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After The Box Office Failure Of ‘Dark Phoenix,’ We Look Back At Hollywood’s Biggest Flops

Notable examples of
Notable examples of "box office bombs". Clockwise (starting with top left): 'Battlefield Earth,' 'Dark Phoenix,' 'Ishtar' & 'A Wrinkle In Time'

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Weeks before “Dark Phoenix” was released, things were looking bleak for the newest installment of Fox’s X-Men film series.

Early projections showed the film on track to gross around $50 million it’s opening weekend, lower than any other X-Men movie. When “Dark Phoenix” opened last week, it defied expectations – by doing significantly worse than anyone had predicted.

It earned a mere $32.8 million this past weekend. For comparison, that’s approximately half what it’s predecessor, “X-Men: Apocalypse”, earned in its first three days ($65.7 million) and a third of what “X-Men: Days of Future Past”’s bow ($90.8).

“Dark Phoenix” is on track to lose over $100 million dollars, a number matched by last years biggest box office bombs “Mortal Engines” and “A Wrinkle In Time.”

2019 has seen a number of big films underperform at the box office, with wide releases like “UglyDolls”, “Poms”, “Hellboy” and “Serenity” losing money for their respective studios. All those films received negative reviews, but bad things also happen to good movies: “The Kid Who Would Be King”, released in January, has a 90% on RottenTomatoes but failed to make even half its $59 million budget back.

The Ringer’s editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey joins Larry and the critics to discuss some of the most notable box office bombs of all time, from “Ishtar” to “Heaven’s Gate” to “Battlefield Earth” and beyond.


Sean Fennessey, editor-in-chief and chief content officer at the sports and pop culture website and podcast network The Ringer; he is also the host of The Big Picture podcast; he tweets @SeanFennessey

Amy Nicholson, film critic for KPCC, film writer for The Guardian and host of the podcasts ‘Unspooled’ and the podcast miniseries “Zoom”; she tweets @TheAmyNicholson

Justin Chang, film critic for KPCC and the Los Angeles Times; he tweets @JustinCChang

Charles Solomon, film critic for KPCC, Animation Scoop and Animation Magazine