John Carter banner

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


The Possession movie posterWelcome to the fall movie season, folks. What does this mean? Really unexciting box office numbers.

How unexciting? Well, this was the worst weekend of the year by 37 percent, and it was the worst performance since the same weekend in 2008. Pretty much everything underperformed.

Keeping the number one spot with a 46.4 percent drop was The Possession to bring in another $9.5 million. It’s domestic total is now at $33.3 million off of a $14 million budget, so it’s performing just fine.

Second place went to Lawless with a 40 percent drop to come in at $6 million. It’s current domestic total is $23.5 million, but no word as of yet on what its budet was.

Opening in third place was The Words with an anemic $5 million, and one of the worst openings ever for a wide release. But, seeing as Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure set the record last weekend for the worst opening ever in a 2,000+ screen release with $448,000, The Words didn’t do that badly. (Yes it did.) Can we all finally agree Bradley Cooper isn’t as big of a box office draw as Hollywood is trying to make him out to be? The only good news here is the budget was only $6 million.

The Expendables 2 came in fourth with $4.75 million, and is way off the pace of the original at this point. It is easily going to finish below $100 million domestic, but it’s performing decently overseas.

Rounding out the top five was The Bourne Legacy. The latest film in the series brought in an additional $4 million this weekend.

Considering how badly this summer performed, it shouldn’t be any surprise this fall is off to a weak start. Next week’s big releases are Finding Nemo 3D and Resident Evil: Retribution, which will probably be number one and number two respectively, but I wouldn’t expect anything huge out of them.

Interesting side note, Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure and Total Recall are still in theaters, but neither turned in numbers for the weekend as of yet. Embarrassed much?


The Possession movie posterThe summer of 2012 is not going to go down as a good one for the movie industry despite a few hits.

This summer may have started off with the monster hit of The Avengers, but since then it has been one car wreck after another at the box office. As we close out the season, the weekend is coming seven percent down from last year’s Labor Day weekend, so things have not been going well.

There was one more surprise for the year as The Possession did better than expected bringing $17.7 million this weekend off of a $14 million budget. Not too shabby.

The new Shia LaBeouf vehicle, Lawless, opened soft with $9.6 million. Gee, no one wanted to see this talentless actor in a period action film? Go figure.

Third place went to The Expendables 2 which brought in another $8.8 million. While it hasn’t performed as well as the original, it hasn’t done badly either. Talks of a third installment in the series have been underway for some time now.

The Bourne Legacy is now outperforming some of its predecessors in the series after getting off to a slow start and brought in another $7.2 million.

Fifth place was rounded out by the kids horror comedy ParaNorman that came in with $6.5 million.

Far more interesting than the top five this week was some of the lower ranked films. The Odd Life of Timothy Green is holding on to its numbers extremely well with only a 15 percent dip in its third weekend and adding screens instead of losing them. On the flip side, Total Recall has officially turned in to a train wreck. In only its fifth week of release the film has fallen to 19th place, is down to 756 screens and brought in a laughable $885,000 this weekend. Its domestic total now stands at $56.7 million off of a $125 million budget.

There was a record set this weekend, and boy is it a doozy. No, I’m not talking about The Avengers hitting $1.5 billion, I’m talking about the absolute disaster that was Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure. Opening on 2,160 screens, the movie has set a record for the lowest ever opening gross for a film opening on more than 2,000 with … are you sitting down? … $448,000. That works out to a per screen average of $207. This “from out of nowhere” kids movie had a $20 million dollar budget. Can we say “complete disaster,” kids? I knew you could.


The Expendables 2 movie posterThat giant yawn you heard this weekend was coming from the box office.

Welcome to late August, folks. This is traditionally a slow time for movie going, but this weekend was insane. I can’t remember the last time that a summer weekend ended up being the lowest for the year, but that’s exactly what happened. The three new releases bombed: Premium Rush (7th for the weekend), Hit and Run (10th) and The Apparition (12th, but to be fair, it only played on 810 screens, the other two were 2,000+). I mean, a $35 million dollar movie about bike messengers (Premium Rush) couldn’t bring in more than $6.3 million in its debut weekend? What is the world of movies coming to?

The Expendables 2 won its second weekend, but considering what it was up against that isn’t that big of s surprise. The geriatric action film brought in $13.5 million in its second weekend, down 52.8% from its debut. It’s trailing the original by about $13 million at this point its run.

