Throughout Hollywood history, there have been many stars who’ve risen to the top of the heap only to find themselves fading out of the spotlight before too long. In many of those cases, the star in question had their career prospects virtually destroyed after appearing in one project that lost a decent amount of money. For example, Geena Davis was a huge star until she starred in Cutthroat Island, which did horrible business and decimated her career.
Oddly enough, even though starring in a movie that didn’t work financially can ruin one major actor’s career, other stars appeared in a movie that lost a fortune only to suffer no repercussions. With that in mind, it is time to take a look at this list of 15 major acting stars who survived movies that completely flopped.
15 Blake Lively – Green Lantern
When Blake Lively signed on to star in the 2011 DC superhero movie Green Lantern, which cost 200 million dollars to produce, she must have thought it would go on to be a blockbuster. However, after all of the film’s expenses were tallied, it lost just over 100 million inflation-adjusted dollars. Remarkably enough, after starring in that unsuccessful film, she is a more beloved now than ever.
14 George Clooney – Tomorrowland
During the summer of 2015, it was very clear that Disney had high hopes when it released Tomorrowland which starred George Clooney and cost nearly 200 million dollars to produce. Unfortunately, due to its expensive advertising campaign, the film may have lost more than 160 million inflation-adjusted dollars. Despite that, Clooney still is in the good graces of Hollywood’s head honchos.
13 Jennifer Lopez – Gigli
When Gigli was released, it lost nearly 100 million inflation-adjusted dollars, was critically lambasted, and did so much damage to Ben Affleck’s career that he had to become a director to recover. On the other hand, the movie’s other star, Jennifer Lopez, seemed to suffer a fraction of the same backlash. That said, the fact that she also was a singer and dancer may be the reason why that is the case.
12 Penélope Cruz – Sahara
After the movie, Sahara came out and may have lost 125 million dollars at the box office in 2005, the movie which cost 160 million to produce severely damaged Matthew McConaughey’s career. Just like Jennifer Lopez’s fortunes after Gigli, however, the movie’s female lead Penélope Cruz continued on like nothing happened. In fact, she went on to become a Hollywood star and acclaimed actor.
11 Tom Hanks - Cloud Atlas
No matter how you look at things, Cloud Atlas deserves credit for its ambition. Still, the nearly 3 hours long movie that straddled different time periods cost 128 million and even though Tom Hanks starred in the movie, it lost over 100 million dollars. Able to weather that storm like it was nothing more than a breeze, Hanks continued to be one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and most powerful individuals.
10 Kristen Wiig – Ghostbusters
When word broke that a new Ghostbusters movie would be released after the series had laid dormant for many years, there was a lot of excitement to see the movie which cost 144 million dollars. Sadly, the Kristen Wiig lead film went on to lose 70 million dollars after its box office run. Thankfully, for Wiig, she wasn’t blamed for Ghostbusters not making money and she remains a respected and adored film star.
9 Kurt Russell – The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China
Easily one of the most charismatic ‘80s movie stars, during that decade Kurt Russell was the man but some of his best movies flopped at the time. In fact, two movies that are considered to be among his best, John Carpenter’s The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China, were far from embraced at first. However, they have become cult classics and Russell continues to be a star to this day.
8 Jennifer Lawrence – Mother! and Dark Phoenix
Far from an easily accessible movie, Jennifer Lawrence’s 2017 film mother! actually left many viewers extremely upset. For that reason, the film managed to lose money even though it involved a big star and cost only 30 million dollars to make. Since then, she has continued to be the kind of actor that casting directors salivate over even after her most reason film, Dark Phoenix, also flopped.
7 Ryan Reynolds - R.I.P.D. & Green Lantern
Just like his real-life wife Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds starred in Green Lantern which flopped at the box office. Unlike her, however, he also starred in R.I.P.D., a movie that could have lost an amazing 127 million inflation-adjusted dollars. Thanks to his tenacious fight to get a Deadpool movie made, both of those box office sins of years past have now been forgiven and forgotten.
6 Mila Kunis - Jupiter Ascending
Widely considered to be one of the biggest box office flops of the modern era, Jupiter Ascending cost 176 million and after it didn’t find an audience it lost as much as 130 million inflation-adjusted dollars. Despite playing that movie’s main character, Mila Kunis has gone on to star in the highly successful Bad Moms franchise of films.
5 Hugh Jackman – Pan
Said to have cost 150 million dollars to make, Hugh Jackman’s 2015 film Pan seemed destined to be a box office flop based on its trailers alone. As many suspected would happen, the movie didn’t do well and it may have even lost 163 million inflation-adjusted dollars. After that unfortunate moment in his career, Jackman has gone on to headline many films, including Logan and The Greatest Showman.
4 Melissa McCarthy – Ghostbusters and The Happytime Murders
In addition to starring in 2016’s underperforming Ghostbusters movie, Melissa McCarthy also headlined The Happytime Murders, which lost money even though it only cost 40 million dollars to produce. Happily enough, however, after giving arguably the best performance of her career in 2018’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, she held on to her loyal fan base and may have expanded it.
3 Steve Carell – Evan Almighty
Proof positive that even a movie that is a sequel to a hugely popular film can flop, 2007’s Evan Almighty was a follow-up to Bruce Almighty that cost 175 million dollars. Despite that pedigree, Steve Carell’s movie is said to have lost 107 million inflation-adjusted dollars. Since then, Carell not only has continued to be box office gold but he has also become a respected dramatic actor as well.
2 Angelina Jolie – Alexander
In all reality, a movie about Alexander the Great that cost 200 million dollars and featured a star-studded cast should have been an all-time classic that made a fortune. Sadly, the opposite is true and 2004’s Alexander which included Angelina Jolie in its cast lost 40 million dollars. Fortunately for fans of Jolie’s work, her career entered its prime years after that film flopped.
1 Eddie Murphy - The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Often listed as the biggest film flop in movie history, The Adventures of Pluto Nash is believed to have lost 96 million even though it only cost 100 million dollars to produce. Despite the fact that that movie didn’t succeed on any level, its star Eddie Murphy went on to headline movie after movie, most of which were marketed almost solely around the fact that he appeared in them.
Sources: digitalspy.com, zimbio.com, news.com.au, cinemablend.com