Since the dawn of time, there have been winners and there have been losers. There’s no question about that. Sometimes, the winners deserve to win, like those damnable Colonial upstarts fighting for their freedom during the Revolutionary War. Sometimes, the winners decidedly don’t deserve their glory (re: Edison v. Tesla). But the indisputable fact is that if there is to be a winner, there must be a loser.
Every year, hundreds of movies open across the country, across the world, and some will make a killing and others will limp their way through their times in theaters. And every year, for better or worse, there are some losers that lose harder than all the others. Below is the list of the ten worst grossing films of last year*. Some won’t surprise you. Some might. Some might anger you. But that’s the way of life. For every Iron Man 3, there must be a Movie 43. And that, dear friends, is why I drink.
*shown at at least 1000 theaters
Total Gross: $10,501,938
Release date: August 30, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: A whopping 2%
I love Ethan Hawke. I have nothing against Selena Gomez. Why didn’t their car-centric thriller work? Let’s take a look at the plot synopsis (spoilers, obviously) on Wikipedi…oh. Yeah, that sounds pretty stupid. My threshold for stupid raised significantly after leaving my crappy movie theater job, since I typically have to pay for my movies now. At least Ethan Hawke has that sweet, sweet #CrimeDay money to count.
9. Bullet to the Head
Total Gross: $9,489,829
Release date: February 1, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Sylvester Stallone is old as hell at this point. That hasn’t stopped him from starring in not one, not two, but three movies last year and penning the Jason Statham rural crime thriller Homefront while working on the third installment of the ever-ludicrous Expendables franchise. His film Bullet to the Head, a sort of buddy cop revenge action thriller, was more or less entertaining, had the perfect amount of cheese, and an axe fight for a climax. Not, like, hatchets, but fire axes. FIRE. AXES. It was awesome. It’s even in the trailer. If a 67-year-old man having an axe fight with Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones can’t put butts in seats, I don’t know what will. At least Escape Plan and (ugh) Grudge Match cracked the top 100.
8. Tyler Perry Presents Peeples
Total Gross: $9,177,065
Release date: May 10, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 34%
Why, Craig Robinson? This was a mildly musing take on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Tyler Perry’s name slapped on top with David Allen Greer as the uptight jerk patriarch of the family Craig Robinson’s character is trying to impress so he can get their blessing to propose to his girlfriend. We’ve seen it all before, but this time there’s lesbians. Meh.
7. Battle of the Year
Total Gross: $8,888,355
Release date: September 20, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
I can’t even feel bad for this movie. If your dance movie doesn’t have Channing Tatum but it does have Chris Brown? You have done one of the following:
D.) All of the above
And this is from someone who absolutely adores Sawyer from Lost.
6. Movie 43
Total Gross: $8,840,453
Release date: January 25, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
I would rather watch all the rest of the movies on this list while accurately roleplaying Theon Greyjoy’s season 3 arc on Game of Thrones than see this movie again. Just because you have the most stars ever doesn’t mean you can put something this intellectually offensive out into the world. I was so excited when I saw the credits begin to roll, and then they pulled the rug out from under me with a whole ‘nother bit that climaxed (literally?) with poor Josh Duhamel getting sexually assaulted in the mouth by a cartoon cat. COMEDY, AMIRITE? Seriously, this movie can go to hell.
5. Machete Kills
Total Gross: $8,008,161
Release date: October 11, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Seeing as how Robert Rodriguez is my spirit animal, my not seeing this movie in theaters counts among my top five biggest regrets of 2013. I’d ask if the “exploitation noveaux” genre is winding down, but it’s not like there was really ever all that much money to be made there. The worst part is we will likely never see a full version of Machete Kills Again…in Space now. Hopefully Sin City 2 brings the heat this year. My heart can’t take this kind of disappointment two years in a row.
Total Gross: $7,385,015
Release date: August 16, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
How do you mess up a corporate intrigue film starring Thor’s brother (no, not Loki, Liam), Han Solo, Commissioner Gordon, and the super-sexy Amber Heard? I didn’t see this movie, so I cannot tell you. In fact, I don’t know anybody who did…
I wonder if there’s some correlation there.
No, I take that back. My friend Lizz from Lizz at the Movies saw it. And she wrote about it, even!
3. Black Nativity
Total Gross: $7,008,586
Release date: November 27, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
I’m really not much for Christmas movies. The only modern Christmas movies I can think of that I thoroughly enjoyed have been Four Christmases and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. I’m also not big on religious themes in films. Between that and the trailer for this movie, I decided to save the $11.50 I’d set aside for a holiday movie for Wolf of Wall Street. Something tells me I’m not the only one.
2. The Fifth Estate
Total Gross: $3,255,008
Release date: October 18, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
I liked The Fifth Estate. It was like The Social Network and Jobs in that it was based on a true story, featured a socially retarded, often self-important jerk with a well-meaning friend, and covered some important history. Maybe people just don’t care about the whole WikiLeaks thing anymore? I don’t know. But it starred Tumblr Sweetheart Benedict Cumberbatch! Maybe people got their Cumberfix from Star Trek Into Darkness. Maybe a score by Trent Reznor could have helped.
Total Gross: $1,034,589
Release date: March 1, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
This movie was, for a film that was just there one day, fantastic. A taut thriller set on a Russian sub during the Cold War staring Ed Harris, David Duchovny, William Fichtner, and Lance Henriksen, Phantom came out of nowhere. I saw zero advertising, not even a single trailer, yet there it was. I watched it and was floored. Even with the lack of advertising, I am stunned it just barely broke the million dollar mark. I’ll let this sink in: Movie 43 made almost eight million more dollars than Phantom. There is no justice in this world. Watch this movie on Netflix and tell me that this film deserves to be the worst-grossing wide release of 2013.
Honorable Mention: Justin Bieber’s Believe
Total Gross: $5,963,482.00
Release date: December 25th, 2013
Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
I guess people just don’t Belieb like they used to.
In conclusion, I’m not surprised most of these movies are in the bottom ten. Some (Machete Kills and Phantoms) break my heart. Others, like Movie 43, I’m upset that they’re as high on the list as they are.
Ultimately, Josh Duhamel said it best with this face:
That’s actually a pretty good Michael Shannon impression.
What are your thoughts on the worst-grossing movies of the year?