What Makes a Flop?

James Cameron’s latest movie Avatar will be released shortly. Since he was the person who gave us the Alien and the Terminator movies, not to mention Titanic, the expectation is very high that this movie will be a critical and commercial success.  Of course, there have been loads of movies that were expected to do well, but flopped—some of them very badly.  Still, no one makes a movie with the expectation that it won’t be at least an artistic success, let alone a commercial one.  So, what causes a film to become a flop?  Is it a bad script? Could it be difficult and uncooperative actors and actresses?  Do production problems play a role?  How about vendettas against the stars of the film?  Yes, and more.  Below are some reasons why movies become flops.

Bad Reviews
One would like to think that people would decide for themselves whether or not a movie is good or bad and not let some critic, who is most likely stuck in whatever decade he or she first started working as a movie critic, influence them.  Still, going to see a movie is an investment of both time and money and since both are always in short supply, people are going to see what the critics have to say about a movie.  If it is good, they go.  If not, they stay at home or wait for it to come out on DVD.

Vendettas don’t just take place in the movies. They take place because of them.  From Citizen Kane to Ishtar and loads of movies in between, some executive wasn’t happy about something about the film, and did whatever to make sure it wasn’t successful.  With Ishtar, it was said that an executive at Columbia Pictures didn’t like the two lead actors, Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman, and spread negative stories about the film.  With Citizen Kane, since it was loosely based on the life of William Randolph Hearst, Mr. Hearst wasn’t too pleased about that and got many powerful people, such as Louis B. Mayer and John D. Rockefeller to do all that they could to make sure this film would not see the light of day. Well, it did see the light of day and in the end history has been much kinder to Citizen Kane than it was to Ishtar. Citizen Kane has been lauded as one of the best films of the 20th Century and has found itself on many a critic’s top movies lists. As for Ishtar, maybe we should give it another 20 years before dismissing it as a complete flop.

Just Bad All Around
What do Battlefield Earth, Gigli, The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Crossroads all have in common, other than they are all early 21st century films.  They are all BAD early 21st century films. While they all of them had major stars (Battlefield Earth had John Travolta, Gigli had Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez and The Adventures of Pluto Nash featured none other than Eddie Murphy), star power wasn’t enough to make a convoluted plot and hokey dialogue into a good movie. Although Crossroads did have Brittany Spears and it did turn a profit.  So, maybe there are some cases where star power can do something for a movie, no matter how bad.

So, the lesson to be learned from movie flops is this:   Don’t feel bad if something you do doesn’t work out.  The flops from ordinary people don’t cost millions upon millions of dollars.




3 Responses to “What Makes a Flop?”

  1. Blockbuster Movies—A New Investment Vehicle? « Just Movie Posters Blog Says:

    […] people with vendettas against those involved in the film. (See my blog entry of December 24, 2009, What Makes a Flop? […]

  2. lovely bones online Says:

    keep up the good work!

  3. Computer Games Says:

    My brother would love this website. We were recently speaking about this. hehe

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