Best Box Office Flops, From ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ to ‘Tar’


Matthew Vaughn's “Argylle” has become the first major box office failure of 2024. The action comedy, backed by Apple and distributed by Universal Pictures, opened to just $17 million in its domestic debut and could not even reaching $100 million worldwide by the end of its run. For a $200 million production that boasts an all-star cast including Henry Cavill, John Cena, Dua Lipa, Samuel L. Jackson and many others, these box office numbers are more or less disastrous. The negative reviews (the film has a rating of 32% from 255 reviews) have certainly not contributed to making Argylle a must-see for the public. The film joins a long list of Hollywood duds, but they aren't all created equally. In many unfortunate cases, even great films become box office failures.

It's no wonder that Martin Scorsese went viral several years ago for calling out the industry's obsession with box office numbers, particularly Hollywood's tendency to judge films based on their opening weekend recipes.

“Since the 1980s, the emphasis has been on numbers. It’s pretty disgusting,” Scorsese once said. “The cost of a film is one thing. Understanding that a film costs a certain amount, they at least expect to recoup that amount… The focus now is on the numbers, the cost, the opening weekend, how much it was made in the United States- United, how much it was achieved in England, how much it was achieved. made in Asia, how much it grossed worldwide, how many viewers it attracted. As a filmmaker and as someone who can't imagine life without cinema, I still find this truly insulting. »

Edgar Wright is another major who has taken a stand against box office valuation in recent years, once tell the fans, “The three-day weekend is not the end of the story for any film. People should not buy into this idea. Ranking movies by box office is like the football fan equivalent of movies. Most of my favorite films that are considered classics today were not considered hits in their time.

Even Christopher Nolan recently told the AP that you can't judge a film on the weekend. “I know for myself that the lifespan of a film is a much longer proposition in that you watch other people's films and even your own films for decades, not on weekends,” he said. he declared. “I think the science fiction genre is one where the long term vision is everything. People revisit. They value science fiction in the very long term. The original “Blade Runner”, no one paid attention to it when it was released, was a notorious failure. Then, over time, people like me (found it). I think I was 13 when I first saw a VHS tape.

These acclaimed filmmakers certainly have a point, as many of this century's most critically acclaimed films began as box office failures. Whether it's “Children of Men,” “The Master” or “Under the Skin,” it's become abundantly clear that you can't judge a movie by how disgusting it is. Below, Variety offers a selection of major films that flopped at the box office.



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