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10 Eagerly Anticipated Movies That Failed to Meet the Hype

by Jeffrey Morris
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

When a movie release is anticipated by fans, it is expected that it will meet expectations and sell at the box office. This is just logical. However, Hollywood has taught us a lot of lessons—some of them unbelievable. There have been movies that were widely anticipated by fans, but in the end, the sales did not justify the anticipation.

These are ten movies that were eagerly anticipated by fans but failed to meet the hype and sell upon release.

Related: Top 10 Movies That Helped Ruin Filmmaking

10 The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

Why The Lego Movie 2 Flopped

The Lego Movie has a strong appeal—it is a tribute to one of the most favorite toys of the last half-century. The Lego Movie was well received by fans all over the world, and it became a resounding box office success, grossing $468.1 million worldwide on a budget of $60-$65 million. Following Hollywood tradition, a successful movie deserves a sequel. Last year, fans of the movie Top Gun rushed to the cinemas to enjoy the sequel Top Gun: Maverick. This is the spirit when a great film gets a sequel.

So when The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was announced, there was much anticipation and excitement. Fans rejoiced at the release of the trailer for the movie in 2018. But when the movie was finally released in 2019, it performed poorly in theaters. Although the movie made a decent profit, grossing $192.5 million on a budget of $99 million, the sales did not justify the huge anticipation for the movie’s release.[1]

9 Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 – The iPhone of Movie Sequels

The 1982 movie Blade Runner is a great movie that is still being viewed today. The film nearly always features prominently on best science-fiction all-time lists. So when the sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was announced, fans were really excited. Additionally, the movie had a budget of $150 to $185 million, which puts it on the same page with movies like Avengers. Despite the anticipation for the movie, Blade Runner 2049 has become a cautionary tale for movie producers.

It only managed to gross $267.5 million worldwide. Looking at it from a logical perspective, the movie was profitable. But considering the anticipation for its release and the fact that it was widely regarded as a great movie by the people who saw it, we cannot refer to it as a box office success. This is a movie that was expected to sell and deserved to sell but failed to sell.[2]

8 Crimes of the Future (2022)

CRIMES OF THE FUTURE is the Most Disgusting Movie of the Year? | Explained

In the weeks leading up to the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, the movie Crimes of the Future was the movie on everyone’s minds. This is because it was a David Cronenberg movie, his first feature film since 2014. The fact that David Cronenberg was returning to the body horror genre that he pioneered in the 1980s made Crimes of the Future a widely anticipated movie.

Sadly, the movie failed woefully, grossing $4.6 million on a budget of $27 million. Despite a summer theatrical release that allowed it to capitalize on the buzz from the Cannes Film Festival, the movie became a historic box office flop.[3]

7 Catwoman (2004)

Catwoman – The Worst Superhero Movie Ever Made?

The movie Catwoman had two advantages. First, it had a star-studded cast led by Halle Berry. Second, the storyline centered around a hugely popular and successful DC Comics character. The movie release was widely anticipated by all because it featured Catwoman. However, the movie became an instant box-office failure. One of the reasons responsible for the flop is that the movie producers did not deem it fit to model the Catwoman character in the movie after the comic book character that was already popular with fans.

There is nothing in the movie that ties it into the world of Batman or Gotham, and none of the heroes from the Comics show up in the movie. The movie’s producers made it a little too obvious that the movie Catwoman was nothing short of a cash grab to enjoy the success of the comic book character without essentially making any effort to understand the character. The movie grossed $82.1 million on a budget of $100 million.[4]

6 John Carter (2012)

John Carter — How Disney Lost 200 Million Dollars | Anatomy Of A Failure

John Carter is in a league of its own when you talk about movies that became financial losses. The movie was originally scheduled to be released as John Carter of Mars, then Disney changed it to John Carter in the final moments before it was released. The movie had a budget of $306.6 million but ended up grossing only $284.1 million in box office sales.

