The hype cycle can be a very cruel thing. At one moment, the worldwide press will promote the hell out of an upcoming project, be it a new album from a popular artist, the latest book from a best-selling author, or an upcoming movie that looks too good to fail. But as experts in those fields know full well, hype doesn’t always equate to a stronger bottom line. And that’s especially true in the case of films, where huge budgets can lead to movies flopping harder than anyone could have anticipated.
And in the past year, there have been at least a handful of films that have been hyped to the end of the earth and back only to fail miserably. Sure, a few have come close to recouping their losses thanks to international distribution—read: outside of the domestic U.S. market—but there’s a relevant mathematical calculation you can use to see if a film flopped or not. You take the worldwide box office gross, divided it by two, and then subtract the production budget from that amount. If you get a negative amount, well, then you know what that means. The numbers associated with these films stem from Box Office Mojo and are rough estimates.
While we were mostly fond of the tale of Turbo and its message driven home (no pun!) by Theo, not too many were keen on the film itself. Still, it’s sitting quite all right with a total score of 67 percent at Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t bad at all. But despite it doing better worldwide than it did in domestically, the lil’ snail that could … well, it couldn’t. The film ended up costing DreamWorks and distributor Fox a total of 11.9 million.
White House Down
We didn’t harp on this film nearly as much as most critics did, mostly because we realized that it’s supposed to be a mindless slab of action nonsense. But White House Down sit at a 50 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. It fell apart even harder when the worldwide gross failed to really pick up the slack. Making $204.5 million looks good on paper, but it actually isn’t that great with a $150 million budget. That leads to a loss of $47.7 million for Sony/Columbia.
Jack The Giant Slayer
While we didn’t get around to reviewing Jack The Giant Slayer, the 52 percent total at Rotten Tomatoes speaks for itself. So does the fact that it cost $195 million to make but only brought in $197 million worldwide. Yeesh. That’s a negative $96.2 million for folks at Warner Bros. and New Line.
It’s not often that we see Jeff Bridges in such a painfully awful movie, but that’s just what happened with the critically destroyed R.I.P.D.. We only highlighted the trailer for this one, but that seemed to have been the best decision for everyone anyway. Why? Well, when you only make $76.2 million worldwide and fail to match your budget of $130 million, that means very, very bad things. Like, $91.9 million in losses. Sorry, Universal?
The Lone Ranger
Were you fond of The Lone Ranger? No? Well, neither was our writer Chris Banks, who gave it a 2 out of 5 and noted that it “takes forever to get going then never seems to end.” Fair enough, Mr. Banks, because it seems like everyone else would agree. This film is another case of a huge budget causing financial mayhem, in this case for Buena Vista. With $215 million going into the film and just $260 million grossed worldwide, that’s a net loss of $84.8 million.
Despite all of this, it’ll be interesting to see how their revenue changes when they are all released to DVD/Blu-ray and streaming services. Take the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age, for example. It’s currently up for viewing on Picturebox, a service that features new films based on the picks of a panel of cinema lovers. Even thought The Golden Age got slammed by critics upon its release, instances like this show that not all reviews might be right. In other words, take anything you read with a grain of salt, especially if you’re interested in the film in the first place.