The Bourne Legacy was again in second place, this time bringing in $9.3 million, down 45.5% from the weekend before.

Third place was also a hold over from last week with ParaNorman bringing $8.5 million, down 39.3% from its first weekend. Thats actually a pretty healthy hold, so word of mouth must be good on this one.

Hey, guess what. Fourth place was also the same as last weekend! (Are we seeing a trend here?) The Campaign came in with $7.4 million, down 43.3%.

Fifth place actually saw The Dark Knight Rises claw its way back into the top five with $7.1 million.

The biggest movie news this week was 2016 Obama’s America coming in with eighth place finish with $6.2 million off of only 1,091 screens, and even that was pretty ho hum news wise this weekend.

My deathwatch on Total Recall continues as the movie fell to fourteenth place with only $1.85 million. Its domestic gross is now $55.2 million and I think we can safely add it to the pile of “What the hell went wrong?” movies for this year.

Next week’s big releases are Lawless, The Possession and something called Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure … I don’t even want to know what the heck that is. In short, expect another sleeper of a weekend.


The Expendables 2 movie posterIt looks like at least a few people were up for another film about things just blowing up … a lot.

The Expendables 2 won the box office this weekend with an estimated $28.7 million. This is off of the $34 million opening of the original, but the (thankfully false) bomb threat called into the Carmike Cinema chain may have been part of the issue.

Coming in second was The Bourne Legacy with $17 million, a drop of 55.4% from last weekend. It appears that perhaps Matt Damon was a bit more important to the series than some suspected.

ParaNorman opened in third with $14 million which is lower than most animated features of late. It played on over 3,400 screens, but seeing as I can pretty much count the amount of TV ads I saw for this movie on one hand, I’m not too surprised by this result.

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis’ The Campaign came in fourth with $13.3 million for the weekend, representing a decline of 49.7% from last weekend. In comedy and box office terms, that isn’t too bad of a showing for the second weekend.

Wrapping up the top five was Sparkle with $12 million. This film received a last minute push due to the appearance of Whitney Houston in it in one of her final pieces of work. Seeing as the movie was made on a $14 million dollar budget it should do fine.

Elsewhere on the list, it looks like Hollywood has another disaster on its hands with Total Recall. It failed to win its opening weekend, it fell to fifth place last week and this week found it in tenth place with only $3.5 million. That brings its domestic total to $51.7 million, with foreign markets bringing in an additional $58.2 million for a total of $109.9 million off of a $125 million dollar budget. As always, remember budgets don’t take into account marketing or the cost of prints, and foreign box office means less for the studio than domestic. Even if this film somehow gets to a worldwide total of $125 million, it will still be deeply in the red. As it stands, I highly doubt it will even get there.

Next week’s biggest releases are Hit & Run and Premium Rush, both opening in the sub-3,000 screen range, so don’t expect much from them.


The Bourne Legacy movie posterThe Dark Knight is no longer rising as Bourne’s legacy takes the top spot at the box office.

The Bourne Legacy, the fourth film in the Bourne series, took top honors at the box office this weekend with an estimated $40.2 million.  This is well behind of the $52 million opening weekend for The Bourne Supremacy, but Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye in The Avengers) isn’t quite the household name as Matt Damon.

Coming in second was The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis with $27.4 million.  The ads for this one have left me pretty cold despite both men being fairly funny in most of their outings.  This may not have been the best time for a comedy about politics are people are already feeling burned out with the presidential election rapidly approaching.

Third place went to The Dark Knight Rises with another $19.54 million.  The last film in Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy is currently about $51 million behind the The Dark Knight at the same point in its run.  It was pretty clear this one was going to have a hard time living up to the second one, but at a domestic gross of $390 million, this isn’t exactly a failure.

Hope Springs opened up in fourth place with $15.6 million, and as I’m sure most people can guess, opening this low in the chart isn’t exactly where you want to be.

Rounding out the top five was Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 with $8.2 million.

Next week’s releases include The Odd Life of Timothy Green, The Expendables 2, ParaNorman and Sparkle.  Sounds like a good weekend to crack open a book to me.


Dark Knight Rises movie posterThe third Batman film from Christopher Nolan stayed on top, beating its biggest challenge yet.

In its third weekend at the box office, The Dark Knight Rises brought in $36.4 million, dropping a further 41.3% from its previous weekend.  It’s still trailing behind The Dark Knight by about $40 million from the same point its run with a domestic gross of $354.6 million.

