With how many films Hollywood pumps out every year, it's just a statistical fact: They can't all be winners. Sometimes even the biggest budgets and most glamorous stars can't save a film from cratering at the box office. However, even when a film tanks, the filmmakers aren't always willing to own up to it - and some stars stand by them no matter what.
But give it a few years and some more respectable films under their belts, and actors are usually willing to be more candid. Collected below are a few occasions when movie stars were brutally honest about their biggest flops.
- Photo: Buena Vista Pictures
Budget: $48 million
Box Office: $20 million
Bob Hoskins did not enjoy making 1993's Super Mario Bros. During the production, he was stabbed four times, nearly drowned, electrocuted, and had his finger broken.
According to co-star John Leguizamo, nobody involved in the film remembers it fondly. In his autobiography, Leguizamo writes that he and Hoskins would drink Scotch between takes just to get through the days (which resulted in the aforesaid broken finger when Leguizamo drunkenly crashed the Mario brothers' van).
In 2007, Hoskins told the Guardian that Super Mario Bros. was the worst film he ever made:
It was a f*ckin' nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set! F*ckin' nightmare. F*ckin' idiots.
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Budget: $100 million
Box Office: $82 million
In 2002, Halle Berry became the first Black performer to win an Academy Award for best actress. That was for starring in the critically acclaimed Monster's Ball. Three years later, she starred in the critically panned Catwoman, and was awarded the Golden Raspberry for worst actress.
Berry could have ignored the insult; most actors do. Instead, she showed up to the Razzies to accept her award in person - and even brought along her Oscar. Berry's acceptance speech was merciless, sparing neither the writers nor the studio nor her (since-fired) manager for involving her in such a fiasco:
First of all, I want to thank Warner Bros. for putting me in a piece-of-sh*t, godawful movie. It was just what my career needed! I was at the top, and then Catwoman just plummeted me to the bottom. Love it! It’s hard being on top. It’s much better being on the bottom.
I want to thank my manager Vincent Cirrincione. This guy loves me... He loves me so much that he convinces me to do projects even when he knows they’re sh*t! That’s how much he really loves me. My only advice to you... is next time I do a movie, if I get a chance to do another movie, maybe you should read the script... Just counting the zeros behind the one really isn’t enough. You really got to read the script. I love you, man. Love you.
- Photo: MGM3659 VOTES
Budget: $46 million
What The Star Said: Infamously, Inchon has never been released on home video, so you'll need to canvass the bootleg market to sample this stinker for yourself. By most accounts, it's a mediocre-if-not-horrendous movie that can't be saved by its screen legend star.
Olivier was unashamed to admit he took the role entirely for the paycheck:
People ask me why I'm playing in this picture. The answer is simple. Money, dear boy. I'm like vintage wine. You have to drink me quickly before I turn sour. I'm almost used up now and I can feel the end coming. That's why I'm taking money now. I've got nothing to leave my family but the money I can make from films. Nothing is beneath me if it pays well.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
Budget: $75 million
Box Office: $30 million
Jamie Lee Curtis has nothing good to say about 1999's sci-fi horror flick Virus:
That's a piece of sh*t movie. It's an unbelievably bad movie; just bad from the bottom. [...]
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.
- Photo: New Line Cinema
Budget: $45 million
Box Office: $33 million
Even the most ardent Dungeons & Dragons player will tell you, the 2000 movie is hot garbage. Little of its plot or characters has anything to do with the tabletop game's decades-spanning lore, and neither the script nor the effects do the actors any favors. But Jeremy Irons, who plays the film's central villain, makes a meal of the scenery.
After the film came out, Irons politely justified his casting by saying that, like Alec Guinness in Star Wars, he was brought on to lend the picture some gravitas. Years later, he finally dropped the pretense. As Marina Hyde reports in the Guardian:
"Are you kidding?" [Irons] inquired of those wondering why he'd taken the role. "I'd just bought a castle, I had to pay for it somehow."
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Budget: $200 million
Box Office: $219 million
What The Star Said: Just looking at the numbers above, 2011's Green Lantern appears to have broken even - but those figures don't account for the film's marketing budget. By one account, Lantern lost Warner Bros. about $75 million.
But star Ryan Reynolds would ultimately have the last laugh. He parlayed Green Lantern's failure into major success for his fourth-wall-busting antihero Deadpool, who mocks the movie relentlessly in his 2016 and 2018 films.
According to Reynolds, Lantern's biggest issue was it didn't have a clear story to tell:
With Green Lantern, I don’t think anyone ever figured out exactly what it was. That isn’t to say the hundreds of men and women didn’t work their fingers to the bone to make it as good as possible. It also fell victim to the process in Hollywood which is like poster first, release date second, script last. At the time, it was a huge opportunity for me so I was excited to try and take part in it.