Box Office Bombs That Were Actually Pretty Good
Quite a few of my favorite movies are not necessarily movies that were big financial successes.
Blade Runner is considered one of the best science fiction films ever made. It's beautifully made and I dare say that Ridley Scott never made a film as great as that one afterward.
But did you know that it came out at roughly the same time as E.T. and The Thing? All three of those films competing at once. Can you imagine? No wonder it didn't make a lot of money.
But Blade Runner isn't the only example of a film that saw more of an audience well after its initial release. Far from it.
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor Okwar3191 asked the online community:
"What's a movie that bombed at the box office but was actually pretty good?"
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
"The Shawshank Redemption notoriously bombed at the box office and went on to receive critical acclaim."
This is an excellent example. It's one of the most popular films of the last 30 years but if you lacked context, you'd think otherwise.
The Thing (1982)
"One of my all-time favorite horror movies! I understand it's regularly taught in film schools, not just for the practical effects, but for the paranoia that was central to the story. You never knew, even at the very end, who was genuinely human and who was an imitation."
Good call! The Thing is probably director John Carpenter's finest film — yes, even better than Halloween.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
"For the classic film it is, the 1971 Willy Wonka film didn’t do well at the box office and earned lower than the budget was for it."
A good choice. I'm not a fan of it myself but there's no denying it's a classic. Quite a surprise that it didn't make a lot of money back in the day.
"Clue. Given its current reputation, it's hard to believe it didn't make its budget back."
This is partly because of the way it was marketed — instead of the film having three endings that aired one after another, they released three separate cuts, each with its own ending.
The schtick was that you wouldn't know which ending you were going to see, and that you could see it multiple times to try to see the other endings. Needless to say, audiences didn't find that prospect appealing.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
"It's a Wonderful Life is probably the biggest example of this. It was an absolute flop at the box office. It almost killed the studio that made it."
"At one point there was some debate about ownership of it and nobody wanted it so TV networks could air it without paying anyone. That's when it started getting shown on TV constantly around Christmas, and it gained it's status as one of the best Christmas movies of all time."
A phenomenal movie. I'm glad it was made and that it found a second life on television.
"Tremors. I saw Tremors late at night, probably on USA, during a stretch of insomnia. It was far better than it had any right to be."
Tremors is incredible and immensely rewatchable. And correct — it totally flopped back in the day.
The Princess Bride (1987)
"The Princess Bride."
"They didn't know how to market it. Is it a fantasy film? Is it an action film? Is it a comedy? Is it for kids? All the reasons it became a classic are the same reasons they couldn't get people into the theaters to see it."
This is a blessing in disguise, as they never felt the need to make 2 Princess 2 Bride and retroactively ruin it.
The Iron Giant (1999)
"I don't know if it "bombed" but Iron Giant was supposed to get a sequel and they decided not to do it because apparently the first movie didn't do well enough in theaters. I would have loved a sequel."
I love Iron Giant, but I'm glad it didn't get a sequel.
I think I'm happier imagining all of the iron giant's body parts scaring the bejesus out of passersby as they crawl their way toward the head.
Galaxy Quest (1999)
"Galaxy Quest. Galaxy Quest and Kung Fu Hustle are my two desert island choices. I can always watch either one and be completely happy to do so."
The victim of poor marketing. The marketing team decided to go with the goofy comedy for kids was the right way to sell it, when it reality it was semi-serious comedy aimed at adults that just happened to be kid friendly.
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
"Big Trouble in Little China. The history of John Carpenter films."
See the aforementioned The Thing.
Chances are that your favorite movie wasn't necessarily a box office success. Be glad it was made — it's no doubt brought a lot of joy to you over the years!
Have some movies of your own to share? Tell us more in the comments below!
In the midst of our shopping, we've all seen those warning labels on product packaging that leave us absolutely rolling our eyes. Who could possibly need to be warned about that?
But since the warning exists, we have to assume that someone made that mistake at some point.
There's the added fun of unnecessary products that no one should believe would work.
But just like the directions, there seems to be a marketable need for every product and direction.
Redditor 98_percent_simian asked:
"What product is marketed pretty much exclusively to stupid people?"
"Over-the-counter 'man-boosting' products like Nugenix Total-T. Though the commercials are hilarious. 'She'll like it too!' Yeah, I bet she did, Big Frank."
"Foot detox pads. Detox anything, actually."
Trust Your Body
"It drives me crazy when people talk about how they are going to do a cleanse and detox their digestive system because they have built up sludge."
