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10 Blockbusters That Sucked

Just because everybody saw these movies doesn't mean they're any good.

By Rob Vaux     February 26, 2010

10 Blockbusters That Sucked
© Mania/Bob Trate


Some blockbusters create immediate loathing, as advertising ensures a big opening weekend and bad word of mouth cuts it off at the knees. Others seem good enough at first glance, only to curdle like bad milk over time until contemporary audiences can barely stand the sight of them. Here are ten--new and old alike--which hustled the cost of a precious movie ticket out of many, many people's hands before running off cackling into the night.


10. Batman and Robin

($107 million domestic gross)
We know, we know: picking on this one's like shooting fish in a barrel. And in point of fact, if it weren't so poorly regarded, then Hollywood may have never learned to produce superhero films that actually respected the characters. But Joel Schumacher's candy-colored disaster--generally regarded as the low point of the entire Batman mythos--stands as irrefutable proof that people will turn up for anything if you through enough advertising dollars at it.


9. The Da Vinci Code

($217 million domestic box office)
If there's anything worse than an idiotic movie, it's an idiotic movie which thinks it's smart. Author Dan Brown continues to hypnotize masses of readers who thrill to his twists without realizing that most of them could be solved by a bright colobus monkey. Then director Ron Howard strips any sense of pacing or excitement out of the story, declines to explain numerous key points, and hands Tom Hanks enough mealy-mouthed expository speeches to choke a mule deer. You can actually see the point where co-star Ian McKellan throws in the towel… if you haven't already drifted off to sleep by then.


8. Godzilla

($136 million domestic box office)
You can compose this entire list out of Roland Emmerich movies without breaking a sweat, but we'll go with the widely acknowledged nadir. The high-concept notion of creating a "realistic" Godzilla movie pretty much stalled on the tarmac once the titular lizard reached New York and… well, frankly didn't do much of anything. Casting the likes of Matthew Broderick and Hank Azaria over bigger stars made sense--who wants to compete with the lizard?--but without any interesting characters to portray, they basically just stood around looking as bored as the rest of us.

7. Love Story

($106 million domestic box office)
Never heard of this film? That's kind of the point. It was the biggest hit of 1970 and if you adjust the figures for inflation, it made more money than Spider-Man, Independence Day and Tim Burton's Batman. Hard to believe considering its turgid collection of soppy stereotypes, garnished by the kind of lovey-dovey dialogue that would make a Hallmark card vomit. Co-star Ryan O'Neal endured moderately well, but his onscreen lady love Ali MacGraw--a big star in her day--is now better known for running off with Steve McQueen than any movies she ever made.

6. Pearl Harbor

($198 million domestic box office)
Everything we mentioned about Roland Emmerich goes double for Michael Bay (which is why we've included him twice on this list). The topper is his lone foray into "important" filmmaking--a brazen attempt to cash in on Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan that somehow recast the greatest American military defeat in history as a triumph for the red, white and blue. The limp love triangle between Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale, didn't help matters… though the sexy posters certainly disguised the disaster long enough to collect our ticket money.

5. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

($431 million domestic box office)
We must admit to being a defender of the latter-day Star Wars films. (Our friend Lyda calls us "Jar Jar apologists.") But there's no denying the bitter, crushing disappointment too many fans felt when George Lucas' eagerly anticipated prequel failed to live up to expectations. Painful dialogue, questionable casting and the aforementioned Jar Jar-based unpleasantness left a sour taste in viewers' mouths… which made their willingness to line up for episodes II and III even more baffling. (We actually liked 'em all: what's your excuse?)

4. The Towering Inferno

($116 million domestic box office)
We're back to the 1970s with the magic of Irwin Allen--the Roland Emmerich of his day who managed to turn countless preposterous disaster films into box office gold. Big stars flocked to his banner in the hopes of raising their profile, which in turn helped audiences tune in and perpetrate the hideous cycle (until The Swarm bombed and killed it off for good). His "masterpiece" was a 1974 epic about a high-rise building on fire, featuring the likes of Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden and Faye Dunaway. The real punchline is that it was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar… in the same year that produced Chinatown, The Godfather Part II, and The Conversation.

3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

($395 million domestic box office)
Did we mention Michael Bay? His films make a lot of money and no one quite understands why. 2009's Revenge of the Fallen stands as borderline incoherent, marked by crude sexual innuendo, racist robots and fight scenes that don't make a lick of sense. And yet the very act of complaining about it falls on deaf ears; the film renders any notions of taste or quality as irrelevant as a fig leaf on a flasher. It stands there daring you to condemn it, then laughs in your face if you even try.

2. The Twilight Saga: New Moon

($295 million domestic box office)
Someday, the Twilight saga's squeeling fans are going to grow up and realize how badly they were taken in by this brain-damaged affront to the vampire genre. Its hateful characters, drooling dialogue and soap opera storylines go without saying, but the most shocking thing about the Twilight films is how prudish they are. New Moon trumpets the virtues of chastity, self-restraint and saving yourself for marriage… everything vampires are supposed to stand against. Even so, the saga keeps pulling in hordes of little girls, and quite a few big girls who really should know better.

1. Wild, Wild West

($113 million domestic box office)
When the star apologizes, something's wrong. Will Smith produced a public mea culpa for Wild, Wild West--securing his coolness from the mortal blow it may have otherwise suffered for appearing in this dreck. Casting him as steampunk cowboy James West may have initially been a smart move, but the constant references to his race threw a wet blanket over any sense of fun… even if the nonstop cacophony of visual effects and witless humor hadn't already pummeled us senseless. The film took $50 million in its opening weekend--more of that advertising stuff--then struggled for the rest of its run to match that figure.


