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Top 10 Box Office Bombs You Should See

All of the films listed here were major bombs at the box office. Many films fail at the box office due to bad marketing, bad timing, or any number of problems not related to the quality of the movie itself. Despite that, they are all excellent films and well worth watching. Many thanks to TheAlchemyst for suggesting this topic on the List Universe Forums.

10. The Cotton Club 1984, Francis Ford Coppola

Cotton Club Ver4

Francis Coppola’s jazz age musical crime drama was about the famed late 1920s Prohibition Era Harlem nightclub and gangsters of various ethnic groups (Irish, Jewish, Italian) in competition with each other in Harlem. It also followed a secondary plot line regarding the musical dance team of Sandman and Clay Williams (Gregory and Maurice Hines), who worked in the Cotton Club — with black entertainers performing for rich white clients. The film was lukewarmly received at the box-office and by critics, and recouped only half of its privately-financed budget (paid for by brothers Fred and Ed Doumani of Las Vegas). This is a film that is either loved or hated, but well worth seeing for a glimpse of the roaring 20s.

Buy the DVD at Amazon9. Alexander 2004, Oliver Stone


Alexander, the King of Macedonia and one of the greatest military leaders in the history of warfare, conquers much of the known world. Why should you see it despite it being such a massive bomb? Two words: Angelina Jolie. Okay, her accent is weird, but you can just turn off the sound! But more seriously: Stone has, in my humble opinion, crafted a great film that will be appreciated by those with an open mind and patience. I have always had a high tolerance for long movies, and I think many films would be better if they were willing to add another half-hour. It is unfortunate that many people skipped this film because of the portrayal of the relationship between Alexander and Hephaistion – the world is obviously not ready for Classical morals in mainstream movies.

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8. Titan AE 2000, Don Bluth

Titan Ae

This bomb is about a young man who learns that he has to find a hidden Earth ship before an enemy alien species does in order to secure the survival of humanity. The animation by far is a turning point in the world of animated features. From the start, you can tell the animation is exceptional. Extra time was taken to make the characters lifelike, as well as the environments they are in, the coordinating of colors, and even the shadows from a tree on the character’s faces. It’s unbelievable. And the 2D animation mixes so well with the 3D animation – it just adds to the thrill of the movie. The scenes in the movie are exceptional.

Buy the DVD at Amazon7. Intolerance 1916, D.W. Griffith


Director D.W. Griffith’s expensive, most ambitious silent epic film masterpiece overtook his earlier The Birth of a Nation (1915), which was the previous record-holder of “most expensive film” (at $110,000). Both films were milestones and landmarks in cinematic history – and regarded as two of the greatest films of the silent era. This film was financed using the profits of Griffith’s earlier film. Unlike Birth, however, Intolerance – with an astronomical budget of almost $2 million, became the first multi-million dollar box-office ‘bomb’ in film history.

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6. Of Unknown Origin 1983, George P. Cosmatos

Of Unknown Origin

A man who recently completed rebuilding a townhouse becomes obsessed with a rat infestation until it becomes an interspecies duel. Of Unknown Origin is an overlooked gem of a little movie. Not really a horror film, except that something does indeed go bump in the night, and often too. No, this is more of a psychological drama and Peter Weller bangs one out of the park with his performance as the yuppie forced to go to war with a rat. The movie gets down right primitive and to the point, and it’s all Peter Weller and some excellent rat photography.

Buy the DVD at Amazon5. Manderlay 2005, Lars von Trier


In 1933, after leaving Dogville, while traveling with her father (Willem Dafoe) and his gangsters to the south of USA, Grace Margaret Mulligan (Bryce Dallas Howard) sees a slave ready to be punished in a property called Manderlay. Manderlay’s high points are that it is deeply philosophical but at the same time highly coherent and accessible. It asks important and necessary questions about the nature of freedom and democracy. Such questions, and the discussion which this film makes possible, are urgently needed in the light of such unsolved dilemmas as Iraq, the philosophical basis for the removal of Saddam Hussein, the introduction of western-style democracy to countries like Iraq (or even Afghanistan).

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4. Sahara 2005, Breck Eisner


Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the “Ship of Death” in the deserts of West Africa while helping a UN doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator. Bring on Dirk Pitt! Here is a movie that wants to have fun, the cast wants to have fun. The audience ends up having fun. Steve Zahn is hilarious. Matthew McConaughey handles the limited demands of his role quite well. Penelope Cruz brings her ever-present charm and beauty to a role which is notable for being one of the few action-adventure roles written for a female that is not obnoxious in recent memory. You can’t take your eyes off William H. Macy whenever he is on screen in ANY movie. He’s that good.

Buy the DVD at Amazon3. Once Upon a Time in America 1984, Sergio Leone

Once Upon A Time In America

A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to Brooklyn over 30 years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life. I can really recommend this movie to everyone, but especially to people who like the gangster genre. When you want to see the movie, you better be sure that you will have the time for it. This isn’t a movie that is finished after 90 minutes. You’ll have to be able to stay focused during 3 hours and 47 minutes, which will certainly not be easy during the first 20 to 30 minutes. Some scenes at the beginning only make sense when you have seen the end of the movie. But when you are able to stay focused, you’ll find this one of the best movies you’ve ever seen.