"It's insane because your digestive system works just fine. If it isn't working, you need to be in the hospital."
Paid Social Media Features
"Every social media’s paid badges. I just don’t get it. Why? Just why do we need to pay for a badge?"
"Megachurch donations that are advertised to bring you salvation or other holy benefits."
"My friend's mother had her house painted with 5g blocking paint inside and out. She then got s**tty about her mobile not getting a signal and her WiFi not working properly."
"What did she think the paint was blocking?! Honestly, I'm surprised it did anything."
"I've had people attempt to rope me in before. The trick is that they spent hours roping you into the idea of 'working for yourself,' 'being your own boss,' 'affording for your family,' and 'living wealthy.' Pain points that any common American would typically have."
"They make you go through meetings, 'interviews,' and continually feed you the mentality and never actually mention the name of the company or what the actual business is."
"Until finally, after forever, they drop the Amway, Herbalife, Mary Kay, or whatever name. By that point, they've already sold you on the 'dream' that you convince yourself to try and put in the work."
"I've looked up definitions and excerpts about what brainwashing is. It literally felt like the same thing."
"'HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead. HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead. HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead.'"
"The ad never even says what HeadOn is supposed to actually do. It's supposed to relieve headaches, but they couldn't claim that because they have absolutely no proof of it maybe working."
"Essential Oils, not for the aromas, that’s all well and good but for its 'healing properties.' It’s sad when people become vehemently ill and rely on lavender to heal them or their children."
"Bunch of sad stories of children dying due to moronic parents believing in the powers of some plant over modern medicine."
"Fat loss everything."
Got Fight Milk?
"Fight Milk. I drink it every morning so I can fight like a cow."
"I'm thinking Scientology."
"When I go to Eastern Europe on vacation, there are mini-casinos on every corner. Sports betting, slot machines, etc. The middle-aged men in these clubs, frantically smoking cigarettes, hopelessly staring at the screens, with not an ounce of life in their eyes."
"Not sure if it's stupidity or desperation. But it's a sad sight to see."
"Online free IQ tests."
"Vacation Club 'points' (worse than a timeshare because it's nothing tangible)."
"My FIL offered to 'use points' to book us a vacation years back. He bought the points as a flex in front of his BIL and thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread."
"Fast forward about two months after purchase and he makes his offer to cover a trip for us with some of the points. What he failed to mention/realize is that the points were for the ROOM ONLY."
"So as we started looking into the 'trip' being offered we realized not only would we have to pay for our flights but we would have to pay the all-inclusive fee at over 100 dollars each/per day. When we mentioned this he told us we would have to cover it because 'they cost too many points.'"
"So I did the math and hopped on Expedia to show him I could get the same trip for over 1000 dollars less when I just booked it online without the points. He REFUSED to believe this was possible until he tried to book his own trips with the points and ended up getting hosed. The look on his face when he tried to 'sell the points' (which the salesperson assured him would go for more than he paid for them if he decided to sell) was priceless."
"I bet you already guessed that the only 'customers' for the points are the company that sold them in the first place and they buy them back for pennies on the dollar." - YKYB
Some of these products and ideas have been around for a long time and continue to interest new consumers. But as some here have pointed out, the products are more about putting on a good appearance than actually delivering results.
Most people can be very guarded because of their vulnerabilities, even if you think you know them really well.
These disconcerting memories or character traits are better left undisclosed, for they can be painful for individuals to revisit or acknowledge.
On the other hand, opening up about these disturbing facts can also be therapeutic as long as they are revealed anonymously.
And the opportunity for strangers online to unburden themselves arose when Redditor _Lord_Infamous asked:
"What is a scary, unsettling fact about you?"
Certain facts about these Redditors are perplexing.
"I do not actually remember a decent chunk of my life, whenever I talk about most of my childhood I use words that leave room for mistakes and am generally using memories and ideas I've compiled from hearing other people say things about me."
"There is actually a large chunks of facts about myself that I only think I know, and don't have personal confirmation of."
Dead Or Alive
"I’m convinced with no evidence that my father is still alive and that my whole family is lying to me. I logically know he is not. But every knock on the door I open half expecting my father. Could be something to work through … but it’s not really affecting me day to day. My grandfather died and I thought I would feel the same way. Nope. He is dead and I miss him but he is dead."
