8 Times Audiences Were Blamed For Movies That Failed

Dear Hollywood: it's not our fault if you churn out garbage.

Jennifers Body
20th Century Fox

The unfortunate reality of working in the movie industry is that, at some point, you'll have to deal with a huge failure. Whether it's a financial disappointment, a critical ravaging or a disheartening response from fans, there are very few filmmakers in history who have a squeaky-clean record of success.

The main reason a failure is inevitable is that there are so many factors that can result in one, and a lot are out of the filmmaker's hands.

They can try their best to make a great movie, sure, but that's extremely difficult to do. There's no telling how the fans will respond, either: a film that seems destined for success might actually end up being torn apart, and even if it is beloved, there are no guarantees that people will even pay to see it. As a result, box-office flops and other high-profile missteps are all-too common, and not a year goes by without a handful of new movies joining that esteemed club.

Even still, we hardly ever see the creative talent associated with these movies publicly discuss their failures, let alone pin the blame directly on audiences. But in some cases, the directors, writers and executives are a bit more open about what went wrong.

8. Aviron Pictures Sent Serenity Out To Die, Because They Thought People Would Hate It

Jennifers Body
Aviron Pictures

Released in January 2019, Serenity is one of the most bizarre movies of the last couple of years - and we're not even talking about its crazy plot.

It stars the Oscar-winning duo of Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey, and yet, barely anybody knew it was coming out, and the majority of moviegoers probably don't know that it exists, even to this day. So why was a movie with such a high-profile cast launched with such a whimper? Well, because distributor Aviron knew that audiences wouldn't like it, so they didn't bother putting in any effort.

Reportedly, Hathaway and McConaughey worked with Aviron to map out the movie's promotional plan, which included television advertisements, as well as talk show appearances for the actors. However, Aviron didn't meet those expectations, since they barely advertised the film at all.

As a result, the movie flopped, failing to claw back its production budget and earning an abysmal score on Rotten Tomatoes to boot. Hathaway and McConaughey blamed this failure on the movie's lack of exposure, but Aviron thinks that the actual reason for the negative response is that audiences were always going to hate it, meaning that nobody would buy any tickets no matter how many ads they ran.

In a statement released to Deadline, the studio said that they loved the film (sure), but were consistently greeted with an underwhelming reception whenever they tested it. So, they "adjusted" (read: downsized) their marketing plan accordingly.

So basically, we were all blamed for a movie flopping, before the movie had even come out. Not fair.


WhoCulture Channel Manager/Doctor Who Editor at WhatCulture. Can confirm that bow ties are cool.