Let’s face it, we all love to hate on terrible films, and often there’s nothing more enjoyable or uniting than collectively voicing your grievances upon seeing a recent stinker. But what can easily get overlooked when focusing on this critical response is a film’s commercial success, or lack of. In a number of cases those guilty films thankfully get their just deserts – disasters such as Battlefield Earth, Gigli, and Catwoman not only quickly found themselves rated amongst the worst films of all time, but also flopped spectacularly at the box office as movie-goers made it perfectly clear to filmmakers what they thought of their efforts by withholding their wallets.
However, it is becoming increasingly common to look at lists of highest-grossing films and be thoroughly baffled at just how financially successful that one movie you thought was terrible in fact turned out to be. Indeed, no matter how terrible the critics though a film, all too often the ability to turn a profit may have resulted in filmmakers crafting a sequel, most likely low in quality again but high in returned revenue. It’s like a magical phenomenon with no explanation, and as this list of ten such films shows, it’s not exactly stopping soon…
Incredibly the figures below are real worldwide box-office figures.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – $963,420,425
And was a film ever more accurately named? Dead Man’s Chest wasn’t quite as disappointing as many feared it might be and at least ended with the tantalising cliffhanger of the return of Geoffrey Rush’s Barbossa, but any momentum gained from those closing scenes was quickly lost as the plots and subplots of this behemoth second sequel unfolded before us. Filming reportedly began without a completed script and it shows. Even as the climactic finale approaches after several hours spent meandering through a myriad of dull personal vendettas, endless shifts of allegiance, and borderline racist depictions of any pirate who isn’t English, we’re still forced to accept the contrived plot device whereby Keira Knightley manages to become king of all the world’s pirates, ever, her head-girl reminiscent attempts at a rabble-rousing speech, and a showdown between two vast naval fleets that will only actually involve three ships and manage to include a vomit-inducing marriage ceremony.
Granted, some of the special effects were fantastic and Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow could still be humorous on occasion, but the character was beginning to grate and couldn’t redeem this bloated mess of a film. Costing $300 million, still the most expensive film ever made, Pirates 3 nevertheless managed to gross over three times its budget and become the most successful film of 2007.
This article was first posted on January 25, 2013