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The 10 Biggest Box Office Flops of 2013 -- A Pajiba Prediction

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | January 23, 2013 | Comments ()


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After Earth ($61 million) -- The writing was on the wall when they combined the waning box-office clout of Will Smith with the poisonous M. Night Shyamalan, and the reviews didn't help. It felt like a big-budget excuse for Will Smith to hang out with his kid, Jaden, and moviegoers were disappointed by another predictably dumb "twist" ending.

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Scary Movie 5 ($34 million) -- The four Scary Movie movies have averaged over $100 million apiece at the box office, including the $90 million tally of the last sequel, in 2006. But, as A Haunted House ($33 million) demonstrated, moviegoers don't care about horror-movie parodies anymore. Horror movies have become a parody of themselves, and when the Evil Dead remake opened on the same weekend, filmgoers decided to see the real, bloody goddamn thing.

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Oblivion -- ($53 million) Is it too early to say that Joseph Kosinski's Oblivion was the death knell to Tom Cruise's career? After the middling box-office returns from Jack Reacher, Cruise is once again on the decline, as his personal life has alienated too many moviegoers, not to mention the fact that it was difficult to see Cruise in a sci-fi action movie. It wasn't a total loss (Oblivion did decent numbers overseas), but the world is ready to cast Cruise aside for a younger generation of leading men.

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Epic ($87 million) -- Kudos to Fox for attempting to put an original property into the animated marketplace, but this is what happens, especially when you substitute recognizable voice talent (Beyonce, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Amanda Seyfried) for an actual script, even if the animation was beautifully rendered. Although the movie made nearly $100 million, it was still considered a failure for a film that cost more than twice that to make.

This-Is-The-End-Rogen-Franco-Hill.jpg

This Is The End ($26 million) -- What happens when you piece together a HUGE ensemble of comedic talent that includes Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Jay Baruchel, Mindy Kaling, and more -- all playing themselves -- for an end-of-the-world comedy directed by Rogen and Evan Goldberg? People flock to see Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, which opened on the same weekend, of course. The whole exercise, which was mildy amusing, felt indulgent and full of itself.

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Grown Ups 2 ($52 million) -- After the massive (and inexcusable) success of the first Grown Ups ($162 million), Adam Sandler finally figured out what would happen if he attempted to make his first sequel: People who saw the first would opt against the second one BECAUSE THEY'D SEEN THE FIRST ONE. Moviegoers may be dumb, but they're not that dumb. Along with That's My Boy, that is two box-office duds in a row for the once invincible Adam Sandler, who has to be thinking about a Wedding Singer sequel now.

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Pacific Rim ($72 million) -- Guillermo Del Toro's BIG ROBOT ALIENS VS. THE WORLD ended up becoming this year's Battleship: An oversized dumb mash-up of stupidity. We wondered why it took five years since Hellboy 2 for del Toro to finally release another film, and it turns out, he's not that good when dealing with big budget movies. He's more at home with smaller, darker movies in his own language.

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Planes -- ($122 million) -- Yes, $122 million sounds like a lot, but this was a Pixar movie, and no Pixar movie has fared this badly since their first one, Bug's Life ($162 million). Planes, a spin-off to Cars, was supposed to go straight-to-DVD, but Disney decided to push their luck with the Pixar brand by releasing it into 4,000 theaters. Sadly, they ended up damaging it even more.

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Lone Ranger ($77 million) -- Oh, thank God far fewer people than expected decided to indulge Johnny Depp in his now revealed experiment to see how far he could push his star power before moviegoers would balk. It cost Disney $200 million in profit, but we finally know there is a line at which most moviegoers will not stoop, and that line is Johnny Depp as a Native American in a franchise that no one wanted to see resurrected. Disney should've left this movie on the scrap heap where it belonged.

