10 Movies That Were Doomed To Fail Before They Even Released, According To Reddit


As Don’t Worry Darling and Batgirl both proved earlier this year, not every movie gets a fair chance to be a success, the former because of the controversy that overshadowed its release and the latter because it was decided to leave the movie unreleased, ostensibly for financial reasons.

They’re far from the only movies undermined by bad press and studio meddling, though. From 2017’s Justice League to the ill-fated Artemis Fowl movie, there are several movies Redditors think had no chance of ever working out.


Artemis Fowl (2020)

Available On Disney+

Artemis Fowl wearing a suit and sunglasses

Combining an immensely popular Young Adult series with a popular director in the form of Kenneth Brannagh should have been a sure-fire recipe for success for the Artemis Fowl movie, but, for some, it only took the release of a trailer that showed the titular genius surfing to signal it wasn’t going to work. Redditor Louiebox comments, “if there was one activity in the world that Fowl wouldn’t do, it’s surfing.”

It immediately signaled to the group that should have been the movie’s guaranteed audience that this movie wasn’t going to be the faithful adaptation they wanted. On the flip side, there wasn’t much reason for a general audience to get behind a messy and baffling movie that recieved heavily negative reviews.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Available On HBO Max

Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko

Considering it’s now seen as a cult classic psychological thriller, it’s obvious that Donnie Darko didn’t fail because of the lack of a receptive audience. Instead, it was the timing that was wrong for what proved to be Jake Gyllenhaal’s breakthrough role. Redditor Prudent_Falafel_7265 explains that “events conspired against Donnie Darko in its release roughly coinciding with Sept 11.”

In fact, the movie was released just over a month after the tragic attacks, and a moment from the Donnie Darko trailer in which a jet plane engine fell from a roof suddenly became a marketing disaster. Actress Beth Grant told The Ringer that she wasn’t sure the movie would premiere at all in the wake of the attacks. Fortunately, time has been kind to the movie that now has no shortage of fans.

Ben-Hur (2016)

Not Currently Streaming

Toby Kebbell during the chariot race in Ben Hur

Box office success is a difficult thing to achieve even for massive Hollywood studios like MGM, and sometimes even great movies flop at the box office. Ben-Hur didn’t even have that going for it, however, with critics comparing it unfavorably with previous adaptations. Redditor Funmachine thinks it was a flop anyone could have seen coming.

They emphasize the absurdity of thinking it would be a success in the first place by commenting, “Yes, there was a Ben Hur remake.” Whilst a recognizable title is supposed to boost a movie’s chance of success, the massive 1959 film that’s largely responsible for Ben-Hur‘s popularity was produced in a golden age of biblical epics. 2016’s Ben-Hur wasn’t, and it’s told in its box office underperformance.

Waterworld (1995)

Not Currently Streaming

Kevin Costner Waterworld storm

Don’t Worry Darling is far from the first movie to have its release overshadowed by negative headlines, and Waterworld was arguably an even worse victim in the mid-90s. Redditor 10sharks comments that “Waterworld had tons of negative press beforehand,” particularly “for being overbudget.”

Dennis Hopper, who starred as The Deacon in the now-well-liked post-apocalyptic movie, also attributes its failure to the bad press, telling AV Club that he felt the studio sabotaged themselves by announcing how over-budget the movie was. The massive budget also meant it had little chance of making its money back in theaters.

Justice League (2017)

Available On HBO Max

The DCEU Justice League movie from 2017

Though Zack Snyder’s Justice League has gone a long way to rescuing the lost reputation caused by Justice League‘s high-profile failure in 2017, it still stands as one of the most memorable flops in recent years. Redditor WatchBat thinks that “the theatrical version of Justice League” was always destined to fail.

Production issues are the primary reason for that. Although it’s not unheard of for a movie to change directors part-way through production and still do well, Joss Whedon’s attempts to re-tune the movie only piled onto its issues with tone and pacing. The internet wasn’t kind either, with Henry Cavill’s blatantly CGI-removed mustache becoming an in-joke that made the movie even harder to sell.

The Dark Tower (2017)

Available On FXNOW

Roland and Jake walking together in The Dark Tower

Whilst it may have seemed like an easy formula for box office success at one point, there are plenty of Stephen King adaptations that failed, and after being critically panned and failing to spawn any sequels, it’s fair to consider The Dark Tower among them. Redditor Robinothoodie thinks it was doomed because it “needed to be a miniseries.”

The Dark Tower book series is a fan-favorite, but with eight books of content that take their time to build a unique genre-hopping world, it was hardly going to be easy to translate into a tight 90 minutes. The movie tried, letting down fans of the source material and proving incomprehensible to unfamiliar audience members as a result.

Fantastic Four (2015)

Available On Disney+

2015's Fantastic Four stare at a big blue light in the sky

In terms of poor press prior to a movie’s release, few movies had it worse than Fantastic Four, an attempt to reboot the superhero quartet with Josh Trank at the helm. Redditor austinmmyers put forward “the 2015 Fantastic Four movie” as one that was always doomed to fail as a result of studio meddling and the director’s response.

As reported by CinemaBlend, Trank told the world a day before the movie released that the “fantastic” version he’d made would never be seen, suggesting the one appearing in theaters had been messed with by the studio and would not be so great. Critics certainly agreed that it was a poor effort, and fans apparently didn’t see much reason to turn up either.

The New Mutants (2020)

Available On Disney+

The central cast of The New Mutants 2020

Despite an all-star cast that included Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, and Anya Taylor-Joy and a connection to the ever-popular X-Men franchise, The New Mutants was still unable to make back its budget at the box office. Redditor jomarthecat thinks it always seemed doomed to fail because it “was postponed so many times it became The Old Mutants before it released.”

According to The Tracking Board, the movie’s production was troubled because director Josh Boone was forced to compromise on his more horror-based initial concept for the movie only for a well-received trailer that played up the movie’s horror elements to prompt extensive re-shoots from the studio. It contributed to an incredibly long gap before the movie was actually released, which sabotaged its potential for success.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (2021)

Available On Amazon Prime Video

Henry Golding in Snake Eyes.

One of the biggest box office flops of last year, Snake Eyes stands as yet another testament to the fact that a big franchise name isn’t always enough to get movie-goers excited. Redditor jomarthecat points to two major reasons why it was guaranteed to flop, the first being how long it’s been since the last G. I. Joe movie.

Perhaps even more significant than that was that the character of Snake Eyes “was cool because he was a mystery.” With G. I. Joe already not really in the public consciousness anymore, taking away the one thing compelling about Snake Eyes for the sake of the movie left even less reason for people to turn up.

Men In Black: International (2019)

Available On Starz

M and H riding a bike in Men in Black International

Although making a Men in Black movie without Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as the central characters was a risk in the first place, Men in Black: International could still arguably have done well if it captured the heart and humor of the earlier movies. Unfortunately, Redditor 1987-Nobody thinks that was never going to materialize.

According to them, a chaotic production process that saw “new pages of script coming in every day” was the reason for that. Indeed, an extensive report from The Hollywood Reporter revealed that daily re-writes were just the start of the trouble on set, a symptom of the ongoing battle between different forces at Sony Pictures. It was a mess never likely to produce the clever and revitalized Men in Black movie fans wanted.

NEXT: 10 Bad Lines That Ruin Otherwise Good Movies, According To Reddit

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Denis Ava
Denis Avahttps://allbusinessreviews.org/
Denis Ava is mainly a business blogger who writes for Biz Grows. Rather than business blogs he loves to write and explore his talents in other niches such as fashion, technology, travelling,finance,etc.

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