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Every year studios build hype over the upcoming big budget spectacles soon to hit cinemas. Raising hopes and expectations via trailers and photos, the movie-going public lose their minds as they wonder what delights will be in store for them come opening weekend. Unfortunately this year, many audiences were stung and came away disappointed after watching the likes of Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and Ben Hur. We decided to look back at past films that failed to live up to the hype, so here are six blockbuster disappointments.
Wild Wild West (1999)
Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld’s first collaboration, Men in Black (1997), was a surprise hit grossing over $500 million worldwide. Teaming up again for an adaptation of the 1960s television series Wild Wild West, audiences and critics were anticipating another success. However, with the film straying far from the original, Robert Conrad refused a cameo and costly reshoots to inject more humour after test audiences were confused by the tone, put the project in doubt. Yet with Smith and Sonnenfeld’s track record audiences were still hopeful of an entertaining movie. Hopes were dashed, earning a disappointing $222.1 million and suffering a slaying by critics, the film performed well at the Golden Raspberries picking up five awards including Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay.
Superman III (1983)
The first two Superman films were developed alongside each other with Richard Donner in the director’s chair for both. During production on Superman (1978), Donner and the producers didn’t see eye to eye which eventually culminated in his departure midway through it’s sequel. Richard Lester was brought in to replace him and finish the film. Superman II’s (1980) success spawned the inevitable third film in the franchise with Lester returning. Angry at the treatment of Donner, Gene Hackman refused to reprise his role as Lex Luthor and criticism from Margot Kidder saw her role as Lois Lane reduced. The tone changed to campy and comedic, with Richard Pryor oddly cast as one of the villains. Audiences around the world groaned in disappointment wondering if it could get any worse. Then Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) came along.
The Mummy Returns (2001)
Universal’s iconic character The Mummy was rebooted in 1999 and was a surprise hit, grossing over $400 million worldwide. Of course a sequel was never in doubt. Writer/director Stephen Sommers and the original cast returned and was supplemented with an increase in budget, Universal were clearly optimistic. Unfortunately, in contrast to the original we were left with a weak plot that focused on action sequences and unimpressive visual effects. WWE legend Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson played a small role helping the film beat it’s predecessors earnings, encouraging a spin off, but it wasn’t a patch on the original.
When Independence Day opened in 1996, it was one of the greatest sci-fi action films of all time. Roland Emmerich’s visual effects spectacle grossed over $800 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing film of that year. Determined to give us bigger and better, two years later he directed an American adaptation of Japan’s most famous scaly character, Godzilla. To build hype he produced one of the best teaser trailers at a cost of $600,000, but fans were not happy about the monsters redesign. The film itself was met with an overall negative reception. Still, the box office boomed and it won two awards…at the razzies, for ‘Worst Remake or Sequel’.
Last Action Hero (1993)
Arnold Schwarzenegger is the ultimate action movie star. A string of hits from the late 80s to early 90s include Predator (1987), Total Recall (1990) and Terminator 2 (1991). In 1993 when it was announced he would be starring in an action comedy satirising the genre and himself, anticipation was high with it’s unique premise and leading man mocking himself. John McTiernan, Arnie’s director on Predator was taking the helm and Lethal Weapon (1987) scribe Shane Black was on script rewrite duties. With such a talented team you’d wonder how it could possibly fail. Yet fail it did, opening at number 2 behind Sleepless in Seattle and losing $26 million. Not even advertising on the side of a rocket launched into space could save this one.
Kevin Costner was on top of the world back in the early nineties and rarely made a mis-step. Winning several oscars for Dances with Wolves (1990) and with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) rocking the box office he was one of the hottest actors at the time. So as you can imagine, reuniting with Robin Hood director Kevin Reynolds for a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic action movie showed a lot of promise. An initial budget of $100 million dollars ballooned to $175 million with cost overruns, and a hurricane destroying sets added to its problems. It was met with mixed reviews, praising the premise and setting, but it’s budget could not be recouped at the box office.
So there we have it, six films that left us crestfallen. Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments below.
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