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Ten Successful Movies You Thought Were Flops
Slammed by critics, loved by moviegoers...

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After flicking gloomily through The Lone Ranger’s US box office receipts, a task that would have taken as long as several seconds, Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer had some choice things to say about the negative press their film has received. Rather than blaming the film’s toxic reviews, we think the trio should be looking elsewhere to explain their turkey. As the following releases show, a surprising number of plucky blockbusters and savvy sleepers have waded through toxic press, caustic reviews and the general odour of failure to emerge into the golden kingdom of Ka-ching...

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Ten Successful Movies You Thought Were Flops  | Identity Thief (2013)
Identity Thief (2013)

A roadtrip comedy for people who hate comedy (and roads), Identity Thief is one of those films that had critics reaching for the aspirin. “Painfully unfunny,” warned The Observer. “Witless,” groaned Empire. “Watch the trailer... if you must,” cautioned The Wall Street Journal, ominously. Well, try telling all that to the viewing public. “More please!” moviegoers enthused, $173-million-and-change later. Sure, Melissa McCarthy had some heat post-Bridesmaids, and there’s few better at squeezing laughs from the most arid comedy wasteland than Jason Bateman, but Identity Thief’s sweeping success still defied science, logic and the existence of a benevolent god. Universal didn’t care, immediately plotting a sequel. If it comes to pass, expect the $35 million budget to head north, along with McCarthy’s pay cheque.

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Your Comments

1 RE: Superman III
L: waltham1979 My new favourite word ote] As much as I'd like to claim credit, I'm sure it's been around before (and knowing myself, probably in a film - go QI elves!) orscut It should be noted that a large part of that $270m figure for Superman Returns includes the ten years of aborted attempts by Warners to make a new Superman films including at least $35m spent to pay off Cage and Burton for Superman Lives. irst - best name ever (because I've got Ridley's version of 'Gladiator' on right). Second - I think a valid addition to Legion's (shortified) point - again if there's any sources I'd love to get it all together so I've got the knowledge in the future. Third (and kinda random) - is the gist of this covered in 'Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made' by Dave Hughes? It seems familiar to my brain! In any case add on the (again approx is all I have) $100 advertising that seriously dents the profit margin on it. kirby (OHMSS has the best Bond score of More

Posted by elyoda on Friday August 16, 2013, 00:09

2 RE: Ten Successful Movies You Thought Were Flops
I'd have thought wshank Redemptionave gone into profit by now. I remember watching it in an empty cinema after reading /b]'s five star review. Empire star review. Funny, almost 20 years on, I don't see the ca$h/Oscar-hoovering Gumping the top of any Best Film lists. Quality will out and only the best films endure in the long run. Having said that, I still think ] is widely misunderstood and overdue a reassessment itself. Like Zemeckis' the Futurey, Gumpatire and a whole lot more subversive than it's given credit for. Sure, it's a sugar-coated satire, but a satire nevertheless - like the novel it's based on. The trouble is, Gump cynically if understandably bought into the Oscar-winning feelgood hype generated by the very dumbass, flagwaving Americans the film was satirising. Now /i] subversive. More

Posted by chris kilby on Thursday August 15, 2013, 20:28

3 RE: Superman III
L: elyoda L: My name is Legion L: jackcarter also Superman Returns and Terminator Salvation oth films lost money at the box office. Learn how something works before commenting on it. ooking at Box Office Mojo... Superman Returns: Budget - approx $270 million advertising - $370 with)- approx $391 million Ranked 6th domestic gross (2006) Ranked 9th worldwide gross (2006) Terminator Salvation: Budget - approx $200 million WBO - approx $371 million Ranked 23rd domestic gross (2009) Ranked 14th worldwide gross (2009) with adv. budget for Superman Returnsote] It should be noted that a large part of that $270m figure for Superman Returns includes the ten years of aborted attempts by Warners to make a new Superman films including at least $35m spent to pay off Cage and Burton for Superman Lives. More

Posted by directorscut on Thursday August 15, 2013, 17:40

4 RE: Superman III
L: elyoda Hiya, not trying to win points either (sorry, also came across as eydback) - have you got the cost data anywhere for the films, because I couldn't find it - apart from advertising for Superman which I then added in again and it does start damning it a bit more than the initial figures. Also appreciate what you means in terms of generating an actual profit vs. what looks like a profit. Back to first point, if you've got some further sources please let me know as this is actually something I take an interest in beyond the Empire forums :-) y new favourite word More

