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The Ten Biggest Box-Office Flops of 2013, So Far

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | July 7, 2013 | Comments ()


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Despicable Me topped the box-office over the Fourth of July weekend, and it wasn’t even close. Not only did the animated sequel’s $142 million set the pace for the $220 million weekend (up 12 percent over last year’s same weekend0, it was the third highest Independence Day opening of all time, behind only Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Spider-Man 2. The flip side, however, was the gross of <>The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp’s toilet floater which put up only $48 million, which wouldn’t be that bad were it not for the movie’s $215 million budget. Given the little interest worldwide for Westerns based on a classic American character, even Johnny Depp’s worldwide appeal won’t bring The Lone Ranger even with its budget. In fact, it’s likely to have a $50 million shortfall, at least, before marketing is even accounted for. Alas, it looks like Johnny Depp’s ability to support the acting community is in jeopardy.

Speaking of box-office flops, scanning the list of releases this year so far, whatever you want to say about the quality of movies in 2013, it’s at least apparent that studio executives are pretty great at their job. In fact, of the movies released so far, there’s only 10 movies in 2013 so far that have a worldwide box-office that will not exceed their budgets. Granted, the cost of marketing is not included in these numbers, so barely break even at the box office is not a guarantee of profitability. Since the average budget on a studio film these days is around $70 million, and the average marketing budget for a film is around $36 million, a good rule of thumb is that a movie’s marketing and advertising budget is likely somewhere around half of its production budget, which means these four films — all of which barely eked out box-office profits, are not likely to be profitable anyway.

Box office grosses are worldwide.

Jack the Giant Slayer — $197 million worldwide ($195 million budget)

The Internship — $63 million ($58 million budget)

The Host — $48 million ($40 million budget)

Beautiful Creatures — $60 million ($60 million budget)


So, the ten films that actually did lose money this year actually lost much more once marketing and advertising is accounted for, even including international box office. These, then are the ten biggest flops of 2013, so far.


1. White House Down — $67 million so far ($150 million budget) (estimated loss by the end of the film’s run around $60 million)

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2. The Lone Ranger — $73 million so far ($215 millon budget) (estimated loss around $50 million)

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3. Bullet to the Head — $9 million ($55 million budget) (loss $46 million)

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4. Parker — $17 million ($35 million budget) (loss $18 million)

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5. Broken City — $19 million ($35 million budget) (loss $16 million)

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6. The Big Wedding — $21 million ($35 million budget) (loss $14 million)

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7. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone — $22 million ($30 million budget) (loss $8 million)

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8. Stand Up Guys — $3 million ($15 million budget) (loss $12 million)

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9. The Last Stand — $37 million ($45 million) (loss $8 million)

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10. Trance — $17 million ($20 million) (loss $3 million)

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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • yingyangpalms

    You need to be a bit more technical when trying to figure a studio loss. If a film does 45 Million in the US and 145 million domestic its total gross was not 45 million.
    And of the 190 million the film made the studio does not get 100%.

  • elroboto

    I'm sorry, but this article is worthless. Figuring studio losses is far
    more complicated than mere arithmetic. It requires some research and
    educated guesses. On a very basic level, you don't even include foreign
    box office, nor do you subtract the theaters' cut of around 45% of box office gross.
    These numbers are readily available. Then there is the whisper number on
    production budget. Some films like WORLD WAR Z dramatically exceeded
    their stated budget. Then there's advertising which comes off the bottom
    line. It's not unusual for it to exceed the entire shooting budget.
    These numbers are not usually released. On the plus side, there is
    merchandising, cross promotion, DVD sales and rentals, video game
    rights, and cable deals. For some this isn't a lot, but for others, like
    MAN OF STEEL, these can be huge money cows. Most don't list it as such,
    but probably the biggest loser all time was EVAN ALMIGHTY in excess of
    $250 M by my reckoning. Not only did the original budget balloon completely out of control, but
    they spent around $200 M in advertising. LONE RANGER may come in at #2
    all time, just surpassing another Disney fiasco, JOHN CARTER's $200 M
    write off. Because of too many releases this summer, not giving movies
    enough time to run, a half dozen blockbusters will lose significant
    money this year. Almost no studio escaped unscathed.