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2. Equilibrium 2002, Kurt Wimmer


In a Fascist future where all forms of feeling are illegal, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system. If you are a fan of such books as Brave New World, 1984, The Giver, or This Perfect Day or movies like the Matrix and Logan’s Run–Equilibrium is just the movie for you. In addition to a terrifying plot set in our very own future, the movie has mind-blowing action sequences that are choreographed beautifully (but not obviously) and shot brilliantly and spectacular acting on the part of Christian Bale. I hate predictable movies and this one is anything but…there are so many twists and turns, you’ll be on the edge of your seat with suspense the majority of the time.

Buy the DVD at Amazon1. Duck Soup 1933, Leo McCarey

Duck Soup (1933)

At the time of its release, this short feature film was a commercial failure at the box-office, although actual statistics about its monetary take are unavailable. American audiences in the early 1930s were put off by the cynical and scathing attitudes toward war, politics and nationhood displayed in the film. Although most critics have rated this absurdly funny film as one of the Marx Brothers’ best comedies, it was also considered a very subversive political satire (and banned in Italy by Mussolini). Groucho headlined as Freedonia’s prime minister Rufus T. Firefly who went to war because he was called an ‘upstart’ by the ambassador of the neighboring Sylvania.

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Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

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  • chillipacker


  • toolnut

    ok, I hated Alexander, I can’t really say why, I guess it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

    Equilibrium looks awesome, I love Christian Bale, he never disappoints

  • THANKG GOD! Equilibium is on this list. I hesitated to watch it but upon learning of Christian Bale being in it, i jumped right on. Again nothing short if a great performance by him. The movie is also extremely good. Some of the best fight scenes ive seen in a movie. Unfortunately Released around the same time as the matric and was occused of ripping it off which is wrong!

  • whoops excuse all the errors in my post i was in such excitement to see Equilibrium on there i was not even thinking about how my post looked :)

  • Kevin

    What about 1941?

  • equilibrium was fantastic. I bought it a few months ago for like…$5 or something like that. Christian Bale, killing lots of guys, and saving a puppy. I’m pretty sure it’s a winner.

  • islanderbst

    Sahara bummed me out a bit, because I liked Clive Cusslers Dirk Pitt novels so much.

    The best movie I could think of I liked that was a bomb was “the four feathers” about the British in Sudan.

    Actually the best bomb would be Hudson Hawk with Bruce Willis.

  • here for anyone that has not seen Equilibrium, check out this video to see how fantastic the action scenes can be, then go watch the damn movie

  • oh yah it may be considered spoilerish

  • longball

    equilibrium is amazing! best movie ever! and people who say stupid sh!t like first and second and crap should die a slow painful death, besides life in general!!!!

  • Yondofan12

    Sahara sucks, they embarrassed Clive Cussler so much in that book. Terrible casting putting Matthew McConaghey as Dirk Pitt.

  • codman

    wow, I haven’t seen any of these movies

  • lightningclash

    Equilibrium was so much better than the matrix and no I’m not on crack. The matrix seemed really preachy to me, like it was an interesting idea but the matrix really smacked you over the head with it. Equilibrium is smart and Bale kicks Keeanu’s ass in pretty much every aspect of life.

  • eimbrog

    I liked the Alamo (2004) alot but it didnt make much money. I thought the cast was great and the movie was extremly entertaining.

  • Randall

    DUCK SOUP is one of the funniest fuckin’ movies in God’s creation. That is, if you like the Marx Brothers and/or are open to their form of comedy. Of course, if you’re neither of these, I don’t wanna talk to you, so go away.

    The end scene, where Groucho ends up with head in the vase, and Harpo paints a cartoon Groucho face on it… just kills me everytime.

    The witty and rapid-pace banter is some of their best.. and of course the scene with Groucho, Chico, and Harpo doing the mirror routine in utter silence, is classic.

  • Paggie

    I proudly own Titan A.E. Not only is it spectacular animation and lifelike characters, its co-written by Joss Whedon. Ya know, the guy that was nominated for an Oscar for writing Toy Story and the acclaimed creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly? You’ll see his wit, humor, and Whedony grammar as the film unfolds.

  • Mystern

    YAY! This list is awesome! I’ve seen about half of these and must now go see the other half.

  • Mystern

    And I want to take credit for suggesting Equilibrium in the forums . . .

  • I dont care who gets credit Im just glad ITS GETTING CREDIT!

  • Andrea Carlena Beauman

    Titan A.E. is so funny.

    You know what’d be an excellent list? Top greatest disney movies. Mulan, Lion King, Aladdin, and Meet the Robinsons should have guaranteed spots.

    -Amdrea Carlena Beauman

  • Ashyja

    I don’t know the other movies, but as Equilibrium is on that list, Im going to check them out. Equilibrium is really nice :)

  • BadassBookworm

    What about Battlefield Earth?

    hehe…just kidding.

  • Purdnasty

    in all honesty, a christmas story! come on, that didn’t do amazing in theatres nad look at where it is now a days

  • W Tom

    I must say that I was getting worried when I didn’t see Equilibrium until I hit 2. Absolutely a great movie. Glad it made this list.

  • mattayeaux

    I just noticed that NONE of these movies have John Malkovich in them…hmmmmm.

    Sorry, Jamie but, you ignored my last John M. comment.

  • Emeraldi

    Once Upon a Time in America is one of my favorite movies, but you’re right you have to stay focused the whole time or else you’ll lose it. The end is worth the wait though in my opinion. Great list!

