You can determine a box-office failure in a variety of different ways. You can, for instance, simply look at the box office gross, in which case the biggest box office bomb of 2012 was a film called The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, which starred Will Keenan and Creed Bratton (from “The Office”) and grossed $117. But that’s not really fair because no one expected The Ghastly Love of Johnny X to do well because no one has ever heard of the film. Likewise, Vamps, starring Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter, which was directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless) could also be considered a huge failure, having grossed only $3,300, which is to say that less than 400 people saw it in theaters. But Vamps was only released in one theater, and stayed there for only two weeks, so you could hardly consider it one of the BIGGEST flops of 2012.
You could limit the criteria to movies that only opened in a certain number of theaters, say 600. But in that case, you’d have to include a movie like The Words, starring Bradley Cooper, which made only $11 million. But then again, it only cost $6 million to make, so that’s actually a success. Likewise, another movie starring The Emu, Hit and Run opened in over 2,000 theaters and made only $18 million. However, that movie only costs $2 million to make, so that movie, too, was a financial success.
What I did, instead, was to look at the films this year that lost the most amount of money by comparing the North American box-office to the film’s budget. But that’s not entirely fair, either, because some of these movies lost more money than the entire budget of most of 2012’s films. So, I went a step further, and I did MATH. I calculated the percentage of the production budget that the movie made back in North America and ranked the 15 films according to the smallest percentage of their production budget earned back, i.e., the worst return on investment. So, for instance, Cloud Atlas cost $100 million to make and it earned $26 million in North America, so it made 26 percent of its production budget back. That was enough to place it as the 8th biggest failure of the year.
In sum: By going through all of 2012’s films, I arrived at the 15 films which earned the smallest percentage of their budget back, which I consider to be The 15 Biggest Box Office Flops of 2012.
What can we surmise from this list? That there WAS someone even less of a draw than Taylor Kitch at the box office this year, and his name was Gerard Butler.