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Top 10 Superhero Movies That Bombed At The Box Office

VO: Matthew Wende WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
Written by Spencer Sher With superhero movies pulling in billions of dollars at the box office, you may think they're guaranteed successes, but think again! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Movies that Bombed Hard at the Box Office! But what will take the top spot on our list? Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to Moral Free for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted check out the suggest page here: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Superhero+Movies+That+Bombed+at+the+Box+Office

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This might come as a surprise, but not every superhero movie makes a billion dollars at the box office. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Superhero Movies That Bombed at the Box Office.

For this list, we’ll be looking at superhero flicks that didn’t even come close to recuperating their budget. As such, we will be excluding films that, while considered bad, still managed to turn a profit, such as 1987’s “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.”

#10: “The Phantom” (1996)

Based on a comic strip of the same name, “The Phantom” appears to have been behind the eight ball before a single frame was shot. As the world would soon discover Billy Zane was not a bankable leading man; co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones, was still a relative newcomer; and director Simon Wincer had never worked on a superhero film in his life. All this to say that the movie’s considerable budget of $45 million never came close to being recuperated. In fact, at just $17.3 million in domestic resturns, “The Phantom” failed to earn even half of what it cost to make it.

#9: “Zoom” (2006)

This family-friendly flick starred Tim Allen as a former superhero lured out of retirement when an enemy that he thought was dead returns to wreak havoc. Allen’s performance was, well it wasn’t good. In fact, it earned him a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Actor (one of three such nominations he received that year). Of course it wasn’t entirely his fault; the film holds a truly horrendous 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site calling it a “dull and laugh-free affair.” That kind of stuff only happens when an entire production is out of sync. With just $12.5 million in box office revenue, “Zoom” fell well short of eclipsing its budget of $75.6 million.

#8: “Catwoman” (2004)

One of the most infamous superhero films ever made, “Catwoman” is more than just a box office flop… it’s often called one of the worst movies of all time. The Halle Berry-led flick was nominated for seven Razzies, sweeping some of the biggest categories, including Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Actress, and Worst Screenplay. Yikes! With a budget of $100 million and a total gross of $82 million, it’s clear that “Catwoman” was a financially disappointment. As a further sign of just how much a flop can hurt your career, director Jean-Christophe "Pitof" Comar only ever directed one other movie, a TV film called “Fire and Ice: The Dragon Chronicles,” and that was four years later.

#7: “Mystery Men” (1999)

“Mystery Men” is actually pretty awesome; there, we said it. Starring Ben Stiller, Greg Kinnear, William H. Macy, Geoffrey Rush, and many other fantastic actors, the film is about a group of superhero misfits who must band together to save Champion City’s favorite hero, Captain Amazing. Unfortunately, the premise failed to resonate with mainstream audiences and the film only made $33.5 million against a budget of $68 million. In retrospect, it’s somewhat of a mystery that a film with this much high-end did so poorly at the box office.

#6: “Supergirl” (1984)

It’s disheartening that the first female led superhero flick is remembered for anything but. The groundbreaking film starred Helen Slater as “Supergirl,” Superman’s cousin who comes to earth and battles a witch in order to reclaim the Omegahedron, a powerful space doohickey. Okay, now we see why this film was a flop. Between its convoluted plot, terrible effects, and a number of campy, ill-timed performances, “Supergirl” was a major critical and commercial failure. The film only made $14.3 million at the box office, which when compared to its budget of $35 million is pretty sad. Tack on a Rotten Tomatoes score of 10% and a couple of Razzie noms and you have one bad movie.

#5: “Punisher: War Zone” (2008)

A reboot of 2004’s “The Punisher,” “Punisher: War Zone” failed to achieve the same amount of buzz as its predecessor for reasons ranging from its cheesy dialogue to its over-the-top violence. The film, which stars Ray Stevenson in the lead role of anti-hero Frank Castle, missed the mark with fans and critics alike. It made a paltry $10.1 million at the box office, which when compared to its budget of $35 million is downright pathetic. Unsurprisingly, the uber-violent shoot-em-up was panned by virtually everyone who actually sat through it.

#4: “The Spirit” (2008)

How in the world does a film written and directed by comic book legend Frank Miller and starring Gabriel Macht, Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson tank at the box office? To answer that question, one must only look at “The Spirit’”s reviews, with some calling it a “mishandled comics adaptation” and others saying, “There is not a trace of human emotion in it.” In 2010, Empire magazine listed it as one of their “Top 50 Worst Movies Of All Time” and its box office receipts only serve to hammer home that point, as the film was made for $60 million, but only brought in $39 million.

#3: “Steel” (1997)

Who’d have thought that a superhero film starring former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal would have been a box office disappointment? “Steel” centers on (yes, we went there) a weapons designer who in a Tony Stark-esque moment decides to builds a high-tech suit of armor in order to fight crime. Despite its relatively small budget of $16 million, the film never even came close to turning a profit, only earning $1.7 million in ticket sales. Although this was due to a number of factors, the leading cause was undoubtedly a performance from O’Neal that nobody asked for. The big man ultimately earned a Golden Raspberry nomination for his role in the film.

#2: “Super” (2010)

Prior to helming two of the most successful superhero films of the past decade in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and its sequel, director James Gunn cut his teeth on “Super,” a black comedy starring Rainn Wilson as a normal guy who becomes a superhero in order to reclaim his wife from a local drug dealer. Despite its brutal showing at the box office – just $422,618 against a budget of $2.5 million – the film has become somewhat of a cult classic, with many praising Wilson’s dark yet strangely humorous turn as Frank Darbo, aka the Crimson Bolt.

#1: “Defendor” (2009)

Much like the previous film on our list, “Defendor” is about a man who despite having no discernable powers decides to become a superhero. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only thing that “Defendor” and “Super” have in common. Even with a bankable star in Woody Harrelson in the lead role, the film failed to connect with moviegoers. Despite its unique premise, well-written script, and strong performances, the film only made a measly $44,462 at the box office. This number becomes all the more demoralizing when you compare it to almost $3.5 million that it cost to make the film. We said it once and we’ll say it again: not every superhero movie makes a billion dollars.

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