Some films are always destined to flop. From misguided initial conception through to the highly publicised release the whole internet can be bracing for a poorly thrown together film to take nowhere near its budget back, while the studio that is meant to have teams of analysts working on it seems none the wiser. How do things get this far without someone realising?

Well I think we have the answer. The suits in Hollywood follow a formula that unbeknownst to them is fundamentally flawed. The real steps are probably locked away in Walt Disney Studios, waiting to be cracked out to use on their now annual misguided, family friendly flop (will Maleficent follow in the footsteps of Prince Of Persia, John Carter and The Lone Ranger? Probably), but today we bring you a good guess at what they are.

So without further stalling for time, if you’re looking to get rid of $200 million overnight, you can’t go wrong with this ten step guide to making a major Hollywood flop (along with why they make such terrible films).


1. Choose An Obscure Source That Has No Fanbase


What The Studios Think: There’s no need to bother coming up with a new idea when so many exist. The problem is that most of the good ideas have already been taken, but that’s OK. As long as a few members of your audience have heard the source mentioned on some documentary a couple of years ago you’ll be fine. Pirates Of The Caribbean made a theme park ride into a franchise, so surely anything will do, right?

Pro Tip: Pick something that’s too old for the intended audience to have experienced first time round, meaning when you completely change everything no one will complain.

Why It Doesn’t Work: All high profile successes nowadays are coming from already popular franchises (Spider-Man, Batman, Transformers, James Bond etc.), yet studios continue to go for obscure things. Yes, Pirates succeeded, but that was a one off and down to the film’s sense of adventure, not the origins of the idea. Adapting old, forgotten TV shows, niche comics and videogames means that there’s no advantage to using existing source; half the existing audience expect it to be crap and the other half have grown out of it.

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This article was first posted on September 28, 2013