With the new year a month old, it seems right to start wondering which summer movies will turn out to be some of the biggest box office bombs of 2017. If you watch a lot of movies, sometimes you just know when a movie is going to flop. Sometimes you can tell from a trailer. Other times you're sitting in a theater, having paid your hard earned gringo green to see the movie and, very early on, you realize that this thing is a turkey. A lot of times, you actually finish the movie before realizing that you have just wasted 2 hours your life.
The big question is, how does this happen? What makes a movie flop? The people making these tank machines often consider themselves artists. It isn't like anybody sets out to make a true turkey, right? Especially one that arrives in the summer months, a time that sees the biggest blockbusters into theaters.
No one ever heads into production thinking there going to release a stink bomb. Well...That may be the case, but there's just some films you see and think, "The people behind this had to know better!" (Nobody wants filmic disasters on their resume...Or do they?) It may be a reboot of a TV show that nobody ever asked for. Or, it might be a remake of a classic film that had no business being gone over again. Heck, it might even be a studio trying to catch something trendy on screen, only to see that 2 years later the trend is over or, even worse, the butt of a joke.
All of these things bring us to the list before you, which we put together while looking at the entire summer release schedule at The Numbers. I am not saying that I want these films to tank. I am just saying that when I, as an informed moviegoer (at least that is how I like to think of myself), hear about a film coming out, I can pretty much tell if it is going to have a life in a movie theater. It is just a sense you get if you've been watching movies for any length of time. At least, you should have that sense anyway.
So please enjoy our look what may end up being the biggest box office bombs of Summer 2017. You may wonder why certain movies are on this list. In fact, you might totally disagree with this list. The reality is that you probably had this list stewing in your head and you just never put it down on paper. So basically, I'd like to say you're welcome.
King Arthur (May 12)
It usually isn't a good sign when your release date gets moved. This doesn't mean it's going to be one of the biggest box office bombs ever, but it's probably headed for turkey-ville and not a golden statuette. What it seems to suggest is that somebody who once supported this film probably thinks that it is now one of those bad movies. Also add that this sword-fantasy film from director Guy Ritchie was actually completed some time ago, and one has to wonder why Warner Bros. is still sitting on it? This film calls itself the "feature film version of the classic King Arthur: Legend of the Sword story." However, everything from it's look, to its one-sheet, seems to suggest that it is just a bit behind the curve. Ultimately, audiences seem to like Charlie Hunnam (he plays the film's title role), but the question lingers if they want to pay to see him in this period piece? Now, films that have a rocky road to release don't always fail at the box office. Look at Slumdog Millionaire. Guy Ritchie is also no slouch, even if The Man from U.N.C.L.E. wasn't that well received. Sadly though, King Arthur seems more like the Ben Hur reboot than Gladiator.
Baywatch (May 26)
Hasn't people's interest in the robust David Hasselhoff ebbed a bit? Was there really a public outcry to see a Baywatch movie? Doesn't it seem like this movie might be one of the box office bombs of 2017? Sure, things from the 1980s and 1990s are hot commodities, but is Baywatch one of them? Now, I know that this is a fun movie and it really isn't meant to make a statement or contend for an Oscar in 2018. However, this film seems like it is trying to merge 21 Jump Street and Pain & Gain. The story seems literally ripped from the show. This is what potentially makes it a bad movie. As for the story? Lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and a brash new recruit (Zac Efron) uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay. Simply going off the trailer, this thing seems like it's trying too hard. The conversation that Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson have about their balls? Is that supposed to make us laugh? Sure, there's bound to be some comedy here (like the hot girl always running in slow motion), and who doesn't want to look at Priyanka Chopra? However, movies like Baywatch walk a tight rope. Is this a straight up action comedy? Or, is it an action film with a bunch of laughs? Do people care enough about Baywatch to pay to see it in the theaters? Especially, when they can just turn on their cable, Roku, or Fire Sticks and watch in syndication anytime they want? Does this mean this film will be a box office bomb? That it will totally flop at your local cineplex? Nobody knows for sure but we're definitely going to have a good time finding out!
Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (May 26)
The reality of the Pirates of the Caribbean series is that they didn't need a 4th installment. Heck, even a third one was kinda debatable. Titled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, we see Jack Sparrow again dealing with ghost pirates who want to see him (and every other pirate) dead. Dialing up the usual suspects, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, etc..., we can be fairly certain that we aren't going to get too many surprises here. Probably the best thing about this new installment is that Javier Bardem is playing Sparrow's nemesis, Captain Salazar. I could pontificate about why this film is being made, but the simplest answer is money. A lot of it. These films combined have made over 1 billion dollars in the US alone. Combined they've averaged over $300 million. It wouldn't make good business sense for Disney not to keep making these films. However, does anybody care about this series any more? Couldn't Disney find other properties to mine for loot? Wasn't there supposed to be a Thunder Mountain film? As the box office in the US for the last film was the lowest amount (a little over $240 million), one has to wonder if Pirates of the Caribbean 5 will even make half of that? And if it doesn't, even if it makes a lot of money, will it be considered a bomb? Will one of these films have to totally tank for this series to stop? Can a Pirates film flop and Jack Sparrow sail right on along?
