How did Hollywood get these big-budget summer blockbusters so, so wrong?
If you’re looking for the most entertaining popcorn-munchers during the hottest months, look somewhere else. These 30 films are the worst of the worst. Not even the coldest AC could save them.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash
At one point, Eddie Murphy was the biggest superstar in Hollywood. His wild successes in stand up and on Saturday Night Live translated to films like Beverly Hills Cop and The Nutty Professor effortlessly. But in 2002, Murphy flew too close to the sun. Or, should we say, to Pluto.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash is a big-budget sci-fi action comedy, with supporting turns from other comedy stars like Jay Mohr and John Cleese. And audiences fully rejected its manic energy and miserable special effects, losing the studio millions of dollars.
Wild Wild West
First, a positive: Will Smith’s signature closing credits rap to Wild Wild West is a banger, even though its hook samples liberally from Stevie Wonder. Now, unfortunately, a bunch of negatives: Wild Wild West is a wild, wild failure of epic proportions.
It’s not that the cast isn’t up for it: Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, and Salma Hayek are all game. It’s a relentless, punishing pace and confusing plot developments that sink Wild Wild West. Fun fact: Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix to make this flop.
Batman & Robin
Which big-screen Batman do you prefer? Michael Keaton’s Tim Burton-guided performance? Christian Bale’s full-throated roar, from Christopher Nolan? Or Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder’s bruising take? No matter your answer, you will find nothing to like in Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin.
George Clooney’s Batman is a total slimeball. Every other line is a cringe-inducing pun (looking at you, Schwarzenegger). And its focus on kids buying official toys (the studio told Schumacher to make it “toyetic”) is downright reprehensible. This is not the Batman movie we need or deserve.
Many blockbuster films go through reshoots, where the cast and crew meet up after the original shoot to film additional scenes they realize they need. Often, it doesn’t mean anything. In Dark Phoenix’s case, an X-Men film that reshot huge chunks of material, it was one of many fatal flaws.
The movie is objectively confusing. It’s dark and murky — not in tone, mind you, it’s literally hard to see. The cast, including stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain, seems clearly bored. Hopefully, the X-Men film franchise can rise from the ashes like a… don’t make us say it.
The Last Airbender
M. Night Shyamalan was known for making quiet horror films about faith and redemption, like The Sixth Sense and Signs. His being given the keys to adapt acclaimed anime series Avatar: The Last Airbender was a surprising choice. And, unfortunately, it was the wrong choice.
You won’t understand the plot of The Last Airbender, because it was choppily edited and cut down. Dramatic events happen out of nowhere, explained away by wonky voiceover. And its action sequences are quite confusing. Shyamalan himself owned up to the failure, telling an NYU class, “It just didn’t work.”
Halle Berry playing Catwoman feels like a slam dunk, right? But 2004’s Catwoman is more like hiring an amateur frisbee golf enthusiast to play against LeBron James, and then pelting him with thousands of basketballs when he tries to do anything. It’s not good, is what we’re saying.
One fun result of Catwoman being a pile of kitty litter: Berry showed up to collect her Golden Raspberry for Worst Actress. In her speech, she sarcastically thanked the studio, saying Catwoman “was just what my career needed.” During the speech, she held her Oscar for Monster’s Ball. Meow.
The Avengers (1998)
No, not the one about a bunch of superheroes teaming up. 1998’s The Avengers, based on the popular British 1960s TV show, stars Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman as dapper secret agents trying to foil Sean Connery’s evil plan. But not even James Bond could defuse this box office bomb.
Apparently, Warner Bros. knew they had something nasty on their hands, and hastily cut the movie down from an original 115 minutes to 89. As a result, not much of it makes a lick of sense, and what remains is a convoluted plot about, uh, clones and hot air balloons?
Fantastic Four (2015)
Hot off the heels of Chronicle, his teen angst take on superhero drama, director Josh Trank was handed a new Fantastic Four film, after two previous clunkers. It seemed like a match made in heaven, and his young cast (Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell) was intriguing.
But wow, did everything go fantastically wrong. The movie’s production was full of strife, and the studio took control from Trank, ordering tons of reshoots and damage control. The final product is weirdly paced, grimly shot, painfully unfunny, and hard to follow. Can the Fantastic Four join the MCU already?
