January 1 2014

Biggest Box Office Flops of 2013

Bullet to the Head banner

It’s that time of year where we see which films were the biggest box office flops of 2013.

2013 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 write off on The Lone Ranger. The rule of thumb is take the global gross, divide it by two and then subtract the budget to figure out if a film made a profit. This takes into account marketing costs, the higher percentage distributors take overseas and so on. Using this formula, there was an unusual number of flops in 2013.

Domestic Box Office
Foreign Box Office
Production Budget
47 Ronin$22,414,160$22,300,000$44,714,160$175 million
After Earth$60,522,097$183,321,030$243,843,127$130 million
Battle of the Year$8,888,355 $6,736,066$15,624,421$20 million
Beautiful Creatures$19,452,138$40,600,000$60,052,138$60 million
The Big Wedding$21,819,348N/A$21,819,348$35 million
Broken City $19,701,164N/A $19,701,164$35 million
Bullet to the Head$9,489,829N/A$9,489,829$55 million
Delivery Man$29,648,000$1,200,000$30,848,000$26 million
The Fifth Estate$3,255,008$5,300,000$8,555,008$28 million
Getaway$10,501,938N/A$10,501,938$18 million
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone$22,537,881N/A$22,537,881$30 million
The Internship$44,672,764$48,820,080$93,492,844$58 million
The Last Stand$12,050,299$36,280,458$48,330,757$45 million
The Lone Ranger$89,302,115$171,200,000$260,502,115$215 million
The Mortal Instruments:
City of Bones
$31,165,421$49,000,000$80,165,421$60 million
Paranoia$7,385,015$6,400,000$13,785,015$35 million
Parker $17,616,641$28,600,000$46,216,641$35 million
R.I.P.D.$33,618,855$44,705,365$78,324,220$120 million
Red 2$53,262,560$88,816,411$142,078,971$84 million
Stand Up Guys$3,310,031N/A$3,310,031$15 million
Tyler Perry Presents Peeples$9,177,065$130,000$9,307,065 $15 million
White House Down$73,103,784$132,262,953$205,366,737$150 million

Last year I suggested everyone should stay away from Gerard Butler films. This year that award goes to Vince Vaughn. Vaughn flopped out this year with both The Internship and Delivery Man which would seem to be a good indication that perhaps it’s time studios stopped letting him take the starring roles.

Both Stallone and Schwarzenegger had some pretty significant flops this year, but the former gets the big picture at the head of this post for how fast his movie was kicked to the curb by theaters. Bullet to the Head was just a disaster through and through.

One of the most confusing flops of the year is The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. This is one where you do need to use the formula I mentioned earlier, but it was indeed a flop. Somehow a sequel is moving forward on this and no one can really figure out why. The studio admitted the performance of the first film halted production for a bit, but it will move forward anyway. It just wants to lose more money?

If you add in the performance of Beautiful Creatures, another film based on a young adult series of novels, you can clearly see they can’t all be Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. The studios have to be more careful about which they choose, but there is a bunch more coming next year. (Five, to be exact) I expect to see more poor performances from some of them.

47 Ronin is still in release, but as Universal has already taken a write off on the film, it qualified to make the list. (Global total as of Dec. 30, 2013)

The fact that both 47 Ronin and The Lone Ranger tanked needs to send a message to the studios. They are all looking for the next “franchise” they can launch, and this is starting to become a risky game. Studios are gambling huge budgets in the hopes of launching a series, and there are two prime examples of that not working along with some smaller ones this year. They are going to have to become more selective in what they release and get these budgets under control if they have any hope of making profits.

Things are getting worse for Hollywood no matter how they try to spin it. In 2011 there were 15 films that qualified as flops. In 2012 there were 20. This year? 23. You would think that each year the studios would sit down and analyze what went wrong, and instead it seems as they they just keep pressing forward with what they think will work even if history isn’t on their side. With 2015 shaping up to be the biggest year ever for film releases, maybe they can learn by 2016, but I’m not going to hold my breath for it.

For the time being … just say “no” to Vince Vaughn.

No Vince Vaughn

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