The 10 Biggest Summer Movie Blockbuster Flops Ranked

Summer movie blockbusters always seem to be crowd-pleasers

The movies know precisely what the people want when they hit the theaters as the temperatures soar outside. It might not be the next Citizen Kane or bring home the Palme d’Or, but most moviegoers want to feel like they get their money’s worth with their ticket. Since most production companies save their sure-fire hits for the summer, most of the films that hit theaters should at least be entertaining…right?

Unfortunately, some hopeful blockbusters never seem to get off on the right foot. Whether because of production woes or marketing errors, films like The 13th Warrior and Battlefield Earth were seemingly destined to fail before they even hit theaters. But just how bad could a flop actually be?

10) ‘Land of the Lost’ (2009)

Scientist Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell), his assistant Holly (Anna Friel), and Will (Danny R. McBride) are transported into a frightening world filled with dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures after a space-time vortex sucks them inside. Together, they must trek across the strange and unforgivingly strange new world as they work together to figure out a way to get back home in their own time.

Land of the Lost was another victim of a film never really finding an audience. The movie was stuck between honoring the original show it was based on while attempting to capture the attention of a brand-new audience. The movie was a critical and commercial flop, losing over $30 million at the box office against a budget of $100 million.

9) ‘Father’s Day’ (1997)

The premise seemed simple enough to become a hit. It was even a remake of a successful French film, Les Comperes. A woman convinces two of her old boyfriends into searching for her runaway son by telling each man that they are her son’s father. While working together, the two wildly different men develop a budding friendship along the way.

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With the irreplaceable Robin Williams and Billy Crystal starring, Father’s Day seemed like a sure-fire hit. Each star was in the prime of their career and well known for their respective comedy styles. But the film was the definition of a dud. It was panned by critics and audiences alike. With a budget of $85 million, the film was expected to be the comedy hit of the summer. Instead, the biggest joke was that it only mustered to earn $35 million worldwide.

8) ‘The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle’ (2000)

Rocky the Flying Squirrel (June Foray) and his trusted friend Bullwinkle (Keith Scott) live in Frostbite Falls. The duo relies on royalty checks from re-runs of their old television series to get by. Their mundane lives receive a much-needed shake-up when they learn that their arch-rivals Boris and Natasha have escaped from their cartoon world and entered into real life.

Another remake of a beloved childhood favorite for many people, The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle, just failed to deliver the same charm and wit as the original. The film boasted an impressive cast of Hollywood stars such as Robert De Niro, Rene Russo, and Jason Alexander, but moviegoers were wildly unimpressed. The film lost over $40 million at the box office against a budget of $76 million.

7) ‘Battlefield Earth’ (2000)

In the year 3000, an alien race known as the Psychlos took over the planet and decimated its resources. Johnny “Goodboy” Tyler (Barry Pepper) rises up and leads a resistance group to fight the Psychlos and their leader, Terl (John Travolta), and restore order to Earth.

There is no nice way to say this: Battlefield Earth was a certifiable mess. It would be easier to count the twelve people who enjoyed the film than state how many disliked it. Perhaps the film was ahead of its time, or maybe behind? It’s tough to say. But critics and audiences agreed that it was best to avoid this sci-fi saga. With reported losses of over $40 million (budget of $73 million), Battlefield Earth flopped harder than John Travolta in dreads.

6) ‘R.I.P.D.’ (2013)

When Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) passes into the afterlife, he finds himself employed by the R.I.P.D., an illustrious police force that patrols the land of the living for evil spirits that seek to do harm. Walker teams up with veteran officer Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges) as the duo uncovers a dangerous plot that could threaten all life on Earth.

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R.I.P.D. is yet another case of a film that works on paper but fails to deliver in reality. The movie was panned by critics and widely ignored by audiences. With a budget of $130 million, the film only managed to scrape up $78 million at the worldwide box office, resulting in the film becoming one of the biggest flops of 2013. Not even Ryan Reynolds’ charm could bring this movie back to life.

5) ‘Osmosis Jones’ (2001)

Starring Chris Rock as the voice of the titular character, Osmosis Jones tells the story of a white blood cell cop living inside the body of Frank Detorre (Bill Murray), a zookeeper who contracts a nasty illness. Jones teams up with Drix (David Hyde Pierce), a cold medicine sent inside Detorre, and combat the disease. But the duo soon learns they are about to face a much more challenging foe than they imagined.

With a unique premise and talented stars attached, Osmosis Jones seemed like a safe bet to become a big earner at the box office. However, the public had no interest in this quirky animated film. Osmosis Jones only managed to gross $14 million worldwide (against an impressive budget of $70 million), resulting in a massive loss for Warner Bros. Pictures. There just wasn’t any magic pill available to save this flop.

4) ‘Stealth’ (2005)

A trio of Navy fighter pilots, Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx), and Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), work together to train an unmanned fighter plane controlled by artificial intelligence that will become the future of airborne assault. But the A.I. fighter plane soon proves to be more than the Navy can handle and takes on a mind of its own.

With a critic score of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film also flew a stealth mission at the box office, flying under most moviegoers’ radars. Stealth managed only an $80 million gross at the worldwide box office, losing the production of over $55 million.

3) ‘The 13th Warrior’ (1999)

After he is exiled from his homeland, Ahmad ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) is sent to a foreign land as an ambassador and finds himself taken in by a settlement of Vikings. ibn Fadlan soon finds himself accepted into their community and stands beside them as they are forced to fight a vicious and inhuman enemy that threatens their way of life.

On paper, The 13th Warrior was the perfect movie to cap off the summer blockbuster season. It was action-packed and filled with mystery and intrigue. In reality, the film saw a significant loss at the box office and was cursed with production nightmares. After only earning $61 million worldwide, it is reported that the production saw a loss of over $100 million. Maybe they should have called the 14th Warrior?

2) ‘The Lone Ranger’ (2013)

Based on the original from the 1950s, The Lone Ranger centers on Tonto (Johnny Depp) as he recounts his zany and explosive adventures with John Reid (Armie Hammer) and how he became known as The Lone Ranger. Throughout his tale, Tonto explains how he and Reid brought several ruthless outlaws to justice and restored order to a lawless land.

The Lone Ranger was both a critical and box office flop. With a putrid 31% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, the film also failed to strike a chord with audiences, even those seeking to quench their thirst for nostalgic westerns. The film managed to earn over $260 million worldwide, but thanks to its massive $250 million budget, the production still saw a loss and is considered a hard flop.

1) ‘The Adventures of Pluto Nash’ (2002)

In the year 2087, Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy), the owner of a successful nightclub on the moon, finds himself in serious trouble after he refuses to sell his club to the mob, who have nefarious plans. Eddie Murphy is no stranger to the box office hits. He has starred in several of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Murphy’s films have earned close to $4 billion throughout his career.

But The Adventures of Pluto Nash just never found an audience. Quite possibly the box office flops to end all flops. With a budget of $100 million, the sci-fi comedy managed to lose over $92 million when all was said and done. Even with the diminished gravity on the moon, that fall has got to hurt.

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Holli Greaves
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