The interesting thing about a true box-office flop is that it’s distinctly different from a film that simply failed to make any money whatsoever. A flop isn’t just a failure, it’s a movie that had expectations and hope riding on it, all of which was ripped away by a cruel and uninterested movie-going public.
As it does every year, Forbes has compiled a list of 2016’s biggest flops, and almost all of them could be used as evidence to argue that movie stars are paid too much money. Tina Fey failed to help make Whiskey Tango Foxtrot profitable, as did Matthew McConaughey for Free State Of Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Snowden, and Sacha Baron Cohen for The Brothers Grimsby—which gave him the lowest box office total of his career.
Still, big-name stars don’t deserve all of the blame. Two of this year’s biggest flops were based on an old toy and a book that everyone thought was funny about seven years ago, so their lack of success isn’t really anyone’s fault but their own. One of those is Max Steel, and even though it had a small budget ($10 million, according to Forbes), it still only managed to gross $4.4 million. The other is Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, and while it made more money than Max Steel at $16.4 million, that still wasn’t close enough to its $28 million budget.
Considering the fickle tastes of modern moviegoers, it’s tough to draw any lessons out of these flops, other than “don’t hinge all of your hope and money on a big star” and “don’t make a movie about a thing people don’t really care about,” but both of those should be obvious. Maybe Hollywood should just make better movies in general?