Warning: Self-Harm Trigger
"Growing up I had a recurring nightmare set in my grandparents backyard looking at the back of their house. There was just something 'off' about the house. Something mildly sinister. I dreamt this over and over, many times over the years."
"In 2018, my dad (who now owned the house) went into the backyard to that spot and killed himself."
"I haven’t had the backyard dream since."
Nightmares Come True
"I had a recurring super vivid intense dream at like 4.... my uncle was chasing us around a labyrinth with a large knife... trying to kill me and my grandmother. 25 or so years later the same uncle (complete paranoid delusional schizophrenic) murders my grandmother at her condo... with the very nice chef knife I bought her for Christmas the year before..."
"Less scary and more shocking, but when I was 9 years old I survived a home invasion where I was shot 6 times. I played dead on the floor until the man left and called 911 and in my adrenaline rush I thought they couldn't find my house so I crawled with my left are swinging the wrong way and my right leg limp from nerve damage, all the way to the front door when he broke in from the back of the house."
"I lived with only my mother who unfortunately didn't survive. I vividly remember picking out the guy in a photo line up while recovering in the ICU."
"I am very lucky to have kept my left arm, I have 32 pins and screws to make up for my shattered elbow. My left leg has permanent nerve damage and I now have 'drop foot'. Despite my physical injuries and PTSD, I am doing very well."
We are not all born the same.
"I'm one of the lucky few with the CCR5-delta-32 mutation. Why is that relevant? It makes me immune to HIV and a handful of other pathogens, most notably the Bubonic Plague."
"I have 2 lenses in my right eye, so it focuses like binoculars. My doctor wrote a paper about it. Mostly blinded as a baby in my left eye. Dr suspected my right lense split then healed as 2 distinct lenses. Better than 20/20 in my right eye."
"When I was born, I was so premature that my dad, who had quite dainty piano fingers, could slide his wedding ring up my arm to my shoulder. (I weighed 2 lbs, born at 27 weeks)."
"I had 6 toes on each foot at birth and got them cut off you can see the place they cut them at."
People live with the unfortunate risk that their lives can be cut short at any given moment.
Ticking Time Bomb
"I have an enlarged aortic root. It's very unlikely, but it could spontaneously rupture leading to the medical term adjusts glasses... 'instantaneous death'. I would pass out, bleed to death, and then fall over. Dead before hitting the ground. And it could happen at any time. My wife is very uncomfortable thinking about it lol."
For The Sake Of Survival
"my immune system backfired and tried to murder me and almost succeeded. I now have to take multiple injections every single day all day or i'll die a painful death within a week."
"Just trying to write diabetes in the most bad-a** way."
A friend of mine once told me that the name I've known him by was not his real name.
He had gone by an alias, which everyone at work assumed was his actual name, to protect himself and his identity after he had been violently hunted down, stalked and threatened for his life for witnessing a murder.
The suspects involved were eventually caught and locked away for good.
I don't remember all the other details about the traumatizing incident because I was completely stupefied.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
We never leave two movies feeling the same way.
In some cases, we are so moved by what we just saw, that we are sobbing so loudly, we're getting concerned looks from our fellow moviegoers.
In other cases, we waste no time in leaving, as we have just spent two hours or so of our lives we'll never get back again watching something which could have been made by second graders.
And then, there are the times when we leave the theatre, and all we can think is, "what the f*ck?"
Not necessarily because it was bad, but because we can't process exactly what we just saw.
It could be something we can appreciate more over time, with repeat viewings... how many views did it take you to fully understand Inception? Be honest!
Or, we are befuddled beyond words as to how such an inane, amateurish creation ever saw the light of day.
"What is your "WTF did I just watch?" movie?"
Dystopian Doesn't Even Begin To Describe It
"You have a certain time to become married and if you fail to find a spouse you get sent to an asylum where you must find a spouse from among the other singles."
"If you again fail to find a partner, you must choose which animal you want to be turned into, and then they turn you into that animal."- Leemage
Chloë Sevigny Knows How To Pick Them...
A Podcaster's Worst Nightmare
With A Title Like That...
"Antichrist."- EwoksEwoksEwoksWillem Dafoe Smile GIFGiphy
Only 67 Minutes... But Plenty Of Gore
"Tetsuo the Ironman (would very strongly not recommend for people with weak stomachs)."- PeruvianPolarbear14
A Homicidal Car Tire... Yes You Read That Correctly...
Beyond Love, Beyond Death...
Glad It Didn't Disappoint... I Guess?
"Salo, or 120 days of Sodom."
