Movies and TV

Biggest Movie Bombs of the 90s

Behind each and every scene that you watch in a movie is an unimaginable amount of effort put in by a team of people working behind the camera. No one alone can strive to make the movie a huge success – sometimes, the characters are so dull and lifeless that no matter how much effort actors put in, it is still a flop. However, no one has ever been able to predict the correct formula for making any movie a huge box office success.

The era of the 1990s also bears witness to some of the movies flopping badly, financially as well as commercially. If you want to know about these movies and how much they lost, then keep on reading!

1. The Bonfire of Vanities (1990)

poster for the American theatrical release of the film The Bonfire of the Vanities

Based on the best-selling book of Tom Wolfe, the movie Bonfire of Vanities was received with major disappointment by the critics as well as the audience. It was one of the most over-budgeted movies in Hollywood, starring actors such as Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis.

Both the well-known actors were regarded as a big casting mistake as people never loved seeing Tom Hanks play the yuppie stockbroker and Bruce Willis as an alcoholic journalist. The film was distributed under the banner of Warner Bros and carried a budget of about $47 million. However, it only made a mere 16 million dollars.

2. Hudson Hawk (1991)

poster of the movie Hudson Hawk

Hudson Hawk was directed by Michael Lehmann and had Bruce Willis as the main star. It was an action-comedy movie with a budget of 65 million dollars. However, the movie was a bomb as it was rated, “overwhelmingly dislikable.” The leading papers and magazines, such as Chicago Tribune and Variety, also termed the movie as annoying and boring and beyond bad.

The movie was poorly received in the United States and was mostly regarded as absurd. It was only able to make a domestic gross of $17 million.

3. Cutthroat Island (1995)

Poster of Cutthroat Island

Originally based on a story by Michael Frost Beckner and co-writers, Cutthroat Island was an adventure movie that had a high budget of $98 million. The movie was released simultaneously in the United States, France, Germany, and Italy.

This movie recorded one of the highest losses in the history of the industry, with a massive loss of 147 million dollars. This movie indicated trouble since the beginning – having a chaotic production including rewrites and mistakes in casting. Mostly, Cutthroat Island never made it to people’s expectations because of numerous unrealistic stunts in the movie.

This movie has to face so much financial loss that it retains its position in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest box office flop of all-time (as of April 2012).

4. Father’s Day (1997)

poster for the film Father’s Day

Father’s Day had some big names related to it – Robin Williams as the lead star and Warner Bros as the distributor. It was an attempted remake of the 1983 French movie, “Les Comperes.” The budget of this movie was a staggering high at $85 million.

No matter how funny people find Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, the movie surprised people by actually making these wonderful actors look so unfunny. People were highly disappointed, and the movie only managed to make $35.7 million on the box office.

5. Lolita (1997)

movie poster or DVD cover illustration for movie Lolita.

Lolita was an unsuccessful screen adaptation of the novel by Vladimir Nabokov, bearing the same name. The movie revolved around a middle-aged professor falling for his landlord’s daughter, whose name was Dolores, aka Lo; hence, the name, “Lolita.”

Compared to how common and streamline the story of the movie was, it still had a huge budget of $62 million. However, the movie only managed to gain a domestic gross of $1.1 million.

6. The Postman (1997)

poster of the film The Postman

The Postman, directed and produced by Kevin Costner, was one of the biggest movie bombs on the box office. Against its high budget of 80 million dollars, the movie only managed to make 5.3 million dollars during its initial four days of release. On the whole, the movie only returned $21 million to its makers, incurring a major financial loss and receiving massive negative reviews. The New York Times regarded the movie as having a phony storyline with no good in it.

7. Soldier (1998)

poster for the movie Soldier

The Soldier was a sci-fi movie by Paul W. S. Anderson. The movie attempted to show how a soldier fights against a genetically-enhanced opponent to which his superiors forbade him. It had a huge budget of $60 million, but unfortunately only managed to make $14 million on the box office. The film was a flop as mostly it was regarded as showing nothing new.

8. Beloved (1998)

Theatrical poster for Beloved

A fantasy drama movie starring Oprah Winfrey, the Beloved, was a big financial failure on the box office. The movie only managed to return $22.9 million to its filmmakers as compared to its humongous budget of 80 million dollars.

Though the movie failed big time financially, it was rather well-received among the critics and some viewers. People regarded it as a praiseworthy adaptation of the novel it was originally based upon.

9. Sphere (1998)

poster for the film Sphere

The sphere was a movie that had big names connected with it – starring Dustin Hoffman and Samuel L. Jackson. It was a sci-fi movie shot as a psychological thriller. The budget of this movie was somewhere between 73 to 80 million dollars, against which it only managed to make $50.2 million.

The movie was regarded as a sci-fi movie that lacked any suspense. What is a sci-fi movie with a storyline that everyone could guess? This is the reason why this movie is considered one of the biggest movie bomb of the 90s.

10. Hard Rain (1998)

poster for the film Hard Rain

Produced by Mark Gordon and written by Graham Yost, the movie Hard Rain was a thriller action showcasing a natural disaster. It was released in four countries other than the U.S., including Germany, Denmark, Japan, and the U.K.

It had a budget of $70 million, of which it only struggled to make $19.9 million. This movie received mixed reviews from critics and viewers. Most of them regarded this movie as senseless but entertaining.

11. 13th Warrior (1999)

poster for the film 13th Warrior

The 13th Warrior was a historical action movie that budgeted around 85 to 160 million dollars. Although the movie managed to make $61 million on the box office, it was known as one of the biggest movie bombs in the box office due to its very high marketing and production costs (160 million dollars). The movie mainly received criticisms about being an overly-budgeted one with expensive set designs but no story to attract and retain viewers.

Final Words

Among the biggest movie bombs of the 90s, some of them had big names, such as Tom Hanks and Robin Williams, attached to it. However, as there is no certain formula for a film’s success on the box office, no one could predict the downfall of these movies. These and several other movies had cost their filmmakers more than what was invested in them.

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