  • jake

    Where's Jack the Giant Slayer? Where's After Earth? This list is incomplete.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    The Internship actually cost money? I assumed Google funded it as both an excellent comedy and the best commercial/recruiting ad.

  • I fear we'll see Pacific Rim in this list very soon...

  • How did The Heat do? My son and two friends went to see it, thus proving that movies with women in leading roles will not deter teenage boys who like comedy.

  • DNM

    Sure, as long as those women act like sterotypical men throughout the whole movie.

  • John W

    "Wait Lone Ranger wasn't a monster hit? I'm shocked!" says the producer of Wild, Wild, West.

  • On the one hand, I'm nothing but happy that a Buckheimer shitshow featuring yet ANOTHER ridiculous Johnny Depp character bombed so spectacularly. On the other hand, it was a vaguely "original" concept (in that it wasn't a sequel or a remake or a reboot of something), which means that studios will decide that stand-alone ideas don't work (when it's really just shitty movies with unappealing stories that don't work) and will keep on forcing sequels, reboots and remakes down our throats for years to come.

    On the previous (other?) hand, it's good proof that they have to stop trying to make movies out of old TV shows already.

  • Mrcreosote

    So, just like I said after John Carter tanked, at some point movies based on serials are dead. Dead, dead, dead. No one cares-the Phantom, the Shadow, John Carter, The Lone Ranger, even Flash Gordon-all bombed. If it's not a superhero, it's not going to make money. It's certainly not going to make 250 mill. Someone tell Bruckheimer to stop pointlessly blowing shit up, and try a damn plot.

  • I'd throw the larger idea of "Western as tentpole" into that mix. Lone Ranger; Cowboys & Aliens; Wild, Wild West; Jonah Hex, etc. were all made with dreams of sequels in their eyes and promptly died at the box office.

  • Mrs. Julien

    We watched Jack the Giant Slayer this past weekend with Little J. We liked it, he LOVED it. They did a great job with the fairy tale aspect. It was not afraid to be scary which children's movies should be. Plus Ewan McGregor's hair was a poem. Although, as I mentioned on FB, I don't know how the humans OR the giants procreate since there was only one female of either species in the whole movie. Honestly, would it have been so hard to say, "Hey, CGI people, make half the giants chicks!" and "Hey, casting people, make half the soldiers chicks!" Sigh.

  • Henchmen 21

    I just read an article that pointed out that a reason these big box movies are failing is because they don't have women as leads or doing anything beyond being the love interest who's role is generally to get kidnapped or endangered at some point. I'm still amazed at how many movies have one women in the cast.

    Apparently the movie "The Heat" is doing surprisingly well.

  • DNM

    One movie does not a trend make. Are you seriously suggesting that the reason movies fail is "not enough women leads"?! I guess the success of almost every major blockbuster of the last 5/10/50 years must be a mystery to you, then.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Ugh. I was just discussing this a la the minions in Despicable Me 2. Not even the reproducing aspect, just that the default is always male.

  • Mrs. Julien

    The most annoying part is that you know it wasn't a conscious decision. It didn't even occur to them to include more women. The princess was (reasonably) strong and wore breeches (taking what I can get) but it never came to mind that maybe, since you're playing with a fairy tale and eversovaguely some female strength, you could simply balance out the genders and then, of they're feeling really wacky, have some non-anglo-saxons around.

    Edit: If it was a conscious decision to leave them out, it's likely because woman=love interest and you only need one of those, right?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Yeah, same with Despicable Me. You COULD make the argument that the problem with Dru's life is it's a boys club, with his sidekick and his minions, and the 3 little girls are a jolt to him, but my hunch is that it's over thinking things. And because it's always funnier to have boy minions dressing as girls than actual boy minions (who are never funny when they dress as boys for some reason).

    Haven't seen the second one yet; probably won't until some niece or nephew gets it for Xmas/New Year's viewing.

  • etguild2

    You forgot "Foodfight!," the biggest flop in movie history, finally dumped into release this year. Production budget: $65 million. Total gross: $74,000.

  • Maguita NYC

    Wow. Never even heard of that movie. 74K on 65 million $??