"Granted, I had a phase where I was purposely looking for disturbing movies and this one sure didn't disappoint."- Reddit
Was The Title An Actual Apology?
"Sorry to bother you."- kappaidan
Darren Aronofsky At His Strangest...
"Mother."- dank-yharnam-nugsjennifer lawrence mother movie GIF by mother!Giphy
Meet The Parents gone wrong...
"I'm Thinking of Ending Things."- Vandalatwork
Charlie Kaufman Strikes Again!
"Being John Malkovich."- getlough
Not The Kind You're Thinking Of...
"Teeth."- timyorbaHappy Dance GIF by benjamin lemoineGiphy
One thing that can be said about all these movies, those who see them will never forget them.
Which may or may not be a good thing...
Now, which film should we add to this list?
Franklin D. Roosevelt once famously said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Words of encouragement to all Americans during his inaugural address, as America was in the midst of the great depression, with countless people having lost their jobs, their homes, and even their will to live.
While America did, indeed, bounce back, it hasn't stopped people from constantly living in fear.
Sadly, we're not talking about unfounded fears, such as ghosts or superstitions.
Unfortunately, there is plenty to be afraid of in this world, and horrifying evidence to prove it.
"What is a fact that scares you?"
"That something like close to half of murders reported in the US are never solved."
"That’s just of the reported ones."- YAYtersalad
It Could Happen To Anyone
"Any day, you could have a stroke and lose all your autonomy and become as dependant as a baby."- FrenchMaisNon
"That any of us could have a brain aneurysm right now and not even know it's coming."- becomingNope
Just The Way Things Work
"The number of people older than me will never increase."- Vinny_Lam
At Least You Wouldn't Feel It?
"For some reason, the fact that you poop/pee yourself when you die."
"I know that it won’t matter because I’ll be dead, anyway, but I’ve always been weirded out by that."- EllieK24601
Cherish Your Time Together
"That my parents and grandparents are slowly getting older and it's just a matter of time before I start losing them all one by one and there's nothing I can do about it."- Kysman95
When Nothing Ever Seems To Be Alright...
"I logically know I am fine, but my anxiety won’t let me accept that."- HotSpicedChai
Next Time you Think About Putting It Out There To The Universe...
"That outside of our planet, zero of our achievements/history/language/currency matters."
'It can all be erased in a second and there would be no knowledge of us ever existing in the first place to anyone else in the universe."
"We are meaningless outside of this sphere."- EmergencyNoodlePack
It Really Doesn't Seem That Long
"We only live for about 4,000 weeks."-_Light_The_Way
"That Dopplegangers exist."
"They say that there are at least a couple people in the world that look exactly like you without being blood related and I met mine."
"He was a f*cking criminal and got into trouble so many times with the law that I myself had been mistaken for him three times."
"The only difference was me having sleeves."
"My tattoos saved me from being mistaken for him."
"I was brought in and put in a lineup, and she said herself, 'that looks like him, but he doesn’t have a single tattoo'."
"4 hours later they found him and the sheriff’s department was dumbfounded that we weren’t twins."
"Like looking in a mirror."
"I was released, and a more than needed apology was given by the chief of police and arresting officer."- TinyoneT33
They Need Something To Keep Them Going
"The most well-educated and intelligent people are also those most afflicted with issues like despair, depression, and existential crises."
"Reality is a nightmare of horrors lying just beneath the surface, and the more aware of how things really work you are the more truly miserable you are, generally."- Emperor_Cartagia
It Could Be Comforting?
"When I die, I will be able to hear what people are saying, my last bit of brain activity will be processing those words or sounds and they will be echoed into my forever dream."
"Hope nobody says anything f*cked up.
"According to recent studies, auditory stimulus is the last sense to be lost, it's anticipated that people actually listen long enough to hear they’re pronounced dead."- TheUpsideDownWorlds·
Where Does The Time Go?
"The fact that the past 10 years of my life have flown by, and it means I got about a decade before I become the same age as my parents when I was born."
"Meaning that I’m just slowly going to age till it’s time for me to pass."
"And I still don’t even know why I’m living or what I want to do, or even feel like I’m happy."- Unhookingsnow6
"I've lived over half my life already."- Lucky-11
It's hard not to be scared by any or all of these facts.
But being afraid of just about anything almost never does anyone any good, as there is also plenty in this world to be hopeful and optimistic about.
As famously quipped in Baz Luhrmann's classic Strictly Ballroom, "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."