There are flops and there are flops. Some – like Blade Runner and The Wizard Of Oz – initially stiff at the cinema before becoming hits on TV and video/DVD. Some, like Waterworld and Hulk are perceived as flops even though they made their money back, purely because everyone was expecting bigger hits. Neither are the sort of flop we’re talking about here. We’re talking box office disasters that have only ever been celebrated by the SF and fantasy literati since – films that didn’t deserve to tank, but which haven't been rediscovered by the general viewing public since. Some were simply so great it's simply a mystery they flopped, others were overambitious, flawed gems.
Director: Alex Proyas
Box Office: $27,200,316
A man on the run from the police exists in a world where reality changes around him, thanks to shape-changing aliens called the Strangers.
Why it shouldn’t have flopped: Alex Proyas' SF noir is one of the sci-fi cinema's most visually rich movies and as films go on the nature of reality go, it's got more brains than the Wachowski Brothers’ show-off effort.
Why it probably flopped: Its visual and intellectual references were probably too esoteric for an audience who wanted more violence and bullet time effects with their science fiction.
What should have flopped instead: The Matrix. If we were to only have one reality-bending allegory at the cinema, it really should have been Dark City. And then we wouldn’t have had to endure those bleedin’ awful sequels, either.
Go to the next flop