The Biggest Potential Box Office Bombs of Summer 2013

While 'Iron Man 3' and 'Man of Steel' are sure to be gargantuan hits this summer, we look at 5 movies that might not connect with audiences.
It happens every year. We spent months on this site covering a movie that looks good, smells good, and has the potential to be the next big classic, only to see it belly flop when its placed in front of a paying audience. Sometimes the movie is bad, as was the case with Green Lantern. Sometimes, the marketing doesn't work in favor of a small masterpiece, like Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. And sometimes, a movie just gets buried by the bigger movies around it in a crowded marketplace. Then, on that very odd occasion, there's the rare misfortune of having Taylor Kitsch as your leading man.

Last year we watched movies like Rock of Ages, Total Recall, Dark Shadows, Battleship and John Carter whiff it at the plate. 2013 won't be any different. Except that we're entering into May with a completely Kitsch free line-up.

We already know that Iron Man 3 is going to be a giant smash, and everything is aligning for Man of Steel to possibly be the biggest slam-dunk of the summer (as it looks to avoids the fate of 2011's Green Lantern). Pixar's Monsters University has nothing to worry about, and we're feeling pretty good about The Wolverine. But there are five other movies we're not so sure about.

We're not saying these are going to be bad movies. Just from what we've seen, we don't think they'll be able to attract the summer heat. And there is no possible way at least one of them is making all of their money back. Here are the five movies we think will bomb this summer.

1World War Z (June 21)


World War Z
Six years in the making and plagued with problems, this Brad Pitt zombie thriller has only stirred up a mountain of bad press. From the leading man fighting with his director, to Alex Jones declaring it New World Order propaganda, to the massive reshoots that had to be done, this extremely loose "adaptation" of Max Brooks' zombie survival manual from director Marc Forster has all the earmarks of a true summer disaster. Not too mention, zombies are a little played out here, in 2013. Sure, The Walking Dead is one of the biggest shows on cable television, but why spend money to see what you're getting at home for free? The trailers have done little to stir up excitement, and even the hardcore horror fans seem nonplused. With a $170 million price tag, this is being touted as the biggest budgeted living dead movie ever made. Maybe zombies are a low budget affair? There's no way this potential mess is going to make its money back. Right now, it's not even clear if people are going to make an effort to go on opening weekend. Perhaps it could pull a Titanic (that movie faced similar problems on its way to the box office). But as this PG-13 rated thriller about a virus is opening against Disney Pixar's cute, sunny, and most importantly, family friendly Monsters University, we don't think it stands a chance.


2The Lone Ranger (July 3)


The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger is another movie that's had its fair share of problems on the way to the big screen. Its bloated budget saw the Western reboot stalled numerous times, despite the presence of Johnny Depp. And the story, which originally involved mystical Native American Skinwalkers (werewolves) had to be altered quite a bit. The kids don't seem too excited about it, and why should they be? The Lone Ranger has been away from any kind of screen, big or small, for a very long time. And 1981's The Legend of the Lone Ranger was a substantial bomb that no one really remembers. The trailers sell the film as a 30-minute origin story followed by a 90-minute train chase. Sorry, Disney. No one seems to be all that excited about trains. It's a movie tailor-made for Bubbles and Sheldon, and Gary Coleman. And that's your audience. Not to mention, Westerns have never fared well during the summer. While 1992's Unforgiven is the exception, let us not forget the spanking both Wild Wild West and Cowboys & Aliens took at the hands of paying customers. Not to mention, no one is really sure yet if Johnny Depp's performance is a racist caricature that will prove to be embarrassing. People love the actor, and they don't want to see him fall on his face. They might turn away because of that. Disney thought Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl was going to be a bomb, and prepared for the worst. It was one of the biggest hits of 2003, and it spawned a never-ending franchise. The Lone Ranger might just prove to be the opposite of that.


