2019 saw the coronation of a new Highest-Grossing Movie Of All Time, with ‘Avengers: Endgame’. The year’s box office ticket gross just crossed the $11 billion mark. And the following list showcases ten movies which contributed to that gross… just in a small way.
As is usual, one movie has slipped in at the last minute which will go down as one of the biggest flops of the year. That actually nudged ‘Doctor Sleep’ off of this list. Yes, ‘Doctor Sleep’ flopped, but not as spectacularly as these others.
Generally speaking, a movie needs to make twice its production budget to break even. None of these did that. Also, this list only contains movies that qualify as science fiction or fantasy or are at least adjacent, so congrats to ‘Charlie’s Angels’ for not factoring in here.
So without further ado, here are the Top 10 Genre Flops of 2019.
10. Gemini Man
Production Budget: $138M
Global Gross: $173M
Director Ang Lee wasted a ton of time and money working on the high-speed frame rate method of shooting, which literally no one cares about when more time should have been spent delivering a fresh script. From the first trailer, this looked like a throwback to generic action flicks of the ’90s.
9. Dark Phoenix
Production Budget: $200M
Global Gross: $252M
The ‘X-Men’ movies have had some high highs and some low lows. Rather than break away from the muddled past and deliver something new (which is what ‘Deadpool’ did), for some reason, the decision was made to try and “fix” an early misfire, ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’. Audiences already didn’t care about Fox’s take on the ‘X-Men’, since the property is headed over to Disney/Marvel Studios, so they sure as hell didn’t want a retread of a story that was already told.
On the plus side: DAZZLER!
8. Terminator: Dark Fate
Production Budget: $185M
Global Gross: $258.5M
Speaking of stories that have already been told, every ‘Terminator’ movie has the exact same plot. Robo-pocalypse, time travel, killer ‘bots, “must protect human savior.” Lather, rinse, repeat. ‘Terminator 2’ was as massive as it was because it took the story from the first movie and cranked it to 11, and threw in cutting edge CGI morphing technology. If they aren’t going to deliver innovative tech, these movies need to try telling a new story. Maybe then viewers will want this franchise to “be baaaaack.”
Production Budget: $50M
Global Gross: $41M
The first ‘Hellboy’ is great. I don’t care for ‘Golden Army’, but I have friends that do. But either way, neither was a box office smash. No one was really clamoring for a reboot, but considering that the first two were made in the last 20 years, they aren’t so ancient that people just forgot about them. Casual viewers didn’t get why Ron Perlman was replaced by David Harbour. Diehards hated that Guillermo del Toro wasn’t involved. That means that the audience for this movie was… no one.
6. The Kid Who Would Be King
Production Budget: $60M
Global Gross: $32M
This seems to be the most unfair flop of the year. Reviews and audience reactions were excellent. But it’s yet another adaptation of the King Arthur story, and audiences seem fatigued with ancient IPs like that, and Robin Hood, and so forth. But this one is definitely worth checking out on home video or streaming.
Production Budget: $20M
Global Gross: $7.7M
Considering how imaginative the subject of this biopic was, he deserved something more colorful than this drippy period slog. And considering that ‘Tolkien’ was made for very little money, it’s remarkable that it ranks so high on this list.
4. Captive State
Production Budget: $25M
Global Gross: $8.5M
This was another low-budget movie, but it just could not find an audience. But generally speaking, the reviews were not kind. It may have had potential, but it was poorly executed.
3. Playmobil: The Movie
Production Budget: $40M
Global Gross: $13.7M
I never played with Playmobil toys. I didn’t know anyone that did. Someone has to. They’ve existed as long as I can remember. They’re expensive as hell. Someone somewhere is buying them.
After ‘The LEGO Movie’ became a huge hit that crossed over beyond the family audience, a bunch of studios started developing toy movies. They should stop.
This is the lowest amount of money a movie that has opened on over 2,000 screens has ever made. However, due to its production budget, it isn’t the biggest flop of the year.
Production Budget: $30M
Global Gross: $4M
It’s odd that Keanu Reeves is being so showered with internet love these days, yet 2019 saw the release of his poorest-performing picture of his entire career.
‘Replicas’ was a low-budget, low-profile flick. It wasn’t supposed to be massive, but arriving in the dead zone of early January, it sank like a stone. Luckily, Reeves bounced back quite triumphantly in his cult-favorite ‘John Wick’ film series, which released its third installment this year, subtitled ‘Parabellum’.
Production Budget: $95M
Global Gross: $38M (still in wide release)
‘Cats’ only makes this list because it’s kind of a fantasy. Like I said, it nudged ‘Doctor Sleep’ off of this list, but it did so in such spectacular fashion that it begs to be discussed. This was expected to be this year’s ‘Greatest Showman’. It was not.
The stage production of ‘Cats’ has a niche audience, but the movie tossed out so many chunks of the stage show that it managed to alienate those OG fans while failing to attract a broader mainstream audience.
At the very least, the original song “Beautiful Ghosts” co-written by original composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and pop princess Taylor Swift (who appears in one scene of the movie as Bombalurina) should have been a shoo-in for Best Original Song from a movie, and it even failed in that regard as Universal has withdrawn ‘Cats’ from consideration in any awards categories, thanks to its rotten reception. At this point, it looks as though ‘Cats’ will lose $71 million, which places it at this dubious spot as the biggest flop of the year.
Did you see any of these movies? Were any of them unfairly judged? Feel free to comment below!