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Summer Cinema Disasters

By Edited Oct 23, 2016 0 0

From Jaws to Star Wars, from E.T. to Forrest Gump, some of the most beloved movies of all time have been summer releases. But summer is the time when many movies with huge budgets and even bigger studio expectations are released, and some fall short in a very painful fashion. The movies on this list did that better than any other summer films in history.

Can't Stop the Music (June 1980)

This vehicle for the Village People and Bruce Jenner was advertised as the movie musical event of the 1980s. Not quite. Budgeted at $20 million - half of which went towards an extravagant global marketing campaign - the movie earned only $2 million at the box office. Even worse, it helped inspire the Golden Raspberry Awards ("Razzies"), which recognize the worst achievements in film. Can't Stop the Music has the dubious distinction of being the first "winner" of the Worst Picture Razzie. 

Howard the Duck (August 1986)

A movie based on a Marvel comic with George Lucas as executive producer? What could go wrong? In this case, plenty. Budgeted at $37 million (including $2 million spent on a duck suit, Howard the Duck earned only $16.2 million domestically. It earned $21.6 million in the foreign box office, where it was titled Howard: A New Breed of Hero. The movie "won" four Razzies, including Worst Picture (tying with Under the Cherry Moon), and today is considered one of the worst films ever made. 

Ishtar (May 1987)

No one could accuse writer-director Elaine May of a lack of ambition with this comedy, which starred Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as incompetent songwriters who find themselves in a Middle Eastern adventure. Wisdom is another story. When filming began on location in Morocco in October 1985 (two months later than originally planned), May quickly returned to her famously painstakingly ways, requesting numerous takes of even the most basic scenes. Production moved to New York in January 1986, and principal photography was finished in March (three months later than scheduled). This was followed by an editing process so lengthy that sometimes May had three teams of editors working 24-hour shifts. As if all that wasn't enough, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee waged a protest campaign against the movie only days before its release. Originally planned to open in November 1986, Ishtar finally came out six months later and proved to be a box office disaster, grossing $14.3 million domestically. While it didn't "win" the Worst Picture Razzie, Ishtar was included on Time magazine's list of the 100 worst ideas of the 20th century. 

Waterworld (July 1995)

A tagline for Jaws warned against going in the water. The same advice could apply to filmmakers. Over the years, many of them have learned the hard way about the headaches that accompany shooting a movie on the sea. Nevertheless, Waterworld production designer Dennis Gassner chose Hawaii's Kawaihae Harbor as the movie's central filming location. The 166-day shoot (originally planned to last 96 days) quickly turned into a nightmare. Many cast and crew members were afflicted with severe, persistent seasickness and jellyfish bites, while a number of stunt people suffered life-threatening injuries. The movie's primary set piece, a $5 million metal atoll, sank during filming and had to be recovered. Star Kevin Costner quarreled with director Kevin Reynolds. Universal was unhappy with Reynolds' edit and allowed Costner to take over the process, which caused an angry Reynolds to officially quit the film. With a budget that eventually reached $175 million, Waterworld became the most expensive movie ever made (Titanic broke the record two years later). It grossed a humiliating $88.2 million domestically, and although it earned $175.9 million in the foreign market it's considered one of the biggest bombs in film history. Naturally, it was nominated for four Razzies, including Worst Picture, but only "won" for Worst Supporting Actor Dennis Hopper.

Striptease (June 1996)

Demi Moore earned a then-record $12.5 million for starring in this comedy. At least somebody had a positive experience Striptease. Moviegoers certainly didn't, at least if the six Razzies the movie "won" - including Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Actress for Moore - are any indication. Not that many moviegoers saw it. Striptease grossed a mere $33 million domestically (it grossed a total $113 million worldwide). 

Batman & Robin (June 1997)

This dud sidelined the Batman film franchise for nearly a decade. Director Joel Schumacher later blamed the desire of Warner Bros. to make Batman & Robin a vehicle to sell toys and games for the movie's problems and apologized to fans in a making-of documentary on its DVD. Budgeted at $125 million, Batman & Robin grossed only $107 million domestically, easily the worst performance of any of the live action Batman films (it grossed another $130 million overseas). It was nominated for 11 Razzies, but in a year dominated by The Postman (another failed Kevin Costner epic) it only "won" for Worst Supporting Actress Alicia Silverstone. Empire magazine named Batman & Robin the worst movie ever in February 2010. 

Battlefield Earth (May 2000)

It had long been John Travolta's ambition to bring the 1982 sci-fi novel from L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, to the big screen. When shooting began in July 1999 - some 16 years after screen rights to the novel had been been acquired - dedicated Scientologist Travolta's dream had seemingly come true. But as they say, be careful what you wish for. Travolta predicted Battlefield Earth would be a hit on the level of Star Wars and declared before it was even released that there would be a sequel. What actually happened? The $73 million movie grossed only $29.7 million worldwide and earned a reputation as one of the worst films in history. It "won" seven Razzies, including Worst Picture, and in 2005 it was named the worst drama of the ceremony's first 25 years. In 2010, the Razzies named Battlefield Earth the worst movie of the decade. 

Gigli (August 2003)

Calling this story about a pair of criminals - played by the then-engaged Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez - a debacle is almost an understatement. Budgeted at $54 million, Gigli grossed a grand total of $7.2 million - worldwide. Second weekend box office declined a record 81.9 percent (since broken), and in the movie's third weekend it played in 73 American theaters, a 97 percent decline from its opening weekend. Gigli became the first film in Razzies history to sweep the top five categories and "won" six awards altogether. In 2005, it was named the worst comedy of the Razzies' first 25 years. 

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