3After Earth (June 7)


After Earth
Will Smith used to be the king of 4th of July, and the crowned prince of summer. Those years are behind him, but he still knows how to make a decent living at the box office. And his son, who appears with him here, had a good run with The Karate Kid remake. But the Smith name is no stranger to disaster at the box office. Just see the above mentioned Wild Wild West, which tarnished the Fresh Prince's July reputation forever. With After Earth, the Smiths are teaming up with M. Night Shyamalan, who hasn't had a hit in over a decade. Every new movie for the director, once hailed as the next Steven Spielberg, seems to be worse than the last. And now he is going back the 'green theme' that did in his horror spoof The Happening. No one cares what M. Night has to say about the environment, and this has the potential to be just as hokey as that Mark Wahlberg horror movie that saw people running from the wind and talking to houseplants. After Earth shares themes with Oblivion, which didn't tank. But it wasn't a massive hit either. Problem here is, the first movie out of the gate always does better numbers at the box office. And no one seems all that interested in After Earth . If anything, Will Smith and M. Night Shyamalan have the potential to make something beautifully awful. But if that's the case, only hipsters will be around to hear it fall. Seven Pounds and The Last Airbender cannot make a pretty baby together. There's just no way.


4The Internship (June 7)


The Internship
While Wedding Crashers was a huge hit in 2005, no one wants to pay to watch a Google commercial in 2013. This is the worst kind of product placement. Its story of two middle-aged men becoming interns is timely, but no one wants to be reminded of a down-turned economy in the middle of a heat wave. The trailer provides zero jokes, and the chemistry between Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn seems a little forced this time around. They even go for a dismal Professor X joke that hurts to watch. There's not much to say about The Internship, its that vanilla. But its undoing will be the same thing that made The Watch a dreadful experience. And that's the lack of a decent script, which instead relies on two people improving for hours upon hours in hope of a good take. As The Watch proved, sometimes the funniest people just aren't that funny.


5Epic (May 24)


Epic
Don't get us wrong. The environment is a worthy cause, and we should protect mother earth. Kids need to be taught this, but they don't want to be preached at while soaking up the air conditioning at the local Cineplex. Kiddie movies usually do big business during the summer months, because true family films are few and far between. This just doesn't look like it's going to appeal to anyone. Case in point, Rise of the Guardians had Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny in its favor, and no one wanted to see that either. It was one of the biggest bombs of last year. All this movie has is a couple of slugs. And coming from Blue Sky through 20th Century Fox, the movie doesn't carry the marquee weight of Pixar, DreamWorks, or Sony Animation. This action-adventure yarn about leaf men and insects is very likely to get lost in the dust.

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Comments (71)

  1. Mike

    And who makes this decision that Would War Z is going to be a possible bomb????? A bunch of old guys getting 110K a year doing nothing as usual????? They saod that about The Walking Dead also and look at it now! Yeah smart people they are. Imagine if they were your broker !!!!!!?????

    1 year agoby @Mike-17627082Flag

  2. MovieFreak97

    I'm with @thedude-abides here. Never underestimate star power.

    1 year agoby @moviefreak97Flag

  3. thedude-abides

    I don't see any of them bombing out at the box office, but in terms of their reception, Epic is the only one I can see receiving decent/good reviews.

    1 year agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  4. Gina39

    i wonder if world war z had been rated R would it make a difference . i think the problem is that these films are trying to get the kids to come in and see their films i notice these films look like they are going to be pg13 unless the internship is rated r. i wouldn't be surprised if these same films that we are saying is crap will be hits in the theater. i wouldn't be surprised if WWZ will be a 300 million dollar hit. or Will smith star power bring in 200 million. but only time will tell. but i did read a lot of the forums opinions and i notice that some people feel that after earth will suck because of the director, world war z will suck due to the rating and The Lone Ranger due to cowboy flop movies. i guess check out the movie first before you judge it a piece of crap.

    1 year agoby @gina39Flag

  5. kingbrady

    i agree with Internship, their dry humour is ok but its all the same crap...After Earth is obviously due to its director...(automatic $100 million Smith vs worst director since Uwe Boll)

    1 year agoby @kingbradyFlag

  6. slysnide

    "Epic" has had really bad marketing with some eco-friendly theme going on, with no hints at a plot. Just a bunch of flying bugs. And holiday x-mas themed cartoons are typically bombs anyway, so the comparison doesn't work that well. If this film has anything to it, it'll be ruined by kiddies rushing to see "IM3" and "Into Darkness" instead.

    Most summer comedies don't make much bank. And I don't think anybody outside of the production of "The Internship" expects it to do much better than "The Watch," which was a good concept shattered by an alien invasion plot. The only thing this one has going for it is the typical chemistry between Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, which sounds a bit forced according to Orange. It'll be meh.

