The 10 biggest box office bombs of 2022

Margot Robbie as Valerie Voze in Amsterdam
Screengrab via YouTube/20th Century Studios

A retrospective reflection of 2022 would prove that the year has been quite promising and remarkable in producing some of the biggest box office blockbusters. Be it The Batman or Top Gun: Maverick, a unanimous liking for high-budget Hollywood movies has generated over a billion-dollar revenue at the Box Office.

With the subsiding effects of the pandemic that had confined the eager and enthusiastic viewers to their respective homes, a massively successful movie would imply an active interest on the part of the viewers and fans to engage in a conventional method of movie consumption.

In addition to the collective acknowledgment of the cinematic masterpieces in the wake of the year drawing to a close in a few days, there’s also a rising curiosity to revisit some of the year’s biggest box office bombs. In other words, movies that failed to attract the audience’s interest and were consequently deemed a flop.

However, those that have been categorized as “flops” are not necessarily bad movies or lacking in quality in any way. Some of these films have managed to receive excellent reviews from critics but failed to acquire popular validation or managed to carve out just a section of positive audience response. Saying so, let’s have a look at some of the major box office failures of the year.

The Northman

Scene from 'The Northman'
Image via Focus Features

The fascinating plot offered by this bloody and brutal historical drama which premiered on April 22, 2022 is not for everyone. Following the success of The Witch and The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers’ foray into a swelling budget of $70-$90 million failed to prove promising.

Despite the film’s not-so-audience-friendly plot and scenes which show an angry Alexander Skarsgärd on his mission to exact gruesome revenge on his father’s murderers, it definitely had a tempting trailer with stellar cast members comprising of the likes of Nicole Kidman and Anya-Taylor Joy, to name a few.

Unfortunately, the revenues of this epic revenge tale could not live up to the movie’s overall budget ($90 million). During the opening weekend, it managed to earn only $12 million from 3,865 screens in North America. Overall, the movie managed to garner only around $69.5 million.

Meanwhile, not every aspect of the movie went unnoticed or unacknowledged as it received wonderful responses for its consuming visuals, brilliant cinematography, remarkable performances, and accurate as well as authentic portrayal of the Viking culture and way of life.

The 355 

The 355
Image via Robert Viglasky/Universal Pictures

Not unlike numerous box office bombs of the year, The 355 — helmed by Simon Kinberg and released on Jan. 7 — has failed to make a positive impression among audiences and also received negative reviews from critics. The movie saw an assemblage of four powerful female protagonists who must work together to protect the world from a terrorist organization.

Despite its impressive casting choice consisting of A-list celebrities like Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Fan Bingbing, and Penelope Cruz, the critics slammed the action-thriller for its uninteresting, derivative storyline with which viewers are already familiar. Some of the superhit movies that can be labeled under this genre include The Matrix, Mission Impossible, and countless others.

As a result, complete reliance on female protagonists or a female-driven plot, in this case, doesn’t seem enough to enhance the film’s caliber. In this respect, the movie’s inability in making an impression on the audience would not come as a surprise to anyone.

Moonfall

Scene from 'Moonfall'
Image via Lionsgate

Despite the expansive reach of sci-fi thrillers and the genre’s extensive popularity among a vast proportion of the audience, the financial catastrophe experienced by Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall is painfully shocking.

On delving into the subject, one can come across quite a few solid justifications for this underachievement. In addition to acquiring low popularity, the movie received negative reviews from critics for its confusing storyline, lack of depth, and lackluster screenplay.

Critics claimed that the plot was invested too much in exhibiting every character’s backstory while the crux of the story suffered. In terms of its revenue at the box office, the movie earned a total of $67 million against a hefty $138-146 budget. In its opening weekend, the movie earned a total of $10 million, thus cementing its position as one of the biggest box office flops of the year.

Bros

Bros
Photo via Universal Pictures

Billy Eichner’s Bros — which was released on Sep. 30 — has generated unexpected results. This is probably due to the positive reviews that the film continues to receive from critics for its nuanced storyline, humor elements, and performances.

Unfortunately, the praises didn’t help it stamp its mark at the box office. It earned a total of $14.7 million against a $22 million budget, which is quite underwhelming for a film that has managed to deviate from parameters set by the conventional rom-com genre.

It should be emphasized that the movie is an LGBTQ+ rom-com featuring a predominantly LGBTQ+ cast. Owing to its underperformance, Eichner blamed homophobia and blamed “straight people” not turning up to watch the film.  

