tried screening it for critics only at the last minute, perhaps to blunt the blow of the inevitable critical backlash, but the reviewers who did manage to screen it got their reviews in soon enough to push those who might have been on the fence about seeing it, right off the rails. Nic Cage is in the middle of a long string of bombs, and if not for his National Treasure franchise we might have to start questioning whether or not he’s still a bankable star. Things are only likely to get worse for him in a few months, when Ghost Rider inevitably bombs at the box office. Nic’s head isn’t the only thing on fire.
James Franco may look like James Dean, but he’s no leading man. His $60 million World War I flying ace film managed only $13 million before plummeting out of American theaters. The only thing worse than its box office take were the reviews, which correctly attacked it for crappy computer graphics, terrible performances, and ludicrous historical inaccuracies. I’d love to see a great World War I dog-fighting movie done up with modern technology, but this isn’t it.
2. All the King’s Men
An all-star cast and a script based on a Pullitzer Prize-Winner weren’t enough to get audiences interested in corrupt Louisiana politics. All the King’s Men cost $55 million to make, and even after a year in the editing bay to try and make it more palatable, only managed a dismal $7 million take at the box office. What caused it? Well it’s a mainstream film that looks like an art film. And though bad reviews often have no effect on big summer blockbusters, they can kill a niche film like this one. They did. The film was savaged by critics and without even reviewers to support it, few even heard of it, let alone watched it.
1. Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction
What happens when you make a sequel to one of the most infamous softcore sex movies of all time and then edit out all the sex and nudity? A miserable $5 million domestic total, and the biggest box office bomb of the year that’s what. The original 1992 movie is a classic sex thriller. The 2006 version is an epic failure. The movie cost Sony Pictures $70 million to make, and for their investment all they’re likely to see in return is a Razzie. Sharon Stone had better start spreading her legs, she owes Sony a lot of money.