Last weekend saw the opening of Suicide Squad, the latest movie from DC Studios in the seemingly ever-lucrative comic-book movie era. However, audiences proved sluggish, with the star-studded, ant-hero movie earning what Hollywood Reporter called a “lowly” $26.5USD from its opening weekend – something Forbes called an “underperformance”.
Despite a slow start at the box office, the 2021 release of Suicide Squad has received mixed critical acclaim, with Rotten Tomatoes awarding it 91%, and The Guardian awarding it three out of five stars. With pressure on movies to make a profit more important than ever before in the movie business, can even the least popular films bring home the big bucks?
As part of their Most SuccessFul Movie Production Companies report, the team at Uswitch have compiled a list of some of the most successful, critically condemned films of all time.
The new research looks at the annual winners of the Worst Picture at the Golden Rasberry Awards – the anti-Oscars, founded by UCLA film graduates in 1980 to name the worst films produced every single year. Success is measured by the global gross ($USD) of each film, using the latest statistics from The Numbers.
Below, there’s a breakdown of the highest-grossing Worst Picture awards at the Razzies, which go to prove that even the films the critics love to hate can still pay their way, and then some.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Rotten Tomatoes Critical Score: 20%
Total Global Gross: $836,519,699
The second film in the lucrative Transformers franchise – the twelfth highest-earning franchise of all time, according to the Movie Franchise report – wasn’t a smash hit with critics. Directed by Michael Bay, the GCI blockbuster picked up the dubious Worst Picture honour in 2009, and only received a 20% score from Rotten Tomatoes.
But this wasn’t enough to put fans off, who flocked to cinemas to see Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, and a whole load of GCI robots save the world from, well, more CGI robots. To date, this critically condemned film has made $836,519,699 (£603.4 million), making it the highest-grossing Golden Raspberry winner of all time.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Rotten Tomatoes Critical Score: 49%
Total Global Gross: $829,724,737
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the second-highest critical movie flop. Again, part of a wildly successful franchise, this tale of vampires, werewolves and questionable love triangles wasn’t a hit with the critics. Picking a distinctly middle-of-the-road 49% from Rotten Tomatoes, the folks at the Razzies were less kind.
This critical disquiet didn’t stop millions of people from heading to the cinema to catch up on the latest instalment of the saga, even if they denied all knowledge of it afterwards. The film, so far, has earned its makers a staggering $829,724,737 (£598.5 million)
Fifty Shades of Grey (tied with Fantastic Four)
Rotten Tomatoes Critical Score: 25%
Total Global Gross: $570,794,950
The big-screen version of the wildly popular novel, Fifty Shades Of Grey left critics significantly less hot-under-the-collar than many of the film’s fans. This racy story of a young college graduate and a wealthy businessman scored just 25% on Rotten Tomatoes and picked up the Worst Picture at the 2015 Razzies, although it was tied (appropriately enough) with Fantastic Four.
Critics may have given it a spanking, but fans kept on coming back for more, with the film earning $570,794,950 (£411.7 million) to date.
The Last Airbender
Rotten Tomatoes Critical Score: 5%
Total Global Gross: $319,713,881
Directed by supernatural filmmaker M Night Shyamalan, The Last Airbender is a tale of a young adventurer from a long line of Avatars, who has to master the four natural elements to prevent the Fire Nation from enslaving the Water tribes.
Almost universally condemned by movie critics, the film not only won the Worst Picture in 2010, but Rotten Tomatoes only awarded it 5%. Despite this, the movie went on to make a staggering $319,713,881 (£230.6 million).
Rotten Tomatoes Critical Score: 35%
Total Global Gross: $266,600,000
Staring three of the early 90’s hottest movie properties; Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson, Indecent Proposal is the story of a married couple’s relationship being tested to the limits when a stranger offers $1 million for a night with the bride.
Critics gave almost entirely negative reviews of the raunchy thriller, earning just 35% from Rotten Tomatoes, with the Worst Picture gong in 1993 being the cherry on the unwanted cake. However, the allure of Redford, Moore, and Harrelson sharing a screen proved too appealing for cinema-goers to resist, earning the movie $266,600,000 (£192.3 million) to date