So what defines a blockbuster? Simple: money.
Whether they make a lot of money, or cost a lot of money to make, blockbusters are the event movies that studios, theatres and even us, the hapless film journalists, organise our years around.
The problem with blockbusters is that by the time you've spent a couple of hundred million making the film, many months and millions more promoting the damn thing and released every concievable bit of tie-in tat onto the market, too often the films themselves aren't much good.
Then, dear readers, there are the blockbusters which really lower the bar...
Join us as we take a look at the most painful viewing experiences in the history of event movies, the films that went bust at the box-office, bankrupted the studio, broke our hearts...
30. Dick Tracy (1990)
29. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
An island paradise, cloned dinosaurs, money-hungry corporations... Spielberg was spoiled with ideas when he decided to counter the Jaws 2 syndrome by directing this sequel himself.
It could have been a thrilling smorgasbord of delights. Instead, he strained out The Lost World.
May he hang his head in shame for the next 65 million years.
Worst Moment: When the T-Rex mum tippy-toes into the camp and sticks her head into a tent without anyone noticing her.
28. Last Action Hero (1993)
Next: Alien: Resurrection [page-break]
27. Alien: Resurrection (1997)
The fifth instalment was an attempt to capture the streetwise grittiness of the original. But after two hours of clichéd word and fist play, the audience was left much like the leads – glassy-eyed and dribbling.
Stallone capped the over-extended story on a satisfyingly downbeat note with Rocky Balboa but we'd still like to airbrush this one out of the franchise.
Worst Moment: Tommy recounts his suffering at the hands of an abusive father. “The first guy I ever knocked out was my father.” Never one to be out-done, the Rockster sneers, “At least you had a father to knock out.”
Next: Forrest Gump [page-break]
24. Forrest Gump ( 1994)
23. Independence Day (1996)
Worst Moment: A fireball incinerates hundreds of people, but we’re encouraged to cheer because a dog survives.
22. Lost In Space (1998)
So many people in so far over their heads. A cast of acting lightweights bolstered by William Hurt and Gary Oldman and a director struggling with the logistical nightmare of too much CGI.
The ending makes no sense (even the director admitted it) but left sequel potential, although the mercifully weak box-office returns spared us the horror.
Worst Moment: Blooping, squeaking CGI monkey-thing 'Blarp', who shows how state-of-the-art effects can be every bit as horrible as shoddy old-school puppetry.
Next: Twister [page-break]
21. Twister (1996)
20. Far And Away ( 1992)
19. Hook (1991)
Next: Highlander 2: The Quickening [page-break]
18. Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)
17. Superman 4: The Quest For Peace (1987)
16. Armageddon (1998)
Next: Ishtar [page-break]
15. Ishtar ( 1987)
14. Popeye (1980)
13. Howard The Duck (1986)
Think George Lucas. Think Star Wars . Think Indiana Jones . Think billion-dollar movie franchises and coffers swelling with massive box-office and merchandising receipts.
Think George Lucas. Think, er, Willow . Radioland Murders . Howard The Duck . All of which prove that George isn’t always on the money.
Worst Moment: When Howard and Thompson do the dirty for the first time in silhouette, behind a discreetly placed screen.
While you can hardly blame Howard for wanting the carnal connection, bestiality in a PG-rated movie wasn’t what the kids, much less their parents, wanted.
Next: Waterworld [page-break]
12. Waterworld (1995)
11. The Postman (1997)
10. Godzilla (1997)
Next: Cutthroat Island [page-break]
9. Cutthroat Island (1996)
A thousand Carolco employees weep bitterly into their P45s.
8. Titanic (1997)
Considering it won 11 Oscars and made in excess of $1.5 billion, Cameron's world-ruler has an awful lot of critics.
Those who have taken the time to ponder this mystery have come up with a simple argument: If you think it’s a period romance with an impressively frisky ending, then it blows other Merchant Ivory -type movies out the water.
But if you think it’s an action movie that wastes the first 90 minutes with some dreary, unlikely love story, then it blows chunks.
Worst Moment: Either the spitting scene, or when Celine Dion’s end-credit strangled cat warble snuffs out whatever emotions you may have experienced over the last three hours.
7. Wild Wild West (1999)
Next: Pearl Harbour [page-break]
6. Pearl Harbor (2001)
The movie cost $152 million (considerably more than the real attack) and required sizable chunks of Hawaii to be re-blown up, yet it still features none-to-little artistic merit and, like most of the films on this list, goes on for approximately two hours too long.
A desperate UK poster campaign blubbed that those mean old critics were simply wrong, reducing a confident summer blockbuster into a whimpering crybaby.
Worst Moment: The constipated look of pain and confusion on Ben Affleck’s face when he returns from being MIA to find that his girlfriend and best buddy have hooked up. The humanity!
5. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999)
4. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
When you call a movie Speed 2 , it's probably a good idea to keep the action motoring at a brisk old pace.
Sadly, Speed 2 's producers set the events on a bloody cruise ship, and so the action forges ahead with all the momentum of a wounded snail.
Add a script dredged up from the ocean’s floor and plodding, clumsy direction and you’re, well, sunk.
Worst Moment: When we’re told that Willem Defoe’s nutjob has some weird blood disease which requires him to apply leeches at regular intervals. Someone actually got paid to write this stuff.
Next: Battlefield Earth [page-break]
3. Battlefield Earth (2000)
Cynics expected scientology dogma to feature heavily. They got the apocalypse through the eyes of Ed Wood.
So much to mock... Barry Pepper’s Neanderthal mullet. The nonsensical attempts of scripter Corey Mandell to cram 1,050 pages of pulp into a two-hour movie. Director Roger Christian’s fetish for framing every shot at a jaunty angle…
Worst Moment: After five minutes on a flight simulator, thick-as-shit hero Jonnie Goodboy defeats the Psychlos by piloting a 1000-year-old fighter jet. Swallow that!
2. The Avengers (1998)
Next: The Worst Blockbuster Of All-Time... [page-break]
1. Batman & Robin (1997)
It should have worked.
Hugely popular fresh-from- ER George Clooney was cast as the caped crusader.
His nemesis, Mr Freeze, would be played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the biggest box-office draw of the past 20 years. What could go wrong? Everything.
Is it any wonder that a disgruntled viewer shouted, “Death to Joel Schumacher!” at a test screening?
It's famously, appallingly, astonishingly bad - for many, many reasons, but mostly because of Arnie's frigid Mr Freeze dialogue...
Worst Moments: Arnie’s Quips…
Upon entering a room : “The Iceman cometh.”
To a cop begging for a reprieve : “I’m afraid that my condition has left me cold to your pleas of mercy.”
To Batman : “You’re not sending me to the cooler!”
To anyone who cares : “Cool Party!”
To a roomful of potential victims : “Allow me to break the ice. My name is Freeze. It is the chilling sound of your doom.”
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