When it comes to movies, they don’t have to be great in order to draw a crowd. In fact, some of the highest-earning movies ever made are pretty bad. But what exactly draws people to watch bad movies? It turns out that many things do. Whether the movie is a remake of an iconic book, is part of a series, or has a star-studded cast, there are many factors that go into the ticket sales when a movie comes out. There are times where people simply want to turn their brains off and enjoy a guilty pleasure. Other times, people want to see where their favorite characters end up. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that many of the highest-earning movies have been rated badly both by critics and viewers. Keep reading to find out the worst movies that made over $250 million at the box office.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
The last movie of The Hunger Games trilogy, “Mockingjay, Part 1” is the darkest part of the main character’s journey in the series. It picks up where the last movie left off, in the middle of the Hunger Games arena that’s crumbling. Since it’s the third chapter in a blockbuster series, it’s no surprise that this movie brought crowds into theaters, but according to critics, the movie feels stretched out and lacks the depth that it needs to address the political allegories it’s striving to achieve.
Crocodile Dundee (1986)
“Crocodile Dundee” follows an Australian wild man who comes to New York City to navigate a new type of “wild”. The movie was a huge success in Australia. At the time of its release, it shattered all box office records. The characters may be lovable and the story comedic, but that isn’t enough to make up for what is described as the film’s “illogical plot and set-up situations.” All the same, it’s a fun movie to watch, even if it’s a bad one.
The Polar Express (2004)
“The Polar Express” takes us on a young boy’s journey on a train ride that goes to the North Pole. It’s a coming-of-age story that’s about belief while being set to an incredible soundtrack that features people like Bing Crosby and Steven Tyler. It’s understandable why a Robert Zemeckis would be popular and drawn in a large crowd. While the movie was technologically innovative, critics have said the characters look creepy and the script left the plot very thin.
This movie talks about the kidnapping of a man’s son for a $2 million ransom. Tom – the father – flips the script by making the ransom a bounty on the kidnapper’s heads. Despite the fact that there is a famous lead actor (Mel Gibson) and that the movie is as thrilling and suspenseful as you’d expect, there is one flaw that ruins it entirely. To watch this movie, you need to shove your intelligence under your seat – according to movie critics, anyway.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Even though we know that “Jurassic Park” was mostly destroyed the first time around, in “The Lost World”, we find out that a second site still exists. That’s where dinosaurs have stayed and are thriving. It’s no surprise that with the first movie’s success the second would be successful too. However, the second movie might have been better with technology, movie critics have said that the second installment of the series was “sloppy, sadistic, frenetic, charmless, plotless, derivative and devoid of surprise and characters to care about.”
“Hitch” follows the story of suave dating extraordinaire, Alex ‘Hitch’ Hitchens, as he lends his services to goofy and clumsy Albert to help him impress a beautiful woman he knew. In the process, Hitch is forced to face all the shortcomings in his own life. Despite its popularity, this movie has been described by critics as “easy watching, not overly clever” and as The New York Times wrote, “As soft and sweet as a marshmallow and about as interesting.”
Ghostbusters II (1989)
There’s no denying that the original “Ghostbusters” was iconic. So, when the next chapter was released, crowds flocked to the nearest theaters, desperate to find out what happened next to the men on a rogue mission to save New York City. This time around, however, critics found the movie to be limited and even a little underdeveloped. As a matter of fact, one film critic wrote in the Daily News that Bill Murray’s character was “mildly irritating” which is unfathomable for Murray fans.
What Lies Beneath (2000)
What seems like a happily married couple is threatened by all kinds of disturbing voices and images that begin appearing in their home. In order to get to the bottom of it, the couple, Dr. Norman Spencer and his wife, Claire, have to uncover the truth to find out the reasons for the scary events. Well, according to one critic, the numbers were drawn in by successful marketing, but overall, the storyline was too complicated and not new.
