When you stroll down the cinema aisles, you’re seeing the end result of a high-stakes gamble by Hollywood studios. Behind every superhero soaring across screens and each heart-wrenching drama is a colossal investment from studios like Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros. They pour in not just millions into production budgets, but also a hefty sum for marketing to lure you and audiences around the globe to theaters or streaming platforms like HBO Max. Yet, even with all this effort and the glitz of red-carpet premieres, not every film becomes a box office hit or an Oscar contender.

Movies That Lost Millions at the Box Office 02

A box office failure isn’t just about the visible losses; it’s a chain-reaction that can ripple through a studio’s future plans, sequels, and sometimes the very careers of the talent involved. Here are 25 movies that lost millions at the box office.

All of these movies and their sales were sourced from Box Office Mojo.

List of 25 Movies That Lost Millions at the Box Office:

  1. The Lone Ranger
  2. The 13th Warrior
  3. Mortal Engines
  4. Cutthroat Island
  5. Battleship
  6. The Adventures Of Pluto Nash
  7. Tomorrowland
  8. Terminator: Dark Fate
  9. Pan
  10. Wonder Woman 1984
  11. Jupiter Ascending
  12. Battlefield Earth
  13. Turning Red
  1. A Wrinkle In Time
  2. Evan Almighty
  3. Power Rangers
  4. Jungle Cruise
  5. Mulan
  6. Dark Phoenix
  7. Onward
  8. John Carter
  9. How Do You Know
  10. The Matrix Resurrections
  11. Cats
  12. Moonfall

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger

Disney’s ambitious Western, The Lone Ranger, faced significant financial hurdles after its release. Initially, the movie grossed $260 million; however, with production costs of $215 million and adding in marketing expenses, the final figures were disappointing.

  • Budget: $215 million
  • Box Office Gross: $260 million
  • Estimated Loss: $190 million

The studio typically secures only around half of the box office revenue, plunging their returns deeper into the red. Reports indicated this resulted in a loss closer to $85 million just from cinematic sales. Further expenses compounded the financial outcome, leading to an estimated loss around $190 million. When considering inflation, the numbers were even more sobering.

The 13th Warrior

The 13th Warrior

Imagine a film where Antonio Banderas teams up with Vikings—it happened in The 13th Warrior. Despite its intriguing premise, the movie couldn’t escape its fate as a massive financial flop. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Budget: $160 million
  • Box Office Gross: $61 million
  • Estimated Loss: $129.2 million
  • Adjusted Loss for Inflation: Approximately $238 million

The simple math here is brutal. Even if every dollar of that box office went straight to the filmmakers—which it doesn’t—The 13th Warrior still sank like a stone, money-wise. That estimated loss isn’t even counting additional costs like marketing, which likely adds to the financial bruise. It’s clearly a case where ambition met a harsh reality check at the box office.

Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines

The film Mortal Engines found itself in a tough spot at the box office. With a production budget at $110 million coupled with another $120 million for marketing, the stakes were high for this cyberpunk adventure. However, despite the visual spectacle and the creative mind of Peter Jackson, the numbers didn’t stack up favorably.

  • Production Budget: $110 million
  • Marketing Budget: $120 million
  • Total Needed for Breakeven: At least $120 million

Here’s the kicker: even if you’d see Mortal Engines pull in $120 million, it wouldn’t scratch the surface of the total costs. Movie studios don’t pocket all the ticket sales, which translates to a substantially higher breakeven point. The movie managed to rake in just under $84 million globally, leaving a shortfall.

Put simply, your trip to see Mortal Engines couldn’t stop it from hemorrhaging cash, to the tune of an estimated $188 million. Factor in inflation, and that number looks even grimmer.

Cutthroat Island

Cutthroat Island

Budget vs. Gross:

  • Original Budget: $100 million
  • Box Office Gross: $10 million

Projected Losses Today:

  • Approximate Loss (Inflation-adjusted): $191 million

Impact on Careers:

  • Geena Davis & Matthew Modine’s careers took significant hits post-release.

Releasing in 1995, this pirate-themed film’s performance was far from treasure-worthy, creating ripples through Hollywood with its staggering financial loss.



Despite a substantial investment, the movie adaptation of the classic board game Battleship didn’t chart a successful course. Universal Pictures allocated over $210 million in production costs, not to mention a hefty marketing budget. Even so, the movie’s reception was lukewarm at best.

Internationally, Battleship pulled in a respectable $237 million, exceeding its modest $65 million domestic earnings. Such figures would normally be a cause for celebration, but they didn’t amass enough to balance the ledger. After accounting for the expenses of crafting and promoting the film, it’s estimated that Universal Pictures found themselves about $150 million in the red. When adjusting for time’s financial impact, this shortfall becomes even more pronounced at around $200 million.

  • Budget: Over $210 million
  • Domestic Earnings: $65 million
  • International Earnings: $237 million
  • Estimated Loss: $150 million ($200 million adjusted)

The Adventures Of Pluto Nash

The Adventures Of Pluto Nash
  • Star Power: Eddie Murphy
  • Movie Genre: Space action-comedy
  • Box Office Revenue: $7.1 million
  • Studio’s Earnings: Approximately $3.5 million
  • Estimated Loss: Roughly $96.5 million (before marketing costs)
  • Inflation-Adjusted Loss: About $164 million

Eddie Murphy’s star charm couldn’t save “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” as it tanked at the box office, barely making a fraction of its costs back in revenue. Your curiosity might pique at the staggering estimated loss, which doesn’t even consider the cash poured into marketing. The damages to the studio’s wallet would be even more substantial if those figures were on the table.



Disney’s foray into transforming Tomorrowland, one of its park attractions, into a cinematic spectacle didn’t pay off as hoped. With a hefty production cost of $180 million and another $150 million spent on marketing, expectations were high. Despite pulling in $209 million worldwide, this figure fell short compared to the initial investment.

Key Financials:

  • Production Budget: $180 million
  • Marketing Spend: $150 million
  • Total Gross: $209 million

The shortfall led to a significant financial loss for Disney, with analysts estimating that the deficit clocks in at a minimum of $120 million. This number stands even starker when adjusted for inflation, pushing the estimated loss even higher.

Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate’s performance at the box office didn’t meet expectations. Even though it seemed to garner a decent $261 million globally, the production costs were a hefty $185 million. When you factor in that studios only pocket about half of the gross revenue, the returns shrink significantly.

  • Production Cost: $185 million
  • Worldwide Gross: $261 million
  • Studio’s Share (est.): $130.5 million

But that’s not all. The film’s promotional expenses were around the $100 million mark. Add to this the complex financing behind the scenes, and you realize that the movie had to rake in roughly $450 million just to cover costs. Falling short by about $188 million, it’s easy to see why this entry in the Terminator series is often regarded as a significant financial letdown.



Your dive into the box office world reveals a grim picture for the retelling of a childhood classic, Peter Pan. Warner Bros. faced a financial disappointment with their film titled Pan. It kicked off its journey with a less-than-impressive $15.5 million in its debut weekend.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Global Earnings: Approximately $128 million
  • Production Costs: A steep $150 million
  • Studio’s Take-home: Around $64 million

Even with a little better performance abroad, the math just wasn’t adding up in the studio’s favor. The figures suggest a shortfall of at least $85.5 million, and that’s before you throw in the costs of marketing. Taking inflation into account, the loss surges past the $100 million mark. Not quite the treasure Warner Bros. was hoping to find.

Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984

It seems the box office gods weren’t smiling on Wonder Woman 1984. By late January, just as it hit a worldwide take of about $169.6 million, projections weren’t looking too hot. Word in the industry had it hemorrhaging cash, to the tune of more than $100 million. Adjust that number for today’s dollars and you’re looking at an $118 million hole in the wallet.

The twist? Its predecessor had set the bar sky-high — not just in terms of earnings but also acclaim. The sophomore film didn’t just trip on its lasso; missing the mark both critically and financially. Heck, dropping this sequel in 2020 didn’t help its chances, considering the year’s cinematic landscape. Tough break, huh?

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending, a space epic directed by the Wachowskis, had aspirations as high as its celestial title. Despite an initial look that suggested a break-even financial scenario, deeper financial analysis tells a different tale. Take a look at the ledger:

  • Production Costs: Soared past initial estimates, hitting a gravity-defying $205 million.
  • Global Revenues: Managed to pull in around $184 million.
  • Marketing Spend: A not-so-modest $100 million additional outlay.
  • Profit Calculation: Common estimations have theaters retaining 50% of box office revenues.

Calculating these figures, the cinematic venture encountered cosmic turbulence, ultimately resulting in a loss of $213 million, with losses inflating to $275 million when adjusted for inflation. Not the financial odyssey the creators had hoped for.

Battlefield Earth

Battlefield Earth

Believe it, Battlefield Earth didn’t skyrocket in the box office like you might expect from a movie led by John Travolta. It managed to rake in a mere $29.7 million worldwide. That’s a pittance against its lofty $73 million cost to make. The average IMDB rating is at 2.5/10 which lends reason why this film completely flopped.

Financial Snapshot:

  • Global Box Office Earnings: $29.7 million
  • Production Budget: $73 million
  • Estimated Loss: At least $58 million

Adjust those figures for inflation, and you’re looking at a loss of over $103 million. These numbers don’t even touch the likely hefty marketing spend, which remains a bit of a mystery.

Turning Red

Turning Red
  • Budget: Approximately $175 million
  • Box Office: Around $20 million
  • Approximate Revenue for Studio: Possibly $10 million
  • Estimated Financial Loss: Potentially more than $165 million

The dollars and cents reveal a stark narrative for the animation Turning Red. With an initial budget in the ballpark of $175 million, the film’s financial return fell short, grossing merely $20 million at the box office. Cutting that revenue in half—as the studio’s usual take—suggests the aftermath didn’t quite paint a rosy picture. In fact, taking into account that the reported losses don’t factor in promotional costs, the movie’s plunge could likely exceed a $165 million shortfall.

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time

Disney’s adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time faced a steep financial shortfall. Here’s a snapshot of its fiscal outcome:

  • Total Spending: Estimated between $150M to $250M.
  • Global Box Office Revenue: $132.6M.
  • Disney’s Earnings Post-Costs: Approximately $66M.

Given the range of its potential expenses against what it earned, the film’s losses are estimated to fall somewhere between $86M and $186M. This calculation includes both production and promotional expenditures.

Evan Almighty

Evan Almighty

Despite high hopes from Universal Pictures for a blockbuster success, Evan Almighty encountered turbulent waters at the box office. Initially crafted as a follow-up to Bruce Almighty, this film shifted gears, emphasizing religious motifs. The hope was a $40 million debut, but what unfolded was a more modest $32.1 million—quite the miss for the producers.

The financial tale grew dimmer as the production costs, initially pegged at $175 million, reportedly soared to around $210 million. With a worldwide gross of only $174 million, not including the funds poured into marketing, the math wasn’t looking holy. The comedic ark ended up short about $123 million, by conservative estimates – a figure that rises to $182 million with an inflation adjustment. The hopeful forecast sadly never materialized, and this cinematic vessel found itself substantially underwater.

Power Rangers

Power Rangers
  • Budget: $100 million
  • Box Office Income: Approximately $140 million
  • Estimated Loss: At least $30 million

Despite earning a seemingly decent $140 million in cinemas, the 2017 “Power Rangers” movie didn’t rally as hoped. With an initial budget around $100 million, this number doesn’t incorporate the undisclosed marketing costs which can be quite hefty. Moreover, a film typically earns the studio just half of the box office takings due to the slice taken by theaters and distributors.

This hit to the finances became part of the reason why the anticipated sequels vanished into thin air. The franchise revival was off the cards, turning a potential series starter into a standalone movie.

Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise

Despite a decent box office haul, your journey with Jungle Cruise wasn’t as profitable as anticipated. With over $200 million sunk into production, the film’s earnings needed to be stellar to break even. Think of it like this: when a flick makes $220 million globally, typically only half fills the studio’s coffers. So even when Jungle Cruise navigated through the ticket sales, it still left Disney navigating a financial shortfall of around $90 million. The math behind movie profits can be tricky, and in this case, it looks like Jungle Cruise hit choppy waters financially.



Despite other live-action adaptations by Disney bringing in substantial revenue, “Mulan” diverged from this trend. Initially, it might seem like “Mulan” achieved a moderate success with an estimated domestic revenue on Disney+ around $90 million, plus an international box office return of $69 million.

However, the figures become less rosy when you consider the costs of production. With “Mulan” having a budget of approximately $200 million and the estimated final earnings for Disney at about $62 million, the math reveals a significant shortfall. In the end, even by the most generous calculations, “Mulan” resulted in a financial loss north of $137 million for Disney.

Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix, despite its stellar cast and explosive action, racked up a colossal bill in production and marketing, soaring to around $350 million. Now, take your seatbelt off because this next part’s a doozy—it only clawed back $252 million at the box office.

Quick Breakdown:

  • Production & Marketing Spend: ~$350 million
  • Box Office Receipts: $252 million
  • Estimated Loss: could be up to $200 million

Yup, this superhero flick probably wished it had the power to turn back time and redo its finances. If the whispers are true, it needed to make at least $325 million just to avoid a $100 million loss. Reality check: that didn’t happen. Instead, the film’s performance was more like a crash landing than a heroic soar.



Despite receiving positive reviews for its touching storyline on bereavement, Onward did not fare well financially. With a substantial budget of $200 million and taking into account that theaters typically split ticket sales with movie studios, Onward‘s $133 million gross fell short. This suggests the animated feature potentially experienced a $133 million shortfall.

  • Critical Success: Positive reviews for emotional depth
  • Budget: $200 million
  • Box Office Gross: $133 million
  • Estimated Loss: Up to $133 million

Onward faced a steep climb to profitability, which it did not achieve.

John Carter

John Carter

John Carter, the sci-fi spectacle, became a massive financial challenge for Disney, with early figures indicating a staggering shortfall. Within a mere ten days of hitting the big screen, the motion picture had grossed a total of $184 million globally. With expenses totaling $250 million for production alone, the shortfall quickly ballooned, pointing toward a $200 million dent in Disney’s wallet.

Budget and Box Office:

  • Production Cost: $250 million
  • Initial Global Earnings: $184 million

Despite a later increase in revenue, bringing in an extra $100 million, the additional earnings barely made a dent. Given the steep decline in revenue as a film ages in theaters, the initial projected loss of $200 million remains a harsh reality. This number, when factoring in inflation, suggests an even greater impact on Disney’s finances.

How Do You Know

How Do You Know

You might recall the buzz around How Do You Know, spearheaded by the same director who gave us the hit As Good As It Gets. The romantic entanglement at the center of the film drew comparisons, eliciting expectations of a similar blockbuster performance. Interestingly, Sony backed up this optimism by funneling a hefty $120 million into production—slimmed down to $100 million post tax cuts.

Despite the heavy investment, when the ticket sales were tallied, the figures painted a starkly different picture. The film scraped together just $48 million in global receipts—a sum just nudging past the tax-subsidized portion of the budget. When the dust settled, the shortfall sat around $75 million, swelling to a daunting $105 million if you adjust figures for inflation. A pricey gamble that didn’t quite pay off, to say the least.

The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections

Despite the enthusiasm for Keanu Reeves and the enduring affection for the original Matrix trilogy, the fourth installment didn’t ignite the box office as anticipated. With Warner Bros. setting aside a substantial $150 million for production, expectations were high.

Here’s how the numbers played out:

  • Budget: Reportedly $150 million
  • Box Office Gross: Roughly $157 million

Remember, the total gross doesn’t all go to the studio. Quite a chunk is sliced off for theaters and other distribution costs. Normally, they’d eagerly lap up the profits, but in this case, Warner Bros. might have to digest a bitter pill to the tune of at least $71 million in the red. And should those whispers about an even steeper production and marketing bill be true, then we’re talking about an iceberg with the bulk of its mass hidden underwater.



The musical adaptation of Cats turned out to be a box office disaster, falling substantially short of breaking even. Here’s a breakdown of what went down with the numbers:

  • Production Budget: The movie was produced on a hefty $90 million budget.
  • Marketing Spend: An additional $115 million was splurged on selling the movie to the public.

Despite this significant investment, the film’s global ticket sales stalled at roughly $75 million. With these figures, it’s estimated that the movie could have hemorrhaged up to $167 million, and when taking into account inflation, the numbers are even more staggering. It seems “Cats” struggled to charm audiences, resulting in a financial fiasco for the producers.



Budget vs. Earnings:

  • Production Cost: $150 million
  • Global Revenue: $67 million

Studio’s Estimated Earnings: About half of the gross, which intensifies the financial loss.

Director’s Track Record:

  • Roland Emmerich, known for turning risky ideas into box office successes, couldn’t replicate his past successes with Moonfall.

Financial Outcome:

  • With the additional costs of marketing, the movie’s loss exceeded the initial $116 million shortfall.
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  1. Interesting list, Jay! Curious, how do you reckon the marketing strategies impacted these films’ performances? Seems like some had more potential than what the box office showed.

  2. Was surprised to see Tomorrowland on the list. Always thought it had a lot of potential with its concept. Any insights into what exactly went wrong with it, Jay?

    1. Yeah, Tomorrowland’s failure seemed like a mix of poor marketing and maybe the storyline didn’t click with audiences as expected.

  3. Got to admit, I expected to see a couple of these on the list but was surprised by titles like ‘Turning Red’. It had such positive reviews. Just goes to show that revenue isn’t always linked to the quality of the movie.

    1. It’s all about streaming these days. Box office numbers aren’t the final say on a movie’s success.

  4. Mortal Engines didn’t stand a chance imo. It was competing in an overcrowded market without enough distinguishing features. Though the visual effects were commendable, they alone couldn’t salvage the film.

  5. So, ‘Cats’ lost millions, huh? Guess it wasn’t the purr-fect movie after all. I’ll see myself out…

  6. I find it inspiring how filmmakers take these risks even knowing the market’s unpredictability. Makes me excited about the future of cinema!

  7. Most of these movies suffered from more than just bad box office numbers. For many, it was a combination of poor timing, lackluster marketing, and sometimes just bad luck. ‘The Lone Ranger’, for example, had potential but was overshadowed by competing titles. Worth examining beyond just the financial losses.

  8. It’s fascinating to see the global impact these films had despite their financial losses. For instance, ‘Mulan’ had a massive following in Asia and it’s intriguing to consider how cultural differences influence movie reception.

  9. Do you think that the marketing strategies of these films played a significant role in their box office failures, or were there other more significant factors, Jay?

  10. As someone hoping to break into the industry, this list is both disheartening and motivating. Even big-budget films can flop, but they all offer learning opportunities. Plus, some of these, like ‘John Carter’, have become cult favorites. It’s all about perspective.

  11. Isn’t it fascinating how some of these films, like Cutthroat Island, have become interesting case studies in what not to do in film production and marketing? The dynamics between what critics appreciate, what audiences engage with, and what actually earns money is endlessly complex.

  12. Saw a few of these movies without realizing they lost so much money. Makes me wonder what goes into the budget.

  13. Each movie on this list has its unique backstory of why it failed at the box office. ‘The 13th Warrior’, for instance, had its budget balloon due to extensive reshoots. The financial aspects aside, it’s intriguing to analyze these from a cultural and cinematic history perspective.

  14. I always thought Wonder Woman 1984 had a tough act to follow. Tough situation, trying to outdo an already beloved first film.

  15. Some of these movies are gems in their own right despite the box office numbers. Always worth digging around for a good flick!