Eight 2010 Box Office Flops Destined to Become Cult Classics

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Movies that horrified audiences, enraged critics, and lost tons of money — but just might stand the test of time.

8. MacGruber

Budget: $10 million
Box Office: $8,525,600

Critic's Comment:
"My advice? Wear gloves, a surgical mask, and get the proper inoculations before entering the theater. It's the first sexually transmitted comedy of the year."  — Elias Savada, Film Threat

Thanks largely to a lackluster promotion campaign, MacGruber is destined to end up in the two-dollar DVD bin at Walmart. However, the same audience that dug flicks like Pineapple Express will discover — and dig — MacGruber.


7. Cop Out

Budget: $30 million
Box Office: $44,875,481

Critic's Comment:
"Whether or not it's a huge hit in its theatrical release, Cop Out will definitely become the kind of movie that will make you drop the remote when it starts popping up on cable."  — Alonso Duralde, Queer Sighted

Cop Out, Kevin Smith's homage to 1980s buddy-cop films, seems likely to die a slow death on late-night TNT, sharing the fate of the films that inspired it. However, movies like The Last Boy Scout and Cobra were once flops but are now considered basic-cable classics by a generation raised on bad puns and unnecessary explosions. It is fair to suggest that Cop Out may be revered by the same generation.


6. Splice

Budget: $30 million
Box Office: $17,010,170

Critic's Comment:
"Shocking, hilarious, and creepy, one of the better horror films of the last decade."  — Bob Grimm, Reno News and Review

Splice is a rare creature indeed a horror movie that's as invested in ethical questions as it is cheap scares. This may not have helped it at the box office, but it might intrigue future Netflix streamers looking for some intellect in their horror films.


5. Jonah Hex

Budget: $47 million
Box Office: $10,547,117

Critic's Comment:
"The Western, with its code of short tempers and cheap life, sprang from the Civil War, but few Westerns connect the dots to demonstrate how the war must have created hollow nihilists the way Jonah Hex does."  — Kyle Smith, New York Post

At seventy-five minutes, this film gives viewers just the right amount of idiocy to warrant guilty pleasure. The flops that become cult classics aren't long and boring like The American or The Tourist, they're short and stupid like Jonah Hex.

4. Daybreakers

Budget: $20 million
Box Office: $30,101,577

Critic's Comment:
"Takes an idea that also happens to be a MESSAGE, in a genre that has been sucked dry, and still makes something watchable. It's not the most brilliant vampire movie ever made, but it's the best one of 2010."  — Karina Montgomery, Cinerina

The trailer is unique and ambitious enough to inspire a viewing of the film. But a vampire-hunting Willem Dafoe wielding a crossbow is what it takes to inspire a following.


3. Piranha 3D

Budget: $24 million
Box Office: $25,003,155

Critic's Comment:
"A bloody entertaining blast of a flesh-eating fish-out-of-water story."  —  Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter

The recent era of 3D film sucks. It’s gimmicky, hackneyed, usually unimpressive, and rarely makes up for a predictable story. Piranha 3D is the perfect remedy for jaded audiences exhausted from the "avatarded" films that are usually given 3D treatment — it offers glorious B-movie delights to all willing to embrace its stupidity. Unfortunately, that demographic is often unwilling to embrace the stupidity of paying  sixteen dollars for 3D movie ticket. At the end of the day, however, any film this self-referentially over-the-top, with this much cheesy gore, has a solid chance at cult success.


2. Burlesque

Budget: $55 million
Box Office: $38,707,062

Critic's Comment:
"Oh God, it's terrible … but God, it's wonderful."  — Jane Crowther, Total Film

Yes, a film about burlesque dancers rated PG-13 is nonsensical. Yes, any movie featuring Cher is destined to destroy an erection or two. Yes, Christina Aguilera is, well… Christina Aguilera. But tragedy plus time equals comedy, and in a few years Burlesque may develop a strong, surely hammered following of fans who can recognize the film's camp and unintentional humor. Critics and audiences alike mocked Showgirls in the ‘90s for it's jaw-dropping sexism and misguided take on feminism, and today the film is a midnight classic. With time Burlesque may follow.


1. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Budget: $60 million
Box Office: $31,524,275

Critic's Comment:
"I bet ten years from now this will be the norm. For now, it's almost revolutionary."  — Eric D. Snider,

Scott Pilgrim seemed tailor-made for an audience that no longer pays to see movies. The pop-culture obsessed children of the ‘80s and ‘90s that the film celebrates are also the generation most likely to illegally download their cinema experiences. Scott Pilgrim's target audience might have caused the film's disastrous box-office results — but they will undoubtedly love the film when they find a torrent of it.

These kids already write irritatingly verbose comments on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB littered with platitude and hyperbole — with Scott Pilgrim they will have a film that deserving of: "the greatest movie ever". The film's word-of-mouth is highly positive New York cinemas are already hosting packed midnight showings — as they will for years to come.