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The Most Infamous Box Office Flop From The Year You Were Born

Updated June 23, 2020 384.6k views25 items

When filmmakers set out to make movies, they don't wish to make something people don't want to see, but they don't know what will happen to make their film the most reviled of that year until audiences and critics see it and decide for themselves. 

For every year since you were born, there's been one movie that was panned by critics, ignored by audiences, or both. Some have been redeemed in later years as cult classics or unrealized masterpieces, while others are destined to remain in the dustbin of history because they didn't have any redeeming qualities. 

Some are bad in a good way, but others are never going to be, in any way, worth seeing. Here are the movies that were the flops, the stinkers, and the top of the trash heap since the year you were born. Did they get a bad rap for no reason, or did they really deserve the scorn?

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  • Production Budget: $16 million
    US Box Office Total: $8.4 million
    What Happened? The 1970s was the decade of the disaster film - Airport, Towering Inferno, and Earthquake were all huge hits. But Meteor, a special effects-laden disaster film with a star-studded cast, put both studio American International Pictures out of business and a nail in the coffin of the genre.  

    What should have been one of the biggest films of the year was a boring, addled mess, which isn't good for a movie about a meteor set to wipe out everything in its path. It did, however, spawn Armageddon and Deep Impact, both of which took many of its plot points from this movie. 

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  • Production Budget: $44 million
    US Box Office Total: $3.5 million 
    What Happened? For better or worse, director Michael Cimino happened. The film cost quadruple the budget and was a year behind schedule because of Cimino's need for perfection. Cast members had to learn to roller skate; a full western town of the period was built; a vintange steam train was acquired; and the 1200 extras were handpicked by the director himself. 

    By the time the movie premiered, Cimino's name was mud in Hollywood. He had created over a million feet of footage, but was contractually obligated to make a film spanning two to three hours. He got it down to four hours, then cut it down to two and a half hours, but that didn't work either; it didn't catch on with audiences and was univerally panned.  

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  • Production Budget: $24 million
    US Box Office Total: $2 million
    What Happened? Another film with plenty of star power and a legendary director in John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy), Honky Tonk Freeway tells the story of the fictional town of Ticlaw, FL, wherein an adjacent freeway and subsequent tourist dollars bypass the place. With its all-star cast, pyrotechnics, and stunts like jumping the I-75 overpass, it should have been a hit, but the characters and story were too cliched and fragmented for viewers, who never quite made a connection with it. 

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  • Production Budget: $26 million
    US Box Office Total: $637,000
    What Happened? Francis Ford Coppola wanted to do something a little more lighthearted after Apocalypse Now and went with One from the Heart. This story of a couple's breakup is told with song, dance, plenty of stunning scenery, and a Tom Waits-heavy soundtrack, but it was far too light on plot, and the leads - Teri Garr and Frederic Forrest - didn't have much in the way of chemistry. Much like Apocalypse Now, One from the Heart went way over budget and angered many a studio head. No one saw it, and Coppola's reputation never really recovered.  

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