Movie flops 2016

While Disney's Moana and J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts may be setting the box office alight at the moment, spare a thought for the films destined to be forgotten by the uninterested masses, boring facts in some future update of Trivial Pursuit.

Business magazine Forbes has released a list of the biggest box office 'turkeys' of 2016, and you'd be forgiven for greeting each title with a giant "uh... never heard of it."

Topping the list is the sci-fi superhero flick Max Steel, starring relative newcomer Ben Winchell.

It seems basing a film on a line of action figure toys from Mattel wasn't a great plan: the film only grossed US$4.4 million, despite opening in over 2000 theatres, a paltry 42 per cent return on its US$10 million budget.

Free State Of Jones, the bigger budget Civil War drama that officially signalled the death of Matthew McConaughey's McConaissance, similarly pulled in less than half its budget at US$23.2 million.

Another prestige Oscar-baiting piece, Oliver Stone's Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role of the NSA whistleblower, also fell short of breaking even, pulling just US$34.3 million at the box office, despite a hefty marketing push.

A number of big-name comedies suffered similar fates.

Tina Fey's confusing Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, co-starring Margot Robbie, was mired in pre-release controversy, slammed for casting white actors in Afghan roles, and recouped only US$24.9 million of its US$35 million budget.

Sacha Baron Cohen's Grimsby, a spy spoof featuring the comedian doing his best Liam Gallagher impression, was another surprise bomb.

The film, which Fairfax critic Paul Byrnes called a "departure from the free-wheeling improvisations and invasions of real life that made Borat and Bruno so hard to forget", gave Baron Cohen the lowest box office return of his career, taking in US$28.7 million following a budget of US$35 million.

Other bombs that made the list include Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (US$16.4 million), Andy Samberg's Bieber-esque mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Popping (US$9.5 million), and the Isla Fisher and John Hamm-led ensemble comedy, Keeping Up With The Joneses (US$26.9 million). 

Using production costs and gross budget figures sourced online, Forbes ranked the films based on the percentage of their budgets they earned back at the box office as of November 21.

Written by Rob Moran. First appeared on

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