  • fishing4monkeys

    sahara is one of the best movies i’ve seen! And I remember watching titan and thinking how good it looked! Great list!!!

  • Matteo

    haha i haven’t seen any of these

  • TheAwesome

    Sahara…really? That movie was awful. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a comedy or action or what. I was so confused Steve Zahn starting KILLING PEOPLE towards the end of the movie. It deserved to bomb.

  • mattayeaux: you will need to remind me. Frankly, when I see his name I zone out!

  • SlickWilly

    Duck Soup…..spectacular. The Marx Bros. always have and always will be one of the greatest comedy troupes of all time. I’m impressed with the forethought on this list that gave it the rightfully-earned no. 1 spot. However, I have a personal contention with Alexander. While the other movies on this list were generally good movies that did poorly at the box-office, I thought Alexander was trite, contrived, and boring. The script was second-tier and clunky at times and Oliver Stone tried to cover it up with the CGI action scenes that felt like they were trying too hard. The ending was hollow and left me with nothing except a desire to get my money back. I never felt like the movie drew me in or made me care, which made the 2.5+ hour running time a little bit more than I could stand. I would rather have bamboo shoots lodged under my finger and toenails than watch that movie again. Terrible.

  • Alexander was a box office bomb? I love that movie…

    I know I should probably say this in the forums, but what about box office hits NOT to see? There are plenty of those floating around.

  • My daughter and I watched Duck Soup one evening…and died laughing. I had no idea how funny it was!

  • Hannah!

    SAHARA! That’s one of my all-time favorite movies.

    I absolutely LOVE Cussler! He’s my favorite author along with Richard Bach and Steve Zahn is my favorite actor!!

    This movie OWNS!

  • indiefreak19

    I have only seen Alexander and Equilibirum on this list, shall have to check some more!

    Alexander wasnt toooo bad though I felt it could have been better..

    And Equilibrium is one of my favourite sci-fi movies, with the absolutely fabulously awesome Christian Bale making it all the better! lol

    Other box office bombs that people should watch are Idiocracy and It’s All Gone Pete Tong!!!

  • Blogball

    Good list. It’s interesting how some films take so many years for people to appreciate them like Duck Soup which is now a classic and considered by many to be their best. Other films like “It’s a Wonderful Life” was also a box office flop which is also hard to believe. Some of the more resent movies on this list once they get more play time on TV and other venues plus word of mouth could be destined to become classics as well.
    It great that we have so many different ways to see movies now that we can give all films their just do.

  • SocialButterfly

    islanderbst: I LOVED Hudson Hawk!! I never understood why so many people hated it soo much!

  • Blogball: that is so true – I wonder how many films we all hate now will eventually become cult classics for the next generation!

  • BadassBookworm

    jfrater: I wonder how many films we all hate now will eventually become cult classics for the next generation!

    Honestly…I think Grindhouse (both Planet Terror and Death Proof TOGETHER) will be a major cult classic in five or so years. It didn’t do well, but anyone who saw it salivates at the thought of it mabye someday being released on DVD like it it was in theatres. They will probably also tell you that Death Proof was boring as hell for the first thirty minutes. :)

  • What about Moulin Rouge? People left the theater during that and stuff, I heard.

  • toolnut

    BadassBookworm: I have both Planet Terror and Death Proof on Dvd and I must say that they both rocked. Special features are awesome as well. Did you know that the little kid in Planet Terror is actually Robert Rodriguez’s son?

  • gcat

    I completely agree with equilibrium. I had never even seen advertisements for it, but when my friend and I took a chance on it, I was glad we did.

    Alexander is on my top 10 worst movies I have ever seen. The real story is incredible. He conquered half the world! But all the movie seems to focus on is his relationship with his friend. I get it! But I don’t care. For me, the story about the greatest commander of all time should have been worth staying up for (1 of 2 movies I have shut off before it was over). If I had wanted a love story I would’ve watched brokeback mountain.

  • gcat

    I’ve enjoyed nearly every Oliver Stone movie I have ever seen. But I think it was a mistake having him as the head of Alexander. It would be like putting my favorite director, Tim Burton, on the set of a movie like Planet of the Apes… please tell me I was having a nightmare.

  • I agree Equilibrium is a great movie, but I don’t know if it really qualifies as a bomb. I doubt anyone really had high expectations when they made it. Christian Bale was not yet even close to a marquee actor, and Taye Diggs will never be more than eye-candy for the Oprah-watching demographic. Too many themes are borrowed from other works. The look of the film was more dependent on good location scouting than set design.

    The most original aspect of in this film was the invention of the firearm-based martial art that these guys practiced, which is not only why this is such a good action film, but probably why it was seen as a Matrix ripoff.

    I consider myself an aficionado of well-made B movies and this would be in my top ten. Thats why I wouldn’t consider it a flop.

  • Sheyhey

    Jamie, did you see The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? It just came out, but the second I saw the title of this list I was hoping it would be on here. Its quite long, but informative, interesting, and has some AMAZING cinematography. I think you should check it out… and perhaps make it an honorable mention :-P

    I’ve seen all these an agree with all but Alexander and Sahara. Great list otherwise!

  • SlickWilly

    9000: The firearm-based martial art had such a high cool factor it almost carried the movie. I say “almost” because under that futuristic, post-matrix gloss there was a real movie in there, somewhere. All I know is, when I saw the training scene, where the computer goes off on how the gun-based fighting style works, I pooped a little with glee.