Ben-Stiller-on-the-set-of-The-Secret-Life-of-Walter-Mitty-2013-Movie-Image-2.jpg

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ($63 million) -- When a remake of a classic goes through as much trouble as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty did, including numerous director and lead changes (Jim Carrey and Steve Carell passed before it landed on Ben Stiller, who also directed), a studio that should probably take the hint. Too many millions of people will pay to see Ben Stiller abuse himself, but no one wants to see him in a remake of one of the best movies of all time.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Mark

    First off, Pacific Rim isn't "Robot aliens vs. the world". It's Kaijus vs Mechas and is a love letter to the kaiju genre by someone who watched godzilla, gamera, and all those movies as a kid( del toro). It's not a shameless cash In like Battleship.The twitter reactions to the first test screening were pretty through the roof, and then VERY shortly after it, WB announced an onslaught of merchandising tie-ins and etc, board games, costumes, toys, apparel, graphic novels, etc etc .I think that WB and Legendary are VERY confident in the film they have on their hands, and are prepared to shell out to make sure everyone knows it's coming and is excited for it.
    It just kind of screams success...the loads of people that mindlessly flocked to Transformers 3 times in a row for the robots and explosions...you've pretty much got appeal to that market.
    But the international/global appeal is there as well. The Jaegers hail from different countries, the cast/characters are international, as are the locales seen in the film...so there are a lot of little things like that which will help give direct appeal to certain markets.
    And the film itself is a merging of two sub-genres that have been popular all around the world for years and years...Godzilla, Gundam, Power Rangers...3 properties that have lasted decades and have fans all around the world, people that grew up watching them...this movie is going to appeal directly to that kind of audience.
    I think it's a pretty un-tapped market as far as big, high quality blockbusters go. I think there are legions of people that would be up for seeing a movie with this concept and of this scale and quality...only it's never been made.

  • DicksRUs

    >Pixar's first movie was A Bug's Life
    Wow, you don't know your shit, do you?

  • Justin

    Lol... you would think the guy would at least look up the synopsis before making his "predictions". Pacific Rim is not about BIG ROBOT ALIENS VS. THE WORLD. It's about BIG TERRESTRIAL ROBOTS VS. MONSTERS FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION. Which is infinitely cooler.

  • Daniel Valentin

    I hope you're dead wrong about Pacific Rim, because I want that one to be good and do gangbusters at the box office. Dumb fun has its place, but with Guillermo Del Toro helming I have much higher hopes.

  • psemophile

    #IBelieveInGuilleremoDelToro

  • Ausencio

    Come on, we need Pacific Rim to suceed for the studios to consider supporting him in an R rated adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness. I'll watch it just for that.

  • "Yes, $122 million sounds like a lot, but this was a Pixar movie, and no Pixar movie has fared this badly since their first one, Bug’s Life ($162 million)." Wasn't Toy Story their first one?

  • BlackRabbit

    I don't really think that Planes will....take off! HAHAHAHAHAhahah...oh, I feel so dirty now.

  • rico

    Sorry but you miss-fired on grown ups 2, planes and Lone Ranger. Those movies are going to make shitload if money because we Americans love our franchises, our kids and the comfort of turning our brains off.

  • Lucie

    Coulda sworn Toy Story was the first Pixar movie...

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    There's an earlier question about DR's track record on these picks. Looking back at 2012, he got very close to the number on 2 movies, but overall he was 9 out of ten for DOMESTIC flops. I am highlighting "domestic" because, holy crap, non-Americans will watch anything!!! American Reunion was only good for 57 million in the US, but 178 million internationally?!?!

    Here's last year's movies, DR prediction, and actual result:

    10. Dredd DR: 56 Million Actual: 13 Million/19 worldwide

    9. Three Stooges DR: 33M Actual: 44M/8M

    8. Taken 2 DR: 67M Actual: 139M/234M

    7. Ghost Rider:Spirit of Vengeance DR: 43M Actual: 51M/80M

    6. Star Wars EP1 3d DR: 21M Actual: 43M

    5. American Reunion DR: 56M Actual: 57M/178M

    4. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter DR: 21M Actual: 37M/79M

    3. Total Recall DR: 67M Actual: 59M/139M

    2. John Carter DR: 49M Actual: 73M/282M

    1. Battleship DR: 72M Actual: 65M/237M

    So overall, DR was fairly accurate on which movies would fail to live up to potential. But the fact that American Reunion earned 178 Million internationally, and Battleship earned 237 should make us all weep for humanity.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I still feel bad for the people involved in John Carter, I thought it got short shrift.