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
In Superman, Christopher Reeve donned a red cape and flew into our hearts. It proved comic book cinema can be great and make money. In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Reeve participated in what he called “a catastrophe from start to finish.” What happened to the Man of Steel?
You’d think a big superhero movie needs a big budget. But The Quest for Peace was produced by Cannon Films, a studio known for low-budget shlock. And they weren’t planning on beefing up their production values for a little old character like Superman. The result is a laughably cheap blockbuster.
The Mummy (2017)
You can’t force a cinematic universe into happening without a good first movie. Someone should have told Tom Cruise that when he made The Mummy, a 2017 reboot that replaces any charm or thrills of previous versions with lots of annoying attempts to kick off the “Dark Universe.”
But the Dark Universe died on impact after this movie failed with audiences and critics. It’s headache-inducing stuff, crafted with little care and stealing shamelessly from other, better films. Looks like the mission of a good new Mummy movie was a bit too impossible.
Ryan Reynolds had a bunch of bad superhero luck before Deadpool. He was in the terrible Blade: Trinity. He was in the terrible X-Men Origins: Wolverine (playing, of all people, Deadpool). And then, to complete the trilogy, he was in the astoundingly awful Green Lantern.
The film’s visual effects, with deep respect to those who made them, looks worse than a Playstation 2 cutscene. Example: When Reynolds is in full Green Lantern mode, his face looks oddly discolored and his torso is blindingly oversaturated. But in Deadpool 2, a post-credits scene gives Reynolds the last laugh.
Howard the Duck
Do you want to see a gruff-talking, cigar-smoking, humanoid duck in bed with a fully human woman? No? We didn’t think so. Who would want to see that? Apparently, George Lucas and everyone else involved in making Howard the Duck, a wildly confusing, upsetting movie.
Believe it or not, Howard the Duck is based on a well-liked Marvel comic book. And in small doses, he has since worked well on screen, being voiced by Seth Green in a fun Guardians of the Galaxy cameo. But his full-length adaptation is quite the puzzling (and annoying) watch.
By this point, Battlefield Earth is well known for being the textbook definition of a Hollywood debacle. Still, to be aware of John Travolta’s Scientology odyssey/fever dream is one thing. To actually watch it is an entirely different experience altogether.
For one thing, so many shots are curiously tilted, you’ll think your TV is broken. For another, it’s a shame Forest Whitaker had to stoop to taking this film. But truly, the film’s madness peaks non-stop with Travolta’s wig. It’s like a volcano of white-guy dreads. It’s everything.
By 2010, Josh Brolin had carved himself quite a career playing roguish cowboys in movies like No Country for Old Men and True Grit. So he’d be a perfect choice to play DC comic book antihero undead cowboy Jonah Hex, right? Wrong. Undead wrong.
The blockbuster is just an absolute mess. Barely clocking in at 81 minutes, it’s both overstuffed and undercooked, like a nauseating microwave meat-lover’s pizza. The cast beyond Brolin (Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, John Malkovich) does their best to sell it all, but it just ain’t worth selling.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Just how bad is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? It made its star, Sir Sean Connery, quit acting. Now that is an extraordinary reaction. But is the movie itself bad enough to spur an unplanned retirement of one of cinema’s biggest icons? Um… yup. Big yup.
It’s based on an acclaimed series of comics by Alan Moore, who knew he would hate it from the jump, saying he was going to “distance myself by not seeing them.” After watching this jumbled, migraine-inducing mishmash of tones and bad CGI, we should’ve taken Moore’s lead.
The Master of Disguise
Dana Carvey is a talented comedian and impressionist. We all know this. We saw him do it for many years on Saturday Night Live. So how on earth did he create something as wildly, jaw-droppingly insane and miserable as The Master of Disguise?
His character, Pistachio Disguisey (let that sink in for a second), uses his mimicking skills to go on globe-trotting secret agent missions. This weirdly convoluted plot is mostly an excuse for Carvey to ham up for the camera in aggressively unfunny ways. You’ll never look at turtles the same way.