  • Bob

    “It is unfortunate that many people skipped this film because of the portrayal of the relationship between Alexander and Hephaistion – the world is obviously not ready for Classical morals in mainstream movies.”

    Yeah, it’s a shame nobody wants to see some guy stick his penis in the hole some other guy craps from. . .I mean, that’s such a beautiful thing.

    Or, hey, here’s a thought–maybe most people know it’s unnatural and don’t give a crap that some Greeks thought it was a good thing.

    Disgusting, decadent crap.

  • Eddie

    Sahara will not blow you away but it is a fair movie. The book, however, is excellent. I love Clive Cussler and Sahara is one of his best novels.

  • sarahenity

    :D i just watched that youtube footage of Equilibrium… Can Christian Bale do no wrong?!

  • CK

    I watched Equilibrium in the theatres so I can proudly say that I helped make the movie less of a box-office bomb than it was. I actually thought it was really good too.

    Kelsi- I also agree with you on Moulin Rogue. I heard about all the people who walked out and thought it was weird. The first half is a bit strange but then it gets so much better!

    About Sahara, I thought the movie was okay. Flight of the Phoenix is a decent movie too. I don’t think it did that great in the box office, although I could be wrong. I thought it was going to be stupid but it was actually a pretty good film.

  • Titan A.E. is one of those movies that was just revolutionary. I own it, (it was a gift), but i wanted it, so it was a great gift. Its such a shame that Fox Animation Studios went bankrupt partly because of that movie…

    Another movie that i think is missing is Sky Captain and The World Of Tomorrow that movie was another revolutionary movie with great acting, great story, and great effects, hell, the original trailer alone was enough to make me go see the movie. It’s a shame that failed, it could have spawned a new “Star Wars”

  • Sam

    Titan A.E. and Equilibrium are quite amazing. I haven’t seen either of them in a while, though.

  • fivestring63

    Waterworld was a bomb that I really liked.

  • Mom424

    Badassbookworm; I loved deathproof, and I didn’t think it was boring at all. I could see the evil coming. And the chick from NZ rocks…(obvious suck-up)
    I haven’t seen Sahara ‘cuz I’ve read the Dirk Pitt books and they’re a romp. I was afraid it would ruin it…but William H. Macy really is “that” good, so I’ll give it a try….

  • Me

    Ennit i loved underworld also titan A.E and equilibrium are like my fav films ever after TRON FTW

  • bob

    gotta throw in my 2 cents.

    one of my all time favorite movies is Boondock Saints — which came into the movie theater, glorifying vigilante violence right before columbine.

    Just don’t go into it expecting more than a fun movie, and you’ll enjoy the hell out of it.


  • Me

    I didnt mean underworld im so retarded i ment to type waterworld i dont kno why i did tht


    Glad Sahara was on the list.

    I wanted to like Alexander, but it was just a bit long and confusing, and Stone seemed to focus too much on Alexander’s relationships. For such an extraordinary historical figure, the movie sure was boring.

  • Vic-

    Alexander: 3 words ROSARIO DAWSON NAKED

    Equilibrium is ok, but is VERY slow paced between fight scenes.
    Titan AE was just plain dumb- I think the Bluth company folded after the movie failed, all for the lack of a good story.

  • toolnut

    bob: I’m having deja vu. Boondock saints is probably one of the best flicks I’ve ever seen. Its a complete package. I don’t remember ever seeing a trailer for it. However, they include it on the dvd and no wonder people didn’t go see it. The trailer just doesn’t do it justice. Glad to see its a gaining the cult status though.

  • Mom424

    Steve; if you like Titan AE you really should try the 1981 release Heavy Metal, wonderful animation for the time, great tunes, cool fantasy. I watch it every chance I get…actually it could be on this list, it was panned by the critics, did lackluster box office but has developed somewhat of a cult following..

  • goof_ball

    I’ve never seen or heard of any of these except for Sahara and it was okay…

  • Cahojama

    Yah Titan AE was a great movie with a great plot, with superb animation. I have seen it multiple times and its always good even with todays insane animation/CGI.

  • davo

    Last Action Hero should be on here

  • Dave

    Mystery Men…died at the box office but was one of the funniest spoof ever made

  • sarahenity

    dave – mystery men is one of my favourite movies :)

  • closet_nerd

    Technically a bomb is Mallrats. It only grossed 1/3 of its budget. Granted, not Kevin Smith’s best, but definately a must see.

  • mortem

    Alexander was plain HORRIBLE.

  • closet_nerd

    Looking through Wikipedia’s list of U.S box office bombs, I also found “The World’s Fastest Indian”. I caught it on video and didn’t think it was that bad. Also, “Nothing but Trouble” bombed, I loved that flick! You can’t go wrong with John Candy, Chevy Chase, and Dan Aykroyd!

  • Smerkis

    Sahara is easily one of the worst movies i have ever seen.

  • islanderbst

    lol about the last action hero suggestion
    after i saw it, i didnt see another movie for months i was so traumatized.
    thank God Schindlers List came along to restore my faith in cinema :)

  • Jason

    I didn’t check to see if someone had written this, but Donnie Darko? I heard that was a bomb, and it’s a great movie.

    By the way, Duck Soup is awesome.