  • I hear ya. That movie deserved at least another sequel.

  • How come those giant robots don't sink into the ocean?

  • apsutter

    When I saw Django Unchained in the theater there was a preview for the Will Smith movie and when M. Knight's name came up EVERYBODY groaned! It was hysterical and I knew right then that I was skipping it.

  • Littlejon2001

    I'm sorry, Dustin, but it is never wise to bet against Will Smith. That movie will make piles of money. Especially overseas. Will Smith is as close to a guarantee as you can get in Hollywood. Also I'm really looking forward to This is the End. I think it'll do well box office wise. At least passing $50million. Probably $100mill.

  • Pacific Rim looks like Shark Boyand Lava Girl: The Grown Up Years.

  • John G.

    people are really fucking stupid, but I'm still holding out hope that Grown Ups 2 makes $0.00

  • QueeferSutherland

    Lone Ranger is gonna be hot garbage, but it'll open with as much as you have here for the total.

  • Ben

    Planes isn't a Pixar movie, Disney are making it. They're just using the licence they got from Pixar to make a spin off.

  • Steph

    Planes? Jesus Pixar you are on thin ice.

  • John

    Pixar isn't behind Planes, despite what this article suggests. It's made completely by Disney's straight-to-DVD branch.

  • apsutter

    Right?!? Why the fuck did they let Disney buy them back?! They only made Cars 2 because the merch made millions and that movie was completely unwatchable. Saw it in the theater for free and still wanted to walk out halfway through.

  • Did we get a post that showed how accurate last year's predictions were? I'd be interested in checking your track record.

  • http://www.pajiba.com/seriousl...
    That's his old prediction. I went through it last night, and his closest predictions were "American Reunion" (he predicted 56 million, the movie grossed 57 domestic) and "John Carter" (72 vs. 73 million).

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    closest to actual numbers yes, but he did ok on domestic "flops", about the only huge miss was Taken 2, which made 139 million domestically. Actually, I'll just do a quick post with all the numbers. spoiler alert, non-americans will watch ANYTHING...

  • Yeah, while Americans will scoff at the mere idea of watching a foreign movie that has neither Kung-fu nor "some good old 'murican actors" in it. Hollywood needs to pre-chew any foreign movie first (i.e. doing a remake) before the average US-moviegoer watches it.

  • Sirilicious

    Challenge accepted.

    If a domestic flop is say, every 1 in 35 US citizens buying a ticket. And an overseas win is every 1 in 2372 non-americans buying one. Who's is the dumb-ass watching everything? You such a 'merkan by any chance?

  • Eva

    Why are you hating on the sci-fi?

  • John W

    I hope you're wrong on Pacific Rim. That's the only one this list I want to see.

  • marigi

    Me too! But I have a friend working on it at ILM and when I asked him if he thought it is any good, he replied with silence... He can't say anything about the projects, but he usually gives me a hint and silence is not good.

  • Guest

    I'd be satisfied if every one of your predictions came true. I'll give wiggle room on the Del Toro, but only just.

  • Kballs

    I could swear there are other people in that picture with Selma Hayek but damned if I can tear my eyes away from her to confirm or deny it.

  • MDH23

    title the movie "Salma Hayek's Breasts" and i'll pay $10 for a ticket. make it 3-D on IMAX, and i'll pay the $15. continue to deflect credit away from Hayek Cleavage and onto Sandler, and i'll continue to avoid this franchise.

  • Stina

    Selma Hayek was there?? I couldn't see anything past the boobs.

  • e jerry powell

    Something has to hold the boobs up, right?

  • joh

    why is adam sandler still allowed to make movies?

  • e jerry powell

    Because Julia Roberts is.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    I see your Julia Roberts and raise you a Jennifer Aniston.

