9 Movies Critics Hated That Still Made Bank at the Box Office
The day after Batman v Superman's money-sucking opening weekend, legendary Hollywood trade Variety ran a bitter report: not only did the superhero movie's box office break records, it also flipped the bird to movie critics.
"The results are a devastating rebuke to the power of mainstream American critics," wrote the Variety analyst. Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. distribution executive vice president, piled on. "There's a real disconnect with what some critics wrote and how the fans are enjoying the film," he said. Diss.
Of course, that thinking assumes that critics give a damn how much money a movie makes and that negative reviews would persuade the masses to pass up the comic-book showdown. But they don't and they wouldn't. Huge movies tend to be critic-proof, because people need to see what $200 million can do to Superman's powers. And the proof is the past. Here are some notable examples of consumers and critics not seeing eye-to-eye -- starting with Batman v Superman, which is on its way to being the poster child for this phenomenon.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)Domestic box office: $260.4 million (and climbing)
Worldwide: $682.9 million (and climbing)
Tomatometer score: 29%
Mic drop: "It is about as diverting as having a porcelain sink broken over your head (one of the more amusing things that happens onscreen). In keeping with current business imperatives, what Mr. Snyder has concocted is less a free-standing film than the opening argument in a very long trial." -- A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Conclusion: There was enough Excedrin on the shelves to attract repeat business from diehard Bat-fans
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)Domestic box office: $402.1 million
Worldwide: $836.3 million
Tomatometer score: 19%
Mic drop: "If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Conclusion: Not even the prospect of a dangling Transformer scrotum can stave off serious Transformers fans, who believed this second installment was a masterpiece in disguise.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)Domestic box office: $334.2 million
Worldwide: $1.02 billion
Tomatometer score: 52%
Mic drop: "A CGI head trip gone post-apocalyptic." -- Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
Conclusion: Whatever the caterpillar smoked with his hookah wafted over audiences
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)Domestic box office: $241.1 million
Worldwide: $1.04 billion
Tomatometer score: 32%
Mic drop: "The pirates of the Caribbean are back, and this time they've given up on the doubloons and galleons to plunder something really precious. Our time." -- Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger
Conclusion: What is it about Johnny Depp that keeps people coming back for more despite dissuading reviews? We'll guess the eyes.
Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)Domestic box office: $161.32 million
Worldwide: $877.24 million
Tomatometer score: 37%
Mic drop: "The real glacial era went on for a very long time, but the Ice Age franchise really needn't try to match its longevity." -- Frank Swietek, One Guy's Opinion
Conclusion: "Ate popcorn while my toddler kept quiet for 90 minutes" > state of American animation screed
2012 (2009)Domestic box office: $166.11 million
Worldwide: $769.68 million
Tomatometer score: 39%
Mic drop: "In this disasterthon that runs a draggy 21/2 hours... I found myself reaching for a phantom video-game controller to help Our Heroes and Heroine defy certain death." -- Carrie Rickey, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Conclusion: Paperwork, bills, and chores don't look as hard when the world's metropolitan infrastructure is crumbling like a wave-swept sandcastle.
Hancock (2008)Domestic box office: $227.95 million
Worldwide: $624.39 million
Tomatometer score: 41%
Mic drop: "What does one say about a movie that wants laughs from a shot of one inmate's head up the derriere of another?" -- Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe
Conclusion: One says, "har har!" apparently
The Hangover Part II (2011)Domestic box office: $254.46 million
Worldwide: $586.76 million
Tomatometer score: 34%
Mic drop: "Maybe what goes on in Vegas really should stay in Vegas." -- Tom Long, The Detroit News
Conclusion: Well, it is a franchise about bad decisions and foggy memories...
Meet the Fockers (2004)Domestic box office: $279.26 million
Worldwide: $516.64 million
Tomatometer score: 38%
Mic drop: "Meet the Fockers has assembled a historic, once-in-a-lifetime cast, then stranded them in the laziest, most mercenary kind of sequel imaginable. It's like the 1927 Yankees taking on the Special Olympics softball team." -- Nathan Rabin, The A.V. Club
Conclusion: You can milk just about anything with nipples -- including a comedy franchise with quotable one-liners
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He does not understand the Transformers phenomenon. Find him on Twitter: @misterpatches.