When the movie was announced, fans were in total anticipation. Apart from the exorbitant production expense, Disney invested $100 million into an unfocused marketing campaign that achieved nothing but adding to their expenses. Even though Disney managed to make a visually stunning trailer for the movie, the movie failed to live up to the hype. Critics and audiences alike were underwhelmed by the movie. The movie was unable to connect with audiences, and it made a record loss.[5]

5 Hugo (2011)

Hugo (2011) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

The movie Hugo is a 2011 American adventure drama film. It is based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. When the movie was announced, fans of the book anticipated the release of the film. Things were looking rosy for the movie at the production phase because of its star-studded cast and budget. The movie, however, fell short in terms of sales despite the anticipation for its release.

Even though it had a budget of $150-$170 million, the box office sales globally were merely $185.8 million. Experts are of the opinion that the disastrous failure is due to the fact that the movie had a marketing strategy that confused the audience. While it is actually an adult-oriented art-house movie, it was pitched as a holiday multiplex movie for kids.[6]

4 The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

The Matrix 4 Is A Dumpster Fire! – Spoiler Rant

The fate of the movie The Matrix Resurrections is one that is disastrously unforgettable. It is the sequel to The Matrix Revolutions and the fourth installment in The Matrix movie franchise. The first movie in the series, The Matrix (1999), was a huge commercial success and one of the most popular movies of the decade. It was followed by The Matrix Reloaded, which was released in May 2003.

While The Matrix grossed $460 million on a budget of $63 million, The Matrix Reloaded had a budget of $127-$150 million but grossed $741.8 million worldwide. In the same year, another sequel, The Matrix Revolutions, was released. It had a $110-$150 million budget and grossed $427.3 million. So far, a successful franchise. The negative twist, however, occurred in 2021 when the fourth movie, The Matrix Resurrections, was released.

Many fans thought The Matrix Resurrections would be a huge success considering the producers had to wait for eighteen years before another sequel. It was, however, a colossal failure at the box office. The movie had a budget of $190 million but only sold $159.1 million worldwide.[7]

3 Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen (2009) – Was It Really That Bad?

The movie Watchmen is an adaptation of the popular 1986-1987 DC Comics limited series of the same name. The comic book series is one of the most iconic and acclaimed comics of all time. It is the “Shakespeare” of comic literature. This is why many fans highly anticipated the movie. Several attempts have been made before 2009 to bring the comic book to the big screen, but they all failed.

In 2009, Warner Bros gave Zack Snyder a budget of $138 million to bring the comic book to the big screen. Despite the huge anticipation among fans, the movie failed to sell. The movie grossed $185 million worldwide. Analysts have posited that the film failed to sell because it stuck slavishly close to the source material, beat by beat, panel by exact panel. It is believed that by following the source material too closely, Synder was telling a story he didn’t believe in, which impacted how the audience viewed the movie.[8]

2 Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Everything Wrong With Snakes On A Plane in 18 Minutes or Less

The movie Snakes on a Plane is a 2006 American action film starring Samuel L. Jackson. It is a deserving entry on this list because the movie gained considerable attention online prior to its release. Its marketing photographs became instant memes. The marketing breakthrough moment for the film was when the movie trailer was released. Online fanbases sprung up all over the world.

Not surprisingly, no one expected the movie to gross less than 400 million dollars because of the immense popularity that it had gained online. In order to guarantee the success of the movie, the producers went as far as incorporating feedback from fans into the movie’s production. In the end, the movie was a box office flop with only $62 million in sales worldwide.[9]

1 Steve Jobs (2015)

Steve Jobs – Official Trailer (HD)

The movie Steve Jobs told the true life story of the iconic Apple co-founder. There was great anticipation for the release of the movie because it is a biopic about a highly successful man. Also, the movie had A-listers like Kate Winslet. Unfortunately, the film failed to sell despite all the anticipation.

There are several theories explaining why the movie failed woefully. The most notable of these theories is that Michael Fassbender, who acted as Jobs, did not embody the real enigma that surrounded the real Steve Jobs in his lifetime. The movie grossed $ 34.4 million in box office sales worldwide. This is unbelievable, considering that the movie is based on the life of one of the most admired business magnates in the Western world.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen