16 Great Movies That Were Total Flops

Columbia Pictures

When you get right down to it, Hollywood is a business out to make money above all else. As a result, any film that turns a profit, no matter how bad, will be propped up and rewarded, while movies that are financial failures will be shunned by the industry. But sometimes, a movie that flops at the box office gets discovered later and goes on to become a cult favorite, because let's face it, some movies should have been way more popular when they first came out.

These films were underappreciated upon their first release for a variety of reasons. Some were simply too far ahead of their time. Others were marketed poorly — or not enough. And some others were the victims of poor scheduling or developmental nightmares. And while the reasons for their financial failures vary, one thing remains the same: they are all now highly-regarded by loving and devoted fanbases. These are the films that Hollywood gave up on, but that people discovered anyway — even if it took them a while to do so. So take a look at the following 16 great movies that languished in theaters when they were first released only to be looked back at now as true classics of their respective genres.

'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story'

One of the funniest movies ever made was a horrendous flop at the box office in 2007, barely making back half its production budget.

'Big Trouble In Little China'

A lot of John Carpenter's movies didn't get the audiences they deserved, but the lack of people who turned out for this masterpiece is especially jarring.

'The Dark Crystal'

Jim Henson took a chance with this epic fantasy, and he didn't get anywhere near the recognition he deserved for it.


The world just wasn't ready for a dark comedy set in a high school back in 1988.

'The Iron Giant'

A box office bomb, this children's classic is now revered as one of the best animated films of the '90s.

'Children Of Men'

One of the best science fiction films of the millennium, it's finally starting to draw the attention it should have gotten a decade ago.


This brilliant satire somehow ended up with a direct-to-video release. Maybe if more people had seen it we wouldn't actually be living it today.

'Blade Runner'

It's hard to believe that a Harrison Ford film widely considered as one of the best sci-fi films of all-time was a box office flop.

'In Bruges'

An unlikely comedy that too few people saw, many fans will respect you based solely on the fact that you like this movie.

'The Emperor’s New Groove'

Produced in the lull between Disney's '90s and modern renaissances, this might be the funniest film the Mouse House ever produced.

'Planes, Trains, And Automobiles'

John Hughes was known for teen movies when he decided to write and direct this R-rated comedy, and audiences were skeptical. Too bad, it's perhaps the funniest film of the '80s.

'The Princess Bride'

Speaking of funny '80s films, this fairy tale parody was too ahead of its time.

'Layer Cake'

Audiences didn't exactly flock to theaters to catch this British action thriller, but you can see the makings of star Daniel Craig's later role of James Bond in it.

'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'

Almost no one saw this bizarro comedy when it was first released in 1975; now you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn't seen it.

'Edge Of Tomorrow'

This sci-fi actioner was released just a few years ago in 2014 to largely empty theaters, but give it another ten years or so and I guarantee it will be regarded as one of the best of the decade.


David Bowie, George Lucas, and Jim Henson. How this didn't add up to the biggest blockbuster of all time I'll never know. The movie made just $12.9 million off a $25 million budget.