It’s hard to predict which movies will go down in the history books as smash hits, but on paper, Jonah Hex possessed all of the ingredients to achieve the latter at the very least.
Not only was it an adaptation of a hugely popular comic book series, but the high concept premise was unique and outlandish enough to generate interest from casual audiences, and that’s without even mentioning the roster of talent assembled on either side of the camera.
Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the deranged minds behind Jason Statham’s delirious Crank duology, had penned the screenplay for Jimmy Hayward to helm his first live-action feature. Despite Thomas Jane lobbying hard for the part, it was Josh Brolin who wound up landing the title role, and he was only the tip of supremely stacked iceberg.
Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Michael Shannon, Will Arnett, Lance Reddick, and Michael Fassbender also signed on for a supernatural Western with steampunk elements, which sounds so nuts in practice that it could have turned out to be something truly special. Instead, Jonah Hex sucked. Big time, in fact.
Only three DC Comics adaptations have ever scored lower on Rotten Tomatoees than Jonah Hex‘s 12 percent, while Shaquille O’Neal’s abysmal Steel is the only one to have made less money at the box office than Hayward’s $11 million-grossing disaster, which only ran for 81 minutes (including credits) after the post-production team desperately tried to salvage anything worthwhile from the footage.
Despite being unobjectively horrendous on all fronts, though, Jonah Hex has suddenly become a Top 10 hit on streaming. As per FlixPatrol, the notorious failure is currently the eighth most-watched title on HBO Max in the United States, but at least the brief running time makes it a swift mercy.