Not every comic book superhero adaptation gets turns into gold at the box office. While the superhero boom in Hollywood has made many people rich and turned many superhero films into massive blockbusters, there are exceptions. Most of the “failures” still earn back their ludicrous budgets and possibly get rebooted a few years later. The Spider-Man franchise is already in line for its second reboot after less than 15 years. But some movies, like this summer’s Fantastic Four, lose money for their studios and live on in infamy.
Here are the 8 Worst Superhero Box Office Bombs.
The Green lantern (2011)
Warner Bros. banked a lot on Catwoman being a blockbuster hit. A $100 million budget and a heavy marketing campaign tried to build up buzz for a movie that seemed like a surefire hit, benefiting from the recent boom in superhero movies. The film, however, was in development hell for years on end, with Michel Pfeiffer and Tim Burton first touted for the title role and director, as a spin-off from Burton’s Batman Returns. Then, Ashley Judd was rumored to step into the catsuit, and then Nicole Kidman had a shot. Finally, Halle Berry was cast, along with the signing of unknown, one-named French filmmaker Pitof. The critical response was disastrous, as was that of the box office, raking in $82 million worldwide out of a $100 million budget. Part of the film’s failure may reside in the creative decision to jettison the film’s origins in the Batman universe. Halle Berry played a character named “Patience Phillips,” not the Selina Kyle we know and love, and her version of the cat bore little resemblance to that in the comics.
PUNISHER: WAR ZONE (2008)
The Dolph Lundgren-starring 1989 version wasn’t released in theaters, while the 2004 film featuring Thomas Jane didn’t really light the box office on fire, either. But it at least had more punch than the 2009 reboot/pseudo-sequel, War Zone, a film that was – forgive me for saying this – a punishment in its own right. The story goes that Frank Castle’s family was killed by a mob family, and Castle exacts revenge and kills everyone in the clan except Billy Russotti, who sustains very severe injuries that, even with plastic surgery, make his face looks like a jigsaw puzzle. The movie tackled the Jigsaw vs. Punisher rivalry, but, due to a poor screenplay that left out a lot of character development, lost much of the gripping momentum that made the comic books so good. A $35 million budget meant that the film’s $10 million worldwide box office intake was a complete and utter failure.