The 50 biggest movie flops that deserved better

Waterworld (1995)

The Movie: In the year 2500, the polar ice caps have melted, flooding the world and eradicating pretty much any trace of land. Enter The Mariner (Kevin Costner), who's attempting to survive this post-apocalyptic world any way he can.

The Flop: Waterworld 's tortured production history is the thing of movie legend and its bad luck continued into the box office, where it made just $88m in the US.

Overseas takings helped it break even - but only just.

Why It Deserved Better:
Ignoring all the hoo-ha surrounding the film's production, there's no denying that Waterworld is an enjoyably shoddy futuristic action flick. The world building is great and Costner's on fine form.

Tron: Legacy (2010)

The Movie: Belated sequel to Tron . Twenty years after Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) disappeared, his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) goes searching for him - inside of a computer.

The Flop:
On the surface , Tron: Legacy looks like a success. At the worldwide box office, it earned $400m on a budget of $170m.

The fact is, though, that it had to scrape for that money, and most of it didn't come from Hollywood's favourite territory - the US. Which explains why Tron 3 has just been cancelled…

Why It Deserved Better : The critics were right when they called this hollow and soulless, but they're forgetting that Tron: Legacy delivers when it comes to spectacle, setpieces and that thumpingly-awesome Daft Punk soundtrack…

Cleopatra (1963)

The Movie: Elizabeth Taylor plays the Egyptian queen in one of the most expensive films ever made. Richard Burton appears, naturally, as Mark Antony.

The Flop:
Cleopatra was both the highest grossing film of 1963 and the film that filed the biggest loss - while it was made for $44m, it only recouped $26m at the box office…

Why It Deserved Better:
Yes, the film took certain liberties with history, and yes, it's far too interested in just dressing Taylor up (she has 65 costume changes), but it's also a sumptuous epic that is commendable if only for its unrestrained grandeur.

The Fountain (2006)

The Movie: Darren Aronofsky's time-hopping sci-fi. We follow Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz's star-crossed lovers from the Spanish Inquisition to present day and beyond.

The Flop:
After a stop-start production (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett were originally set to star), The Fountain well and truly stalled at the box office - it made just $15m at the worldwide BO on a budget of $25m.

Why It Deserved Better:
'Ambitious' doesn't quite cover Aronofsky's vision for The Fountain, which manages to be both awe-inspiring in its visual construction and surprisingly poetic in its storytelling.

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

The Movie: Dorothy (Judy Garland) is whisked off to the weird world of Oz by a tornado, where she makes new friends - and faces off against the Wicked Witch.

The Flop: Though it just about made its money back (budget: $2.7m, box office: $3m) Oz was deemed a financial failure for MGM at the time, which was expecting far superior returns.

Of course, in today's money the film has now made almost $240m worldwide, which ain't bad at all.

Why It Deserved Better:
It was pioneering for its time. The use of Technicolor is eye-popping and the songs have become modern classics.

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)

The Movie: Terry Gilliam's adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's novel, with Johnny Depp playing a nutso journalist who - along with buddy lawyer Benicio del Toro - heads to Las Vegas for good times.

The Flop: Though it's since become a cult hit, Gilliam's film sank without trace at the box office - it took just $10m worldwide on its $18m budget.

Why It Deserved Better:
Like all of Gilliam's films, Las Vegas is defiantly un-mainstream, which is why we love it. It's odd to the max, and Depp is magnetic.

Sunshine (2007)

The Movie: Danny Boyle jets off into space for one of his most ambitious movies ever. It's 2057 and a crew are heading for the sun, which they intend to reignite using a nuclear bomb…

The Flop: Boyle worked with a modest budget of just $40m, but even that was unattainable when it came to box office returns - Sunshine made just $32m worldwide.

No fear, though - the director bounced back a year later with Slumdog Millionaire

Why It Deserved Better: The film's high concept premise doesn't weigh it down - though Boyle's film takes some unusual turns, that doesn't stop it from being a tense sci-fi to rival even Alien for knuckle-biting thrills.

The General (1926)

The Movie: Comedy guru Buster Keaton plays a train driver during the American Civil War. He sets out to rescue the titular train from Union Forces - which leads to all manner of comedy hijinks.

The Flop: Derided as "the least funny thing Buster Keaton has ever done", The General earned only $250,000 at the US box office.

Worse still, Keaton was left so broke that he lost the rights to his earlier films and was forced to sign a strangulating contract with MGM.

Why It Deserved Better: Well, it's Buster Keaton. And even ropey Buster Keaton is still better than half the stuff Adam Sandler's been cranking out in the past decade.

The 13th Warrior (1999)

The Movie: Historical action sporting Antonio Banderas in a suit of armour. Based on Michael Crichton's novel Eaters Of The Dead , it follows a band of Norse warriors who fight mystical creatures.

The Flop: Though it opened at number two (behind The Sixth Sense ), The 13th Warrior was unable to recoup its massive costs - the film's budget ballooned from $85m to a rumoured $160m thanks to reshoots and marketing expense.

It ended up making just $61.7m.

Why It Deserved Better: Sure, the plotting's a bit shoddy, but John McTiernan's film is a feast for the eyes - plus Omar Sharif makes an entertaining cameo.

Transcendence (2014)

The movie: Johnny Depp in a sci-fi film directed by Dark Knight DOP Wally Pfister? That's got hit written all over it, right? Wrong...

The Flop: Transcendence grossed just $23 million in North America a terrible result, not helped by a mixed critical response.

Why It Deserved Better: It's not perfect, but Transcendence is quite different to most other current science fiction cinema. It's tale of man merging with machine is ambitious, intellectual and visually quite beautiful. And in stark contrast to many of his recent performances, Depp is actually pretty good.