Underrated Fantasy Movies That Flopped At The Box Office

List Rules
Vote up the fantasy movies that deserve another shot.

Looking back and reflecting on Hollywood flops has become one of the internet's favorite pastimes. If Tinseltown bigwigs can fail while having all the money in the world and talent to spare, the rest of us can put our failures into stark perspective. If one genre has seen its fair share of blockbuster failures over the years, it is the fantasy film.

Especially after Lord of the Rings revitalized Hollywood's interest in the genre in the early 2000s, fantasy became a go-to staple of the summer release window. But moviemaking is always a gamble, and sometimes the roll of the dice isn't kind to the studios who put up the capital in the first place. So, go ahead and vote up the underrated fantasy films audiences missed the first time around.


  • 1
    2,127 VOTES

    Looking back, Stardust sure seemed like a surefire hit. It's based on a Neil Gaiman novel. It's directed by Matthew Vaughn of Kingsman and X-Men: First Class fame. It stars Homeland's Claire Danes and Daredevil's Charlie Cox in the lead roles. It has a supporting cast filled with big names like Peter O'Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Robert De Niro. How did this one not become one of the biggest hits of 2007? It's hard to say, but it definitely has become a cult classic in the years since.

    When it came out in theaters, Stardust didn't have enough clout to even earn $40 million at the American box office. That combination of creative talent and name recognition would make Stardust a hotly anticipated flick in today's media market. It might even have been turned into a limited series for a streaming service. Instead, it'll live on in the memory of the devoted fans who turned it into a beloved cult film over the past two decades.

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  • 2
    1,203 VOTES

    For years, The Black Cauldron was the unwanted stepchild of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Locked away like the company's beloved Cinderella, this 1985 movie was the most expensive animated movie ever made at the time of its release. Did all that money translate into box-office success? No. No, it did not. The Black Cauldron proved to be such a disaster for Disney, the Mouse House decided not to release it on home video until 13 years later, in 1998.

    Can you imagine that today? What if they decided not to put Lightyear on Disney+ until 2035? Does that make any kind of sense? The Black Cauldron may not be a masterpiece, but it has the prerequisite Disney polish and is much darker than most of its animated counterparts from the legendary company. 

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  • Let's give it up to Laika real quick. The stop-motion animation studio has made five films since forming in 2005, and all of them have been pure delights. Whether it's the dark tale of Coraline or the light-hearted Sasquatch story in Missing Link, Laika always brings the goods. 2016's Kubo and the Two Strings was no exception, earning near-universal acclaim upon release. Unfortunately for both Laika and Focus Features, Kubo and the Two Strings wasn't as financially successful as their earlier joint efforts.

    For whatever reason, the magical fantasy epic only brought in around $48 million during its United States theatrical release. With the voice talents of Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, and Matthew McConaughey, not to mention an incredible story of a boy and his magical instrument, Kubo and the Two Strings certainly deserved better than what it got.

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  • 4
    1,155 VOTES

    Had Reign of Fire been released in 2012 instead of 2002, it would've most likely been a major box-office success. A post-apocalyptic dragon-fighting movie featuring the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, and Gerard Butler in the lead roles? That sounds like a blockbuster that prints money right there! The names of the two lead characters are “Quinn Abercromby” and “Denton Van Zan.” Come on! That's delightfully dumb!

    Alas, Reign of Fire struggled to even make just over $42 million at the American box office. Relegated to cult status, Reign of Fire would become a DVD favorite thanks to its near-constant status as bargain bin fodder in Walmarts and Best Buys across the country. A true B-movie with a blockbuster budget, Reign of Fire is worth it for the film fan who likes their fantasy futuristic and grimy.

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