We've been talking about movies like this all week,  you may remember the article 6 Movies That Didn't Meet the Hype. We have a love, hate, love relationship with Hollywood. The things that annoy us? Try reading 6 Annoying Things Hollywood Needs to Stop Doing. In the end, Roland Emmerich, we may like you, we just don't like your films.

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fatpantz 2/26/2010 12:14:38 AM

Man I really am glad to see Pearl Harbor up there.  I would have personally put Batman and Robin in the top 3.

I would have also added Van Helsing, any and all of the Mummy sequels, Charlies Angels movies, Catwoman....and who can forget Waterworld.  There is another I know I am forgetting....oh ya, Battlefield Earth!!  Silly Travolta

flinshadytoo 2/26/2010 12:53:22 AM

 Yeah I can't fault the list! I've yet to sit through all of Pearl Harbour, Skimmed through Transformers 2 ( & I liked the first one oddly) Batman & Robin makes me shudder every time. Starwars I want to like as it's Starwars but to be honest it just annoys the hell outta me. The Wild wild west was when Will was on a roll & I nearly made the mistake of seeing it at the cinema, thankfully hearsay was not kind & I decided to wait for the dvd, oh dear!

I would have added Titanic, yes it made Millions, yes the effects were breathtaking, yes Cameron is an excellent film-maker, BUT the plot was contrived, the acting was hammy ( yes Leo, Kate & Billy I'm talking to you) it was over-blown & drawn out, we all know what happens, big boat-maiden voyage-big iceberg-splash-the end.

All prequels in general should be on here if they made money as Prequels suck the life outta new ideas, & any suspense is killed knowing that all the plot is past & you've seen the other movie so, whats-his-name dies, so & so happened etc.

Muenster 2/26/2010 2:29:00 AM

Avatar as a story and as performed was just supremely awful, but oh well... I went to see it along with 10 million other people. Cool Visuals though.

kissstation 2/26/2010 3:31:49 AM

Fatpantz - I don't think Battlefield Earth was ever considered a Blockbuster when it came out, but as for the rest of your list I agree 100%  All of those deserve to be on this list, especially over New moon.  If you inlcude New Moon, then you have to include the last 2 Matrix movies (sequels).  But I wouldn't, there are other movies that sucked way more.

Good list.

karas1 2/26/2010 4:10:19 AM

Well I liked The DaVinci Code and Towering Inferno was fun.  Godzilla was cute.  Of course, Godzilla isn't supposed to be cute.

I never saw Pearl Harbor and Love Story is the kind of movie you couldn't pay me to see.

I agree with the rest of the list and it all comes down to script.  Wild Wild West had a great cast but even Will Smith, Kevin Klline and Kenneth Branagh couldn't make that turkey good.  And they tried, they really tried.

Transformers 2 went for the lowest common denominator with the crude and horribly unfunny attempts at humor.  Nobody was laughing.

Batman And Robin went so over the top it was unbelievable and made the movie just painful to watch.

Phantom Menace didn't know what it wanted to be.  It should have been a movie about Palpatine and how he manuvered himself onto the Imperial throne but he hardly appeared in his own movie.  Instead we got video game commercials masquerading as plot and stupid or unlikable characters.

Another movie that should be on this list is the receint Star Trek film which made tons of money but really wasn't very good.  I know most people here don't agree with me.  But watch it again in a year after all the hype has gone and you'll see.  It didn't make any sense.

Kara S

twinbing 2/26/2010 4:14:47 AM

How could they leave out Superman III or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on that list?

Darkknight2280 2/26/2010 4:28:45 AM

Battlefield Earth was a HUGE flop actually KISSSTATION.

I'm a big star wars fan and even though i KNOW phantom menace had to be made, i recognize that it was the worst of the new trilogy and the worst out of the entire SAGA. But i still liked the movie because of the lore it revealed. As a whole its bad but there were bits and peices that were good (examples: Darth Maul, Revealing more about the Jedi, more lightsaber action)

The reason why Michael Bay movies are successful is because they are fun to watch. Not much thinking involved, you go in there sit and watch $hit blow up. Nothing wrong with a good action flick with no good story. There have been 1000's of movies like that and there will be 1000's more. I have no problems with them. For every bad brainless movie there are at least 10 good ones :)

Im surprised STARLIGHT isnt in here ranting and raving over the fact ath new moon is on the list lol

whiteandnerdy75 2/26/2010 4:45:24 AM


I wholeheartedly agree with you about Star Wars... I mean Star Trek.  They pooped on what Trek is supposed to be...  the advancement of mankind into a better and more enlightened species.

And I liked The Phantom Menace.  Yes, it was a little contrived and Jar Jar can be annoying, but it established that Anakin was just an innocent little boy once.  That makes his transformation all the more tragic.

skyn3t 2/26/2010 5:01:57 AM

I disagree with #2, it should be replaced with TWILIGHT ITSELF!!!! For the very reasons mentioned for its sequel, and also for the fact that even the production value would make the guys over at the WB network proud that their production crew for shows could put together a better show in their sleep.

cheekymonkey 2/26/2010 5:07:01 AM

Transfomrers 2 was a huge disappointment

Episode 1...I understand the hate, but I don't agree.

DaVinci Code?  There are soooo many more movies that belong higher, including Crystal Skull

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