12 Actors Talk About Their Biggest ’90s Flops

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Any actor who’s been in show business long enough has had to deal with box office failure… Hollywood is such a weird place that even surefire flops can end up being hits.

Which Academy Award-winning actor called their ‘90s flop a “piece of sh*t movie?” Which actor defended their 1991 box office dud by claiming that the audience just didn’t “get it?” Which ‘90s action star blamed the epic failure of his 1993 fantasy action spoof on President Bill Clinton?

Which actors talk about regretting their biggest ‘90s flops? Which actors think they were actually good films that were simply misunderstood at the time?

Vote up the best stories from your favorite stars.

  • Kevin Costner's 1995 post-apocalyptic science fiction movie Waterworld became infamous for all its well-documented production issues, including a hurricane that wiped out an entire set and director Kevin Reynolds quitting in the middle of the movie. 

    The film's budget ballooned to over $150 million, becoming the most expensive movie ever made (at the time). Waterworld wound up bringing in $264 million worldwide. However, after marketing expenses and other costs, it's largely considered a box office bomb.  

    Costner doesn't see the movie as a disappointment or a flop. "I know that people might think of Waterworld as a low point for me. It wasn’t,” said Costner during a 2015 interview. "The movie with all its imperfections was a joy for me … a joy to look back upon and to have participated in.”

    “I’m not sure you know how beloved the movie is around the world," added Costner.

    175 votes
  • In 1991, Bruce Willis showed off his singing skills in Hudson Hawk. The Die Hard actor also co-wrote the screenplay. It's always a tough sell when filmmakers combine multiple genres with fourth-wall-breaking effects. Hudson Hawk mixes elements of heist films, musicals, bizarre slapstick humor, action, and satire. 

    The movie bombed at the box office and with critics. However, like many non-traditional movies with complicated plots, Hudson Hawk has become a bit of a cult classic and has gone on to recover its original production budget. 

    Willis defended Hudson Hawk on the film's Special Edition DVD:

    You know, lookin’ at how it kind of became this cult film, and what people come up and say to me on the street about it is, they dig the fact that it was making fun of itself, that it was satire, and I don’t think anybody got that when it came out, they didn’t know what to make of it, me and Danny Aeillo singing in a movie was just unheard of, and people were mad about it or something, they were mad that we were trying to make them laugh.

    106 votes
  • Sometimes big budget movie projects are doomed from the very start. In 1995, Geena Davis starred as a pirate circa the 1600s in Cutthroat Island, a film directed by her then-husband Renny Harlin. 

    Endless production problems plagued the adventure movie. Thanks in large part to the film's expensive sets and special effects, Cutthroat Island holds the Guinness World Record for History's Biggest Box Office Bomb. It cost almost $100 million to make and brought in just $2.3 million. 

    Davis blames a lot of the movie's financial failure on Carolco, the production company behind the film. She explained:

    I want to clear up that it did not bring down Carolco, because it was already facing bankruptcy before we even started making the movie. The company was pretty much finished. This was its last production. We were doomed from the beginning, unfortunately. When the film came out, there was no money to promote it, so it was guaranteed that it wasn’t going to be successful. Somehow people got fixated on how much it cost. And then Renny and I made The Long Kiss Goodnight for New Line. I love that movie. My character might be my favorite role—it’s a close call between Thelma and that one. Anyway, that movie came out great and got some good reception, but it didn’t soar to heights, let’s say, perhaps as we wanted it to. I don’t know how much that impacted my career.

    38 votes
  • The 1999 science fiction horror movie Virus had a hefty production budget of $75 million and didn't close to recouping its cost. However, the film about Russians and high-tech alien life forms has become a minor cult classic over the years. 

    Virus was based on Chuck Pfafferer's comic book of the same name. It's a movie that Jamie Lee Curtis wishes was not in her filmography. “That's a piece of s**t movie,” said Curtis in 2010. “It's an unbelievably bad movie, just bad from the bottom.”

    The Academy Award-winning actress added:

    There's a scene where I'm running away from this alien and I actually hide under the stairs. I come down some stairs and then duck up underneath them and I'm quivering and this big thing comes down the stairs and I'm freaking hiding under the stairs! This is something that can open walls of steel and I'm hiding under stairs!

    It was maybe the only time I've known something was just bad and there was nothing I could do about it. I just do the best I can and there have been bad movies that have been wildly successful and great movies that have tanked, so you never know. It was an independent precursor to all of these Marvel comics movies. I thought maybe that fan base would show up for it, but no.

    47 votes
  • Sylvester Stallone has acted, written, and directed several hit films. He does regret that the 1995 science fiction action movie Judge Dredd didn't live up to its potential. The Rocky star thinks it could have been a “fantastic” movie. 

    He revealed in 2008:

    The biggest mistake I ever made was with the sloppy handling of Judge Dredd. It could have been a fantastic, nihilistic, interesting vision of the future – judge, jury and executioner. That [film] really bothered me a great deal.

    With all the pop culture, that really bothered me a great deal. I thought it was a fantastic concept, but somebody has to take the fall when things don’t work – and because I was the most recognisable, highest profile.

    Judge Dredd performed moderately at the box office. However, it's considered one of the worst films of Sly's career and definitely was not a hit with critics.

    94 votes
  • Jim Carrey has made several hilarious films and even a few dramatic ones. The movie star had one of the best box office years ever in 1994 when he exploded onto the scene with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber

    However, not all of his romps have been hits. Perhaps the least successful movie, from a financial standpoint, was the Ben Stiller-directed The Cable Guy in 1996. 

    In 2022, Far Out asked Carrey about his three favorite movies. He listed The Cable Guy, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. “I think Ben Stiller did an amazing job, and it’s populated with the greatest comedy actors of our day when they were just coming into their power," Carrey said regarding The Cable Guy. "I love that character. That character is all of us: we were all raised by the TV.”

    74 votes