Another Top 10 Movies that Ruined the Directors' Reputation

Written by Shane O'Gorman Gained in inches and lost in yards, these movie directors had promising careers and great reputations until these movies ruined them. WatchMojo presents our second list of the Top 10 Movies That Ruined a Directors' Reputation! But what movie will take the top spot on our list? Jack, Heaven's Gate, or Gigli? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to JeffreyKare for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Another+Top+10+Movies+That+Ruined+The+Directors+Reputation Think we missed something? Check out our original video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YzKfh8iZzo
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There’s no coming back from these. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Movies That Ruined the Director’s Reputation.

For this list, we’re taking a look at filmmakers who were experiencing solid film careers, only for their reputation to be ruined in an instant after one exceptionally bad movie release. If there are any directors you think we missed, be sure to check out our original list of the Top 10 Movies that Ruined The Director’s Reputation.

#10: “Abduction” (2011)
John Singleton

At the age of 24, Mr. Singleton’s work on the critically acclaimed “Boyz n the Hood” earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, making him the youngest director to have ever been in contention for the prestigious honor. Singleton continued his success with a variety of social commentary flicks and action-packed blockbusters. This all came to a crashing halt when he helmed the 2011 stinker “Abduction” starring Taylor Lautner, which had an above average box office performance but earned a brutal 4% on Rotten Tomatoes. Since then, Singleton has been relegated to TV work, with no clear indication of a return to the film scene.

#9: “Looney Tunes: Back in Action” (2003)
Joe Dante

Joe Dante made a name for himself directing absurd horror/comedy mashups that felt like homages to ‘B’ movies of the 1950s, such as “The ‘burbs,” “Innerspace,” and the cult classic “Gremlins.” Considering his films already had the slapstick antics of a Looney Tunes cartoon, it seemed like a match made in heaven when he was placed in charge of “Back in Action.” Unfortunately, the film was released amidst tough competition from other family films and its middling critical reception didn’t help either. While Joe Dante is still managing to find work today, it’s mostly restricted to TV gigs and his films make nowhere near the same impact they once did.

#8: “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (2014)
Seth MacFarlane

Coming off of a hugely successful television career, launching animated hits such as “Family Guy” and “American Dad,” Seth MacFarlane turned his sights to the movie business and entered the fray with the hilariously heartwarming tale called “Ted.” “Ted” was a smash hit that summer, earning over $500 million worldwide, causing audiences everywhere to clamor for whatever MacFarlane would come up with next. The comedy/western combo we got was a shockingly dull experience in comparison to “Ted,” with a plot that dragged along and went seemingly nowhere. The best jokes were wasted in the trailer, leading us to believe MacFarlane may have been a one-hit wonder film director.

#7: “Green Lantern” (2011)
Martin Campbell

Mr. Campbell directed the hit “The Mask of Zorro” and successfully rebooted the James Bond franchise not once, but twice with “GoldenEye” and “Casino Royale.” Campbell proved he was a capable filmmaker and seemed like the perfect choice to bring the Green Lantern to life. Alas, this $200 million behemoth bombed hard at the box office and was ripped to shreds by critics for its messy screenplay and spotty visual effects. The film had a troubled production behind the scenes so it wasn’t all Martin Campbell’s fault, but sadly his name was attached to this train wreck, severely damaging his reputation in the long run.

#6: “Cutthroat Island” (1995)
Renny Harlin

While Renny Harlin was never a critical darling like the other filmmakers we have covered so far, he had his fair share of hits. “Cliffhanger” and “Die Hard 2” have earned their place as iconic pieces of film history. Conversely, “Cutthroat Island” marked his downward spiral, as its dismal $10 million box office gross against a $98 million budget put an entire film studio out of business and the movie itself was extremely forgettable to boot. Renny Harlin never recovered after this film’s failure, directing numerous flops such as “Driven” and ‘The Legend of Hercules,” along with being nominated for the worst director Razzie multiple times. Ouch.

#5: “Rollerball” (2002)
John McTiernan

While McTiernan is the man responsible for bringing us classic action flicks like “Predator” and the original “Die Hard,” audiences and critics alike felt that he lost his edge after seeing his remake of the 1975 film “Rollerball.” In an interesting twist, it isn’t the film itself that ruined McTiernan’s career, but actually what happened behind the scenes. McTiernan was charged in federal court for lying to the FBI about how he hired a private investigator to follow the film’s producer due to disagreements they were having about “Rollerball.” This entire lawsuit spanned nearly a decade, with McTiernan eventually spending a year in prison and finishing his sentence under house arrest in 2014.

#4: “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” (2002)
Ron Underwood

Ron Underwood’s claim to fame arrived with the 1990 sci-fi cult classic “Tremors,” which he followed up with the hit comedy “City Slickers.” While his subsequent efforts were mostly met with mixed results, nothing threw a wrench into his movie-making ambition quite like “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.” The movie itself has been unanimously reviled as an abomination for its terrible acting, writing, and special effects, with some even going as far as calling it one of the worst films of that decade. It didn’t help that “Pluto Nash” only raked in a measly $7 million against its massive $100 million production budget. That’s going to leave a mark.

#3: “Jack” (1996)
Francis Ford Coppola

Sadly, even the great director who brought us “The Godfather,” “Apocalypse Now,” and “The Outsiders” has stumbled. “Jack” felt like a complete waste of the talent, with Coppola in particular completely missing the mark in terms of storytelling and compelling direction. The film has a vicious 17% Rotten Tomatoes score and performed modestly at the box office, a complete reversal of the reception Coppola’s prior films received. Since then, Coppola has continued to make movies such as “Tetro” and “Twixt,” which we’re sure many of you have never even heard of, indicating that this once renown director’s time to shine seems to have long since passed.

#2: “Heaven’s Gate” (1980)
Michael Cimino

Two short years after winning the Best Director Oscar for his work on “The Deer Hunter,” Michael Cimino found his rising reputation in shambles after receiving the Worst Director Razzie for “Heaven’s Gate.” For one to go from the highest high to the lowest low in the business in such a short span of time is shocking, but considering how badly “Heaven’s Gate” performed both critically and commercially, it isn’t much of a surprise. The film’s pitiful $3.5 million box office gross sent the studio on a panicked crash course and the accusations of animal abuse on set was met with harsh negativity. Maybe “Hell’s Gate” was the more appropriate title, eh guys?


Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable, or in his case dishonorable, mentions…

“Timeline” (2003)
Richard Donner

“The Life of David Gale” (2003)
Alan Parker


#1: “Gigli” (2003)
Martin Brest

Martin Brest unleashed a string of successful films upon the movie-going scene, with “Beverly Hills Cop” in particular being one of the biggest hits of the 1980s. Good things don’t last forever it seems, as “Gigli” single-handedly killed Brest’s reputation going forward. The movie won multiple Razzies, including Worst Screenplay, Director, and Picture. “Gigli” is additionally recognized as one of the most expensive financial failures in film history on top of being considered one of the worst movies ever made. To say “Gigli” dampened Brest’s film career would be an understatement, as he hasn’t directed, produced, or written any film or TV projects since its release…!
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