Jaws: The Revenge
Jaws? An undeniable summer blockbuster classic. The Jaws sequels? To borrow John Williams’ score, they are “dumb-dumb… dumb-dumb.” Jaws: The Revenge, the fourth installment, is especially insulting to all of our intelligence. It’s about a shark trying to get revenge on a human family, which is fundamentally insane.
Acting legend Michael Caine appears in this silly film. Why would he stoop to such a level? TBH, he’s never watched it. “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible,” he once said. “However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
Speed 2: Cruise Control
A Speed movie without Keanu Reeves? How can you even proceed? The answer, apparently, is “blazing full speed ahead on a big boat.” Speed 2: Cruise Control shows off some thudding non-chemistry between returning star Sandra Bullock and strange Reeves replacement Jason Patric.
The premise is, admittedly, fun: A cruise ship is hacked to crash into an oil tanker by over-the-top villain Willem Dafoe, and Bullock and Patric must stop him. Here’s the problem, one of many: Cruise ships don’t move very fast. As a result, much of the action feels decidedly non-speedy.
Independence Day: Resurgence
The first Independence Day solidified Will Smith as a movie star, featured state-of-the-art special effects, and gave us all an electric presidential speech to remember. Independence Day: Resurgence… does none of these things. Not having Smith around doesn’t help, but returning director Roland Emmerich could’ve tried a little harder.
Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman are back. Where their characters were previously charismatic and engaging to watch, they are now weirdly somber and seem bored by the whole thing. Also, Pullman’s beard is just… too much. Did they spend the whole special effects budget on that beast?
The DC Extended Universe, that company’s misfiring answer to Marvel’s successful film universe, hit its miserable peak of messiness with Suicide Squad, a “dark” and “edgy” tale about antiheroes coming together. It’s visually ugly, tonally mean, and wastes a charismatic Margot Robbie performance as Harley Quinn.
You want unlikable characters? You got it. You want problematic jokes? You got it. You want an annoyingly on-the-nose soundtrack? You want a sloppy, CGI-filled final battle? You want Jared Leto turning the Joker into a Juggalo? You got it — but also, why do you want it?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
We’re trying to be chill like Michelangelo. But the Michael Bay-produced live-action adaptation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles makes us as mad as Raphael. Gone are the puppet charms of the 90s movies. Replaced with it are all of Bay’s worst big-budget impulses — and some seriously discomforting CG design.
Megan Fox as April O’Neil and Will Arnett as, uh, April’s coworker anchor the film’s live-action elements. But don’t worry — they’re as upsetting and annoying as the computer-generated shenanigans on display. Plus, for a supposedly family-friendly movie about crime-fighting turtles, this movie is full of sleaze and grimy, adult jokes.
Take Men in Black. Replace Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones with Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. Replace aliens with ghosts. And replace any sense of fun, action, or chemistry with their opposites. You’ve got R.I.P.D., the 2013 blockbuster that was D.O.A.
The flick, which didn’t connect with audiences or critics, lost Universal Pictures lots of money. The script lurches between totally predictable cop drama stuff you’ve seen before, and “outrageous” ghost humor that’s, in fact, just trying too hard. Reynolds is way too muted, Bridges is working way too hard.
The Emoji Movie
How can we accurately review The Emoji Movie? Ah, we’ve got it: Poop emoji. Despite a weirdly star-studded voice cast (Anna Faris, James Corden, Patrick Stewart!), the animated feature fails fundamentally at attempting to bring these symbols to life with humor, intrigue, or even basic competence.
It steals its plot liberally from classics like Toy Story and The Lego Movie. But, strangely, it takes none of those films’ enjoyable parts. Instead, they’re replaced by lazy joke writing, mind-numbing visuals, and downright icky product placement. If you have children, you’ll throw their smartphones away after seeing this.
Wanna watch TV sitcom stars Tim Allen and Courtney Cox bicker and argue as they try to wrangle a dysfunctional superhero family? No, right? Sounds kinda depressing, right? Friends: it totally is. Zoom, an attempt at a fun-for-all-ages blockbuster, just doesn’t get up to speed.
