Yes, folks, the news is true: The eighth and final Harry Potter movie comes out in the United States while I'm in China and . . . it doesn't come out in China until August 4th. I'm not joking when I say I cried when I found out.
It's pretty much guaranteed that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is going to make a bajillion dollars at the box office, but what about movies that DON'T make money? What makes a movie fail?
A movie that fails is usually called a "flop" or a "bomb." I looked up some reasons why films sometimes fall into that category -- shout out to BBC.com for help with this.
If a movie is released at the wrong time and fails to align with the general mood of audiences, it will flop. BBC cites the example of "The Alamo," a movie about Davy Crockett's stand against the Mexican army. It was supposed to capitalize on the American patriotic surge following 9/11 . . . but it was released in 2004, when the patriotic hype had waned considerably. If it had been released in 2002, there's a chance it may have done better at the box office, but the timing was all off. Sorry, Billy Bob Thornton.
photo credit here
Very rarely do husband-and-wife teams make good films. Cutthroat Island is a famous flop starring Geena Davis and directed by her then-husband Renny Harlin. It was supposed to be a grand epic swashbuckling tale about pirates, and from what I hear the special effects were great and the film initially had enough going for it that had it been directed differently, it may have succeeded. As it turned out, the movie only made back $11 million of its $92 million budget. GIGANTIC flop. Same goes for Swept Away, Madonna's sad attempt at acting under the direction of her husband Guy Ritchie. The film actually went straight to DVD in the UK. So, a word of advice: NEVER make a movie with your spouse. The chance that it will be a quality piece of cinema is too small to bank on.
photo credit here
I made up this one on my own. Sometimes a movie is just too stupid to make any money at the box office. Take Battlefield Earth, for instance. This movie, starring John Travolta and based off of a sci-fi book by L. Ron Hubbard, is so famously bad it became the punchline for jokes about bad movies. This movie won a record seven Golden Raspberry Awards, which are awards for terrible movies. You can also count Kevin Costner's Waterworld under the heading of Ridiculousness, because the budget was so outrageous and the plot so far-fetched that audiences just stopped going to see it.
The only redeeming factor of a movie flopping is that it may eventually gain cult status. Movies like Showgirls, Evil Dead, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Heathers were initial box office failures, but gained a loyal following after VHS and/or DVD sales and make a lasting impact on pop culture.
What are some other famous "flops"? Leave 'em here or over on the Facebook page! And while you're at it, leave some of your favorite bad/good movies!