Rush Hour 2 (2001)
After an explosion at the U.S. Embassy in Hong Kong, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are once again teamed up to get to the bottom of the crime. Naturally, they are thwarted at every turn along the way as criminals involved in the incident try and stop them from finding out the truth. There’s no doubt that the success of the first “Rush Hour’ is what brought the crowds to the second. All the same, critics have written in Empire Online that the writing has undertones of racism and sexism that take away from the original movie’s wit and humor.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
As we all know, this movie is based on one of the highest-grossing books of all time. “The Da Vinci Code” follows Professor Robert Langdon’s story as he aims to solve a murder in Paris’ Louvre following all kinds of cryptic clues that have the potential to undo the very foundation of Christianity. While the movie adaptation had very high expectations, in reality, it was much too long and missed the onscreen romantic spark between the two main characters that happened in the book.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Once again, we get to see Captain Jack Sparrow return to the big screen. In this movie, a few more details are released about his past when he encounters Angelica – a beautiful pirate who once had his heart. Angelica takes him on an adventure aboard Queen Anne’s Revenge – Blackbeard’s ship. This is along with a crew of zombies. They’re on a mission to find the Fountain of Youth. However, the fourth movie of this series seems to have run out of steam according to critic reviews. It’s most likely due to an over-explained plot and the absence of fan-favorites like Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly.
Directed by George Seaton and Henry Hathaway, Airport followed the story of the general manager of a Chicago airport. He faces a whole array of issues, including a snowstorm and the threats of a suicide bomber. Due to the star-studded cast, many rushed to theaters to watch the movie when it came out. However, Roger Ebert wrote that the simplemindedness of the writing just wasn’t enough to keep the viewers hooked.
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
The iconic action-comedy film series had its fourth release in 1998. In it, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh are back in action, each with a pregnant woman by their sides. Their families are then threatened by Chinese mobsters, and the two cops have to go on the offensive in order to protect them all. Fun fact about the fourth installment of the series, it brought the entire franchise into its 11th year!
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
This fictional story plays out like a real-life documentary. Found footage reveals the story of three movie students who travel to a small town in order to create a documentary about a local murderer – The Blair Witch. However, the students find themselves right in the middle of the horror when they get lost in the woods. The movie wasn’t exactly compelling according to movie critics. It was just marketed brilliantly and played on teenagers’ love of suspense thrillers.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Steven Spielberg may be one of the most famous directors in the world, but even his movies might not be the best at times. This movie focuses on an alien invasion that threatens a weekend with Ray Ferrier and his two kids. Played by Tom Cruise, Ferrier has to protect his son and daughter from the impending attack. It turns out that this wasn’t the first attempt of telling this story. It was originally told in H.G. Wells’ novel.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)
The final movie of The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay – Part 2 sees Katniss Everdeen’s story come to a close. She and her friends lead District 13 to free Panem’s citizens and assassinate the evil President Snow. It’s no surprise that crowds flocked to movie theaters to watch the beloved series come to an end. This franchise took Jennifer Lawrence from a new name at Sundance to become one of the biggest celebrities in the world.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
The fun rom-com tells the story of family dynamics, cultures clashing, and love. Toula – an unmarried Greek woman – happens to fall in love with Ian Miller – definitely not a Greek man. The Hollywood Reporter said that the film was very well received across most cultures that have seen it. The theme of family tradition and parental disapproval, of course, was a relatable topic for most people.
Air Force One (1997)
It’s clear that President James Marshall won’t ever negotiate with terrorists. It’s a principle he stands by. However, he’s put to the test when he boards Air Force One and is kidnaps by a group of Russian terrorists. The movie’s cast is full of known stars, from Harrison Ford to Gary Oldman, making it obvious why so many people looked forward to it. One writer from the Washington Post stated that it was a satisfying summer movie with just the right amount of thrills.
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
In 2017, Louis C.K. was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, but before that, the now-disgraced comedian voiced the character Max, a spoiled terrier living in New York City. His owner decides to adopt Duke, a clumsy and untamed dog. The two pups end up developing an unlikely friendship and go on adventures with a cast of comedic characters. One movie critic said the movie was funny, engaging, and had enough imaginative details to keep both the parents and the kids entertained.
The Santa Clause (1994)
This movie features Tim Allen playing a divorced father who gets to spend Christmas Eve with his son. When Scott accidentally kills Santa Clause, things take a sharp turn. Suddenly, he finds himself on a journey to become the next Santa Clause himself. The movie was a box office holiday success and competed with a second massive Christmas movie that year – the Miracle on 34th Street remake.