    "WWZ" will be a bomb. Simply put, you can't title it after that legendary novel/survival guide and claim it's based on that book when it is doing nothing besides making a bloated global zombiepocalypse full of too much action and thus far, no sign of storytelling akin to Brooks' brilliant book.

    And agreed on "After Earth," which looks to be very similar to "Oblivion," except without Morgan Freeman (see they're already in deep sh*t) and another lame father/son team up with virtually no significant supporting cast to be seen, nor an actual plot, just the lame tagline "why did we leave," which you can answer by going to see "Oblivion."

    "The Lone Ranger" seems to be a hit or miss. I'm taking a class right now at a state university about the portrayal of native americans and native american issues in cinema/television, and I agree that Depp's take on Tonto--hell even casting him for that role--is borderline racist if not definitely racist. From the trailers it seems like Tonto is out for vengeance against some people responsible for wiping out his tribe, but still, the racism is already there with his relying on some no name white guy to help him with it. But it could still be fun (yeah I'm aware that last sentence seems to contradict everything I just wrote, but it's the logic the studios always take).

    1 year agoby @slysnideFlag

  7. Fernando Yanmar Narciso

    if epic doesnt features the faith no more song, its gonna suck balls!

    1 year agoby @Fernando-Yanmar-NarcisoFlag

  8. Nicholaus XX

    @felipe-11 -- Strongly agreed! And don't forget about the pointless (horror) sequels! Paranormal Activity, A Haunted House, Scary Movie, and all those damn "possession" movies. And that might just be naming a few.

    Glad we share the same sentiments.

    @bawnian-dexeus@mr-k -- Exactly! That's why we won't be getting as many good movies as we should be. I (most of the time) don't care if a movies entertaining or not; as long as the set pieces are coherent, and again, quality ridden. Entertainment's just a cherry on top. People forget that, just because a movie's entertaining, doesn't necessarily make it good. "Troll 2" was fairly entertaining, albeit, for all the wrong reasons. Regardless, the aforementioned was a terrible movie. Quite possibly THE worst movie I've ever seen. "Pootie Tang" was also entertaining when I saw it, and that one's mediocre, at best. Entertainment is subjective, but you see my point.

    1 year agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag

  9. CelluloidDreams

    and I will skip "After Earth" ....anything directed by M. Night Shyamalan is nothing but a flop!!!

    1 year agoby @2movieguysFlag

  10. CelluloidDreams

    I agree with the list!! "World War Z" is an impossible book to film!

    1 year agoby @2movieguysFlag

  11. Sandra Thomas

    We`ll see if this movies will smash, some will not make it! Sorry, but I doubt "Internship" and "World War Z" will not. Further, a success or a flop of a movie depends on the marketing. Iron Man 3 is a great movie, I&#180m a fan by the way - the marketing for this movie starts last year oktober/november! John Carter`s marketing (for example) starts 3 month in advance and nobody make reference to the book series of Edgar Rice Burroughs! So, in this point (marketing) I agree with "Nikolaus XX".

    1 year agoby @Sandra-ThomasFlag

  12. beltranboy

    I hope After Earth will be good. I like the concept. Pacific Rim looks awful. really bad

    1 year agoby @beltraneitorFlag

  13. ejk1

    @tomp1210 Thank you. I think it was a good thing I stopped by as well.

    1 year agoby @ejk1Flag

  14. Tomp1210

    @ejk1 "I have no desire to see any of these films, and don't care if they are successful or not"

    Well good thing you stopped by then. +10 'discussion' points.

    This page annoys me almost as much as IGNs constant question headlines - Is this game good, or terrible? Grrrr

    1 year agoby @tomp1210Flag

  15. Tomp1210

    Looking forward to seeing World War Z, although 20% of that may be because they filmed the initial outbreak in Glasgow City square, hooray lol.

    1 year agoby @tomp1210Flag

  16. Tomp1210

    @a7sus4 I think it looks pretty bad-ass. Been watching Godzilla, and ready for some big-screen payback... until the new Godzilla is out anyway, lol

    1 year agoby @tomp1210Flag

  17. A7sus4

    Don't forget Pacific Rim which no one f*cking cares about.

    1 year agoby @a7sus4Flag

  18. Dan

    @corey The tagline for After Earth hurts my head, too. Fear is a choice, Danger is real? lmao... When somebody is in danger, they feel fear, it's perfectly natural. It's what you do with that fear that counts.

