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Unhappy Returns

July 14th, 2009

Poking around Wikipedia, I stumbled across this list of movies that bombed in North America. Honestly, the list seems somewhat less than definitive; Wild Wild West is left off because its combined domestic and international takes pushed it into the black, but D-War (aka Dragon Wars) is included even though it was a big hit in its native South Korea. And Waterworld doesn’t belong there at all, despite its reputation; that sucker made a modest profit once all the dinars were counted.

It’s a rogues’ gallery of high-profile turkeys–no list of movie bombs is complete without Cutthroat Island–but there are some good films in there, too. Dark City jumps out as one of the latter, as does Ed Wood. And, of course, I’ll go to my grave defending Speed Racer as cruelly underrated.

Anyhow, despite the list’s deficiencies, I thought it would be amusing to count up the number that I saw during their initial theatrical run. I came up with 29 30 (added Raise the Titanic!):

  1. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  2. The Avengers
  3. The Black Cauldron
  4. Cat People (1982)
  5. Dark City
  6. Dick
  7. D-War
  8. EDtv
  9. Ed Wood
  10. Escape from L.A.
  11. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  12. Forces of Nature
  13. Heartbeeps
  14. Howard the Duck
  15. Ishtar
  16. Judge Dredd
  17. Land of the Lost
  18. Legend
  19. Lifeforce
  20. Mars Attacks!
  21. McHale’s Navy
  22. Raise the Titanic!
  23. Return to Oz
  24. Santa Claus: The Movie
  25. Slither
  26. Snoopy Come Home
  27. Solaris (2002)
  28. Speed Racer
  29. Waterworld
  30. Wing Commander

That’s a whole lot of suck. Though I take no credit for Santa Claus: The Movie; my dad has been responsible for coercing me into watching any number of terrible, terrible, terrible films. (I returned the favor.)

I maintain that Ishtar really isn’t all that bad, once you get past the outrageous budget overrun. And Slither is a lot of ooky fun. But Heartbeeps? Man, that sucked ass.

There are eight more that I saw on home video, but I’ll let you guess which.

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