“The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure” ended up making box office history over the 2012 Labor Day weekend, but it was not the kind of history anyone wants to make. The $55 million dollar movie (and that includes marketing costs) ended up making a paltry $448,000 from over 2,100 screens across the country. That amounts to a per screen average of $207 which should give you an idea of just how empty the theaters that played this movie were.
But the “Oogieloves” filmmakers are not alone in making a box office pratfall of this nature as there are several other movies that have debuted to numbers that were almost as bad. The following movies listed below, according to Box Office Mojo, scored some of the worst box office openings ever due to bad marketing, disastrous critical reviews, or maybe even both. Perhaps all these films can turn this notoriety around and use it to their advantage in turning a profit.
Fred M. Andrews’ 2011 horror film had among its stars cult film favorite Sid Haig who had seen his acting career make a big comeback thanks to Rob Zombie. But even with Haig, “Creature” made onlt $327,000 when it debuted on over 1,500 screens, and that resulted in a per screen average of $217. Its producer Sidney Sheinberg ended up reflecting that “the reality is that we developed a creative campaign based entirely on the internet. The reality also is that it didn’t deliver.”
Anybody remember this one? This 2008 movie featured five stories which were meant to capture the essence of the American spirit. Two of those stories were about the founding of Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart, both which had a hand in funding this movie. Perhaps the overt sponsorship of these two companies, along with blatant product placements from MasterCard and American Airlines, is what turned audiences away when it debuted. “Proud American” opened in 750 theaters and earned only $96,076 ($128 per theater).
This 2008 computer-animated fantasy film won the Best Feature award at Anima Mundi, a competitive Brazilian video and film festival devoted exclusively to animation, but that apparently didn’t matter to audiences who avoided it in droves when it opened. On 2,160 screens, the $40 million dollar “Delgo” made only $511,920 in its first weekend, and that averages to about two people at each theater. Its tremendous box failure was blamed on its marketing budget which did prove to be ridiculously small, but reviews were also largely negative and that didn’t help either. Sadly, this was Anne Bancroft’s last movie before she died.
This horror film was directed by Franck Khalfoun, and he wrote and produced it along with Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur. This is the same trio of filmmakers responsible for the highly effective remake of “The Hills Have Eyes,” and they even had “American Beauty’s” Wes Bentley as one of their stars. Still, “P2” debuted on over 2,100 screens to the tune of just over $2 million at the box office and a $977 per screen average. This is still considered one of the worst opening weekends for a movie given a very wide release. The reviews for it however turned out to be pretty good, and it has since found a bigger audience on DVD.
“Major League: Back to the Minors”
You have to wonder what Warner Brothers was thinking when they decided to make a second sequel to “Major League” when the previous one was not exactly well received. Only some of the cast members from the past two films (Dennis Haysbert, Steve Yeager, Corbin Bernsen, and Bob Uecker) bothered to appear in this one which abandons the Cleveland Indians in favor of the Minnesota Twins and their minor league team. Audiences in general were not expecting anything good from this one, and “Major League: Back to the Minors” debuted in 2,300 theaters to an opening weekend total of $2,087,011 and a per screen average of $899. Still, this hasn’t deterred David S. Ward (writer and director of the first two “Major League” movies) from attempting to make another one he is calling “Major League 3.”
‘Oogieloves’ Movie Scores Worst Box Office Opening of All Time
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“Worst Wide Openings,” Box Office Mojo website
Stuart Heritage, “Meet ‘Creature:’ the biggest box-office flop of all time,” The Guardian website, December 9, 2011.