  • etguild2

    Yup, originally scheduled to be released 10 years ago, it's a soul-sucking, propaganda kiddie flick about supermarket heroes like Mrs. Butterworth, Chef Boyardee and Charlie Tuna fighting a fascist grocery takeover in the name of consumerism. With a voice case led by Charlie Sheen, Hilary Duff, Harvey Fierstein, Eva Longoria and Cloris Leachman no less.

  • delle

    If this was on the 5 Shows After Dark thread it would definitely get my vote as the fake of the week.

    Now I'm going to have to go to housework or something because that offended my eyes to the point that they're refusing to read anything else this morning.

  • Maguita NYC

    I'm stuck on the fact that a movie made 10 YEARS AGO "starring" Hilary Duff and Eva Langoria, cost 65 million $$?!

  • ed newman

    It's the CGI I think. I can't recall a full length legit CG animated film with a low budget. I think the floor price for CG animation is near 50MM without any voice talent included, and it certainly wasn't cheaper ten years ago than now.

  • Captain D

    My initial thought was that had they waited 10 years to make the movie, Duff and Longoria might have paid the producers for spots in the cast.

  • etguild2

    Great piece on the film, and production company which was attempting to brand itself as the new Pixar:

    http://www.avclub.com/articles...

  • Maguita NYC

    Thanks, will definitely read that.

  • George

    You haven't included international grosses for Parker and Broken City. Those are just domestic grosses.

  • BlackRabbit

    It doesn't matter if a screenplay is bad, if it has likeable stars and/or a built in audience. Like that teenage vampire series...what's it called?

    Jack the Giant Slayer was decently entertaining. Makes me sad to see it didn't do well.

  • rocky

    "Box office grosses are worldwide"... "the ten films that actually did lose money this year actually lost much more once marketing and advertising is accounted for, even including international box office."

    Thank you, Dustin. My work here is done.

  • ZizoAH

    The trailer for Stand Up Guys was the worst thing I saw in my whole life.

  • e jerry powell

    Is it just me, or did Stallone get breast augmentation to make his tattoos easier to cover? :-D

    I wonder how the losses get written off. I mean, clearly tentpole failures mean fewer lower-budget "prestige" projects, but the books are the books, and something else has to happen.

    And I sincerely hope that that White House Down gif causes so much Republican outrage that all their heads explode.

  • Guest

    Like this.

  • Afferbeck

    Why are movies that aren't Avatar costing $200m+? Do they even have accountants in hollywood?

  • Maguita NYC

    Ever hear of Hollywood Accounting? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H...

    Beyond that, no one really listens to accountants except maybe for executive producers. And even then, most producers have their heads so far up their asses they wouldn't understand long-term effect on their bottom dollar before the shit actually hits the fan. Very few are actually aware of what goes into making a movie, and are able to control production costs within a given budget.

    You know how they say that less than 1% of the acting population actually makes it in Hollywood? It's even more true for worthwhile producers.

  • Fredo

    Saw 1 movie out of that list. And that's because my brother worked on it and we promised him we'd go see it with him.

  • sean

    I saw two of these movies in a theater. One because I had a free pass. I see a lot of movies. And watch hundreds more at home each year(I watch a lot of movies. A real lot). I saw only one more of these at home. I think the studios need to understand that bad movies are going to lose money. Unless they have giant, shapechanging robots in them. Smarter screenplays should be their first priority.

  • IngridToday

    The issue is that studios want to appeal to as many demographics as possible along with the foreign market. So, they try to shoot for blockbuster movies with easy to follow plots (may a twist or big reveal) with standards characters. I use to live abroad and Americans aren't the only people who hate reading subtitles, especially if it's while trying to follow a complicated movie with lots of dialog. By trying to appeal to everyone you have movies that end up with inconsistent tone or movies are water down to get a PG-13 rating.

  • Byakko

    "Bullet to the Head" cost $55 million to make? Dear lord...

  • Wesley Emblidge

    Also bear in mind that studios only get half the actual grosses, while the theaters take the other half. So these movies bombed even more than you think, even if you don't factor in marketing. A movie needs to essentially make 2.5x the budget.

