The 50 biggest movie flops that deserved better

Well at least they tried...

It looks like Tomorrowland is going to struggle to make its budget back at the box office. Not quite a flop on the same dramatic levels as the infamous John Carter, but Disney will certainly be licking their wounds and looking forward to more surefire successes coming later in the year. (Thank you Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It's a shame because, despite a few noticeable flaws and feeling slightly anachronistic in the summer of Ultron and Mad Max, it's a perfectly fine film. That got us thinking about updating our list of 50 flops that are worth watching. There have certainly been some worthy additions in the last few years...

Cutthroat Island (1995)

The Movie: A good old-fashioned pirate romp. Female pirate Morgan (Geena Davis) races against time (and the British crown) to find a hidden treasure - all while her crew threatens mutiny.

The Flop:
Not just a flop, but a huge washout that killed off Carolco Pictures. Made for $98m, Renny Harlin's sea-faring romp earned just $10m in the US - which makes it all the more surprising that Disney gambled on a pirate film just a few years later in 2003.

Why It Deserved Better: Yes, it's a mess, but if you're looking for some daft pirate action and your Pirates Of The Caribbean box set needs a break, give this a whirl.

Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (2010)

The Movie: Mike Newell's adaptation of the Ubisoft game, in which a young prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) fights off evil fiends while using a mystical dagger that can turn back time.

The Flop: Though Disney envisioned the film as the new Pirates Of The Caribbean , its dreams of a franchise fell flat when the film only made $90m in the US and Canada.

It recouped its budget in the rest of the world, but clearly that wasn't enough money ($335m) to greenlight a sequel…

Why It Deserved Better: Aside from Jake Gyllenhaal making for a surprisingly credible action hero (pumped as he is), it's an adrenaline-pumped swashbuckler with charm in spades, even if it doesn't do anything new.

Hard Rain (1998)

The Movie: A small Indiana town is flooded by a freak storm, interrupting Morgan Freeman's planned heist of Christian Slater's armoured truck.

The Flop: Hard Rain earned the title of biggest flop of 1998 when it only made $19m at the US box office - not a patch on its $70m budget.

Why It Deserved Better:
The premise is pure action movie silliness, but there are some fun tension-cranking moments in here - and it's nice to see Freeman playing against type for once.

Peter Pan (2003)

The Movie: A live-action adaptation of JM Barrie's book. You know the story. Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter) is the little boy who never grows up - and is locked in a constant battle with Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs).

The Flop: Peter Pan had the misfortune of being released a week before another fantasy book adap - a little film called The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King.

Which means audiences saved their pennies for that trilogy closer, and Pan only made $122m worldwide on its $130m budget.

Why It Deserved Better:
The film's got a strong visual style and some great performances (Isaacs is a stand-out). It's a shame it didn't turn into a franchise.

Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)

The movie: Cowardly propagandist William Cage (Tom Cruise) finds himself reliving the same day time and again. Unfortunately it doesn't lead to romantic Groundhog Day style comedy. Instead, he's repeatedly killed by an army of deadly alien invaders.

The Flop: The film had a healthy budget of $173 million, but pulled in just $369.2 million worldwide. For a hyped Tom Cruise vehicle that's disappointing. Personally, we blame the change of title from the daffy but cool All You Need Is Kill to the utterly forgettable Edge Of Tomorrow. The studio presumably agrees: on the DVD it's now listed as Live Die Repeat: Edge Of Tomorrow.

Why It Deserved Better: It's actually brilliant. The plot is twisty-turny, the effects are fantastic and it has a sly sense of humour. War might be hell, but Edge Of Tomorrow sure is fun.

Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

The Movie: A big budget adaptation of the fairytale Jack And The Beanstalk in which Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is given some magic beans and discovers a land of giants in the clouds.

The Flop: Rather than making money, Bryan Singer's first foray into fairytale terrain ended up losing Legendary Pictures almost $140m.

The film's perceived failure was attributed to a clash between Singer's vision for the film (dark, scary) and the studio's desire for something a little more family-friendly.

Why It Deserved Better:
There are glimmers of the film that Singer originally envisioned, with some real darkness (human pigs in blankets, really gross giants) mixed into the PG frolics. And the final battle's a dizzying doozy.

John Carter (2012)

The Movie: Taylor Kitsch gets his ass to Mars for an adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs adventures. There he lands slap bang in the middle of a Martian war.

The Flop:
Disney's biggest upset for quite some time (though this year's The Lone Ranger didn't fare much better). To break even, Carter would have had to make $600m at the box office - it just barely managed $282m.

Why It Deserved Better: It was overlong, it had an unnecessarily complicated framing device and it sort of resembled other better movies, but John Carter didn't deserve the bile spewed in its direction. It's fun, gorgeous to look at, and has some great, grand-standing set pieces.

Joe Versus The Volcano (1990)

The Movie: The first time Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan worked together. They meet when Joe (Hanks) decides to throw himself into a volcano after discovering that he's dying. On the way, though, he meets Patricia (Ryan) and falls in love.

The Flop: Hanks' usual pulling power failed to function on this flop, which made just $19m in the US on its $25m budget.

Why It Deserved Better:
It's one of those guilty pleasure movies - whimsical, flippant and, according to critic Vincent Canby, "flat footed", but it's also fun and entirely unique.

And a million times more entertaining than You've Got Mail.

The Insider (1999)

The Movie: Michael Mann's true-life drama based on the story of tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand. Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), producer of TV show 60 Minutes, attempts to coerce Wigand (Russell Crowe) into telling his story…

The Flop:
Younger audiences ignored the film and marketing execs blamed its "not notably dramatic" stylings for its financial failure - it made just $60m on a budget of $90m.

Though Disney was proud of the final film, the studio discovered it was almost impossible to sell.

Why It Deserved Better
: It's not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination - it currently holds a 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. One to add to the rental list…

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.