Total Recall opened with a disappointing $26 million off of a $125 million budget, which means things are not going to end well for this remake.  Raise your hand if you’re surprised by this … anyone?  Anyone?

Coming in fittingly in third was Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 with $14.7 million. This is off from the opening of the previous two films, but it is the first to test the water in the summer months, and with a $22 million budget, there probably isn’t a whole lot of hand wringing at the studio.

Fourth place went to Ice Age: Continental Drift with $8.4 million.  It is still trailing Ice Age 3 by a pretty significant amount, and at this late date there is little to no hope of it catching up.

The Ben Stiller/Jonah Hill/Vince Vaughn comedy The Watch dropped to fifth place with a 50.2 percent from last weekend to bring in $6.35 million.  Its domestic gross is at $25.3 million, meaning it has next to no shot of making back its $68 million budget in its theatrical run.

The only big release next weekend is Hope Springs, so odds are pretty good the lineup isn’t going to change a whole lot next week.


Dark Knight Rises movie posterIt may not be raking in the same cash as its predecessor, but the third Batman film from Christopher Nolan is still doing pretty good.

In its second weekend at the box office, The Dark Knight Rises brought in $64 million, down 60.5% from its huge opening weekend. That is not a great sign of things to come, but the film has done $289 million domestic so far, and $537.2 million worldwide off of a $250 million dollar budget, so its pretty safe to say folks will still be happy with it.  Currently it is $24 million behind where The Dark Knight was at this time domestically.

Coming in second was Ice Age: Continental Drift with $13.3 million.  It is trailing Ice Age 3 by a pretty significant amount, so its hard to say where this one will end up, but my gut is telling me this is probably the end of the series.

The new Ben Stiller/Jonah Hill/Vince Vaughn comedy The Watch opened weak with only $13 million from 3,168 screens. It is doubtful it will make back its $68 million dollar budget at this point. Considering from what I’ve seen in the trailers, that seems justified.

Step Up Revolution didn’t fare much better, opening up to $11.8 million off of a $33 million dollar budget. Considering this movie just kind of appeared one day, I’m not too surprised.

Rounding out the top five, Ted is still hanging in there and brought in another $7.35 million to bring its domestic total to $193.6 million off of a $50 million dollar budget. This can definitely be classified as one of the few hits this summer.

Of interest, sixth place went to The Amazing Spider-Man with $6.8 million, bringing its domestic total to $242 million after 27 days in release.  The problem with this is at the 27 day mark, Spider-Man 3, which was roundly despised by critics and fans, was at $309 million.  Add in 3D ticket prices and 2D ticket inflation, and the attendance numbers are way off for this reboot.

And this is a bit of a shocker, but while Battleship is still in theaters ($86,000 this weekend), it appears that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has already been pulled from its theatrical run.  If this is correct, it ended its domestic run with $36.6 million off of a $66 million dollar budget.

Despite huge successes like The Avengers, this is not going to be a summer that the film industry looks back upon fondly.  This weekend in particular, a lot of the blame was put on the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, and seeing as it was the highest rated ones ever for a Summer Games, I can see why.

The big releases next weekend are Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 and Total Recall.  The previous two Wimpy Kids have done alright, but not anything that will shake up the box office.  As for Total Recall, I just can’t figure out who this thing is going to do.  I’ll say this, from the footage I’ve seen it “looks” good from a design perspective, but do I really need to see this story again?


I’ll say this for the new version of Total Recall, at least it’s visually interesting.

If you’ve seen the 1990 version of Total Recall, then I really can’t see why you need to see this one.  You know the story and it doesn’t look like a whole lot is going to change this time around.  Once again Hollywood is remaking things just to remake them, and I simply can’t be bothered to care about the majority of them any more.  This is a prime example of that to be sure.

And the funny part?  I am seeing so little online chatter on this movie that I think I am most definitely not alone in my feelings on it.  Check out the trailers for yourself and see what you think.

The U.S. trailer from about a month ago.

And the international version released this week.


Scattercast is 32 and wishing its feet didn’t hurt.

– Blisters suck.

– More thoughts on the whole Samuel L. Jackson thing.

Michael Cera finally joins the Arrested Development movie… ingrate.

Netflix may soon offer streaming-only subscriptions.

– Why aren’t there more movies like Slumdog Millionaire, and why is Hollywood remaking things like Total Recall and The Neverending Story?


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

for those who wish to download it, subscribe to Scattercast via iTunes.