Movies So Bad They Were Pulled From Theaters
Sometimes a movie performs so poorly and becomes so poisoned by terrible word-of-mouth that studios or distributors will pull it out of
theatersabruptly to end the embarrassment. Check out this round-up of box office disasters, because you probably didn't see them in
theaters. Hollywood makes so many
moviesout of familiar properties because name recognition equals free marketing. It's much easier to get filmgoers on board with something
theyalready know than to sell them on a new concept. That's how G.I. Joe and Transformers became successful movie franchises. Ironically, though, another fondly remembered cartoon show and toy line from the '80s became one of the biggest film flops of all time. Jem and the Holograms, a live-action, modernized version of the property about an all-female rock band, opened in October 2015 in more than 2,400
theaters. But the filmmakers didn't stay true to the source material, thus alienating the only people who'd actually want to go see it. The result was an abysmal rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an opening weekend of just $1.37 million. In week two, revenues dropped to a mere $388,000. And that's when Universal
pulledit out of
theaterscompletely and pretended it never even existed. "We were just talking about you." "Yeah, we know. We heard everything." Inspired by the interactive audiences of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, screenwriter Kenn Viselman conceived of a film where kids were...
encouraged to yell out their thoughts to the characters on screen. The result was The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, which was mostly a generic kids movie with some brightly colored characters named Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie. Plus, there were special appearances from stars kids love, like Cloris Leachman and Toni Braxton. Parents had little interest in paying for their kids to a yell at a screen for 90 minutes when
theycould do that at home for free. During its first weekend, The Oogieloves earned just $448,131 at over 2,000
theaters. Accounting for multiple showings at each location, that works out to an average of about two people per screening. It somehow did even worse in its next two weekends before the marketing visionaries at Kenn Viselman Presents mercifully removed it. "Ooh ooh ooh ooh Oogielove! Oooogielove!" "What fun little Oogieloves you are!" In June 2015, a movie with the generic and bland title of United Passions hit
theaters. It's a mawkish story of the rise and greatness of FIFA, the universally reviled worldwide governing body of soccer. It's so extremely pro-FIFA that it's no surprise the organization provided most of the film's $22 million budget. It's a bad movie on its own merits, but it also fell victim to extremely bad timing. Its release came just days after the arrests and indictments of more than a dozen FIFA executives on corruption charges and the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter. The...
director publicly regretted having made the film and even called it "propaganda." United Passions played to 10
theatersin the United States, where it earned a grand total of $918. It then dispassionately dis-unified with
theatersafter just one week. The Nightmare Before Christmas isn't the first film to combine scary Halloween scares with the trappings of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. In November 1984, Tristar Productions released Silent Night, Deadly Night, a slasher movie in the traditional '80s style. But the villain wasn't a guy in a hockey mask or a knife-outfitted glove. Instead, he was a crazed man named Billy who killed people with an axe while dressed as Santa Claus. More than 200 picketers assembled at two
theatersin Brooklyn, bearing signs that read "Santa's Not a Hitman" and "Deck the Halls with Holly, Not Bodies." That outcry prompted Tristar to cancel a big TV advertising push, and some
theatersrefused to book the movie at all. What would've been a much bigger release wound up a moderate one, as Silent Night, Deadly Night ultimately played in about 400
theatersnationwide. The outrage killed the film's prospects like Santa killed his prey, and it was
theatersafter two weeks. "Bingo!" Released in August 1981, Honky Tonk Freeway is a pleasant enough ensemble comedy that seems tailor-made to run on a low-wattage local TV station on a Sunday afternoon. It's about a small...
