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December 17, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | December 17, 2008 |

Yesterday, we ran down the top 10 grossing film of 2009, so today we look back on the duds of the year. These five films did about as well as Obama’s planned withdrawal of troops from Iraq, which is to say: Like Hillary Clinton’s scandal-tainted stint as Secretary of State and Harry Knowles tumble from the top after a nasty triple bypass, they performed very poorly versus expectations.

2009’s Five Biggest Bombs

5. Avatar ($138 million): You’d think most studios would be pleased with a $138 million opening, but this was James Cameron’s long-awaited, shrouded-in-secrecy sci-fi epic follow-up to Titanic, the biggest box-office hit of all time. Unfortunately, after a 12-year gestation period, Avatar became the film world’s version of Guns n’ Roses Chinese Democracy. It would’ve been a huge groundbreaking film … in 2002. Sadly for Cameron and his decidedly middle-tier cast, the world and Zack Snyder passed him by and Avatar became just another generic sci-fi blockbuster in a marketplace full of them.

4. Dragonball ($16 million): Despite its huge marketing push, and 20th Century Fox’s incredibly lame attempt to virally market Dragonball, the film absolutely tanked at the box-office, debuting with a limp $7 million opening weekend and struggled to top $15 million. The studio apparently severely overestimated the fanboy base for the film. It didn’t hurt that, when most people heard it was based on a popular Japanese manga, they thought the movie was adapted from a soft drink.

3. Where the Wild Things Are ($18 million): Though a huge critical success (85 percent on the Tomatometer), the movie based on the classic and beloved Maurice Sendak children’s book failed to bring in the kids. The film — directed by Spike Jonze and written by Dave Eggers — was simply too dark and sophisticated for younger audiences, many of whom were frightened by the themes and imagery of the film. Sadly, Where the Wild Thing Are represented a huge setback for smart children’s films, proving that the studio formula using big-name stars to voice the flatulent sounds of CGI-rendered animals is still the quickest way to box-office gold.

2. 2012 ($70 million): Though the box-office numbers weren’t incredibly bleak, the production and marketing budget for Roland Emmerich’s disaster film — starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet(e) — absolutely dwarfed the film’s final box-office tally. Still struggling with a recession and the resurgent price of oil, audiences weren’t interested in another end-of-the-world film, and Emmerich’s style and bankability continued to plunge on the heels of the mediocre outings of his previous films, 10,000 B.C., The Patriot and The Day After Tomorrow.

1. GI Joe: Rise of Cobra ($65 million): The problem with G.I. Joe? It was a laughable film, completely awful, though it did become an instant camp classic. The performances — from Channing Tatum, Brendan Fraser, and especially’s Marlon Wayan’s Ripcord — were embarrassing, while the plot was completely non-existent. The film generated a whopping 5 percent on the Tomatometer, and the scant few positive reviews all came from blurb whores. Stephen Sommers — who inexplicably chose this project as his follow-up to Van Helsing — was actually fired from two films he had in production after G.I. Joe was released and Sienna Miller created some controversy when she refused to do press for the film after viewing an early screening.

A Pajiba Prediction / Dustin Rowles

Lists | December 17, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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