Although the biggest movies these days seem to be making more money than most small countries,
that doesn't mean everyone is sharing in the wealth.
Sadly, quite a few 2019 movies — some with big names and big budgets — have already
been given the thumbs down from critics and audiences alike.
Here's why these 2019 films bombed at the box office.
Replicas is one of those science fiction/horror movies that seems to exist solely to warn
the world's mad scientists that dead people are supposed to stay that way.
Keanu Reeves plays Will Foster, a scientist working on transferring the consciousnesses
of the dead into new bodies.
After his wife and children are killed during a boating trip, he enlists the help of a fellow
scientist to resurrect them via cloning.
Predictably, things quickly go wrong.
Replicas performed dismally at the box office, grossing just a little over $4 million, and
its aggregate Rotten Tomatoes score doesn't suggest this was an under-hyped gem, either.
Critics ripped the sci-fi thriller to pieces, calling out its preposterous story, its numerous
plot holes, and the squandering of its novel potential.
A number of critics have suggested that Reeves was horribly miscast as a grieving genius,
and more than one argued that Nicolas Cage would've made a much better fit.
Amidst a storm of unkind reviews of Replicas, perhaps the best takedown of them all came
from The Los Angeles Times, which explained:
"The filmmakers manage to avoid every potentially interesting choice for far dumber, and far
more inexplicable, conclusions."
Don't worry, Joss Whedon fans: you haven't missed anything important.
2019's Serenity is a very different beast indeed than the 2005 sci-fi cult classic.
"I am a leaf on the wind.
Watch how I soar."
No, this movie follows Baker Dill, the captain of a fishing vessel who is dragged back into
his ex-wife Karen's life when she tries to hire him to kill her current husband.
So far, so straightforward, right?
Well, guess again.
Because it is eventually revealed that Dill is actually a character in a video game designed
by a boy named Patrick.
When Patrick's real-life mother remarried an abusive man, he redesigned his game to
be about destroying the new man in her life.
Some critics praised a number of fine performances that nevertheless failed to save an absurd
Most critics, however, agreed that Serenity's script was horribly written — and its premise
was downright ludicrous.
The biggest problem seems to have been the film's poorly executed reveals, which The
Sunday Times called "shoddy narrative gimmicks."
Rather than adding depth or a fresh perspective to the story, reviewers felt the twists were
"self-indulgent", while The Arts Desk wrote:
"It’s as if you’ve been watching a movie which wasn’t that great to begin with, and
then the director crashes through the screen, doubling up with laughter and telling you
you’ve been had."
Louis Ashbourne Serkis plays a young boy in present day England who stumbles upon the
legendary sword Excalibur in 2019's family-friendly fantasy The Kid Who Would Be King.
Unfortunately for Alex and his friends, King Arthur's old enemy Morgana knows Excalibur
has been discovered and wants it for herself.
Aided by the backwards-aging Merlin, Alex and his friends embark on a quest to defeat
the dastardly sorceress.
Sadly, their victory against the forces of evil couldn't save the movie from grossing
just a little over half of its production budget of $59 million.
Unlike most of the films that flopped in 2019, The Kid Who Would Be King enjoyed mostly favorable
reviews, earning an impressive 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
While writing about the film's inability to turn a profit, Forbes placed part of the blame
on competing intellectual properties, pointing out that Kid was forced to face off with films
like Aquaman and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
These movies featured characters audiences were familiar with and wanted to see on the
big screen, whereas audiences simply struggled to care about King Arthur and his friends.
For a long time to come, the thing most people may remember about the darkly comic revenge
thriller Cold Pursuit will be the interview star Liam Neeson gave while promoting the
During this interview, Neeson revealed that, in the wake of the sexual assault of a close
friend by a black man, he had once walked the streets hoping any black man would start
a fight with him so that Neeson could kill him in retaliation.
"It was horrible, horrible, and I think back that I did that, and I’ve never admitted
that and I’m saying it to a journalist, God forbid."
The interview sparked a firestorm of controversy, eventually prompting an apology from the actor.
Cold Pursuit's opening weekend pulled in $10.8 million — the lowest numbers for a Neeson
movie debut since 2010's The Next Three Days.
Eventually, however, subsequent grosses helped the film break even with its $60 million budget.
It's impossible to know how much of that poor performance was influenced by the response
to Neeson's colossal public blunder, though according to some critics, there was plenty
in Cold Pursuit to dislike even if you'd never heard his notorious interview.
Whether it was Neeson's interview or the film itself that led to Cold Pursuit's chilly reception,
it's probably safe to say that it'll probably be a while before Neeson is allowed to veer
off-topic during a press interview.
In the world of Captive State, 2019 is the year aliens invade the Earth, ultimately leading
to humanity's capitulation to the extraterrestrials who rule the planet from their underground
A decade later, two brothers join a resistance force against the aliens and find themselves
hunted by a shadowy Police Commander who has dedicated himself to ending the resistance
once and for all.
Or so it seems…
"No no no no.
I’m going to watch it later.
I’ve got it, mum's the word."
Captive State eventually grossed an unimpressive $8.6 million worldwide.
Overall, the movie's reviews agreed that the plot was convoluted and that the film didn't
have the budget it needed to tell its story.
Meanwhile, others felt the focus on the unwieldy plot sacrificed believable characters.
Reelviews's reviewer wrote:
"Characterization is perfunctory and unsatisfactory.
