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With Avengers: Age of Ultron hitting theaters in May, box office experts are already making their predictions on how much money it will make and how many records it could potentially break. Superhero movies aren’t always guaranteed blockbusters, though, and some have been tremendous flops, losing their studio millions of dollars. Some of them were well-reviewed while a few are considered the worst films ever made, but they all underperformed financially at the box office. Here are 19 of the biggest superhero movie box office failures.
The Green Lantern – The Ryan Reynolds film was expected to kick off a whole series of Green Lantern movies, but it was a critical and financial flop with a budget of $200 million and a domestic box office gross of $116 million.
Steel – With a budget of $16 million and a domestic box office gross of only $1.7 million, this superhero vehicle for Shaquille O’Neal was a huge disappointment.
Supergirl – The budget for Supergirl was $35 million, and the film made only $14 million domestically, less than half of its budget. It was the worst performing of all the Superman movies, even less than the next film on the list.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace – Superman IV: The Quest for Peace only made $15 million domestically at the box office. The loss wasn’t as significant for Superman IV as Supergirl, though, because Superman IV had a budget of only $17 million.
The Rocketeer – Though Joe Johnston’s World War II comic book movie was well-reviewed, it was a financial disappointment for Disney and grossed $46 million domestically on a budget of $40 million. Some claim that the Disney label hurt the film and hindered it from finding an adult audience.
The Shadow – While The Shadow wasn’t a financial failure, Universal Pictures expected it to launch a whole new franchise on the level of Tim Burton’s Batman. Its $48 million box office and $40 million budget was not enough to get it so much as a sequel, much less a whole franchise.
Tank Girl – $25 million was spent on Tank Girl, a movie that features Ice-T as a mutant kangaroo. Unsurprisingly, it did not perform well at the box office and only grossed $4 million domestically.
The Phantom – The Phantom went way over budget at $45 million, and the finished product did not pay off at the box office, earning only $17 million domestically. Even a well-placed “Got Milk” ad couldn’t save this movie.
Mystery Men – This movie about misfit superheroes was not well-liked, earning only $29 million domestically on a $68 million budget.
Catwoman – Catwoman is often called one of the worst superhero movies ever made, and it isn’t without reason. The budget on the Halle Berry superhero vehicle was $100 million, and the worldwide box office gross was only $82 million, not even making back its budget.
Elektra – Its predecessor Daredevil performed well at the box office despite mixed reviews, but Elektra bombed. Domestically, it earned $24 million, and the budget was $43 million.
Howard the Duck – George Lucas only ever produced one superhero film, Howard the Duck, and it was one of Marvel’s biggest flops on top of being one of the worst movies ever made. The budget was $37 million, and it only made $16 million domestically. Worldwide, it just barely broke even on its budget.
Zoom – Coming out shortly after Disney’s Sky High, Zoom performed poorly at the box office despite having Tim Allen, Courtney Cox, and Chevy Chase in leading roles. The budget was $35 million, and the film made only $12 million worldwide.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend – Uma Thurman’s superhero romantic-comedy was not a success in the United States. With a budget of $30 million, the film only earned $22 million domestically, though the worldwide total topped $60 million.
Punisher: War Zone – Punisher: War Zone has found a cult following in recent years, mainly thanks to comedian Patton Oswalt’s vocal adoration of the film, but it was a flop in theaters. With a budget of $35 million, it only earned $8 million domestically, $10 million total worldwide.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t look like a financial flop at first glance with a worldwide gross of $708 million, but it was the lowest grossing film of all the Spider-Man series. After its release, Andrew Garfield also announced that he would not be returning for a third Spider-Man film, throwing a wrench in Sony’s larger franchise plans for Sinister Six, Venom, and direct Spider-Man sequels.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm – Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is one of the few films on this list that was critically praised and a financial failure at the box office. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert took time to review the film after it was released on video, and Siskel said he enjoyed it better than the live-action 90s Batman films. Domestically, the film only made $5 million at the box office on $6 million budget, though it performed better on home video and DVD thanks to word-of-mouth praise.