Movies not living up to their financial potential seem to be more common with theatrical releases these days, but should we care?
In the age when a blockbuster is deemed a failure if it doesn’t make close to a billion dollars globally, the knee jerk reaction on social media is almost always to shame people for liking films that financially underperformed.
We’ve all been there before, you go to see a movie on the opening weekend and truly enjoy the experience, but when the box office results are lackluster the comment sections online suddenly becomes a Battle Royale of negativity.
Based on what I’ve read from numerous threads and private Facebook groups, there are three factors that seem to be what makes a “good movie” according to peanut gallery on social media:
- Box office smash
- Critically loved (usually just Rotten Tomatoes)
- Audience approval
Rarely do any movies meet all three, and usually if they do it’s because of either their nostalgic presence, or the massive connecting universe that makes the film pretty much just a $200 million television episode.
After all, being a “good” movie is truly subjective.
So without further ado, here is a list of movies that I personally loved that did not make the money to continue their hopeful franchises.
If you never saw these movies due to poor critical response or underwhelming box office results, I encourage you to check them out for yourself.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
Critics were not feeling Guy Ritchie’s incredibly fast paced dark magic film that followed the popular king played by Charlie Hunnam.
There were many complaints, which I didn’t understand, due to the fact that film started out with a GIANT ELEPHANT FIGHT.
I found this movie to be funny, clever, and right up my alley for weirdness. Of course you may disagree, which is completely fine as a lot of people did.
But again, and I can’t stress this enough…
Alita: Battle Angel (2018)
A cyperpunk action movie where people get decapitated in fight scenes, will always be something I support, and it turns out that I’m not alone on this one.
Quite a few people are hoping the Robert Rodriguez futuristic epic gets a sequel, but the choice is now in the hands of Disney who are really busy rebooting our entire childhood one cartoon to live action at a time.
Alita sits somewhere in the middle when it comes to success at the box office, it made $404 million worldwide on a budget of $170 million.
Fun fact: This also makes it Rodriguez’ highest grossing film to date, which is strange considering how iconic everything he touches is.
It truly did check all the boxes for your run of the mill blockbuster film, but then it had some of the greatest CGI fight scenes I have seen in the past couple years (even far superior to recent superhero films).
It goes without saying (but I will anyway), this film was one of the better anime turned live action movies. That’s just a fact.
Yes, I’m aware that is probably a low bar to pass, but Alita managed to satisfy many fans with its beautiful attention to detail.
I was personally satisfied by the next level violence and hyper realistic robots, and if we don’t get a sequel from Disney, it would be disappointing to say the least.
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Oof, this one will probably get some of you to pick up pitchforks, but please bear with me here.
The Terminator franchise has not had actual success since the sequel movie T2: Judgment Day, and I sometimes think that it was cursed from that point onwards.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of the best science fiction films of all time, and easily one of the best sequels made.
Most would argue that all the movies in the franchise since then were terrible, others may say that there was at least one good (or at minimum passable) film among the lot .
I personally found the latest “save the world from time traveling robots” movie to not only be fun, but also inventive. The action was a lot more brutal than I expected, and it was a blast to see both Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting robots again.
Turns out I’m also a sucker for nostalgia.
There is a major chance that you haven’t even heard of this one, but I wanted to add it to the list, just so I could talk about it.
With a box office pull of $333,593 (USD) it seems that few people saw this sci-fi horror film, and that truly is a shame.
I personally suggest going into this movie blind, and you most likely will leave with your mind utterly blown to pieces.
It is one of those movies that keeps you guessing throughout the extremely tense journey, then it delivers with some unexpected action and creative special effects near the end of the film.
It’s not only fun, unpredictable, and at times horrifying, it also has a beautiful story about family and the lengths people will go to protect their children.
If you have the opportunity to rent this movie, do it as soon as possible!
Or buy it so there is a chance a sequel can be made, this movie deserves it.
Black Dynamite (2009)
How on Earth did one of the greatest comedic satires of all time only make $296,557?
It’s something that frustrates me to this day.
Michael Jai White playing Black Dynamite may actually be the best casting of any character there has ever been.
This blaxploitation homage swiftly became a cult classic, and the animated series that followed was as brilliant as the feature film.
Many comedies are not worth seeing repeatedly, due to the jokes not being effective once you know the punchline, but this film is best viewed multiple times and with different groups of friends.
Trust me, you won’t catch the complete brilliance of this genius feature with only one watch.
It’s a straight up film classic with insane levels of detail placed in every scene that make it a rarity among comedic films.
What are the box office bombs that you loved? Everyone has one, whether they want to admit it or not.
Some of the best guilty pleasure movies are the ones that nobody saw, and occasionally it can come down to just releasing them at the wrong time.
Countless movies have done poorly at the box office, and then later found love when re-examined by newer audiences, no genres know this more than horror or science fiction.
Your favorite movie doesn’t have to have mass appeal, and it definitely doesn’t have to be one that everyone will love.
If a piece of art spoke to you, that’s really all that matters.
So to all the filmmakers out there who cost a studio money by making their passion project, just know chances are there are at least some geeks out there arguing online about how the movie is a masterpiece.