Wonder Woman (June 2)
As far as 2017 movies go, this one should be a lock, right? Wrong. DC superhero films seem to have funny lives don't they? When they are first announced, everybody gets intoxicated by the idea. Batman v. Superman, The Suicide Squad, etc. Then, something happens between the announcement of the idea, and its execution that seems to leave people feeling like they've seen another bad movie. Again, these movies make a lot of money. However, for Batman v Superman, it cost Warner Bros. $250 million just to make it. Many think you have to spend that much just to market it. It made over $800 million. So at $500 million just to make and release that film (that's half a billion dollars if you're keeping score at home), your profit is $300 million and some change. Does that amount really justify the expenditure? One can't call these films box office bombs but they certainly didn't ignite a passion in the viewing audience in the intended way. Which brings us to Wonder Woman. This story sees the title character (the imminently watchable Gal Gadot) leave her island to do battle with soldiers during World War I. Truthfully, this film looks like the most solid of the DC properties. But looks don't necessarily mean that a film won't bomb. The story is straight forward, the cast featuring Robin Wright, Chris Pine, David Thewlis and others is more than solid, and director Patty Jenkins (Monster) is no doubt comfortable with this material. So why with so many positives does it seem like this film might not make book? The big question is if audiences have felt let down by Superman, Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad are going to be willing to be "roped" into this new ride?
The Mummy (June 9)
Has a Tom Cruise movie ever tanked? There was a time when Tom Cruise could carry just about any film. During this time, Tom Cruise and bad movie were rarely synonymous. Those days are gone. Not just for Mr. Cruise but for everybody. No, Cruise hasn't done a string of box office bombs but the film industry has changed. Big budget movies reign. They get all the press, they get all the attention, and small films with big actors just don't seem to happen too much anymore. The recent Mummy films, which began in 1999, were enjoyable romps featuring the likes of Brendan Fraser and an emerging actor known as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. This new version is trying to "class" things up a bit with Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Sofia Boutella, Courtney B. Vance and others. The story is classic Mummy fare. An ancient princess who is buried in the desert returns to earth in the modern era and she's pissed. Enter Tom Cruise to save the day and restore order. Okay, Universal is hoping to reboot their monsters in the same way that Marvel essentially owns the superhero realm in cinema. However, rather than do it with superheroes, Universal is going to achieve this with monsters. At least that is the plan anyway. The idea is to eventually connect characters like Wolf Man, the Invisible Man with the Mummy in one big movie. How they plan to do this is anybody's guess. The big question is will anybody come and see The Mummy? The even bigger question is will Tom Cruise see his first bonafide flop? The idea for The Mummy feels extremely dated and it doesn't seem like Tom Cruise is what is needed to entice moviegoers. However, with nostalgia being what it is, maybe moviegoers will not only long for the Mummy of the 1990s, they might want all the monsters from many years before?
Bad Dads (July 14)
Was Bad Moms such a hit that it warrants a quasi-sequel? Apparently it was. Made for $20 million this female centric comedy tapped a nerve to the tune about $180 million worldwide. This is big money. So, rather than make an immediate sequel, they are going to do a spin-off. Perhaps, like the superhero movies (and lets be honest, parents are actual REAL superheroes) they are planning to have the bad moms and dads meet in some sort of shared universe, mega film? Whatever the case, didn't we already kinda see Bad Dads in the Grown Ups films? Do we really need another film about suburban men behaving badly? Not much is currently known about this film's plot, but do we really need more information than the title? There is no cast or crew yet for this. However, my feeling is this: if we don't get new comedians doing something different than all the other bad things we've seen dad's do, Bad Dads will probably have a bad time and be considered one of the box office bombs of 2017. If they get the wrong cast they could facing one of those filmic disasters we mentioned above.
Valerian (July 21)
Valerian is very much a 2017 movie. First off, Luc Besson is a visionary director. However, The Fifth Element and The Professional were a long time ago. He recently had a huge hit with Lucy. That film did close to $500 million worldwide. So Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets seems like a worthy follow up. This Dune/Blade Runner-esque looking film about a time traveller investigating a galactic empire could very well be this year's Avatar. However, based on the looks of things, it might be more in line with War Hammer and Jupiter Ascending (the latter film cost $176 million and it only brought in $183 million worldwide... that is a filmic disaster!). It is hard to put into words but when a picture looks a little too big for its britches, that can often spell trouble. Based on a graphic novel (and what isn't nowadays), the trailer for this film does look pretty darn amazing. And like The Fifth Element (and Besson's other films), Valerian will probably be a gold standard film for home theater enthusiasts. However, will audiences flock to see this movie? With a budget of $180 million, and again, probably that same figure to market this movie, the break-even point for this film (even if it does Lucy numbers) is still a tall order. It can be done, though. Luc Besson is revered in many cinematic circles. However, one has to wonder if that is enough for this movie not to have a very uphill battle at the box office. Box office bomb? Turkey? Flop? Tank machine? We will have to wait until summer to find out.
