Just because a film bombs at the box office doesn't mean it's bad. Countless movies didn't rake in the dough but found an audience.
Have you ever had a film like this inspire you? A movie that you will always defend, no matter what? Buckle up because we've rounded up 12 of the best box office disasters that became universally loved.
1. Blade Runner (1982)
There are hundreds, but Blade Runner comes to mind as one of the first. Another noted that, despite being a box office disappointment, they were excited to see Blade Runner. Its story and visuals hold up even today. A sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was released in 2017. It starred Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, and Ana de Armas.
2. Treasure Planet (2002)
Treasure Planet is an incredibly underrated animated movie. Despite receiving rave reviews, the film never resonated with theatergoers before eventually finding a second life on the home markets.
3. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
It's a Wonderful Life is probably one of the most prominent examples of the phenomenon. The holiday classic is an annual Christmas viewing for many, but upon release, it flopped so poorly that ita almost killed RKO Radio Pictures.
Only after airing on TV every Christmas did It's a Wonderful Life become the beloved Christmas movie it is today.
4. The Princess Bride (1987)
Some films, however, benefit from flopping at first. The Princess Bride is a blessing in disguise, as they never felt the need to make a Princess Bride 2 and retroactively ruin it.
It's a good thing because The Princess Bride is a perfect movie, and any attempt to remake it or follow it up would tarnish the film's stellar reputation.
5. Clue (1985)
If you love mystery movies, you are probably grateful that Clue initially flopped and then turned into a cult classic.
Part of Clue‘s brilliance is how the film was marketed: several endings were implemented into the theatrical cut, meaning the whodunnit mystery was solved in different ways, just like the board game. However, in 1985, this wasn't a popular move. If Clue had been released to modern audiences, it would have been far more successful.
6. Matilda (1996)
Matilda is an absolute 10/10 movie, full of magic and comedy. Danny DeVito as the dad was a superb casting choice, and Mara Wilson does an excellent job bringing the titular character (Matilda) to life.
7. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
One humorous thing that happens with films like this is that, even when they tank at the box office, sometimes they win a ton of awards. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and was critically acclaimed, with a great cast. There were plans for a sequel, which never materialized partly due to the poor box office showing.
8. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Similarly, Shawshank Redemption notoriously bombed at the box office and went on to receive critical acclaim. Something about films from the 90s tends to adhere to this theme. In the case of Shawshank, it just happens to be regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made.
9. Office Space (1999)
Sometimes, a movie tanks because it is too painfully accurate to watch until you can walk away from it. That's Office Space: a perfect representation of office life, created by Mike Judge.
It may have been a box office bomb, but it's become a cult classic and one of the most quotable movies ever.
10. Tremors (1990)
Have you ever watched a movie that got terrible reviews and turned out to be excellent? That's Tremors.
May moviegoers mention how they saw the movie randomly and fell in love with it. It's now resulted in parents showing the film to their children, who also love it.
11. The Thing (1982)
Something notable about these types of films is the horror genre. Horror, even when bad, somehow ends up being good.
John Carpenter‘s The Thing is an example of a legendary filmmaker overcoming a box office bomb and becoming one of the best movies ever.
12. Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
You may be surprised to learn that the chocolate factory and all its glory actually flopped before it flew.
Like many of these box office bombs, it found its audience after being released on home mediums and aired on television. The biggest reason? Gene Wilder; many fans admit that he is the one true Wonka.