While there are exceptions, it’s never easy to predict which movies are going to find enormous financial success at the box office and which ones will fall short of expectations in a given year. Hollywood execs like to act like they know what they’re doing when it comes to convincing audiences to spend their hard-earned money on their products, but the truth is that moviegoers can be fickle and even movies that seem like sure bets can end up failing. It’s easy in retrospect to point to various factors for why individual movies had disappointing box office runs, but it’s much more difficult to predict flops before they happen.
These are the movies I want to highlight today – the ones that seemed positioned well to see big returns on investment but ended up doing much the opposite. The following are 12 of the most surprising box office disappointments. Enjoy!
12. Justice League (2017)
While the DC Films Universe has had a rough go of it when it comes to critical reception (except for Wonder Woman, of course), the franchise as a whole has put up impressive box office figures. Released in late 2017, Justice League looked like it would be yet another money-maker for Warner Bros and with Wonder Woman having proved both an overwhelming critical and commercial success earlier in the year, it was hard to escape the feeling that the franchise was at a turning point in terms of quality. Unfortunately, Justice League turned out to be a worst-case scenario, in that it not only got lousy review scores but fell well short of box office projections.
With a worldwide gross of $657.9 million, Justice League managed to break even but the expectation was that the film would turn a big profit, and given it was the DC equivalent of Marvel’s Avengers crossovers, it should have earned more than the likes of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman. Instead, Justice League now sits as the lowest-grossing film in the franchise and a lot of the blame can be leveled at the studio’s behind-the-scenes tinkering, which turned Justice League into a lesser Avengers imitator.