The Emoji Movie (August 4)
The idea of an emoji movie seems like a bad movie, right? It should have bomb written all of it, right? However, it is actually brilliant. Emoji's are ubiquitous. They are used everywhere, everyday and in just about every tablet, computer, phone or communication device. A movie about them is honestly like having the hottest bestseller because everybody, in some way, is familiar. The question becomes how to make an emoji movie that isn't downright absurd because, lets be honest again, emoji's are kind've absurd. The plot? An emoji just wants to have a normal life. Now, if this movie takes the tact of being a raunchy comedy (ala Sausage Party), that could be quite interesting. It could examine smart phones, our reliance on them, and how communication is essentially reverting back to hieroglyphics. This film won't do that. It can't. The Emoji movie is a family film. It could be like Zootopia, in fact, we hope it is. However, it honestly doesn't seem like it is going to go that way. We are most likely going to get an emoji in "moji-life" crisis, and while some might fight that funny, will a large audience? Maybe. Of all the films on this box office bombs list, this one seems to have the best chance of not being the biggest stinker. One thing that bodes well for it, apparently, the whole film takes place inside a smartphone.
Baby Driver (August 11)
On the face of it a movie with Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey should be an Oscar contender, not on a list of possible movies that might tank at the box office, right? So why does this film feel like it should be debuting on Netflix and not a multiplex? Why does it seem like it could be moving into box office bomb territory? Well, for starters, Edgar Wright directing or not, the story just doesn't have the pizazz that we expect from big name films like this. The plot is simple, a young getaway driver finds himself in over his head when he takes on a job for a crime boss. Look, nothing in the movie business is certain. There's a big chance that Edgar Wright pulls off the next Pulp Fiction. However, like the main characters in this film, their chances are slim. First off, the film centers on a getaway driver (played by Ansel Elgort) that listens to his own soundtracks when he works. Didn't we sort of already see this movie when it was called Drive? Or, even Thief? Secondly, the getaway driver meets the girl of his dreams and wants to go legit. Okay, like that hasn't been done to death. Lastly, said getaway driver gets in too deep with a crime boss (Kevin Spacey) to turn down the job. Okay, I know that the theme of this list is flops, but I still don't want to be too negative. Maybe Baby Driver ends up being the sleeper hit of the summer? Ultimately, it seems like it will tank but I've been (very) wrong many times. Lastly, what's with that title? Baby Driver? That has bad movie written all over it. Doesn't it?
The Hitman's Bodyguard (August 18)
This film probably won't be a disaster. However, as far as 2017 movies go, this film seems a bit dated for this year's release schedule. Something tells us that if Ryan Reynolds was really being honest about why he did this film, it probably had something to do with getting to work with Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek. Without that, he might imagine that this was one of those bad movies he should steer clear of. Basically, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are enemies. Reynolds is a bodyguard and Jackson is a hitman. Reynolds takes on Jackson as a client so that they can take down a ruthless dictator (Gary Oldman). Alright, it's never a good sign when two actors were recently seen together in a movie. Last year. Reynolds and Oldman were both in Criminal. However, barring that leap in logic, if The Hitman's Bodyguard works we could have another Midnight Run. If it doesn't work we might get Gigli. Yes, that kind of turkey is always possible in these situations This film just doesn't appear to be breaking any new ground. The cast is solid enough which is probably the biggest reason this movie got made. However, I might be wrong. Maybe the script is dynamite and we're gonna see a new twist on a long told story? Maybe all this talk of potentially being a bomb is unfounded. Sadly, in today's filmmaking world, audiences need more than what they've seen before (with bankable actors) to propel a film to boffo box office.
Villa Capri (August 25)
Okay, we've heard of alternative programming but this is ridiculous. Villa Capri is trying to go for the underserved senior audience. For that alone, this film should be commended. Villa Capri sounds like a fine movie. Two old friends (Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman) try and stop a mob rubout. The story is simple, to the point and will probably have its fair share of funny moments. However, one thing that today's marketplace has made abundantly clear (in fact, this has been true of movies forever), just because somebody makes a great movie doesn't mean that people are going to want to see it. Villa Capri seems like something from another era. If this was the late 1980s a film with Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones headlining (with an assist from Joe Pantoliano), would be a slam dunk. However, this is 2017 and things have changed. Does a movie like this have a place in today's comic book world? Can a comedy without Will Ferrell or Kevin Hart in it even exist? Or, is it destined to be one of the box office bombs of 2017? Considering the wave of nostalgia this country seems to be voting for, might Villa Capri be just the film audiences want to see? Disaster? Probably not, but this film's prospects don't seem to have too many people's hearts racing (and maybe for this film's intended audience that's a good thing?).