Not every movie can be a box office smash. And that's okay.
How much money a movie takes in often has little relation to its actual quality. Plenty of films are just too niche for a wide audience and go on to achieve dedicated cult followings once they're released on home media.
But there's a difference between being a box office disappointment and a box office bomb. And there's an even bigger difference between being a box office bomb and losing your studio so much money that they are forced to declare bankruptcy.
Hollywood can be a risky business and movie studios going under happens more often than you think. From sweeping dramas to superhero movies to big-budget animation, any release in any genre could prove to be the final straw for a company that's already in trouble.
So what are the biggest failures in film history? What are the movie car crashes so atrocious that they put the people who made them out of business for good? It's time to see if there are some lessons to be learned from these smouldering heaps about how to spend your money wisely.
8. The Golden Compass (New Line Cinema)
New Line was on top of the world back in 2007. Since 1967, the production company had built up a reputation for taking chances on oddball films that other parts of Hollywood might pass on.
A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films were their greatest successes until 2003, when they produced the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was easily their most profitable investment yet, with the films grossing nearly three billion dollars worldwide.
Riding high on this success, New Line immediately put $180 million towards adapting another popular fantasy book series for the big screen, Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.
Unfortunately, this stillborn film franchise did not perform quite as well as they hoped. It only took in $70 million in the United States and while it performed much better abroad, New Line had sold the overseas distribution rights to fund the film’s production. This meant that they never saw a dime of that foreign revenue.
This was regarded as one mistake too much by parent company TimeWarner and New Line was swallowed up by Warner Brothers Pictures just two months after The Golden Compass’s release.