January 2 2013

Biggest Box Office Flops of 2012

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It’s that time of year where we see which films were the biggest box office flops of 2012.

2012 has come to a close, so now we can see what films were sure to have gotten at lease a few executives yelled at.

A few notes on the table, the vast majority of those listed are obvious to have not turned a profit, but those that appear to have a total higher than their budget doesn’t mean they made any money. For instance, Disney publicly announced that it was taking a $200 million write off on John Carter.

 Domestic Box OfficeForeign Box OfficeTotalProduction Budget
A Thousand Words$18,450,127$2,108,709 $20,558,836$40 million
Alex Cross$25,863,915N/A$25,863,915$35 million
Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike$3,336,053N/A$3,336,053$10 million
Battleship$65,233,400$237,602,860$302,836,260$209 million
Big Miracle$20,157,300$4,561,915$24,719,215$40 million
Chasing Mavericks$5,940,992N/A$5,940,992$20 million
Cloud Atlas$26,682,072$38,999,496 $65,681,568 $100 million
Dredd 3D$13,414,714$17,517,232$30,931,946$50 million
The Five-Year Engagement$28,700,285$25,074,223$53,774,508 $30 million
Fun Size$9,409,538N/A$9,409,538$14 million
John Carter$73,078,100$209,700,000$282,778,100$250 million
One for the Money$26,414,527$10,479,194 $36,893,721 $40 million
Oogieloves$1,065,907N/A$1,065,907$20 million
Playing for Keeps$12,688,000N/A$12,688,000$35 million
Premium Rush$20,275,446$10,399,802 $30,675,248 $35 million
Rock of Ages$38,518,613$17,840,809$56,359,422$75 million
That's My Boy$36,931,089$20,788,004$57,719,093$70 million
Total Recall$58,877,969$139,589,199$198,467,168$125 million
Wanderlust$17,288,155$4,162,198$21,450,353 $35 million
The Watch$35,353,000$32,615,770 $67,968,770 $68 million

Even though 2012 ended up being the highest grossing year for films ever, it was built on the backs of just a hand full of titles. The meat and potatoes films, those that fill the theaters in the lulls between blockbusters, were just disaster after disaster on the balance sheet.

One of the biggest takeaways from this year? Gerard Butler should not be allowed to be the lead in films any more. He has two on this list: Chasing Mavericks and Playing for Keeps. Shouldn’t this tell studios that he maybe shouldn’t be the lead any longer? I know he did well in 300, but this isn’t him being a Spartan. He already has a film on the slate for this year, Olympus Has Fallen. Someone needs to stop this man.

Next, stop Eddie Murphy. He was on last year’s list with Tower Heist, and now he’s back with A Thousand Words. You know who else is a repeat? Ben Stiller, who was also in Tower Heist, and he’s back this year with The Watch. Some people just shouldn’t be allowed to make any more movies.

Beyond the list of people who shouldn’t be allowed to carry fims, there are also a lot of lessons to be learned about marketing. People become confused about Dredd 3D being available in 2D due to the way the movie was named. It was a good movie, but it just couldn’t find its footing.

The biggest offender of this, however, was John Carter. How do you make the brilliant call to stop calling it “John Carter of Mars” when that is what the book series is known as? How hard would it have been to market it this way? Someone in the marketing department needs to have their head served on a platter.

Possibly the funniest disaster of the year has to be Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure. How does any $20 million budget film these days only bring in $1 million? You almost have to wonder if this was some huge money laundering scheme. (No, I don’t think it really was, but you have to wonder.)

As I’ve been compiling my analysis posts of the films of 2013, I’m seeing a lot of very similar projects to what made this list. One certainly hopes that studios are studying these numbers and factoring it in to their decision making processes for the future.

For the time being … just say “no” to Gerard Butler.

Say no to Gerard Butler

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