In Hollywood, they all can’t be winners, which sadly means a lot of great films happen to become a bust at the box office.
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Dimension Films / The Weinstein Company
However, movies live on far, far past their time in cinemas, which means second chances come aplenty for critical re-evaluations. This, combined with seemingly obscure films finding new audiences by randomly dropping on Netflix, inspired us to assemble 23 box office duds that you won’t regret judging for yourself.
1. Bad Times at the El Royale
Twentieth Century Fox / Entertainment Pictures / Alamy
From The Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard, this ensemble mystery-thriller follows a group of shady characters converging on a novelty hotel on the California-Nevada border, each of whom harbor a dangerous secret that sets off a perilous chain of events.
Where to watch: Bad Times at the El Royale is currently available to stream on Spectrum on Demand.
20th Century Fox / United Archives GmbH / Alamy
Henry Selick went from The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach to this raunchy, imaginative, and criminally unseen comedy about a cartoonist who finds himself in an absurd purgatory after falling into a coma.
Where to watch: Monkeybone is available for rental on Video-on-Demand.
3. The Last Castle
Collection Christophel / DreamWorks SKG / Robert Lawrence Productions / Alamy
Though it failed to connect with audiences, this action film, headlined by the likes of Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, and Delroy Lindo, showcases the emotional struggle between a rebellious prisoner (Redford) and a vindictive warden (Gandolfini) at an unscrupulous military prison.
Where to watch: The Last Castle is currently streaming on Starz.
4. Deep Rising
Hollywood Pictures / Ronald Grant Archive / Alamy
This simply awesome action-horror hybrid follows a group of mercenaries who attempt to rob a luxury cruise ship, only to discover a much more terrifying threat aboard the ship.
Where to watch: Deep Rising is currently streaming on Hoopla.
5. 3000 Miles to Graceland
Prod DB / Warner Bros. / Alamy
Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell headline this pulpy action flick about a rough-and-tumble ex-con who seeks revenge against the man who shot him and murdered their gang of Elvis-impersonating thieves and made away with millions in an ambitious casino heist.
Where to watch: 3000 Miles to Graceland is available to rent via Video-on-Demand.
Columbia Pictures / United Archives GmbH / Alamy
Andrew Niccol’s stunning sci-fi story about a man with genetic disadvantages who hatches a plot to purchase the identity and DNA profile of a handicapped former swimming star in order to fulfill his dream of traveling into space.
Where to Watch: Gattaca is currently streaming on Netflix.
Universal Pictures / PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy
While BASEketball does have pockets of humor not exactly acceptable by today’s standards, this absurd and risqué comedy from the director of Airplane! largely holds up thanks to its commitment to being silly, stupid, and even surprisingly satirical throughout.
Where to watch: BASEketball is currently streaming on Peacock.
8. The Suicide Squad
Warner Bros. / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy
A victim of HBO Max’s day-and-date release mandate in 2021, The Suicide Squad is brought to life by James Gunn’s energetic and unpredictable take on the property, which offers better humor, emotion, and spectacle than its dreary predecessor.
Where to watch: The Suicide Squad is currently streaming on HBO Max.
Dimension Films / The Weinstein Company / Entertainment Pictures / Alamy
The rare case in which two filmmakers have a flop from the same movie, Grindhouse is still a different and incredibly fun double-feature to experience at home, where you can turn off your brain and let the ensuing madness win you over.
Where to watch: Grindhouse is available to rent on Video-on-Demand.
Paramount Pictures / Photo 12 / Alamy
Though Sahara is certainly not going to be the film for which Matthew McConaughey is remembered, this Indiana Jones-lite action-adventure film is pretty damn entertaining and certainly doesn’t deserve its negative reputation considering how much energy it has compared to much of the modern studio fare.
Where to watch: Sahara is currently streaming on Paramount+.
11. Ad Astra
20th Century Fox / Lifestyle Pictures / Alamy
Ad Astra essentially plays like Apocalypse Now in space, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you have Brad Pitt, who also serves as producer, bringing a rare vulnerability to this futuristic action-drama.
Where to watch: Ad Astra is available to rent on Video-on-Demand.
12. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Alamy / Prod DB / Universal Pictures / Apatow Productions / The Lonely Island / Party Over Here / Perfect World Pictures
Sadly, the Lonely Island does not have the best track record at the box office, with the equally fantastic Hot Rod and MacGruber opening to unimpressive numbers, but Popstar is easily one of the best comedies of the past decade and highlights some of the Lonely Island’s funniest songs to date.
Where to watch: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is currently streaming on Cinemax.
13. Doctor Sleep
Warner Bros. / Album / Alamy
While its box office failings have often been attributed to its 150-minute+ runtime and moments of shocking violence, Doctor Sleep is a testament to the power of filmmaker Mike Flanagan in crafting a chilling original vision that feels perfectly in line with the universe created by storytelling heavy-hitters Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick.
Where to watch: Doctor Sleep is currently streaming on HBO Max.
14. Speed Racer
Silver Pictures / RGR Collection / Alamy
The Wachowskis’ divisive and colorfully frenetic Speed Racer may have hit a speed bump on the track to financial success but is absolutely a winner in terms of eye-widening spectacle, as the duo remains unwavering in their commitment to the properties’ cartoon origins while adding the undeniable visual excitement so often associated with their output.
Where to watch: Speed Racer is available to rent on Video-on-Demand.
15. A Cure for Wellness
Regency Entertainment / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy
Gore Verbinski’s mind-bending horror film was also derailed at the box office by its running time and transgressive subject matter, but there is a lot to admire about this seductive and spine-tingling film about a young executive who is sent to retrieve a powerful CEO from a secluded wellness center.
Where to watch: A Cure for Wellness is available to rent on Video-on-Demand.
Lakeshore Entertainment / Entertainment Pictures / Alamy
The filmmakers behind Crank hoped to catch lightning in a bottle again with this deranged and chaotic flick; while audiences didn’t quite flock to Gamer, it’s absolutely found its cult audience of vocal devotees who praise its uninhibited and explosive action.
Where to watch: Gamer is currently streaming on Peacock.
17. The Master
Annapurna Productions / Album / Alamy
Paul Thomas Anderson’s gripping portrayal of flawed and broken people that surround a thinly-veiled allegory for Scientology found a disconnect with audiences upon its initial release, but the powerful performances and incredible direction could not be denied, leading the film to establish a superb legacy over the years.
Where to watch: The Master is currently streaming on Showtime.
18. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny
Red Hour Films / Photo 12 / Alamy
Tenacious D may be the self-proclaimed “greatest band in the world,” but their fantastic and funny first foray into feature films unfortunately fell upon deaf ears.
Where to watch: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny is available to rent on Video-on-Demand.
19. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Allied Filmakers / Laura Films / Columbia / Prod DB / Alamy
Terry Gilliam notoriously birthed a financial fiasco with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, but this terrific testament to the power of the imagination has certainly stood the test of time.
Where to watch: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is available to rent on Video-on-Demand.
Touchstone Pictures / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy
Oprah Winfrey returned to the big screen in this spellbinding supernatural drama based on Toni Morrison’s acclaimed novel, but sadly, her built-in audience didn’t follow her to support the underrated film in theaters.
Where to watch: Beloved is available to rent on Video-on-Demand.
DNA Films / IM Global / Prod DB / Alamy
Dredd is a unique situation for a box office disappointment as mass audiences seemingly overlooked the film as a die-hard fanbase formulated nearly simultaneously, the latter of which continues to hold out hope for some kind of continuation on the ultraviolent science-fiction property.
Where to watch: Dredd is currently streaming on Epix.
22. Josie and the Pussycats
Prod DB / Riverdale / Alamy
This surprisingly subversive comedy was the victim of unfortunate marketing, who misconstrued the film’s biting, anti-corporate message for an excuse to sell the film to a younger, largely female audience that rejected it, having expected something similar to Spice World as opposed to Wayne’s World.
Where to watch: Josie and the Pussycats is available to rent on Video-on-Demand.
23. The Nice Guys
Warner Bros / Atlaspix / Alamy
Shane Black’s gut-busting crime caper jumps between clever, cerebral mystery and hysterically off-beat comedy with the greatest of ease, destining it to fail with mainstream audiences while continuing to rightfully find new fans with each passing day
Where to watch: The Nice Guys is currently streaming on Hulu.