Some are the biggest box office bombs of 2008; others just plain failed. Laugh along with us, won’t you?
:: The Spiderwick Chronicles
“Bomb” may not be the right term for a $71 million grosser, so allow me to elaborate. When a movie is distributed to over 3800 screens — as Paramount secured with Spiderwick — there’s an expectation of success greater than this. At the very least, this is a disappointment. A relative comparison: the third Mummy film (fourth? I get confused) landed about 70 fewer screens, yet earned $30 million more.
And The Spiderwick Chronicles had an IMAX run, where ticket prices are higher. I haven’t even mentioned the film’s alleged budget: $90 million.
:: Speed Racer
The Wachowskis overdid it — okay, they overdid it again — the critics were unkind and the crowds stayed away. Another IMAX release, this misguided adaptation (a loose term for sure), earned just $43 million on over 3600 screens. And the estimated budget was a monster: $120 million. Thankfully, star Emile Hirsch will be remembered this year for his role in Milk, not his sci-fi driving prowess.
:: Babylon A.D.
Remember when Vin Diesel had promise? Not just box office promise, but real acting opportunities. That seems all but gone, especially with this retread of Diesel roles that looked dark and damning, but was D.O.A. with audiences. The film earned just under $25 million on over 3400 screens. So, how ’bout that new Fast & Furious entry?
:: The X-Files: I Want to Believe
You hear that theme-song whistling? It’s the one guy in your local theater sitting through this bizarre business decision from Fox (the studio, not Mulder). The brand was big enough to get on more than 3100 screens. But overdone enough to only earn just over $20 million.
:: Meet Dave
So Eddie Murphy plays an alien. No, no Eddie Murphy plays an alien ship that looks like Eddie Murphy. Wha? Huh? Is anyone there? Brian Robbins’ weird little sci-fi release bombed big, bringing in just $11 million+ on 3000 screens. Ooof. The budget for Fox (eek, again) is reported around $60 million.
:: The Love Guru
Mike Myers’ biggest failure in years, if only because it was promoted heavily — including a character appearance on American Idol — but sank at the box office, due in part to some immensely bad reviews. Paramount rolled it into just over 3000 screens; the total take was about $32 million. If you’d like a comparison, Pineapple Express had similar distribution and cleared $87 million.
:: The Rocker
Rainn Wilson couldn’t drum up enough business (get it, “drum up’?!) to stay off this review — and yeah, it’s another Fox film. The Rocker did just over $6 million on over 2700 screens. Sounds like fans watched The Office reruns instead.
:: Punisher: War Zone
This one is still in the Top 60, but it’s started slow enough to make the list. It opened with a $4 million weekend and has reached about $8 million — on over 2500 screens.
:: Sex Drive
Put aside the bizarre online banner ads with Seth Green as an Amish guy and you get… well, you only get about $8 million on 2400+ screens. You can’t just Xerox those Judd Apatow comedies, guys.
This small, strangely cast animated film, a real underdog story from Freestyle Releasing, had the worst opening weekend of any wide release ever — and was pulled from theaters after one week. Total screens: 2160. Total gross: $512,000.
A superb cast. A visionary director (sorry). An empty theater. After two weeks, this tale of an odd optical outbreak left theaters with only $3 million earned on about 1600 screens. At least the budget was reported at $25 million, not bad considering a salary list that includes Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal and Danny Glover.
:: Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show
I give Vaughn credit for trying to give his stand-up buddies some exposure, but they had too little visibility to begin with. And the film spends more time backstage than onstage. Huh? Wild West hit 962 screens, earning $464,000.
:: Proud American
Never heard of this one? You’re not alone. Writer-director Fred Ashman’s five-story documentary was not only a box office bomb, it was about as poorly received as a film can be. IMDb voters have given the film 1.4 out of 10, and there’s only one positive review out of nine on Rotten Tomatoes. Proud American hit 750 screens, but pulled in only $96,000.
:: The Hottie and the Nottie
Here’s a film starring Paris Hilton. We’ll leave it there. First weekend: The doors open at 111 theaters. One week later: They all close, with a total take of just $28,000. I wonder how Paris did on the backend? (Probably quite well. Sorry again.) This one’s currently #16 on the IMDb’s Bottom 100 of all time.
:: Midnight Meat Train
It’s pulling into your town! Whoops, no it’s not. Lionsgate shoulda just gone to DVD with this baby — a horror movie should never have comparable numbers to an attempt at comedy by Paris Hilton. Yet, this train arrived at 102 theaters and sliced up a whole big $34,000.
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