Table of Contents
- Fantastic Beasts suffered from casting changes and waning interest, leading to plummeting box office performances for each successive film in the series.
- The X-Men franchise took a nose dive with confusing timelines and stories that felt void, resulting in Dark Phoenix becoming one of the least popular films in the series.
- The Marvels struggled to attract an audience due to superhero fatigue and a complex story, with the prequel series, Ms. Marvel, also receiving intense review bombing.
Most major motion pictures are developed in the hopes that they will turn a profit at the box office, but some movies are almost guaranteed to bomb before they ever release. The box office is a key metric for films that will have any kind of theatrical release. While budgets vary from film to film, the expectation is that a movie will recover the cost to develop and produce it and pay back the investors who helped to fund it in the first place.
However, this isn’t always the case. Some films end up bombing and losing multiple millions, and while not every failure is predictable, there have been several films, particularly in franchises, that had almost no chance of making good at the box office. Whether the franchise was already on the decline, the movie failed to get any sort of marketing, or it failed to connect with audiences, some movies are doomed to fail.
10 Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore
Casting Changes And Waning Interest
While Harry Potter became one of the most successful franchises in history with eight films, seven best-selling books, a stage play, and Pottermore expanding the lore, the spin-off movies didn’t enjoy the same success. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had a great deal of promise, and some solid performances, but a string of bad luck around its central antagonists’ actors, and controversy about the author led to plummeting box office performances for each successive film in the series (via The Numbers). The series was expected to continue beyond The Secrets of Dumbledore, but the franchise couldn’t sustain it.
9 Dark Phoenix
A Reboot, Turned Sequel With A Muddled Timeline
The X-Men franchise was incredibly popular with a trilogy released between 2000 and 2006, but when a reboot for the series came alongside the releases of Wolverine movies starring Hugh Jackman and the Deadpool series, it tanked. X-Men: First Class performed well, and its sequel Days of Future Past blended the timelines to become one of the most successful films of the X-Men franchise, but the series took a nose dive from there with confusing timelines and stories that felt void. Dark Phoenix suffered the brunt of this failure, becoming one of the least popular films in the series.
10 Great Marvel Characters Failed By X-Men Movies
The X-Men are some of Marvel’s most iconic characters, but their original film franchise failed their heroes and villains in multiple ways.
8 The Marvels
Review Bombing, Superhero Fatigue, And A Complex Story
Earlier superhero movies were easy to watch and could capture a viewer’s attention with exciting characters and superhuman feats. However, after two decades of being bombarded with flashy heroes in fancy suits, the genre is stuck in a rut. Combine this with a complex story following three female heroes from two different TV series and a movie, and The Marvels struggled to attract an audience. Ms. Marvel, one of the prequel series to this film, also received intense review bombing, which possibly contributed to the show receiving some of the lowest ratings for an MCU series to date (via Forbes).
7 Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom
The Last Struggling Breath Of The DCEU
DC Films announced a major restructuring with James Gunn and Peter Safran becoming co-CEOs of DC Studios in 2022. Soon after, they announced intentions to scrap the DCEU and all that came before in favor of a new, more streamlined DCU, providing a fresh start. With four more movies still to come from the DCEU, confusion set in as the remaining films appeared pointless. The DCEU had struggled for years to find its footing, and with some popular and long-awaited sequels due to finally be released, it could have enjoyed a degree of success. But instead, they became redundant.
6 The Flash
Long Overdue With A Troubled Star
Ezra Miller had gotten into several points of legal trouble before the release of The Flash, and despite the movie being completed, it experienced several delays that messed with the timeline. However, the movie which was long revealed to deal with the Flashpoint storyline from the comics was viewed as a potential reset for the DCEU into the DCU. Despite this, drama around the star, the confusing shuffling at DC, and underwhelming CGI left this movie lagging behind.
5 Shazam! Fury Of The Gods
Does Shazam Have A Future?
Once again, questions swirling about whether characters would continue into the future of the DCU circulated ahead of Shazam’s release, and despite the series’ popularity, nothing was clear. Shazam was one of the best-performing films of the DCEU compared with its much smaller budget (via The Numbers), so it would have made sense to keep the character. However, the lack of clear communication of who will and won’t appear in the DCU resulted in this sequel flopping.
9 DCEU Movies That Divided Critics & Audiences The Most
Differences in opinion between critics and audiences are common in the superhero genre, but some DCEU movies have created a particularly large gulf.
4 Strange World
Lack Of Marketing And Possible Political Agendas
Strange World was released in theaters on November 23, 2022, and released on Disney+ exactly one month later. The movie features Disney’s first openly gay lead in an animated film, but the film’s short release window and lack of marketing resulted in a huge financial loss (via Looper). The film featured a star-studded cast, and when it was released on Disney+, Strange Worlds quickly became popular with streaming audiences. The lack of marketing and the narrow release window certainly didn’t help the box office for Strange World.
3 Birds Of Prey
Harley Quinn Cash Grab
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn immediately forged a fanatical fanbase with the character becoming one of the most cosplayed at comic conventions everywhere, but the Birds of Prey movie didn’t make sense. The movie was initially released with a ridiculously long and pompous title and the whole project felt like style over substance embodied. Robbie delivers, as do the others on screen, but the story, a brief cameo from Jared Leto’s deeply disliked Joker, and a story that picks up from nowhere and ends in the same place was bound to flop, and it did.
Trying And Failing To Launch Another Superhero Universe
With the rise of the MCU, and other shared universes gaining success, studios looked to other comic-inspired stories in hopes of starting the next big thing. Vin Diesel’s debut as Bloodshot was intended to launch the Valiant Comics universe, but between criticism for Diesel’s performance, theater closures due to the pandemic, and lack of awareness around the character, the film bombed, earning just shy of $40 million (via Box Office Mojo). Ultimately, there was no hope for another comic book universe launching to great success on the heels of Avengers: Endgame which came out just one year earlier.
1 Monster Hunter
Video Game Movies Are Notoriously Bad
The last few years have finally started to break the curse on video game movie adaptations, but that wasn’t the case for 2020’s Monster Hunter. Starring Milla Jovovich of The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil films, there were high hopes for Monster Hunter. However, the film continued the tradition of poor video game adaptations and garnered largely negative reviews, but it was praised for the visuals. Despite this, Monster Hunter never stood a chance at slaying at the box office.