12 Movies That Were Dead On Arrival

No prizes for guessing these ideas would flop!

Warner Bros.

Legendary screenwriter William Goldman’s Hollywood adage was “Nobody knows anything”. And while there are tried and tested formulae which work time and again in the movie biz, for the most part, he’s right. Sleeper hits and sudden sensations can come out of nowhere; conversely a film that seems like it’s bound for glory can end up barely breaking even.

Sometimes, though, it’s patently obvious that a movie is just going to be a disaster. From the moment that green light flashes, or maybe when the first images from the set come out, some productions just convey impending doom.

Whether the film is held down and besmirched by offscreen mayhem, made for the wrong reasons which turn an audience against the project, or just based on plain stupid ideas, the form is littered with movies which any keen eyed observer could have told you were going to end in disaster.

These 12 are particularly egregious examples of the phenomenon, but given Hollywood’s propensity for arrogance, cynicism, and failing to learn from its own mistakes, this list will be outdated from the off - there are unimaginable disasters yet to come.

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Joshua H. Mills likes Milhouse Van Houten, Tom Waits, and A Confederacy Of Dunces. You can find his content at, and enjoy his 15 tweets @jharrymills