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The Biggest Box Office Bombs of 2023

Every year, countless movies take center stage of audiences’ attention, either through controversies like Jeanne du Barry or the sheer disappointment of being unable to reach the audience’s expectations, such as Stephen King’s adaptation, Children of the Corn. However, although appearing to be popular and well-received by audiences, several films wind up being commercial disasters, also known as box office bombs.

While Super Mario Bros. Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 shattered records outright, with the former exceeding the one billion mark and the latter approaching it with each passing day, movies like Shazam! Fury of the Gods fell short of the milestone. That being said, there are countless additional films that fit under this category, and we’re here to give you a rundown of a handful that we believe are complete box office failures.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Paramount Pictures

Honor Among Thieves is a reboot of the classic Dungeons & Dragons trilogy, which began in the year 2000. After years of disputes over filming rights between several production firms, the film finally hit theaters on March 31, 2023. However, despite careful consideration of production quality, it has run into commercial constraints.

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While it earned favorable reviews and had a strong opening weekend at the box office, it only grossed $190 million all around, raising the question of whether the film was truly successful. The main reason for this is that the film’s budget is $150 million, and adding marketing costs will only make revenues minuscule. This hinders the development of any future sequels, but perhaps it will try something new next time.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

shazam fury of the gods cast superheroes
Warner Bros. Pictures

As the title indicates, the gods were not particularly kind to Shazam this year. DC movies usually have solid opening weekends except during the pandemic, but Shazam! Fury of the Gods trumped both Wonder Woman 1984 and Suicide Squad, which had previously been projected to have the lowest weekend box office.

In fact, the production initially aimed for a $35-40 million opening weekend in the United States and Canada, but estimations amounted to $30 million, the lowest of any DCEU film thus far. While the first weekend saw a 43% decline, the second weekend had a 69% loss, resulting in the movie earning only $9.3 million. In the end, the film grossed $133 million, which is a smidgeon more than the cost of production, but a significant loss when marketing costs are factored in.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance

Magic Mike's Last Dance movie
Warner Bros. 

While Magic Mike’s Last Dance may not be a total bust on its own, it certainly isn’t up to the standards set by the first two films. While the first 2012 film, Magic Mike, brought in $170 million worldwide, the 2015 sequel, Magic Mike XXL, grossed $123 million, but Magic Mike’s Last Dance only earned $57 million.

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While there isn’t a significant difference in the commercial performance of the first two films, the third one stands out. Many people may not have been interested in watching the movie in theaters because it was originally a Max exclusive but was later picked up for theatrical release by Warner Bros. Discovery. In any case, at a budget of around $45 million, it cannot be regarded as a successful film from a commercial standpoint.

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant

Gyllenhaal in The Covenant

The Covenant is surprisingly Guy Ritchie’s most well-received film to date, with an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though he brought a new kind of pulse-pounding thriller, unlike his past endeavors, it was a box office disaster. A $55 million budget may have resulted in high production quality, but its box office earnings were only $20 million, less than half of the budget.

Its commercial failure can be attributed to poor marketing and distribution strategies, as the films were only released in 2600 theaters with no international distribution. Naturally, this was not a mistake, but rather a different approach from the standard one, as the film was released by MGM, a production firm owned by Amazon, and they opted to stream it through Prime Video for foreign viewers instead of releasing it in theaters.


Mills and Koa in 65
Sony Pictures Releasing

65 is a one-of-a-kind film with an exceptional premise that follows a space pilot named Mills (Adam Driver) and a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) whose ship crashes on a mysterious planet infested with dinosaurs. We follow their survival as they try to make their way to safety in this prehistoric land filled with dangers lurking around every corner.

As much as it seems like a terrific science fiction film, it was not deemed a critical or commercial success. 65, like Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Magic Mike’s Last Dance didn’t make a huge profit due to its underwhelming gross of $60 million worldwide on a $45 million budget, making it one of the few box office bombs of 2023.

These films aren’t the first box office bombs, and they certainly won’t be the last of 2023. The Flash, though it is currently still in theaters, may be the costliest of them all this year, grossing $215 million against its reported $200 million budget. Fans can only wait and see the fate of upcoming blockbusters, such as Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Barbie, and Oppenheimer, later this summer.

This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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