Florida tourist trap of a town called Ticlaw that's home to a small zoo and a water-skiing elephant. The mayor bribes a state official to ensure that a new freeway will include an off-ramp to Ticlaw, thus vastly improving the town's fortunes. The off-ramp doesn't get built, so the residents come together to paint the whole town pink as a publicity stunt. All of that non-action is intercut with the stories of various individuals about to wind up in Ticlaw, including bank robbers, hitchhikers, a family, and some nuns. Directed by Academy Award-winner John Schlesinger, this whole affair somehow cost $24 million, six million more The Empire Strikes Back. The total box office haul of Honky Tonk Freeway was just over $2 million. It was gone from
theaterswithout a trace within a few weeks. In the 2000s, Uwe Boll carved a niche in the film industry as the go-to guy to turn video games into
movies. Even when he lucked into working with great actors, the results remained unimpressive. Efforts like BloodRayne and Alone in the Dark contributed heavily to the universally-acknowledged notion that video game
moviesare always terrible. But the one that rises above, or sinks below, the rest is Postal. This 2007 flick took the kill-'em-all action of the Postal games and added a plot in which the guy who played Farkus in A Christmas Story is the title Postal Dude. The film includes dozens of gruesome deaths, Boll playing himself getting shot in the groin, and a supposedly...
comic scene lampooning the events of 9/11, not shown here. While that all seems like the plot of a direct-to-video movie, or possibly a fever induced nightmare, Postal somehow got itself a wide theatrical release, scheduled for May 2008. But just before its release, nearly all of the distributors that had lined up
pulledout. Rather than open on 1,500 screens, it opened on four. That's right, Postal was so bad that it got
theatersbefore it even arrived. Had Gigli not starred two of the biggest celebrities of the era, who were in a high-profile romance at the time, it would've been just a weird and forgettable movie, not a legendary flop. Ben Affleck plays a stereotypical gangster goon with an unpronounceable name assigned to kidnap the Baywatch-obsessed, developmentally-disabled brother of a federal prosecutor. Things go awry, so the bosses send in a more capable operative, Ricki, played by Jennifer Lopez. Then the two fall in love, even though Ricki is gay and Gigli is a raging misogynist. That plot, and the off-screen "Bennifer" antics, led to an unofficial competition among critics over who could say the meanest things in their reviews. The Wall Street Journal called it, "The worst movie, all right, the worst allegedly major movie, of our admittedly young century." Somehow, Gigli cost $54 million to make, but it unsurprisingly bombed, bringing in just $6 million. After three weeks in
theaters, it moved to its final resting place...
in the grocery store DVD bargain bins. Madonna is certainly one of the greatest and most influential pop stars of all time, but that goodwill has very little to do with her forays into acting. She's basically the Meryl Streep of the Razzie Awards. The "Oscars of bad
movies" have dishonored Madonna a remarkable 16 times for stinkers like Shanghai Surprise, Body of Evidence, and Swept Away. That last one seemed like it might be a little better than the usual Madonna movie, as it was written and directed by Guy Ritchie. He's the acclaimed filmmaker behind Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels who also happened to be Madonna's husband at the time. That didn't seem to do much good, however. The desert island rom-com suffered a critical drubbing and took home four Razzies. Audiences didn't like it either. It played in American
theatersfor three weekends to a total of less than $600,000 before the distributor swept it away. In the late 2000s, a science-fiction allegory about respecting nature and the dangers of colonialism hit
theaters. It utilized cutting-edge CGI and animation technology to render lifelike but exotic humanoid creatures. But we're not actually talking about Avatar, which
pulledin a record $2.7 billion at the worldwide box office and played to packed movie
theatersfor months on end. Nope, this is the story of Delgo, a movie at the other end of the box office spectrum. With the protagonists fleeing their resource-ravaged homeland...
for another, this 2008 animated feature bore a similar look and premise to Avatar, but it had far from the same success. Made by the small Fathom Studios, development began in 1999, when CGI animation was still something of a novelty. By the time of its release in 2008, Delgo's style was old hat, and not particularly well-executed. Plus, its lead voice actors, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt, had lost their A-list status. While Avatar broke just about every box office record, Delgo broke one, too: it earned $511,000 at 2,160