    1 year agoby @dan1Flag

  19. Corey W.

    @dan1 Not to mention the Smith's doing a horrible accent. But we'll see. Who knows? It may be a fun summer flick...but I won't get my hopes up cause I look forward to hating it.

    1 year agoby @coreyFlag

  20. Dan

    @corey I think After Earth has an amazing concept, but I know M. Night will kill it somehow. He cannot resist his stupid twists.

    1 year agoby @dan1Flag

  21. Corey W.

    I don't think After Earth will bomb at all. At my theater, I hear a lot of customers say how excited they are for it (barf)

    1 year agoby @coreyFlag

  22. Dan

    @ejk1 World War Z is beyond frustrating for me. If it flops (and I feel very strongly that it will), it will be looked at as a condemnation of giving too much money to a horror, and one that isn't remotely accurate to its source. This frustrates me because it could be entirely the other way around had they rigidly followed the book's outline (which could have worked with the right visionary behind it, not Marc Forster, who gave us the mediocre Quantum of Solace). But noooo, they had to have a big name star, give him a cliche Hollywood family that we won't give a f*ck about, dumb down and/or remove all social nuances the book possessed for more mindless action (that looks laughably bad), and build the coffin and hammer in all the nails for potential big budget horror movies.

    They should have hired Gary Ross (Hunger Games, Pleasantville), Rupert Wyatt (Rise of Apes), or Frank Darabont (Walking Dead, Green Mile). They can handle complex material successfully, giving us nuance behind the action, therefore lending it more meaning.

    No I haven't seen it yet, and could be pleasantly surprised, but I highly doubt it. It'll likely go down as one of the dumbest summer movies this year.

    1 year agoby @dan1Flag

  23. ejk1

    @dan1 And I imagine that bothers you on some level, considering how much you like the WWZ novel.

    1 year agoby @ejk1Flag

  24. Dan

    Completely agree with this list. Completely.

    1 year agoby @dan1Flag

  25. Junarta Taufik

    I do not think 'The Lone Ranger' will do well internationally... but let's just see. Hopefully I'm wrong.

    1 year agoby @Junarta-TaufikFlag

  26. artkid04

    movies I want to see on this list, world war z (zombies and brad pitt) The Lone ranger ( from the makers of Pirates) After Earth (Will and Jaden Smith) and Epic (interesting cast and story)

    1 year agoby @artkid04Flag

  27. T. King (Red Camera Man)

    Agreed about "The Internship."

    1 year agoby @redcameramanFlag

  28. Mr.K

    @bawnian-dexeus Oh f*ck. The Hangover Part III.... Oh Christ.

    1 year agoby @mr-kFlag

  29. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @mr-k Also understand that the majority just want to be entertained and they don't actually go looking for art. I'm in the minority because I look for both and I can enjoy the best of both world. The numbers are important because it makes the viewer who hasn't seen it feel it as an attractive product to spend 6-25 dollars on. Also, money in terms of producing, both pre and post, can make a good or bad movie, sometimes both, depending on the layers (Case in point, Revenge of the Fallen). I agree personally that story and character matter, because in the end, that's what I want my viewers to take away aside from the aesthetics when and if I can make a movie. However, I also side with @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx that there is an audience that just want to escape their world for a few hours and see something that they don't necessarily want to experience like Sudoku. This is why movies like Place Beyond Pines and Silver Linings perform the way they do. The essential qualities to what and how a movie should look, and then you have movies that have those same elements, but contain the blockbuster edge, and the majority flock to it. Lastly, when people talk, their words matter. They create buzz and the studios want that first weekend buzz. After that, they can't do anything once the viewers likes or dislikes the movie.

    As for your list, here are my two cents, or how I like to put it, my dollar.

    -Lone Ranger: Has potential do perform like Pirates, but I don't expect it to. I mean, when is the last time a Western performed blockbuster numbers, without adjusting inflation?

    -After Earth: it's Smith, and he's earned my money to actually sit down and see it and worry about the rest after it ends

    -Epic: It has a lot to work with, since it will be competing with Fast 6 and Hangover 3, however it's still a kids movie (with or without the green thumb push) and the best example for how it can probably take the number 2 spot at least is from 2011's Sucker Punch and how it's debut crumbled at the hands of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

    1 year agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

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