Have Your Say: Which Film Has Most Unjustly Underperformed?

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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Have Your Say: Which Film Has Most Unjustly Underperformed?
The most enjoyable film I've seen so far this year is Ben Wheatley's Free Fire. There, I've said it. I loved it, and I left the theatre invigorated with a huge smile on my face.

It's therefore with puzzlement that I read of its decidedly lukewarm reception at the American box office so far. Dammit, I was so sure this was going to be a certified hit for all involved!

Of course films are works of art, rather than contestants in a running match. If I got to see a film and loved it, what should I care about its success with the masses, right?

But here's the thing: financial success of a film gives all the people who entertained me a better chance to win some money back for all the effort they spent on the endeavour. It also allows a better chance, for example, for that director to get his/her next film financed more quickly.

And... well, when I love a film I just want as many people as possible to go see it. It's one of the most important reasons for me why I write on this site, and why I write so many positive reviews (if I dislike a film, it must be REALLY very newsworthy before I start to write about it). For some of my most beloved films I've even secretly bought a second copy just to lend out to people.

So I dislike seeing a personal favorite underperforming at the box office, it sucks. Which brings me to my question of the week: which film, in YOUR opinion, should have become a far bigger hit than it did?

Chime in, in the comments below, and HAVE YOUR SAY!

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  • cjohnston

    OH BOY. ...don't do this Ard - You're gonna get a headache and go cross-eyed from my list....
    *and i just can Not bring myself to only enumerate one..... **sorry - I'm a rebel ~ (often) without a cause..
    - - -
    High Rise.. ..for one.
    ..
    Burning Man
    Broken Circle Breakdown
    A Thousand Times Goodnight
    Detour
    Captain Fantastic
    Cloud Atlas (FLOORS me this was snubbed at the awards..)
    Mr. Nobody
    I Smile Back
    The Congress
    Dead Man Down
    Meadowland
    The Duelist (.....MIGHT be jumping the gun *pardon the pun* with this one though; it's seeming to get a VERY Very slow roll-out...) http://www.imdb.com/title/t...
    Zoom (NOT the T. Allen feature of said title. --- again; this one might just be getting an excruciatingly long roll-out time. ..it's mind-numbingly exceptional though imo.) http://www.imdb.com/title/t...
    A Cure For Wellness (and there's my "There i said it" title. LOL.)
    Blood Father
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    before i intentionally kill power to my keyboard before i spend another fifty-minutes with this query ~ i have GOT to add Dredd and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters to my insane list up above...

  • Ard Vijn

    I'm not getting more cross-eyed than usual, and that's a great list!

  • David Schmiedeler

    District 9, maybe The Bay

  • dustin chang

    Stoker

  • Stu

    Batman & Robin???!!!

    JUST KIDDING!!!

    I don't know that any of these are the MOST unjustly underperforming, but John Carpenter and Oliver Stone's Alexander both got wraps far worse than they deserved; and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Speed Racer both deserved a lot more love than they got.

  • chuck

    Last years The Nice Guys, I really don't get what is NOT to like about that film, great throwback feel to all those pulpy/sleezy films of the 70's/80's. Such a shame that it didn't catch on, seems like everyone I have talked to that did see it really enjoyed it.

  • Jane F

    Just missing a good story, pacing, dialogue, etc....

  • SLITHER comes to mind.

  • Kurt

    I remember going to see SLITHER at the local multiplex by myself. Literally, as there was nobody else in the auditorium but me.

  • Yeah I went twice, and both times it was almost empty.

  • Kurt

    Ridley Scott's The Counselor, all the way, baby!

  • Kurt

    P.S. I was deeply underwhelmed with FREEFIRE, but damn if it doesn't cut a great trailer. That alone should have got it some box office love.

  • rustdog

    I still believe Inherent Vice is misunderstood. I have film friends whose opinions I respect that hate the film. I guess when you are an auteur like PTA an 8 million return on a 20 million budget won't hurt your future projects too much. The man translated a Thomas Pynchon novel to the screen and nobody was interested in seeing how he did it. Plus, the soundtrack is amazing. 20th Century Women is my runner up. That was my favorite film from last year and completely accessible to a wide audience. Should have been a huge hit.

  • IV is a beautiful mess that was never meant to hit the same beats as the more conventional fare.

    It's an impressionistic film, and most people want what they're accustomed to; movies.

  • Pat

    Really? Well there is a little badass film called Dredd.... Don't know if anyone out there has heard of it... It's just.... you know.... one of the unapologetic badass comic book films that also gets everything right.

    Oh yeah..... @#$&ing Alex Garland!

  • I'm worried that his next one - ANNIHILATION - is going to tank. Having read the book (which I loved), it doesn't feel like it's going to have a very broad appeal to mainstream audiences. Not that EX MACHINA did either, but I'm thinking that ANNIHILATION is a bigger budget film.

    At any rate, I can't really see it leading to a trilogy of movies (the book it's based on is the first of a trilogy).

  • Ard Vijn

    Yeah, that one sure applies!

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