12 Biggest (and Most Shocking) Box Office Bombs of 2023, Ranked
With the amount of new blockbusters released this year, you would think there would be plenty of hits, yet there have been more flops than you realize.
2023 has seen some record-breaking successes at the box office with movies such as Barbie, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie doing exceedingly well. Yet not all film releases have been a success this year, and cinema has seen some immense flops along with its great triumphs.
Here are 12 of the year’s biggest box office disappointments.
Elemental is the 27th feature film from the famed Pixar animation studio. Although Pixar has released some of the biggest grossing films of all time, their latest release generated an underwhelming low first box office weekend of less than $30 million, marking it the second lowest opening weekend of any other Pixar film. Fortunately, the animated romantic comedy-drama has managed to make more money since then. But its performance pales in comparison to some of the studio's past heavy hitters.
11. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Though the film received largely positive reviews and a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score, it was a disappointment at the box office. This is largely due to tough competition from films such as The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and fans boycotting the board game companies WotC and Hasbro for attempting to change licensing agreements. Overall, the film grossed $208.2 million against a budget of $150 million.
10. The Flash
The latest superhero flick from the DC Universe was meant to be a critical success. However, due to controversy surrounding its lead actor Ezra Miller, as well as reviews listing the movie as over-hyped (due to its significant marketing efforts), it was considered a box-office bomb. The Flash has only grossed a total $270.6 million of its $200 million budget.
An original science-fiction action epic starring Adam Driver might sound like a sure success. However, due to insufficient marketing and direct competition with Scream VI, the film failed to achieve much of any success. Grossing only $60 million worldwide, it has made only a marginal return of its $45 million production budget.
8. Shazam! Fury Of The Gods
Although the first film was a fan-favorite, this superhero sequel performed less than adequately compared to its predecessor. Critics slammed the flick as a tedious and predictable sequel, only rating it 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were more favorable to Shazam, however this didn’t prevent it from only reaching $134 million worldwide at the box office; less than $10 million more than its budget.
7. Magic Mike's Last Dance
Originally slated to be a digital-only release for HBO's Max, the studio changed its mind after the film received strong test screenings, a decision they would grow to regret. Unlike the other films in the franchise, which made significant returns at the box office, this final sequel only made $57 million on a $45 million production budget.
6. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
This coming-of-age drama may have received much critical acclaim upon release. However, it performed so badly at the box office that it ended up making a loss. With a budget of $30 million, you would have thought that this film had the potential to earn much more. Yet it only grossed a total $21 million worldwide, showing it just didn't have the pull to draw audiences in.
5. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre
Possibly the most disappointing movie of the year so far was Guy Ritchie’s latest spy action comedy, starring big names such as Aubrey Plaza, Jason Statham, Hugh Grant, and Josh Hartnett. However, the movie only made just over half of its $50 million budget and failed much lower than the studio’s predictions.
4. The Covenant
To make matters worse for the English director, Guy Richie’s action drama The Covenant was also considered one of the biggest commercial flops of 2023. Making only $20 million of a $50 million budget, it's likely the last time Ritchie will touch another war epic for some time.
With a rather high $65 million budget, it was always uncertain how this Dracula-inspired action-comedy-horror starring Nicholas Holt, Nicolas Cage and Awkwafina would fare. However, the movie was met with mixed reviews upon release. As a result, it only managed to gross $26 million worldwide.
2. Beau Is Afraid
Even though the production budget was $35 million total, this unusual surrealist tragicomedy horror likely grossed less than $10 million. The celebrated Joaquin Phoenix was cast as the film’s titular character, yet, this clearly wasn’t enough to save it from its confusing plot and overly long length.
1. Big George Foreman
This biographical sports drama about the heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman suffered difficulties even before its release. With a budget of $32 million, the studio obviously hoped it would perform as well as other successful biopics such as Bohemian Rhapsody. Unfortunately, the film simply didn’t attract audiences, making a mere $6 million globally and becoming the biggest box-office flop of 2023 so far.