10 Signs An Upcoming Film Is Going To Bomb HARD

The telltale signs a new movie is destined to be a dud.

The Wicker Man Nicolas Cage
Warner Bros.

Though 2020 has been the most volatile and unpredictable year for Hollywood in many generations, even in "normal" times it isn't always easy to figure out which movies will succeed and which ones will flop.

But by studying the trends of the business, it is possible to make educated guesses about whether films will manage to turn a profit or simply end up dead on arrival.

There are a number of easy giveaways and telltale scenes to figure out if an upcoming movie is circling the drain - if it's destined to grossly under-perform at the box office no matter whether it's a good movie or not.

From business decisions which make it clear the studio has no faith in the project to poor marketing, dodgy release dates, and everything in-between, these 10 signs are sure-fire hints that an imminently-releasing film isn't long for this world.

That's not to say that commercial failures are forever beyond redemption - the 2011 Kevin James dud film Zookeeper has enjoyed a second life on streaming this year, for example - but simply that they've got to suffer through a shaky theatrical run first...

10. Delays, Delays, Delays

The Wicker Man Nicolas Cage

Though there are certainly acceptable reasons for a movie to be delayed - especially in 2020 of all years - it's almost never a good sign when a film gets continually pushed back.

If nothing else, it suggests that the studio hasn't got faith in the film's box office potential, particularly its ability to compete with movies releasing within the same period.

In extreme cases this can result in a movie not finally being released until two or even three years after it was shot, as happened most recently with The New Mutants, which hit screens almost three years after principal photography wrapped.

To the surprise of nobody, The New Mutants was neither a good film nor a box office success, and yet further proof that films which languish for years are generally troubled projects which the studio doesn't know what to do with.

There are rare examples to the contrary - such as Mad Max: Fury Road spending two-and-a-half years in post-production before releasing to rave reviews - yet this is otherwise one of the most reliable predictors of an incoming dud.

After all, does a single living soul expect that the upcoming fantasy blockbuster Chaos Walking - which began shooting in August 2017 - will be anything less than a $100 million box office catastrophe, pandemic or not?


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.