The past couple of years sure have been a doozy for comic book fans. Thanks to a series of extremely profitable adaptations, Hollywood has become increasingly more interested in adapting our favorite heroes and villains to the big screen. Due to the narrative, characterization, oft-stylized aesthetic and inclusion of triple-A stars, comic book films have become the prototypical blockbuster, frequently becoming some of the highest grossing releases in history.
Due to the runaway success of any given comic book adaptation, studios are quick to roll out a string of television tie-ins, remakes, reboots, sequels, book deals, comic books, toys and video games to ensure that the film be horizontally integrated with the other products and thus have more financial gain. It’s a model that’s quickly picked up steam and one that has no end in sight. After all, moviemaking is a business.
But in order to find those enormous returns, one must invest hundreds of millions of dollars – something that doesn’t always lend itself to the huge profits anticipated. For whatever reason it may be, any given adaptation may not vibe with audiences, leading to a large financial upset and critical derision. Whether it’s racist casting decisions or a poorly executed narrative, many comic book films fail to achieve the cultural and critical stature of the new standard set by Marvel.
And with more adaptations set to release this year – including a battle for the number one spot between Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok and DC’s Justice League – we thought it fruitful to use Box Office Mojo and critical consensus websites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic to take a look at just how far the comic book adaptation world has come by checking out some of the worst critical and commercial flops of all-time (in no particular order). In other words, these are the films and TV shows we wish we could forget.