Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Top Ten Scores for Box Office Bombs

Article by Travis Elder

Every movie is a bit of a gamble. Some flicks are more sure things than others, but sometimes even the best movie concepts turn out flops.  Surely, a second, third, or fourth film about Peter Pan is going to do well?  History says otherwise.  By the time a composer sets to work in earnest on a movie, it is often far along the production process. Signs of the film's tenuous fate may even be crystalizing.  Interestingly, a film's quality often has no correlation with the quality of its score.  In fact, great scores have arisen many times out of the ignominy of a film's failure. Undoubtedly, this provides small comfort to the studio and its investors.  We film score fans remain the beneficiaries of a composer's strident efforts no matter the film's quality.  The scores to such downtrodden flicks may live long and prosper into the future to be appreciated again and again. To prove my point, let me share my top ten favorite scores from films that generated catastrophically less than desirable results at the box office.  For a more extended listen and exploration, check out my top 25 in this Spotify playlist.

Estimated loss: $94,000,000–152,000,000*
Composer John Powell

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Estimated loss: $70,000,000+
Composer: Danny Elfman

Ender's Game
Estimated loss: $71,000,000–$90,000,000
Composer: Steve Jablonsky

Gods of Egypt
Estimated loss: $80,000,000
Composer: Marco Beltrami

Peter Pan
Estimated loss: $91,000,000
Composer: James Newton Howard

John Carter
Estimated loss: $127,000,000–209,000,000
Composer: Michael Giacchino

Sinbad Legend of the Seven Seas
Estimated loss: $163,000,000
Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams

Estimated loss: $96,000,000–$123,000,000
Composer: Clint Mansell

Jupiter Ascending
Estimated loss: $88,000,000–$121,000,000
Composer: Michael Giacchino

Cutthroat Island
Estimated loss: $140,000,000
Composer: John Debney

*All loss figures from:

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Thanks for sharing!