  • Pawtucket Pat

    Fans of this list should check out Nathan Rabin’s ‘My Year of Flops’ over at the Onion’s AV Club. He dissects 104 movie flops and determines just how bad (or secretly good) they were, and why.

  • Sandra

    i love Equilibrium! I thought it was a great movie. I just couldn’t think of the name for the longest time until i met my boyfriend and i was describing the movie to him and he instantly knew what it was because he’s been a Christian Bale fan since he was a kid. (Christian Bale was a child actor for those who didnt know.)

  • Late O’Day

    Citizen Kane

    /I win.

  • Leo

    I think that Running Scared should be on this list for sure.

  • Fili

    Equilibrium is gun porn at its finest.

  • flgh

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show deserves at least a mention…unless you don’t consider it a bomb in the first place.

  • Yikkity

    I own Equilibrium and it’s a bomb ass movie. Reminds me a little of a the novel Brave New World. It’s like Kung-Fu meets the Matrix/V for Vendetta.

  • i’m glad you included manderlay on this list.
    i think lars von trier is a brilliant film maker, and i think his films raise very important questions for the audience to consider.

  • Duck Soup is probably the best movie the Marx Brothers ever made. I really like Titan A.E. It was one of my first DVD purchases and easily one of the best values in terms of extras for the price. Intolerance was good, but looong.

  • dgsinclair

    Agree on Sahara and Cotton Club (plus, you get to see Mr. Munster without his makeup!). Titan AE is good, but Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was much better, and w/ mindblowing graphics.

  • fishing4monkeys

    Why do so many people hate Sahara? Losers…

    Anyway; where is Waterworld on this list???

  • Duck Soup, Titan AE, and Alexander are all great movies if you ask me. I’m not terribly surprised Intolerance was a flop though, considering Griffith kind of smeared his own name with The Birth of A Nation. Even then not many people liked movies that sympathized with the KKK, or the folk who made them.

  • TH3W1R3D

    Equilibrium was a masterpiece, I loved it. Sahara wasn’t too bad, worth a few laughs at least. Alexander on the other hand sucked. Bad.

  • ianzap

    wha about the boondock saints , should of been huge from the start

  • Mac

    I still find it hard to believe Duck Soup got such a bad reaction on release, it really is one of the finest comedies. It’s a lot fresher and infinitely more original than many modern comedy films too.

  • Jordan G

    My parents main (only) criticism of Alexander was that it portrayed Alexander as straight when he actually wasn’t. They never saw the movie, but the trailer showed him kissing a chick.

  • What is the point of being ‘first’ to post if that is all you’ve got to say? To me, it seems a shortcut to telling everyone “Yes, I am a very sad moron”.

    Anyway, with that off my chest, can I add that Manderlay is a dire film. I agree with one of the previous posters that Waterworld is better than its critics suggest.

  • Kirst

    Equilibrium is brilliant. Another film not on the list I would definitely recommend you watch is “The Game” with Sean Penn and Michael Douglas

  • Gryphon

    I totally agree with Sahara and Equilibrium. Sahara is pure escapism for the alpha male wannabe in all of us while Equilibrium is a Matrix meets Welles.

    Alexander was rubbish. I wasnt concerned about the relationship between two men but how badly it was made. It portray Alexander the Great as a lucky wimp.

  • DanOhh

    Here’s a should of made the list: OFFICE SPACE

  • bucslim

    I always thought Last Action Hero got a bum rap too. But I appreciate the fact that a lot of people didn’t ‘get’ it. I like it because Arnold at the time was this giga-watt superstar in the business and he was trying to make fun of himself here. There aren’t a whole lot of actors in Hollywood willing to take that chance.

    More recently Grindhouse was a major disappointment at the box office. I thought it was excellent film making and an absolute blast. And in thirty years of going to the movies, I’ve never seen a reaction like I saw at the end of Death Proof. All three times I saw the movie in the theater the audience stood up and cheered.

    Hudson Hawk was, I admit, a Bruce Willis mug fest. It’s difficult to get through this movie without at least once shouting at the screen for him to cut it out, but it’s also got some fun moments to it. In a dumb schlocky sort of way. The appreciation for “it’s so bad it’s good” is a very fine line with some people. But again, in some sense, Willis is doing what Arnold did, trying to show people he’s not such a tight ass.

    I like this list, there’s some movies in here I haven’t seen but will make an effort to see what some folks are talking about. I’ve seen Alexander though and I won’t be making that mistake again. Bloated, pretentious, and full of douchebaggery are terms that come to mind. Ever since Oliver Stone made Born on the Fourth of July with that nutbag Tom Cruise, Stone has been trying to shove his bullshit down our throats because he seemingly has all the answers. He’s made some movies since then that are sometimes compelling to be sure, but all with the same kind of narcissistic hogwash that’s difficult for me to swallow.

  • OptimusChrist

    Box office bombs meant that they sucked total ass right? I hope so cause a lot of these movies I have never even heard of.

  • David

    Sahara was a great movie. It had good action, some humor, a decent story, and Steve Zahn. What else do you need to make a movie enjoyable??

  • bucslim

    No, it doesn’t necessarily mean they ‘sucked total ass.’ It can mean a lot of things, like the studio didn’t get behind it for whatever reason, a national critic didn’t like it, possibly some other blockbuster film was in the theater at the same time frame, or early audiences didn’t like it. There’s a 100 reasons a film doesn’t do well at the box office, but Duck Soup doesn’t suck ass, it kicks it.

