‘Battleship’ sailed its way onto DVD and Blu-ray this week with its metaphorical tail firmly between its legs after bombing at the box office. But was it actually a flop? And how does it stack up against the year’s other multiplex disasters? We investigated...
Firstly, “flop” has a loose definition in cinematic circles. Some films make back their budgets but fail to meet studio expectations while others just flat out fail. Likewise some deserve their lack of success and some are simply unfortunate. Taylor Kitsch certainly falls into the latter category.
[Related blog: Five reasons John Carter was a massive flop]
[Related blog: Is Taylor Kitsch cursed?]
The move from small screen star to big screen leading man has been a well documented success story for the likes of Will Smith and George Clooney but for Kitsch it’s been just a little traumatic. First came ‘John Carter’, the long-awaited adaptation of the classic sci-fi pulp novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the reviews for which were as average as its box office numbers.
Look at its budget versus its worldwide gross (we used Box Office Mojo for the figures) and it made a relatively small profit of little over £20 million, however, Disney spent a further £126m on marketing the film as the next ‘Star Wars’. Which it certainly was not. The mouse house released a statement in March confirming their losses.
Within a couple of months Kitsch was back again in ‘Battleship’, the Hasbro-produced special effects-laden blockbuster about a plucky young outsider who becomes a hero when aliens etc etc. It was another case of the marketing costs tipping the balance into the red as the film failed to topple the rampant ‘Avengers Assemble’ upon its debut. According to estimates, ‘Battleship’ lost £94 million.
Perhaps the biggest flop of the year however has proven to be the Tom Cruise-starring ‘Rock of Ages’. With a budget of approximately £47 million, its worldwide gross stands at just £31.5m, a pitiful performance from the stage musical adaptation. You’d have thought Tom Cruise camping it up and singing 80s power ballads would be box office gold (maybe) but it proved not to be the case. Maybe people were finding their laughs elsewhere?
Actually no. Aside from the widely successful ‘Ted’, comedy in 2012 has taken a beating as well, as has long-standing comedy stalwarts. First was Eddie Murphy, who gave the world ‘A Thousand Words’, a critically-panned comedy that only made back half of its £25m budget and remains the “proud” owner of a 0% score on review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes.
Then came Adam Sandler who, having put the world through ‘Jack and Jill’ late last year, returned to give us ‘That’s My Boy’, which has a worldwide gross £14.5m short of its £44m budget. It would seem that star power doesn’t guarantee much success in the world of comedy.
‘The Watch’, which stars comic mega-powers Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill (as well as our own Richard Ayoade) didn’t fare well at the US box office, entering the charts at 3 behind the already highly successful ‘Ice Age 4’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. It will likely make its money back when it’s released overseas but it’s unlikely to be the success 20th Century Fox would have wanted.
To round off our list there’s ‘Man on a Ledge’, a high-concept thriller starring ‘Avatar’s Sam Worthington, Edgar Allen Poe mystery ‘The Raven’ starring John Cusack and the George Lucas-produced ‘Red Tails’, which each failed to rake back their budgets at cinemas this year despite the attachment of proven successes.
It would seem that 2012 is the year where the biggest successes are monumental and the biggest failures likewise.