He took to Twitter to express his disappointment about prevailing homophobia that, according to him, resulted in the lack of ticket sales. Meanwhile, the film received a good Rotten Tomato score and is just another example of a box office flop delivering a good output.

Amsterdam

Scene from the Movie 'Amsterdam'
Photo via 20th Century Studios

The immense success and popularity of American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook failed to strike a bit of similar luck for director David O. Russell, whose 2022 film Amsterdam can undoubtedly be regarded as a bonafide box office flop.

Despite having a star-studded cast like Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and Anya Taylor-Joy, to name a few, the film received a negative reception from audiences and critics alike.

Even though the movie maintained a thematic similarity with its predecessors reflected in its basic storyline which revolves around the Business Plan Political Conspiracy of 1933, it was slammed by critics for being boring and clumsy.

The blatant dislike for the film is reflected in its total box office earnings which amount to $31 million against a budget of $80 million. The further allegations of assault and harassment against the director also created an atmosphere of collective resistance against his works thus heightening the movie’s chance of failure.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Nicolas Cage in 'The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent'
Photo via Lionsgate

2022 also treated audiences to the bromance between two remarkable actors, the superstar Nicolas Cage and the Game of Thrones star Pedro Pascal in one of the most critically acclaimed action comedy dramas of the year.

Despite receiving mostly positive reviews from critics and a high Rotten Tomato score, owing to the cast’s brilliant performance along with a gripping storyline, the film, unfortunately, did not fare well with audiences.

Not to mention, it failed to perform well at the box office. The movie raked in a total amount of $29.1 million against a budget of $30 million, making it one of the glaring box office flops of the year.

Cyrano

Scene from 'Cyrano'
Photo via MGM

The musical romance based on Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac revolves around the romance between the titular protagonist Cyrano de Bergerac and his cousin Roxanne. It managed to receive largely positive reviews from critics, including an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination.

The reviews are mostly attributed to the storyline, performances, and casting choices. Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett play opposite each other as Cyrano and Roxanne, respectively. Unfortunately, it did not perform well at the box office, managing to collect only $6.4 million against a budget of $30 million.

It made around $471,000 on the very first day and around $1.38 million during the opening weekend. In the United States, it was released in only 790 theatres. The movie’s failure at the box office raises quite a lot of questions regarding its negative reception despite being critically acclaimed and having a high rotten tomatoes score. One of the reasons is its release date, which was Feb. 25, a week before The Batman hit theaters, which attracted most of audiences’ attention at the time.

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Scenes from 'Three Thousand Years of Longing'
Photo via United Artists

George Miller is not new to producing box office blockbusters and Mad Max: Fury Road is a testimony to that. However, this was not the case with Three Thousand Years of Longing, which was released on Aug. 26. Critics have given positive reviews to the movie and considered it “a love letter to storytelling.”

Comprising of a talented cast such as the Memoria star Tilda Swinton and Idris Alba in the leading roles, the various plotlines consist of different love stories which pose as cautionary tales culminating in the romance between the Djinn (Idris Alba) and the narratologist Alithea (Tilda Swinton).

Immediately after its release, the film collected around $2.9 million at the box office from 2,400 theatres. Against a hefty budget of $60 million, it earned a total amount of $19.4 million, making it one of the notable financial disasters in terms of box office collection.

She Said

She Said
Photo via Universal Pictures

Sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein took the media by storm and strengthened the core purpose of the Me Too movement. This Maria Schrader film is a biographical movie about two journalists, Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who published reports of sexual abuse and rape against Weinstein.

Despite having been praised by critics for the movie’s brilliant capture of the moments and experiences as well as outstanding reviews by audiences, She Said suffered in ticket sales.

The total amount collected by the movie at the box office is $11.3 million against a steep $32 million budget, establishing its position as one of the biggest box office flops of all time.

Strange World

Strange World
Image via Disney

Strange World — released on Nov. 25 — stands apart from its Disney counterparts in terms of making exorbitant revenue at the box office. We might be aware of the unfathomable success of the Marvel franchise whose box office collection hasn’t dropped below $1 billion since the release of Endgame.

While Disney-produced movies are well-known and famous, Strange World failed to make its mark at the box office as against a heavy budget of $135-180 million, it collected only $66.1 million.

One of the causes of this drastic failure is the unawareness of the movie’s existence, which can only be attributed to its poor marketing and the tendency to release animated movies on streaming channels rather than theaters. Movieweb regarded it as “one of the biggest animated box office bombs in Disney history.”