  • CC

    Alexander was a complete waste of time. I don’t know how I sat through it.

    Equilibrium on the other hand is amazing. The action is fantastic but the subtle scenes have more intensity in them.

  • DRay

    Jaws. Its influence was short-lived, but massive. The country canceled its vacation plans that summer.

  • Mom424

    bucslim; “narcissistic hogwash” equally describes Tom Cruise.
    good phrase, lots of “art” movies are that too. I liked Last Action Hero, I didn’t hate Alexander, but 1/2 naked men with pecs is always ok. I think the point of Hudson Hawk is that gawd awful crap it tolerable because of Bruce Willis. There are worse things than 90 minutes of Bruce one-liners and punch-outs.

  • dofnup

    Equilibrium was ok, but it was just another version of Fahrenheit 451 … not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just thought it worth mentioning …

    I also enjoyed Alexander and never quite understood why it bombed.

  • bucslim

    Mom, there’s always going to be some total schlocky crap that some people will enjoy even though the rest of us are gagging. One man’s Red Skelton is another man’s Da Vinci. I abhorred Magnolia, but I recognize that a lot of people, critics and listverse readers liked it.

    Maybe it’s just Tom Cruise. Dunno, I’ll get back to you on that.

  • Mom424

    bucslim; maybe Magnolia tries too hard, and explains what you’re supposed to find?

  • DiscHuker

    i haven’t seen magnolia. immediate review about it was terrible. listverse is the only place where i have run across several people who like it. perhaps i should look into it.

    afterall, LV is how i discovered old boy, now one of my favs.

  • bucslim

    Mom, I honestly don’t remember much about the movie itself. I normally try to view something with an open mind and since it was about 50-50 like/dislike from the critics I thought I’d give it a shot. I know there were some great performances, like the aforementioned Thetan hater, and it was beautifully shot, I just didn’t like it. It was too pretentious for me, so after one viewing I pretty much trashed it and moved on.

  • bucslim

    Disc, don’t stop with Oldboy, you’ve got to see the two other related movies, Sympathy of Lady Vengence and Sympathy for Mr. Vengence. They are killer, especially Lady.

  • DiscHuker

    buc: are they from the same director?

  • DiscHuker

    i’ve never heard of either one of them.

  • bucslim

    Yes, Chan Wook Park – it’s called the revenge trilogy. He’s made a lot of movies from South Korea. if you get the chance, you’ll want to watch those and another great film called JSA – Joint Security Area.

    They are every bit as entertaining and thought provoking as Oldboy. Lady Sympathy is my favorite.

  • Bob Dowling

    Alexander deserved to bomb. The editing was atrocious and the story almost impossible to track.
    I do think “Last Action Hero” should be on the list. Perhaps the self-deprecating humour was lost on the audience but it is a brilliant satire of the action movie’s implausibilities and exaggerations.
    I’ll defind Equilibrium’s place on the list too. The “gun kata” was the best synthesis of Hong Kong martial arts and western gun fights I’ve seen. As for one of its basic themes, well, how are the sales of psychotropic drugs to children doing these days in the USA? They’re on the up (both for depression and attention deficit disorder) in the UK. Recalcitrant teenager? Not after your parents drug you.

  • JMurf

    Alexander was terrible, truly terrible

  • Shellhell

    Equilibrium – GREAT movie!!! Love the action scenes too. I was suprised when this bombed!!!

    Titan AE – it came out when my kids were in highscool and were into that sort of sci-fi stuff. For a family night, my hubby and I took them to it. I have to say that my hubby and I loved it more than the kids!!!

    Great List!!

  • Cambrex101

    *gasp* Somebody’s heard of Titan A.E!!!

    I love that movie!
    Like, for sure, I remember watching that when I was younger,
    I still have the soundtrack.

    (Oh, and yeah, Last Action Hero should so be on this list!)

  • Digital Amish

    I would have put Heavens Gate on the list. It undoubtably suffered from lack of editing but is still a beautiful epic. And if I’m not mistaken is actually (or was until recently) the biggest financial bomb in Hollywood history.

  • Dianne

    I worked in a movie theater when “Once Upon A Time In America” came out and the endless loop of the trailer being played made it absolutely impossible for me to watch that film.

    Years later I finally watched it, and yes it’s very good. One reason it bombed is people expect the plot to be handed to them (present company excluded…) and since this is a film you must focus on –

    Also – Duck Soup is hands down the most funny film ever – perhaps even over Holy Grail – the “mirror” scene, the alarm clock scene, everything – even the street vendor with the ‘slow burn’ and everything else. Absurdist genius.

    “Peaaaanuts – to you”

  • Arkz_Archduke_of_Geeks

    i liked titan a.e. as well as alexander and sahara.. and i need to see equilibrium just havnt had the chance yet

  • Becca

    Ah, Titan A.E was amazing…although I hated Alexander.

  • copperdragon

    Titan AE was okay…
    Glad to see that you DID NOT include Troy on your list.
    It would have been awesome if they had included the gods/goddesses.

  • T

    I always thought waterworld was a better than the credit it got.

  • kiwiboi

    The Last Boy Scout – ok, it’s a buddy movie, but I never get tired of watching it.

    “This is the ’90s. You don’t just go around punching people. You have to say something cool first.”

