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10 Biggest Box Office Bombs of 2022

The Clade Family in Disney's Strange World

2022 is drawing to a close, and while it’s fun to look back on some of the best films of the year, it is also interesting to take a look at some of the biggest box office flops of the year. What’s particularly interesting about this list is that it shows how box office performance rarely has a direct correlation to film quality. Multiple films on this list received stellar reviews from critics, yet performed badly at the box office.

However, what this list really demonstrates is how movie viewing has changed drastically since the pandemic. With the rise of streaming services and a new perspective on social distancing, not everyone is going to the theaters anymore. Instead, many are choosing to wait for these films to hit streaming services. In some cases, these films also purposefully have limited theatrical releases, making it appear as if they lost big at the box office when, in reality, they were streaming hits. This means that box office figures have become less accurate measures of a movie’s popularity or success. With that in mind, here are the 10 biggest box office flops of 2022, ranked from the smallest estimated losses to the biggest.

10. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
(Lionsgate)

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent premiered on April 22 and delighted audiences with its Nicolas Cage-centric meta plot and its bromance between Cage and Pedro Pascal. Despite relatively positive reviews, the film failed to break even at the box office. It raked in $29.1 million worldwide against a budget of $30 million. The reason for its flop is unclear, but the comedy genre as a whole tends to struggle at the box office. Comedies rarely promise a true visual spectacle and, in the age of streaming, more viewers might opt to catch them at home rather than in the theater.

9. The Northman

Alexander Skarsgard in 'The Northman'
(Focus Features)

The Northman also premiered on April 22, 2022, and offered a brutal, bloody, and epic Viking revenge tale elevated by the talents of Anya Taylor-Joy and Alexander Skarsgård. The Northman received largely positive reviews for its visual effects, beautiful cinematography, Norse mythology, and revenge theme. However, it also flopped at the box office. The size of the loss is unclear because the exact budget is unconfirmed, but it’s reportedly somewhere in the range of $70-$90 million. Meanwhile, The Northman ultimately garnered $69.6 million at the box office. It is a possibility that both The Northman and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent missed their box office mark due to premiering on the same date and targeting similar demographics.

8. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

The Belcher family looks forward with shocked expressions in a scene from The Bob's Burgers Movie
(20th Century Fox)

The Bob’s Burgers Movie premiered on May 27 and is based on the hit animated series Bob’s Burgers. The film ties into the series by taking place between the events of the 12th and 13th seasons. It received largely positive reviews, though it really just offered more of the same thing we’ve seen in the series. The Bob’s Burgers Movie flopped at the box office, generating $34.2 million against a $38 million budget. The fact that it flopped isn’t surprising considering it had to contend with box office monsters Jurassic World Dominion and Top Gun: Maverick. Also, it was geared towards a niche market as it only largely appealed to Bob’s Burgers fans.

7. Bros

Billy Eichner as Bobby and Luke Macfarlane as Aaron in Bros
(Universal Pictures)

Bros premiered on September 30 and made history as one of the few LGBTQ+ rom-coms to be produced by a major studio and to feature a predominantly LGBTQ+ cast. Despite receiving positive reviews for its humor and representation, Bros flopped at the box office, bringing in $14.7 million against a $22 million budget. Bros star Billy Eichner attributed the flop to homophobia and straight folks who just didn’t turn up to support the film. While this is part of the reason, another explanation is—again—that comedy as a whole has less box office pull, and Bros also suffered from a lack of star power to draw audiences in.

6. Cyrano

Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett standing on opposite sides of the wall in Cyrano
(MGM)

Cyrano premiered on February 25 and is based on the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. The film stars Peter Dinklage in the titular role opposite Haley Bennett as his love interest, Roxanne. Cyrano received largely positive reviews, as well as Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. However, the film flopped badly upon its theatrical release, drawing in $6.4 million worldwide against a $30 million budget. It must be noted, though, that Cyrano was only released in about 790 theaters in the United States. In addition to this, it was released a week before The Batman. Since it wasn’t playing in the majority of theaters and was overshadowed by The Batman, its numbers aren’t surprising. Still, it is unclear why it was given such a limited release despite its positive reviews.

5. The 355

Fan Bingbing, Lupita Nyong'o, and Jessica Chastain as secret agents in The 355
(Universal Pictures)

The 355 premiered on January 7 and boasted an incredibly talented cast including Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, and Sebastian Stan. Despite its star-studded cast, the film received poor reviews, earning a meager 25% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics who slammed the cliché, mediocre action premise that put its cast’s talents to waste. Given its bad reviews and unremarkable premise, The 355 flopped badly at the box office, earning $27.8 million against an estimated budget in the range of $40-$75 million.

4. Amsterdam

Christian Bale, John David Washington, and Margot Robbie in David O. Russell's Amsterdam
(20th Century Studios)

Amsterdam premiered on October 7 and, like The 355, featured a star-studded cast. This one includes Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldaña, and many more. Director David O. Russell attempted to deliver an eccentric, humorous, and intricate film that delves into the Business Plan political conspiracy of 1933, but failed badly. Critics praised some of the performances as well as the spectacle, but slammed the film for being boring, clumsy, and insignificant. Meanwhile, Russell has been steeped in controversy over the years due to numerous allegations of abuse and assault. Given the bad reviews and a director whom many wished not to support, it isn’t surprising that Amsterdam flopped, garnering $31 million at the box office against a hefty $80 million budget.

3. Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear in 'Lightyear'
(Disney Pixar)

Lightyear premiered on June 17, and marks the fifth installment in the Toy Story franchise. Instead of a direct sequel to the Toy Story series, Lightyear is a spinoff which retells the film that inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy, with Chris Evans voicing the movie version of Buzz. It received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics who enjoyed the humor, animation, and voice performances, but criticized the premise. Despite the two most recent Toy Story films breaking $1 billion in box office earnings, Lightyear was a flop. It earned a total of $226.4 million against a $200 million budget. After figuring in hefty marketing and advertising costs, along with the fact that studios only get a certain percentage of box office earnings, Lightyear lost Pixar over $100 million—possibly because it had to contend with Jurassic World Dominion and Top Gun: Maverick, as well as its lack of connection to the Toy Story series.

2. Moonfall

Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson looking sad before going into the moon in Moonfall
(Lionsgate)

Moonfall premiered on February 4 and is a sci-fi film in which a group of astronauts and conspiracy theorists attempt to save Earth after the moon starts hurtling towards it. The film boasted a hefty budget of $138-$146 million, strong special effects, and a star-studded cast including Halle Berry and Michael Peña. However, Moonfall received very poor reviews from critics who slammed the plot and screenplay for being implausible, confusing, and ridiculous, as well as quite boring and lacking purpose. In the end, largely due to the criticism and a poor premise, Moonfall scraped by with $67.3 million in total box office earnings, losing Lionsgate about $140 million.

1. Strange World

Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade in Strange World
(Disney)

Disney’s latest computer animated film debuted on November 23 and follows a family who explores alien planets. Strange World features the voice talents of Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Alan Tudyk. The film received largely positive reviews for its strong animation, environmentalist undertones, and inclusion of an openly gay main character. However, Strange World flopped badly at the box office. While its box office run isn’t over, it has only drawn in $42.3 million so far against its $130-$185 million budget. Estimates suggest that the film will ultimately lose Disney over $140 million. The flop is likely due to poor marketing on Disney’s part, as well as the studio’s recent trend of releasing their animated films on streaming rather than in theaters, potentially inspiring audiences to wait to watch the film at home on Disney+.

(featured image: Disney)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.