We're watching a bunch of pawns on a filmmaker's chessboard."
A remake of a 2011 Spanish film with the same name, 2019's Miss Bala stars Gina Rodriguez
of Jane the Virgin fame.
The film brings Rodriguez to unfamiliar territory, casting her as a Los Angeles make-up artist
who trains to fight a Mexican drug cartel after her friend is kidnapped during a trip
south of the border.
While the casting of Rodriguez as an action star may seem strange, most critics seemed
to agree it's just about the only thing that ended up going right with Miss Bala — while
the rest of this would-be thriller is merely a watered down, uninspired, and cardboard
cutout version of the 2011 film it reimagines.
The Galveston Daily News wrote that Miss Bala director Catherine Hardwicke "feels more like
a director for hire" than in her previous films.
No doubt partly as a result of all the negative critical buzz, Miss Bala's gross barely broke
even with its $15 million budget.
In spite of its poor performance critically, a number of critics saved space to praise
Rodriguez's performance in their reviews.
While agreeing that Miss Bala is largely a ho-hum movie, Rolling Stone wrote:
"This Hollywoodized remake is mostly generic and uninspired, but it also proves that Rodriguez
has the makings of a true movie star.
It’ll be exciting to see what she does next… so long as it’s not a sequel to this."
2019's Hellboy reboot faced an uphill climb from the start, and unfortunately it didn't
even come close to making its way to the top.
With a worldwide gross of $21.8 million, the movie failed to make up even half its production
budget of $50 million.
Hellboy's hype machine got off to a rocky start.
Fans reaction to the release of the film's first trailer was mixed at best, and not even
close to what any studio executive would want for a superhero blockbuster.
In a sense, however, the reboot's toughest competitors were the two previous Hellboy
movies directed by Guillermo del Toro, which starred Ron Perlman.
The shadow of Hellboy's predecessor was that much darker for Perlman's very public regrets
over he and del Toro's failure to get their own third Hellboy movie.
And although he held no evident ill will for new Hellboy David Harbour, Perlman wasn't
shy about his disappointment; speaking to Collider, he referred to someone else being
cast in the role as an "open wound."
Considering the inherent difficulties in overcoming these challenges, Hellboy would have needed
to be very good indeed to establish itself as the basis for a revived franchise.
Sadly, it wasn't.
The Chicago Tribune warned readers Hellboy's pacing is such that:
"...you don't so much watch this movie as submit to being pummeled by it."
Meanwhile, Book & Film Globe asked readers to:
"...imagine del Toro's movies, except without any spark, wit, fun, tension and excitement."
By all accounts, Hellboy is the kind of bad film that invites a storm of brutal takedowns
— so much so that the London Evening Standard's critic wrote that, if he were free to decide,
"...write nothing about the movie and leave this space blank for readers' notes."
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy made cinematic history, and even the less
well-received Hobbit movies made plenty of money, but there's at least one J.R.R.
Tolkien movie out there that didn't make a splash — the one about the man himself.
Starring Nicholas Hoult as Tolkien, and Lily Collins as Tolkien's future wife Edith Bratt,
Tolkien is about the author's early experiences in school, how his life was rocked by the
outbreak of World War I, and how all those experiences informed his writing.
Tolkien earned an unimpressive $2.2 million on its opening weekend, and hasn't gained
much ground since.
As Forbes' review pointed out, as a biopic without any A-list actors to support it, Tolkien
never really stood a chance of making it big at the box office.
Unfortunately, the critical response wasn't much better, either.
Critics tended to think the movie was unimaginative, unoriginal, and boring.
For example, Salon's reviewer wrote that Tolkien was doomed by a lack of vision, while The
Young Folks warned that the movie simply couldn't escape the weight of its own tedium.
Poms is a comedy about a group of older women in a retirement community who start up a competitive
And that premise would be difficult enough to pull off at the box office, even if the
movie hadn't been faced with tremendous competition.
But Poms was released the same weekend as Detective Pikachu and another all-female-led
comedy, The Hustle.
It also faced Avengers: Endgame, which was still busy breaking records when Poms was
Factor in the skew towards an older audience, who tend not to show up on opening weekends,
and the movie's limping opening weekend gross of $5.6 million isn't that much of a surprise.
Regardless of its target demographic or its stiff competition, Poms' failure with the
critics can't exactly have helped the movie's chances.
With an embarrassing Rotten Tomatoes score of 32%, the movie apparently showed off a
great cast burdened with lazy writing — with the star power of Diane Keaton and Jacki Weaver
being simply not enough to save the movie from box office oblivion.
Based on Nicola Yoon's young adult novel of the same name, The Sun Is Also a Star didn't
impress critics in the slightest.
Reviewer consensus was that the teen drama is poorly written, stretches believability,
and full of cliches.
CNN called it "half-baked," The Observer called it "contrived," while Jackie K. Cooper described
it as "sappy to the nth degree."
If nothing else, even the critics unimpressed by the movie agree that the film's leads likely
have a bright future in Hollywood, but even they couldn't save a seriously disappointing
These reviews likely contributed to the film's lackluster opening weekend of $2.6 million,
across 2,073 screens.
Not only that, but the fact that The Sun Is Also a Star was released the same weekend
as the incredibly successful John Wick: Chapter 3 may also have contributed to the teen romance's
"You wanted me back - I'm back."
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