  • Coolavsman

    ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ is a great movie. It gets a lot of play on cable channels throughout each year and I always watch at least some of it. It is tedious like no other but a good choice here. I liked ‘Cotton Club’ and I thought ‘Alexander’ was epic. Christians vs. Muslims, back in the day when war was REALLY hell.

  • xcar27

    how about boondock saints?

  • Egg

    Go Intolerance, that movie was one of my favourites of all time. I didn’t think Alexander was good at all, the director didn’t know what he was doing.

  • SlickWilly

    Egg: I have a friend named Egg, short for Egberto (no lie.) Is that your real name or do you just like eggs?

  • this list needs a sequel. good list though, I agree with just about everything on this that I’ve seen. titan ae was a beautiful movie, and equilibrium is possibly the most manly thing I’ve ever seen.

  • Pete

    Don’t forget “Iron Giant”. Great movie! It was never marketed correctly when it came out. The studio really dropped the ball when it came out. Rent it or get it on DVD. You won’t be disappointed!!

  • Marcy

    …aaand they’re added to my Netflix queue.

  • tron

    what about office space?

  • SocialButterfly

    Did Office Space bomb?? I had no idea…

  • satori

    hmmm….all I can say is, meh. Haven’t heard good things about a lot of these.

  • Lewis

    I really wanna see equilibrium, again, is it violent?

  • Mystern

    Lewis: Not a lot of blood but a lot of gunplay. It’s rated R, for violence, but its mostly just special effects.

  • Jacksback

    I’ve gotta say that “Better off Dead” was a great flop. John Cusack as a out-of-luck teen who’s girlfriend dumps him for the captain of the ski team…. If you haven’t seen this, go rent it now!

  • kitty

    where’s “kiss kiss, bang bang”???

  • Diogenes

    I still have yet to see it- but “Sorcerer” (1977)Directed by William Friedkin. Apparently it did very poorly, as it had opened the same weekend as Star Wars. I heard from others that its really worth the viewing.

    Of Unknown Origin sounds interesting. I’m a fan of Peter Weller. He seems to be in alot of odd films-at least the ones Ive seen.

  • Great list. I absolutely love Equilibrium (sp.) and Sahara. Great job putting this together!

  • Samsara-gx

    I loved Titan A.E. I watched it back at my home contry, and I loved it!!

  • jrjb

    #3 was very good. Some parts dragged but was a good story overall.
    Anyone know if Boogie Nights made money? Great movie!

  • Hobbes

    Gonna check out Titan AE and Equilibrium. One movie that I can wholeheartedly recommend is Inside I’m Dancing which stars James McAvoy

    Seriously check it out. Parts are LOL funny and other parts desperately sad. Brilliantly acted.

  • rp

    I’d like to add Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to this list. It was pretty much destined to only reach a cult audience. I thought Terry Gilliam bravely stayed true to not only the text but the overall feel of the novel, which in multiple readings came across (to me, at least) as less comedy than a nostalgic statement of the end of an era. Of course, it’s still damn funny, but I think that was not so much Thompson’s intention as it was a reflection of his dark gallows style humor showing through.

  • nathan

    Personally i think that the 2003 film gods and generals should be up there, it lost around 28 million dollars but is actually a pretty good movie. The island would also be on the list had it not done better over seas.

  • nathan

    personally i think the 2003 film gods and generals should be on the list, it lost 28 million dollars but was actually pretty good. If the over seas box office was not so great then the 2005 sci fi the island would also have to be on the list.

  • KC

    I’m SO glad to see Equilibrium on this list!

    This is one of my favorite movies ever. Everybody I’ve ever shown it to has fallen in love with it. My description of it would be that it’s a mix of 1984, Farenheit 451, and the Matrix.

    “No, not without incident”

    AH. Pure love.

  • momo

    omg yes Titan A.E. is on this! That’s one of my all-time favorite animated movies. I’m gonna have to watch Equilibrium now, it looks awesome.

  • juleigh

    I loved The Cotton Club. It was beautifully done.

  • Katie

    Equilibrium is one of my favorite movies of all time! The puppy scene as well as the one where he listens to music both made me weep. Great list!

  • Euan

    Duck soup is funny, Equilibrium is good, but Alexander was just bad. I like long movies, I like the story of Alexander the Great, but that movie was full of shitty acting. And I don't think the way they show classical morals, as you call it, right at all. It makes Alexander look like a fag were most people were not, which is not how it was, as far as I know.

    • geoff

      Actually, homosexuality was very common in Classical Greece. Look it up.

  • BridgeTroll

    I loooved titan ae when I was little. It was pretty unique for such a lame movie.

  • KK

    Equilibrium is great, I’m surprised it bombed! But I suppose thats all part of its genius… XP

  • Haste4

    It is very surprising that Sahara bombed. Usually *hitty movies make money at the box office, i.e. Bride Wars.

  • nick

    i must be a sucker for lists, because this guy has horrible taste in movies.

  • 1mortim

    Cotton Club, Titan AE and Equilibrium should have done better, no doubt.

    But Alexander and Sahara? These are just AWEFUL movies! They didn’t deserve the money they actually managed to trick people out of!

  • faketree78

    I watched Equilibrium last night. WOW. In many ways, the action is superior in this movie than in The Matrix. The Gun Kata is an awesome idea and is shot in such a way as to make it a cross between The Matrix and any high-budget chinese martial art flick.

    Really the only thing I didn’t like about the movie was the unusual casting of Taye Diggs. This guy is a terrible actor in the first place so putting him next to a great actor like Bale really makes him look even more terrible.