Fun fact: Smash Mouth provided the soundtrack for this film. One of their instantly-dated recordings: A cover of Queen and David Bowie’s banger “Under Pressure.” So it looks like Zoom is both an affront to cinema and music. Too bad it couldn’t fit ruining fine art into its schedule.
In Pixels, Adam Sandler and Kevin James (who plays the President!!) defend the world from invading video game characters. And if you’ve seen any recent Sandler or James film, you know this movie hits “game over” before it even starts. How can such a fun premise come off so… boring?
The Atlantic called Pixels “a certain strain of cinematic nihilism.” Which is harsh. But when you experience the film’s cringe-inducing jokes and performances, or recoil in horror at how they misrepresent gaming icons like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, you might get a bit nihilistic yourself.
Land of the Lost
At the height of his screen powers, Will Ferrell brought back a 1970s cult TV show as an overly winking, nonsensical action-comedy. Fans of the original Land of the Lost will find this film’s constant disrespect for the source material mean spirited. Fans of good films will… also be upset.
The movie, which opened the same weekend as The Hangover, was extremely expensive to produce for Universal Pictures, and they made none of that money back. But when you inexplicably include songs from A Chorus Line as a main plot point for your big summer blockbuster, what do you expect?
At the time of its production, it was the most expensive comedy ever made. And there’s two of every reason they should’ve spent it on anything else. Evan Almighty, sequel to Bruce Almighty, takes the usually charming Steve Carell and surrounds him with miserable CGI and absolutely no good jokes.
Despite its high budget, Evan Almighty opened with a single raindrop of money, rather than a flood. It was also hit with controversies over alleged mistreatment of animals on set. A Universal Pictures head said, “This film will have legs.” That person was very, very wrong.
On paper, Vin Diesel kicking butt in a wild sci-fi world sounds dope as heck. In execution, Babylon A.D. is confusing and aggravating. The plot is like “if Children of Men were harder to follow,” and the action is like “if Blade Runner were harder to follow.”
Supposedly, there is a superior cut from director Mathieu Kassovitz, who complained that the film’s failure comes from the studio messing with his vision. He called the entire production “a terrible experience,” and dismissed the theatrical version as “pure violence and stupidity.” We don’t disagree.
Stealth lost its studio, Columbia Pictures, over $110 million dollars. That’s a lot of money. But you can’t blame the studio for spending the dough on a summer movie about an evil robo-plane versus Jamie Foxx. That sounds pretty darn fun, right?
As it turns out, the movie about an evil robo-plane was as fun as being stuck in an actual evil robo-plane. Critics routinely called it a stupid mash-up between Top Gun and 2001: A Space Odyssey. And audiences stayed away with appropriately effective stealth.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
If you’re going to see a Transformers film, bring a bunch of Excedrin. Michael Bay’s robot spectacles will give you a headache, full stop. The second installment, Revenge of the Fallen, is a particularly miserable experience in excess. You’ll be rooting for the evil Decepticons.
Production was full of stress. The 2007 Writer’s Strike, in which all Hollywood screenwriters had to stop working, happened right as Bay started production. So he made what he called a “scriptment,” hoping vague plot points could get them through. Needless to say, you can tell.
The 30 Most Filthy Rich Actors and Actresses, Ranked
Most of us, at one point or another, have longed for greater fortunes. A bigger house, a nicer car. Or, at the very least, enough to pay the bills. Hollywood is chock full of loaded stars.
Not all of them have made the bulk of their dough performing in front of the camera. And some have opted to spend their earnings on some most peculiar things.
Let’s count down the richest living actors and actresses. We bet you’ll be shocked at how much some of them are worth.
The 30 Worst Performances From Typically Great Actors
There’s nothing like discovering a new favorite actor. A talented thespian who delivers consistently excellent performances. Until… they boink up. And they all boink up.
Here are the worst performances from 30 otherwise incredible actors. You know what? Everyone makes mistakes!
Classic Movies That Were A Nightmare to Make
Classic movies are a blast to watch, but many of them weren’t so fun to make.
Some of the most famous movies of all time were grueling experiences for the cast and crew. Read on to see which of your favorite movies were a total nightmare behind-the-scenes.