  • e jerry powell

    Actually, I was making a roundabout reference to Roberts using Sandler as justification for increasing her pay rate to $20 million per picture.

  • Eva

    Ben Stiller. Ben Stiller hasn't been funny in... ever.

  • OMGLookPanda

    You forgot Paranormal Activity 5, because you know they make one every year.

  • Eva

    Don't the Paranormal Activity's usually do pretty well though?

  • OMGLookPanda

    Awww poop shoot you're right. I'll show myself out :(

  • AudioSuede

    Besides, people like my wife will see all of them no matter what. Because she still thinks there's gonna be a new way to make shaky-cam jump-out scares every time. And every time, she is wrong.

  • Slash

    Everybody who watched "Grown Ups" should ... I dunno, have their U.S. citizenship revoked, or their driver's license, certainly their right to vote. Maybe they should be made to pay a fine, the totals of which go to some kind of educational foundation. Or maybe we skip the middle men and just find a way to make the producers of every Adam Sandler movie from now on pay an idiot fee to equal 10% of the profit and dedicate that to education or college scholarships to worthy students.

    Something. There should be some way for society in general to benefit from an Adam Sandler movie. Because right now, he's digging a hole, merit-wise.

  • disqus_N4EigheiZo

    I saw the movie because of poor timing; we arrived too early at the Drive-In to see "Get Him to the Greek." (I regret nothing about that movie, I love it so much.) At least it gave us incentive to drink super fast so that by the time the second movie started we were drunk enough to enjoy it and then shovel food in our faces at the diner across the street after.

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    For a couple of seconds I mistook this for a sequel to Funny People and was trying to figure out why Sandler would do such a thing. This is worse, yes?

  • BackCountry

    I liked "Grown Ups." It's not a work of art, but it made me laugh-- which is all I really ask of a comedy.
    I liked "That's My Boy," too. It made me laugh more than any other "R-rated comedy" last year.
    I'm not sure why people hate on Adam Sandler so much. He keeps his friends employed, most of his movies turn a profit, and he has had enough hits over his career to justify following his whims. What's the problem? We should all be so lucky.
    And yes, I understand that because I acknowledge liking Adam Sandler movies, you will be making many assumptions regarding who I am, my mental capacity, and what other entertainment I enjoy. Thing is, you will be wrong.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    I watched it on bootleg DVD when my cable was out. It was a last resort.

  • Uriah_Creep

    That's really no excuse. You could have hit yourself repeatedly in the face to pass the time.

  • e jerry powell

    ... with a studded ping-pong paddle.

  • e jerry powell

    Or at the very least, go all Arthur Dimmesdale on themselves.

  • PDamian

    Planes and Epic will confound expectations and do fairly good business, if not blockbuster-level business. There's always a market for decent children's fare. Planes, in particular, will exceed expectations because it's a Pixar film and folks will go see just because it's from Pixar.

    Personally, I have high hopes for Pacific Rim, just because it's del Toro. The rest can and should go down in flames, particularly After Earth (as someone else said on another thread, no money should go to Will Smith's effort to make his kids superstars) and Oblivion (go away, Tom Cruise).

  • poopnado

    It is probably weird that I'm really looking forward to After Earth. I just love me some Will Smith.

  • Tinkerville

    You're not the only one. It'll probably be a shit show but I'm strangely looking forward to it. The trailer gives me chills.

  • BWeaves

    I thought The Lone Ranger came and went already. It's still not out?

    (There's a closet joke in there somewhere.)

  • JC

    I don't think that Lone Ranger would be a flop, Disney wouldn't get the same profit as any Pirates of the Caribbean film but they can get 300-400 million. I would put World War Z instead of this film.

  • sean

    Lone Ranger costs somewhere around $250 million to make. Before ads and marketing. Under Hollywood accounting, it will need to make around $700 million to be profitable.

  • Slash

    I saw a preview for "World War Z" and it doesn't look that bad. But of course, previews lie. So ... I guess I'll wait for the Pajiba review on that one.

