Thanks to the support of Spill, and Spilldos like you, I decided to do a second blog of the Box Office Flops of 2009 to cover EVEN MORE of the Bombs that 2009 had offered us. While this was a great year for movies, you do really have to look into how the films are marketed and given a specific date. Many of the films listed this time are actually between September and December.
While many films fall under fierce competition, others tend to peter out due to their premise or how taboo/daring they are. Sometimes it's situational, but other times the content of the film can really save it or cause it's demise. I'm actually noticing a ton of really good limited release movies this year that turned into full on wide releases such as Up In The Air
But with the grandiose selection we have of movies today, it's time to take a look back at the films that fell through the cracks or never scratched the surface in the first place.
1. Funny People
Unlike with my last blog where the final movie was the one movie that hit me to home, I'll begin by covering the movie Funny People
, which I know is not everyone's favorite, but it definitely spoke to me. I do definitely agree with the reviewers that not every joke was great and that the film needed to be cut by about 20 minutes, but it's a really solid drama/comedy mix. And with the name of Judd Apatow
supporting it, you're probably wondering what went wrong.
While I enjoy Funny People
, I can easily see that people didn't go to it because lots was revealed in the trailer. Not to mention that this is a serious
movie with Adam Sandler
who will we always acknowledge as the silly, over-the-top wacky comedian. I think the film actually could of broke even, but this film went really insane with advertising. They had a stand-up tour, a show-within-the-movie that they did miniepisodes for called "Yo Teach!" to support the movie, and not to mention the tons and tons of cameos. Some which felt crow-barred, but others that were worth it. (Like with Ray Romano
Budget: 75 Million Dollars
Gross Revenue: 61 Million Dollars
and V for Vendetta
, it's no surprise that we would dig into graphic novels for movie ideas. But unlike the cult following or the people behind those books, Whiteout
was a very interesting choice. But it does sound really interesting, right? Murder in the severe cold? Could be fun like The Thing
Well...this movie was listed in Rotten Tomatoes' 100 Worst Movies of the Decade List.
Right at Rank 100, but that still counts.
Something like this doesn't appear to be hard to cross-over, but the movie was filled with errors when it came to both the characters and the premise. The premise can sound really silly for a movie, but with a book you can explore much more detail to the character's feelings and motives. And I also heard that Kate Beckinsale's
role was not like the woman in the book, so that would even turn off purists. Combine that with it going against a Madea movie and another horror film...you're gonna have problems.
Budget: 35 Million Dollars
Gross Revenue: 12 Million Dollars
A movie such as Pandorum
is really interesting. It had the type of advertising where you don't really know what's going to happen despite the premise. So you could get a really entertaining ride from this, or it could disappoint you greatly. With really gory and stylish images, it can easily turn keep you away rather than pull you in. So where did this story go?
Pandorum was said to be a cool, new idea for the Sci-Fi genre, but it had a really bloated and meandering plot. That always seems to be the killer for serious films, wouldn't you say? And while it got pimped out at Comic-Con and had a good amount of advertising, people didn't seem to gravitate towards the movie. I think this film had the same money issue, going against a thriller in the very same week, with Surrogates
Budget: 40 Million Dollars
Gross Revenue: 13 Million Dollars
4. Where The Wild Things Are
Talk about a film that was anticipated. A story based off a beloved children's book that's only about 20+ pages. It's this that makes you wonder where it's going to go. Directed by Spike Jonze
, you can automatically look at the trailer thinking that the movie will be beautiful and that it's going to keep the mood of the book in tact. No need for appealing to the kids with silly pop culture references. The question on everyone's mind though was "Could this film blow us away? What would you be able to pull off?"
Well, from Where The Wild Things Are
we DID get a really beautiful, visually inspiring movie. (This is the year for special effects, wouldn't you say?) But many people, critics included, felt the film was too dark and adult for children. While Spike Jonze himself said that this film was about childhood, it was not necessarily a film aimed at kids. And because this film was extended from a short book, a lot of filler was added in there in the form of scenery and darker scenes. Because the trailers themselves might of been a bit too "out there" I think it might of intimidated people to see the movie. While not a total flop, it still didn't break it's budget.
Budget: 100 Million Dollars
Gross Revenue: 76 Million Dollars
5. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Caught up in Twilight
phenomina, stories about everything supernatural, not just vampires, have really been popping up everywhere. And what better place to mine than a book series that not a lot of people have heard about? Cirque du Freak was a heavily advertised movie, but not one that lasted for a very long time from what I recall, but it was a very interesting experiment.
I think this film gave off a funky vibe when it came out. It was definitely not Twilight
, it had more a vibe of Coraline
with mystery and gothic features but in the context of a familiar vampire film. I think the name itself shoo'd people away, along with the aim at teenagers. It didn't appear to be very interesting, but I don't think the film itself was flawed. To me, this film, along with the next film on the list really were doomed because they had to fight against the Saw
Budget: 40 Million Dollars
Gross Revenue: 25 Million Dollars
6. Astro Boy
An anime properity? Turned into a movie? For theatrical release? Astro Boy
looked like a pretty good candidate for an anime-turned-movie since it could appeal to kids, animation fans, and even old animation buffs. The advertising wasn't everywhere, but I'd say there was just enough for people to know about it. I think that if you went on Spill or other internet websites a lot, you'd catch a trailer or ad or two about the movie.
That appeared to be the key problem since while Saw
is a franchise, it is an Adult/Teenager based franchise and Astro Boy
could appeal to everyone. I think not only did it not have enough advertising, but the trailer itself wasn't very appealing. You have Nicolas Cage
as one of the main voice actors, sounding just like Nicolas Cage
and you have this oddly shoved in female protagonist that I guess is to appeal to girls. Not to mention, it feels a little dumb-downed because it's pandering to that and the trailer ends with guns coming out of Astro Boy's butt. I think if the trailer were tweaked more, it could of made more money.
Budget: 65 Million Dollars
Gross Revenue: 28 Million Dollars
7. Planet 51
Now if you remember Leon's statement's of the movie...Astro Boy
didn't do dick due to a lack of advertising. But this film was advertised everywhere. I remember months before the movie came out, there were stickers and posters all over the theater for this movie. And the commercials really seemed interesting showing good snippets from the movie while playing the catchy The Killers' song called "Spaceman." Another important factor is that while this movie is independantly animated, it looks just like a Dreamworks Picture.
This film was kind of doomed...which is kind of sad because this is said to be the most expensive film from Spain. For one, this is an amazing year for animation, PERIOD
. And Planet 51
is really the only stain this year in terms of animated movies. And while some weren't great, none were bad like Planet 51
. Not to mention, it went against ton of money-makers such as New Moon
, and The Blind Side
. With kids films coming out a week later, this film really only had that one weekend to make a ton of money.
Learn that lesson, Spain!
Budget: 70 Million Dollars
Gross Revenue: 43 Million Dollars
8. Did You Hear About The Morgans?
I can't really say much about this movie, since it didn't have too much advertising...maybe it felt doomed going up against Avatar
, so it didn't try much. It had to deal with an insane blockbuster and another adult comedy with It's Complicated
. I think what can be said about this film is best covered by the Spill Crew.
Budget: 58 Million Dollars
Gross Revenue: 29 Million Dollars
So keep in mind, both filmmakers and moviegoers. It's important to do your research when it comes to a film. Even if you heard a lot or a little on a film, a little research can go along way. You might lose some of the spontaneity and surprise for a film, you might save 8 or more dollars by going to see something else. There's nothing with seeing a highly anticipated movie or a completely unknown, but acknowledgement is crucial.