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Ten Cult Classics and the Forgettable Movies That Trounced Them at the Box Office On Opening Weekend

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | July 30, 2013 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | July 30, 2013 |

I was listening to the latest episode of the brilliant How Did This Get Made? podcast this morning, with Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas, and they were dissecting Over the Top, the ridiculously awful Sylvester Stallone movie in which he was paid $12 million (as Mantzoukas noted, “That was a lot of cocaine back in 1987.”) The movie, however, was a huge box-office failure, making only $5 million on its opening weekend, landing in fourth place. Someone asked what movies were ahead of Over the Top at the box office. No one had an answer, but thanks to the Internet, I can tell you that Over the Top was beaten by Platoon, Outrageous Fortune and Mannequin.

Clearly, that’s not a great example for the exercise below because both Platoon and Mannequin have better legacies than Over the Top (but just barely!). I have no idea what Outrageous Fortune is. Anyway, it got me thinking about cult classics, and the forgettable movies that likely beat them at the opening weekend.

I know a lot of you are saying, because you’re nitpickers who like to COMPLAIN ABOUT EVERYTHING that it’s like comparing apples to oranges, because many of the cult classics opened in limited release, while the forgettable films opened wide. Yes, that is true. But it is also true that the forgettable films made more money than the cult classics on their opening weekend than the cult classics made during their entire box office run, so the point still holds.

Still, because you are contrarians by nature, some of you are saying, “Well, duh. Box office has no bearing on on the quality of a film.” And to you, I say: Shut up. I know. We all know. It’s just a silly exercise, OK. Stop taking things on the Internet so goddamn seriously.

You have any more quibbles you’d like to mention? Maybe that Fletch Lives is a really good movie?

No, sweetie. You’re wrong (*head pat*) and now you’re getting on my last nerve.

Donnie Darko ($110,000) vs. K-Pax ($17 million)



Descent ($8,000) vs. Rush Hour 3 ($49 million)



Shaun of the Dead ($3 million) vs. The Forgotten ($21 million)



Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ($150,000) vs. Doom ($15 million)



Heathers ($170,000) vs. Fletch Lives ($8 million)



Office Space ($4 million) vs. Message in a Bottle ($16 million)



Reservoir Dogs ($170,000) vs. Under Seige ($9 million)



The Big Lebowski ($5 million) vs. U.S. Marshall ($16 million)



Mulholland Dr. ($587,000) vs. Bandits ($13 million)



Hedwig and the Angry Inch ($156,000) vs. American Sweethearts ($30 million)



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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.