We often hear about amazing movies that shattered sales records, but sometimes a great movie slips through the cracks and ultimately doesn't do well. These movies are usually discovered by a wider audience upon getting a video release, only for all of us to realize what we truly missed out on. Here are just a few examples!
1) It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
One of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time (so much so that it's shown in OTHER Christmas movies, and is often cited by Jimmy Stewart as being his favorite performance), the film actually bombed on its release thanks to its dark subject matter.
It wasn't until its copyright wasn't renewed in 1974 and TV networks picked it up en masse that people discovered how great it was.
2) Event Horizon (1997)
Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil) turned in his best directorial work with this genuinely creepy and effective sci-fi horror movie. The story of an asteroid mining crew having to investigate the lost ship Event Horizon is the stuff of nightmares, and even inspired the Dead Space video game franchise.
Despite featuring a stacked cast of character actors like Sam Neill, Laurence Fishburne, and Jason Isaacs, the film lost nearly $35 Million at the box office, only really finding an audience on home video.
3) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
That's right, this childhood favorite which is often cited as featuring Gene Wilder's best role was not a success when it first came out.
Only earning about $1 Million at the box office, Paramount sold the rights to Warner Bros. in 1977, whose offering of the movie for TV broadcast and later home video release would turn it into a classic.
4) Showgirls (1995)
One of the most infamous box office bombs in cinema history, the film lost over $25 Million and effectively ruined Elizabeth Berkley's post-Saved By The Bell acting career. With that said, it's so over the top and unintentionally hilarious that we can't help but love it. Entire books have been written about how this bit of 90s sleaze is actually great!
5) The 13th Warrior (1998)
John McTiernan is a director that needs no introduction, having helmed beloved action movies like the Die Hard franchise, The Hunt For Red October, and of course, Predator. It's a shame then that The 13th Warrior not only was a massive bomb at the box office, but has also been largely forgotten.
Antonio Banderas plays a Arab courtier who must journey with a group of Vikings to defend their homeland from a group of cannibalistic tribesmen, and the result is a film that's equal parts chilling and thrilling. Based off Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton (who co-directed the film), it's a completely enjoyable period piece action film that you owe it to yourself to check out.
Click to the next page to see more box office bombs that are great movies!
6) The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Yes, you read that correctly. One of the most beloved family films of all time, one which is quoted by literally everyone and is nothing short of iconic, was not a financial success when it came out. It lost $1.1 Million due to its massive production budget and revolutionary special effects.
Fortunately, MGM Studios didn't give up on it, and then it was re-released for its 10th Anniversary in 1949, it got the recognition it deserved. It even went on to inspire a movie that's so weird it's amazing, Zardoz.
7) Titan A.E. (2000)
The film that ultimately forced Fox's animation studios to close (their only other release had been Anastasia), and the last film to date from beloved animator Don Bluth (An American Tail, The Secret of NIMH, The Land Before Time), Titan A.E. is an animated sci-fi epic that deserved better than it got.
With a cast that includes Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane and Ron Perlman, the story about a group of starfarers who have to find a ship capable of rebuilding Earth has plenty of action, humor, and genuine tension to satisfy any sci-fi fan.
8) Mystery Men (1999)
This superhero comedy based on a Dark Horse comic book series only made back half its budget at the box office, which is a shame because it's genuinely endearing. With hilarious performances by Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy and Janeane Garofalo, this story about a wannabe group of street-level superheroes holds up well even today.
9) The Iron Giant (1999)
Brad Bird's directorial debut after leaving The Simpsons (and before he'd go on to The Incredibles and Ratatouille), The Iron Giant is an absolute masterpiece of animated film that was completely ignored in theaters. An equally spectacular and heartbreaking story about a boy and his robot friend in the 1950s, it's gone on to receive worldwide acclaim since its release on video.
10) Hook (1991)
Steven Spielberg's take on Peter Pan was both ignored at the box office and slammed by the critics of the day (even Spielberg himself doesn't look back on it fondly), and to this day we can't understand why. A story of Pan forgetting his past and having to venture back to Neverland to save his children from a vengeful Captain Hook, the movie manages to be a fun family romp while also having some genuine, heartfelt messages about growing up.
Of course, we can't talk about this movie without mentioning the cast. Robin Williams' performance as Peter Banning / Peter Pan is a constant reminder to how much we lost with his untimely death, Dustin Hoffman is brillian as Captain James Hook, and even the late Bob Hoskins brings a great level of energy as Smee. Of course, who can forget Dante Basco's RU-FI-OOOOOOOOOOOOO!