  • nachosanchez

    Well the 2.5X figure depends on the budget obviously. Last I read, the average studio film costs about 65 million to make and 30 million to market (though, given, my numbers may be off). Of course, the production and marketing budgets for big studio flicks can be 3X-5X depending on the scale. It also needs to be considered that even though the bigger movies were bigger flops, the smaller movies may not have been flops as much as they may have been part of actor contracts (ie. "I make this 150 million monstrosity and you let me make this 20 million dollar flick). It's a pretty fucked up system.

  • Wesley Emblidge

    I really wish we had more information available to us, like marketing costs and home video grosses, rather than just these (often inaccurate) budgets reported by the studios. And with bigger films there are even more factors, like merchandising and product tie-ins. It's crazy.

  • nachosanchez

    Just be thankful you're not someone whose income depends on the net profit of a film. Say if I were to offer you 5 million dollars OR 25% of the net profits of a 50 million dollar film that would undoubtedly make 500 million in the box office. The choice is obvious, right? Unless of course, the studio expenses corporate flights, lunches, golf trips, and everything else they can to the budget of the film so that it costs 500,000,001.00 and you get nothing (Which is actually something that happens, though of course not to such a degree).

  • Sara_Tonin00

    That's the whole Last Unicorn movie/Peter Beagle legal battle, among others.

  • etguild2

    Bear in mind that you all are speaking of domestic grosses only also. The studio's take for foreign grosses varies from country to country. For instance, it's estimated that China, which is probably now the biggest foreign market, takes over three quarters of internal grosses, so that jaw-dropping $56 million STAR TREK has made there this summer isn't quite as helpful to Paramount as it seems. Also, many films have different international distributors than domestic ones (recent Bond pictures for instance) Also, each film has its quirks. At least $50 million in profit from "AVENGERS" went to Paramount, despite Disney releasing the film....Paramount will get generous cuts from "Iron Man 3" and "Kung Fu Panda 3" despite having nothing to do with the films. It's all so complicated... =/

  • Genevieve Burgess

    Over time, theaters split ticket sales 50/50 with the studios but it varies week to week. First week grosses are tipped more heavily in favor of the studios and then the theater's share goes up the longer the movie stays in the theaters. The number I heard when I took a film production class from a professor who had been a producer was that first week was 90/10 to the studios and it steadily worked to 50/50 and then to 10/90 the longer the film was there. Of course, theaters keep 100% of the profits on concessions, why explains those prices.

  • nachosanchez

    Well the 90/10 situation is heavily dependent on the strength of the studio, as well as the quality and budget of the film. If you're Universal and you know a film like "Battleship" is gonna tank percentage-wise after the first week, obviously you want to go for the 90/10 split or something like it.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    That's true. There's push and pull in both directions, but I'm betting for the 'blockbuster' style films listed here the studios pushed for the higher percentage split for the first week. Most of those movies live and die in their first weekend. The smaller films, not so much.

  • nachosanchez

    Agreed. And there's also the balance of the dealings to take into account. If you're Sony and you low-ball the theaters on your megabudget film, there's no way you're getting a good deal when you come in with something that, while high quality and sure to attract viewers, has had a lower marketing budget and thus will be more word of mouth than anything.

  • BRANDOR!

    What are these movies? Something is going wrong when I haven't even heard of most of them. Or maybe it's going right (from my perspective)...

  • John W

    You probably have heard of them. The thing is, that all of them are either so generic (The Big Wedding) or just more of the same from the same actor (Parker, Bullet To The Head, The Last Stand, Stand Up Guys) that your brain didn't register it.

    Stallone should be seeking Tarantino out and begging him to write a movie for him. Tarantino would make him relevant again. Same for Arnold.

  • BWeaves

    You said what I was going to say. I haven't heard of half of these.

  • That's because the studios knew they were big, stinky turds and released them in the February-April phantom zone

  • Harriet J. Hernandez

    what Micheal explained I didn't even know that anyone able to earn $8206 in one month on the internet. did you read this link w­w­w.C­a­n9­9.c­o­m

  • Mrs. Julien

    I'm a very uncomfortable with you sharing BRANDOR!'s real name, Harriet. Uncool.

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