Posted by waltham1979 on Thursday August 15, 2013, 17:06

5 RE:
L: My name is Legion "Ten Successful Movies You Thought Were Flops" Who, me? Change the title and stop patronising your readers. I miss buying Empire in the 90's, before it became a sloppily written love note to blockbusters. rm Empire has always been a film magazine about big blockbusters? whilst appreciating the smaller movies I don't think Empire has ever made any bones about supporting and promoting big Summer movies...and I've been reading the mag since day dot!! More

Posted by waltham1979 on Thursday August 15, 2013, 17:05

6 RE: Much Better than Burton's Batman's and Marvel.
L: agent cooper Dick Tracy is much better than both of Burton's Batman films o quote Eddie Murphy..."get the fuck outta here" h and Hook is frickin' amazing!!!!!!! That is all. More

Posted by waltham1979 on Thursday August 15, 2013, 17:02

7 RE: Superman III
Thanks very much for the time - I do some review work on a community radio show and our EP/Host sometimes refers to a film's numbers for his arguments, it'll be nice to be able to argue back more effectively (when I need to). And like JD on 'Newsroom' I'm on a mission to civilise - first target is myself! More

Posted by elyoda on Thursday August 15, 2013, 16:36

8 RE: Superman III
L: elyoda Hiya, not trying to win points either (sorry, also came across as arseholey on readback) - have you got the cost data anywhere for the films, because I couldn't find it - apart from advertising for Superman which I then added in again and it does start damning it a bit more than the initial figures. Also appreciate what you means in terms of generating an actual profit vs. what looks like a profit. Back to first point, if you've got some further sources please let me know as this is actually something I take an interest in beyond the Empire forums :-) t's so rare when a complete stranger is civil on the Net, I appreciate it. You've mentioned advertising, two other (major) things you have to take into account are distribution costs, and the cut that theater's take, they're not going to show films for free! The basic rule is that a film has to gross at least twice its budget to break even. Sorry, but I'm in a rush, gotta go. Take care. More

Posted by My name is Legion on Thursday August 15, 2013, 16:31

9 RE: Superman III
Hiya, not trying to win points either (sorry, also came across as arseholey on readback) - have you got the cost data anywhere for the films, because I couldn't find it - apart from advertising for Superman which I then added in again and it does start damning it a bit more than the initial figures. Also appreciate what you means in terms of generating an actual profit vs. what looks like a profit. Back to first point, if you've got some further sources please let me know as this is actually something I take an interest in beyond the Empire forums :-) More

Posted by elyoda on Thursday August 15, 2013, 16:01

10 RE: Superman III
L: elyoda L: My name is Legion L: jackcarter also Superman Returns and Terminator Salvation oth films lost money at the box office. Learn how something works before commenting on it. ooking at Box Office Mojo... Superman Returns: Budget - approx $270 million advertising - $370 with)- approx $391 million Ranked 6th domestic gross (2006) Ranked 9th worldwide gross (2006) Terminator Salvation: Budget - approx $200 million WBO - approx $371 million Ranked 23rd domestic gross (2009) Ranked 14th worldwide gross (2009) with adv. budget for Superman Returnsote] Understand the difference between gross and net profit. Where a film is ranked in any given year is irrelevant. Specifically, if you think Superman Returns made a profit, going by your own numbers, you have no idea. Seriously, I'm not trying to be an arsehole, this isn't me trying to win "Internet points", but you need to learn the economics of film making. EspecMore

Posted by My name is Legion on Thursday August 15, 2013, 14:54

11 RE: Superman III
L: My name is Legion L: jackcarter also Superman Returns and Terminator Salvation oth films lost money at the box office. Learn how something works before commenting on it. ooking at Box Office Mojo... Superman Returns: Budget - approx $270 million advertising - $370 with)- approx $391 million Ranked 6th domestic gross (2006) Ranked 9th worldwide gross (2006) Terminator Salvation: Budget - approx $200 million WBO - approx $371 million Ranked 23rd domestic gross (2009) Ranked 14th worldwide gross (2009) with adv. budget for Superman Returns More

Posted by elyoda on Thursday August 15, 2013, 14:28

12 RE: Superman III
L: jackcarter also Superman Returns and Terminator Salvation oth films lost money at the box office. Learn how something works before commenting on it. I retract my earlier comment, so many years of dumbed down dogshit has created a readership that knows fuck all about film. Just do another 80 page special on the next Star Wars film, that will placate them. More

Posted by My name is Legion on Thursday August 15, 2013, 12:13

13 RE: Ok, now for the next list
Tron Legacy was a success: it took $400M on a $170M budget and was the 11th highest grossing film of 2010... More

Posted by abaddon on Thursday August 15, 2013, 08:38

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