  • sean

    Looks about right. I have hope for Pacific Rim however. Lone Ranger will be a failure no matter what due to its cost. Unless it is Avatar big. And we know that ain't happening. It will be nice to say goodbye to Tom Cruise. And Will Smith.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I don't think it's an automatic goodbye to Cruise. He did fine sci-fi in The Minority Report...

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    I prefer the new MI: Ghost Protocol-Cruise to Minority Report-Cruise. I love scifi but, and I know I'm alone here, I disliked Minority Report. The clear computer was neat, but the plot was all "we can't tell the future exactly" and then it was all grab-this-umbrella-walk-by- these-balloons-and-no-one-will-see-us-cause-I-know-the-future chicanery. That and it's wanton use of the blue filter. It's such a disappointment because I had such high hopes, whereas I enjoy lesser films much more because I expected the suck. This is a long way of saying I will likely see Oblivion and will probably enjoy it because I have low expectations.

  • KingEntropy

    Dammit man, I want to believe in Pacific Rim!

  • Puddin

    In LA, everyone is one cocktail away from a Pacific Rim job.

  • AudioSuede

    ...............Until this very moment, I've never heard of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Oh thank god I thought I was the only one ...

  • Kballs

    Did you get processed through the modern American school system? If so, there's no way that's true.

  • PDamian

    I'm guessing -- just guessing -- that more people have heard of the Thurber short story, and read it, than people have heard of, let alone seen, the Danny Kaye movie. I'm also thinking that this movie will be a bust simply because those who read the short story in high school won't find the premise sufficiently intriguing to see the film, and those who remember the Kaye film won't appreciate a remake. (And I won't go because I'm tired of Ben Stiller.)

  • AudioSuede

    I'm only 23, so I'll say I did, and unfortunately, it's true. Nothing about it sounds remotely familiar to me.

  • BWeaves

    Great short story. I read it in Junior High School. Crappy Danny Kaye movie (there, I said it). Probably crappier Ben Stiller movie.

  • e jerry powell

    Ain't no crappy like Ben Stiller crappy
    'Cause Ben Stiller crappy don't stop.

  • Kballs

    And it's 1-8-7 on this motherfuckin' flop.

  • Kballs

    I thought everyone read Lord of the Flies and this book around 7th grade. Go figure.

  • AudioSuede

    I did have to read Lord of the Flies in 9th grade.

    Accordingly, I hated it.

  • Luke Anthony Matthews

    Really? Theres are the BIGGEST bombs. I agree with about two, the rest will no doubt make money somewhere.

  • Juanito 23

    This list is a piece of crap

  • Kballs

    Your insight is profound. I shall muse upon it . . .

  • lowercase_ryan

    State which item you disagree with.

  • Cars gets a sequel and a spinoff, but The Incredibles sequel is still a no go. That makes total sense.

  • Ben

    The reason Incredible isn't getting a sequel is cause Brad Bird (writer and director of it) doesn't want to do one. He thinks the story is done and there is no where to go. And Pixar aren't about to shit all over him by doing one without him.

  • Yes, to this.

  • greg

    Brad is an idiot if he really thinks this

  • Kballs

    By the time they complete and release The Incredibles sequel, everyone will probably be burned out on superheros with all the SHIELD characters and Superman and . . . nah, I don't get it either. Total bullshit.

  • Wicked

    I can answer this, there is only one reason why it spawn a sequel and a spin-off, its MONEY!
    MONEY MONEY MONEY.... MONEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

  • Soru

    So this is gonna be the year someone finally goes broke underestimating the taste of the American public

  • AudioSuede

    To be fair, 2012 was kind of that year already: Battleship, The Oogieloves, John Carter, every Gerard Butler movie, every Katherine Heigl movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Expendables 2; a whole bunch of big-money blockbusters not making back enough to pay their costs.

  • Mrs. Julien

    D-Row, do you sometimes put up these posts just so the mathletes can gripe about your arithmetical analyses?

  • Kballs

    You are a woman of your word, m'lady.

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