10 Incredible Films That Bombed At The Box Office

These movies deserved much better.

Phantom Thread
Focus Features

There is a tendency to believe that low-grossing films must be boring, unrelatable, or poorly made. The revenue a movie generates is often a good indicator of its quality, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Remarkable films sometimes struggle to draw a crowd during their theatrical run, and there are plenty of reasons for why this can occur. Sometimes marketing campaigns are simply uninteresting, or bad press can arise due to controversy. Any number of issues could all contribute to poor turnout. Regardless of the cause, failure to gather a large audience often comes as a bit of a shock. After all, producers only pour money into projects they have reason to believe will generate high returns.

Low box office numbers are disappointing, but they do not determine whether a movie is poor or great. Some of the most well respected motion pictures in history didn't receive recognition until well after they exited theatres. Normally it is a good thing for a movie to be ahead of its time, but once in a while a film is too far ahead for it to resonate with audiences.

Even though well-crafted features sometimes underperform financially, they prove their greatness when cinema lovers continue engaging with them years later.

10. The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

Phantom Thread
Warner Bros.

Production Budget: $30 Million

Box Office Earnings: $15 Million

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is an excellent western film. It follows the uneasy connection between Jesse James, the famed outlaw, and Robert Ford, a man who idolizes him and is desperate to join his gang. As the story progresses, things don't happen as Ford imagined they would. He grows resentful of James, leading to increasingly tense moments throughout the movie. It presents a fascinating look inside late 19th century gang life.

The substance of a film is important, but marketability is key when it comes to drawing a large audience. Among the biggest problems for this motion picture were its long runtime and difficult title. The movie clocks in at roughly 160 minutes, which demands a lot of attention from viewers. Its title is unique and attention grabbing, but for all the wrong reasons. Movie goers are typically attracted to short, snappy titles that generate intrigue. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is neither short nor intriguing, but instead spells out exactly what will happen between the two titular characters.

Despite the overly long title and runtime, this feature contains tremendous performances from Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. Also noteworthy is the picturesque and imaginative cinematography. The director of photography, Roger Deakins, adjusted antique lenses to create a unique look reminiscent of photographs taken during the late 1890s. These aspects have all been deeply appreciated in the years since the movie's release, and rightfully so.


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