  • Shaaronie

    I have seen Once Upon a Time in America and Duck Soup. Both excellent films, I totally agree.

  • vendetta_green

    I’m very glad to see Alexander included in this list. So many people never gave this film a chance. It was definitely a victim of the “pile on” mentality of media critics and general moviegoers since the first trailer appeared. For me, it’s in my personal top 5 (which includes Braveheart, The Crow, Godfather Part II, and Lord of the Rings)

    Another film I’d add to this list is Kingdom of Heaven, for much of the same reasons as Alexander.

  • jquay

    I loved Of Unknown Origin. Who among us hasn’t matched wits with one of God’s more disgusting creations and nearly trashed our house in the process? Well maybe it was just me and Peter Weller, but it was a cool flick.

    I’m pretty sure it would be considered a bomb, but whenever I stumble across Starship Troopers (the original) I can’t help but watch it. It’s the Beastmaster of the new millennium.

    Last – bucslim, good call on Park’s revenge trilogy. Disturbing in places, but definitly great movies.

  • marvmarvin

    Yup, here we go again…Equilibrium. I rented that years ago, watched it with my girlfriend, she fell asleep within 10 minutes, and I thought to myself “Okay, it’s dumb, but at least the action will be entertaining.” Nope. I mean, come on…Gunkata?!? GUNKATA?!!!???!? That final fight sequence was pathetic and looked silly. The first “martial art” fight scene in Team America was more entertaining. I will never understand why people insist on liking this turd of a movie. There is a way to be derivative and still make good stuff (Tarantino anyone?), but this…AAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!! So many good actors (Emily Watson must’ve gotten paid big or her agent put a gun to her head), so little good ideas, and a lot of dumb ones. GUNKATA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Peter M

    sahara, seriously????

  • 14gotmyMANTRA

    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang!

  • Sandy

    Might I also suggest “Children of Men”? A commercial failure, but a phenomenal movie.

  • Davis

    agree on equilibrium and especially Titan AE, but Sahara is just not that good, and Alexander is horrible for reasons other than morals and length.

  • tinky

    i did a sum 13 page paper on alexander the great and i turned the movie off after they changed the name of alexander’s beloved horse. if they changed such a minute detail who knows what else they would do?

  • laviniaa

    ok, donnie darko bombed and it was an AMAZING MOVIE! everyone needs to watch it
    i scrolled to the bottom of the list to see if it was included, and it most definitely should be, SUCH a good movie!

  • Jim

    Equilibrium was B.A. What a great idea for a movie. Emotions are illegal. The Gun Kata is insane.

  • nicoleredz3

    Equilibrium rules!

  • Drew

    Alexander deserved to be a BOMB!!!
    Not because of the suggested gay relationship. But because the battle scenes were terrible and Oliver Stone portrayed Alexander as wanting to bring democracy to the world, which is insane since he was… you know… conquoering the world and was a KING?!?!?! Awful acting and story and battle scenes- only good things: Angelina Jolie and Rosario Dawson!

  • Mantis

    Wow i disagree so much with this list. The only one that belings on this list is Titan A.E. How about Luck Number Sleven, Basic, Walk Hard, i could go on but my point being there are way better under-rated movies out their than these pieces of crap.

  • Amber

    How utterly ridiculous it is that some people close-mindedly slam Alexander because of the homosexual aspects portrayed within the film! I feel that homosexuals are as respectable as heterosexuals, and I, for one, find the relationship between Alexander and Hephaestion touching. There is definitive historical evidence that they were involved, including a letter from Diogenes of Sinope, written to Alexander when he was a grown man, in a letter, that accuses Alexander of being “… ruled by Hephaestion’s thighs.” I think that attempting to airbrush this out of history makes a mockery out of history and love.

  • Neal

    I can't believe "Sahara" and "Equilibrium" are on here but not "Heaven's Gate" !!!

  • joe

    Shawshank redemption?

  • equilibrium was fantastic

  • Stan

    Check out "Withnail and I"

  • boone_olmy

    I think Once upon a time in america was terrible and deserves its bomb status.

    Two movies that come to mind would be Payback with Mel Gibson and The Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie. The first time I saw these movies I thought "Why have I never heard of this?"

  • Lindsey

    Citizen Kane.

  • evan

    This is a great list except for the inclusion of Sahara.

  • coco bird

    yeahhhhhh they all insignificant and utterly boring
    now we know why they failed at the box office and believe me it’s not becasue bad advertising

  • DanF

    Was once upon a time in America a bomb????

    I liked Troy and i dont think that did too well….the man in the iron mask also

  • Kopmel

    I loved Equilibium, anything with Christian Bale in it is bound to be good!!!

  • Max

    Why is Donnie Darko not on here!? Really?

  • geoff

    As a professor of Classics and Antiquity at Monash University, I can say without any hesitation that Alexander is an atrocity. Classic morals? What classic morals? The film is self-serving, gratituous in its portrayal of sex and violence, inaccurate and only reinforces stereotypes of other cultures in the ancient world, most of which have been disproven. Please, don’t even get me started on the accents and the wigs. The only reason one should see the film is to garner an understanding of what the ancient world was not.

  • Alexander was a dud because you can’t really buy Colin Farrell in the role (any more than you could buy Brad Pitt as Achilles in Troy). C’mon, seriously?

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