"Flop" has long been the most dreaded word in every studio executive's vocabulary. All it takes is one bad return at the box office to put them out of a job.
Most flops achieve a certain level of infamy, becoming cautionary tales for future filmmakers and serving as a punchline for years afterward. And yet, some films that are initially viewed as huge financial failures still go on to become legendary, universally beloved pieces of cinema.
Just to be clear, we're not talking about "cult classics" here, a label which implies the film has achieved diehard fandom from only a small group of film geeks as opposed to universal adoration. We're talking about outright classics.
It makes sense that a film like The Big Lebowski or Donnie Darko didn't pull in major dollars at the box office, and it also makes sense that those would achieve a second life after they left theatres.
But then there are these other movies that, by all critical and fan consensus, surely must have entered into the world as smash hits. However, a handful of what we now consider outright classics didn't fare so well upon their arrival.