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Top 10 Box Office Bombs

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Hollywood has produced many over-indulgent and outrageously expensive spectacles over the years. Many of these have conned audiences into buying tickets and turned huge profits as a result, despite damning reviews. However, once in a while Hollywood's overconfidence and bottomless pocket turns into their greatest enemy. Join as we count down the top 10 biggest box office bombs of all time.

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Top 10 Box Office Bombs

Bombs away! Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 biggest box office bombs of all time.

Number 10: “Stealth”

Kicking off our list is the ill-fated sci-fi action film starring Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx. Columbia Pictures’ “Stealth” innocently tried to merge the thrills of “Top Gun” with the futuristic tech of “Terminator.” Unfortunately, the all-star cast and expensive effects couldn’t help keep this one from slipping under the radar.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $111.7 million.

Number 9: “Heaven’s Gate”

Westerns are usually a pretty reliable genre: they’re popular and supposed to be cheap to produce. But, cost overruns and bad press involving animal cruelty and a bossy director meant “Heaven’s Gate” was a production hell. Another big fail was the film’s ridiculously long original runtime of almost five-and-a-half hours…talk about Hollywood excess. The money this film made back was probably just enough to cover the cost of horse rentals.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $114.3 million.

Number 8: “Speed Racer”

Question: What do you get when you combine a ‘60s acid trip with the creators of “The Matrix”? Answer: A box office bomb bigger than John Goodman’s appetite. While the movie probably appealed to some eight-year-old boys, they’d have a helluva hard time dragging their parents to see this wreck. Eye candy be damned: this $120 million monstrosity’s trippy trailer alone was enough to make many moviegoers take the blue pill.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $114.5 million.

Number 7: “Town and Country”

Another genre that is supposed to be cheap to produce is the ensemble comedy. But even Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Garry Shandling couldn’t save “Town and Country.” Rumor has it Beatty himself demanded multiple reshoots of every scene, and that’s what drove up production costs. The film’s awful reviews were the final nail in the coffin, and both Beatty’s and Hawn’s careers pretty much stalled as a result.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $124.2 million.

Number 6: “The 13th Warrior”

Hey, not all Michael Crichton adaptations strike gold on the silver screen, but you would think a story about fighting would work. Not so, if all you’ve got to make it work is a flimsy script and Antonio Banderas. “The 13th Warrior” blew its load on lavish sets and Crichton-directed reshoots once the movie bombed with test audiences, but somehow it still forgot to tell a story.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $137.1 million

Number 5: “Mars Needs Moms”

Trust us: Martians weren’t the only ones looking for their mommies when this film crashed and burned. The motion-capture technology was half cool, half creepy as usual, but – here’s a surprise – the script sorta sucked. Since the movie was crafted as a very expensive lesson in manners, it’s not a huge shock that kids didn’t flock to theaters.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $140.5 million

Number 4: “Sahara”

Clive Cussler writes a mean novel, but Hollywood hijacked his vision for this adaptation. Originally intended as the first in a film franchise, this Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz vehicle actually did respectably at the box office, and even opened at number one. But the massive production, distribution and marketing costs meant this film lost so much money, we’d be shocked if we ever saw Dirk Pitt on the big screen again.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $144.9 million

Number 3: “The Adventures of Pluto Nash”

What do you have to do wrong to spend $100 million, only to make back $7 million? The answer involves a not-funny script that was kicking around Hollywood since the 1980s, and Eddie Murphy loud-mouthing his way through a movie so bad it wasn’t released for two years after production wrapped. And Randy Quaid as a robotic bodyguard? Come on, guys.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $145.9 million

Number 2: “The Alamo”

The second-biggest bomb in box office history starred Randy’s much more talented brother, Dennis. This film tried to do too much at once: it struggled with historical accuracy, attempted to build interesting characters and desperately fought to show riveting action. Unfortunately, the history was the only thing the snoozefest got even half right. Of course, it didn’t help that audiences were more interested in seeing “Passion of the Christ” again, either…proving that the only thing more appealing to audiences than patriotism is Jesus.

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $146.6 million

Number 1: “Cutthroat Island”

Taking the Guinness World Record title of biggest film flop ever was the swashbuckling tale of a female pirate. Though this movie had a few fun moments, it generally suffered from bad acting and even worse writing. This film hung Carolco Pictures from the gallows, and Geena Davis’ career wasn’t far behind. But, to be fair, “Cutthroat Island” was still better than any of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels…

Total Net Losses (adjusted for inflation): $147.2 million

Did this list take you by surprise? Which other films were you expecting to see make the Top 10? Let us know in the comment section!

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