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Predicting The Biggest Box Office Bombs Of 2023

Predicting potential box office wins and bombs is an unreliable game. Some might liken it to sports betting, where forecasting winners and losers is so difficult people make (and lose) major money on their ballots. Hollywood is no different, really. While experts could probably guess that "Top Gun: Maverick" would be a hit, the decades-overdue legacy sequel shocked the world by dominating the global box office for most of 2022, beating "Jurassic World: Dominion" and two MCU movies in the process. Meanwhile, four years earlier, the usually reliable "Star Wars" franchise had a surprising miss with "Solo: A Star Wars Story." So even if some movies seem like safe bets, and others like surefire failures, you just never know. 

That said, we're pretty confident the following movies will be box-office failures. No, we're not rooting for them to fail, but we're predicting disaster based on a variety of factors — such as comparable movies, lackluster storylines, and bad timing. Yes, some of these flicks may surprise us, while some may be relegated to streaming (which could be a good thing), but looking ahead we feel like their fate is sealed at the multiplex. We won't put any money on this list (although the studios certainly invested in them), but here are our predictions for the biggest box office bombs of 2023.


In 2018, "Searching" made $75 million worldwide on an $880,000 budget. Even multi-million dollar blockbuster movies would kill for that kind of profitability, let alone movies with budgets smaller than the catering tab on a Marvel movie. However, we had to go searching for "Searching," as we had completely forgotten about the 2018 thriller. Chances are, the moviegoing audience has too. Still, five years later, Sony Pictures is releasing a sequel to "Searching" called "Missing." 

According to Vulture, the sweet spot for sequels is two to four years (unless it's a legacy sequel to a beloved franchise like "Star Wars" or "Jurassic Park"). "Missing" obviously, well, missed that mark by half a decade. Will the audience show up for the sequel? Obviously, we're skeptical. We doubt Sony Pictures dropped a ton of dough on this film, so it still may be profitable based on its low budget alone, but we have our doubts that it's going to come anywhere near its predecessor's incredible gross. Whether it manages to make a minor profit or not, we're betting that "Missing" will be missing from the year's top 50 worldwide grossing films.

A Man Called Otto

In "A Man Called Otto," Tom Hanks portrays Otto Anderson, a widower who has become a bona fide grump after the loss of his wife but finds a new sense of purpose when a young, lively family moves into the home next to him. Per the official description, the matriarch of the brood is witty and forms a unique friendship with Otto. On the surface, this storyline might sound a little like a live-action version of "Up," minus the balloon adventures. 

It's also based on an international bestseller. "A Man Called Ove" was written by Fredrik Backman and was already made into a movie in 2015. All of the above makes "A Man Called Otto" sound like a surefire box office hit — but only in 2003, not 2023. As great of an actor as Tom Hanks is, his long-lived reputation as the nicest guy in Hollywood makes it hard to see him as anything but — just look at the critical reception to his turn as Colonel Tom Parker in "Elvis."

Speaking of "Elvis," while that film unexpectedly earned $282 million worldwide, Hanks' box office record has been spotty lately, sans his outings as Woody in the "Toy Story" franchise. Finally — and here's the kicker — it's an adult-skewing dramedy that may be too adult for kiddos but too sweet for seniors, and it's scheduled for nationwide release in the typical box office winter of January. In this box office climate, "A Man Called Otto" is a movie made for streaming. Perhaps it'd be better sold if, instead of Tom Hanks, the filmmakers cast someone who's more believable at being a curmudgeon.


"Gerard Butler vs. Insert-Disaster-Here" has been a pretty reliable sub-genre at the box office, whether that disaster is terrorists taking over a national landmark ("Olympus Has Fallen" and its sequels) or out-of-control weather ("Geostorm"). Butler's last disaster film, "Greenland," found him against an apocalyptic asteroid hurtling toward Earth, so "Gerard Butler vs. Armageddon" sounded like a license to print money. It wasn't, though, as it only managed a measly $40 million at the worldwide box office. Yes, "Greenland" was released smack dab in the middle of the pandemic and wasn't released in North America at all. Still, $40 million is pretty bad for a would-be mid-level blockbuster — and it spells impending doom for Butler's latest disaster flick, "Plane." 

In "Plane," Butler plays Captain Brodie Torrance, a commercial pilot who avoids a storm, only to land on an island battleground run by a separatist militia, which according to the trailer is so dangerous "...the Philippine army won't even go there anymore." When it rains it pours, right? Okay, "Plane" sounds like delightfully cheesy goodness and the kind of movie that would dominate ... on Netflix (think "Extraction" or "Red Notice"). Alas, the theater-going audience doesn't always go for concept-driven, star vehicles like this anymore (see "Moonfall" for example — er, actually, don't). Because the headwinds will be against it, we suspect "Plane" will crash and burn at the box office.


Few genres have as big of a quality gap as original sci-fi. On one end you have "Avatar," "Star Wars," and "The Matrix," and on the other, you have "Jupiter Ascending," "Sunshine," and we suspect the next one to join them, "Distant."  

According to the film's official website, the film centers on a "low-level mining engineer" in space who crash-lands onto a dangerous planet and has to beat the odds — and creepy otherworldly creatures — to find another survivor. In other words, it's some kind of mix between "The Martian" and "The Grey." And while that might sound cool, it also sounds like the kind of movie that needs a bona fide Hollywood legend to anchor it.  

No, movie stars aren't worth what they once were, but, conceptually, "Distant" sounds like the kind of movie that would benefit tremendously from proven box office heroes like Dwayne Johnson or Will Smith. Instead, "Distant" stars an ensemble of talented, but not necessarily marquee names like Anthony Ramos, Naomi Scott, and Zachary Quinto. Plus, the constantly shifting release dates of the picture (from March to September 2022 and onto January 2023) don't inspire much optimism. 

80 For Brady

In "80 For Brady," Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Rita Moreno, and Lily Tomlin play four octogenarians who take a road trip to see Tom Brady play in Super Bowl LI. Get it? "80 For Brady?" Because they're in their 80s? Anyway, for those of you who don't remember, Super Bowl LI was in 2017 when Tom Brady played for the New England Patriots. He's played for the Tampa Buccaneers for three seasons now. Well, maybe "80 For Brady" was in production before the pandemic and is just now getting released? Nope, as "80 For Brady" was announced in February 2022 and according to The Hollywood Reporter is part of Brady's "post-football" plans to produce movies. Yeah, about that "post-football" thing. 

Naturally, Brady's first movie is a comedy about a bunch of women who idolize him. Subtle, guy. Brady has been in the news lately, but not for good things. More like his divorce from his ex-wife, Gisele Bundchen, and his controversial ties to the doomed cryptocurrency platform FTX. In other words, it's pretty bad timing for a movie about Tom Brady hero worship. Maybe this movie will bring about better news, but we doubt it. We wouldn't even be surprised if Paramount decides to pull it from theaters and stream the flick on Paramount+ instead. Otherwise, let's just say the would-be producer Brady will have to win a few more Super Bowl rings to make up the difference.


We don't know much about "65," but still, it could be a bomb in the making. The plot is described as: "An astronaut who crash-lands on a mysterious planet discovers that he's not alone" (via Bloody Disgusting). That logline is vague enough it could describe any number of movies (even on this list). "65" is co-written and co-directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who co-wrote "A Quiet Place" with John Krasinski. The sci-fi/horror thriller also stars Adam Driver, who despite starring in one of the most commercially successful trilogies of all time in "Star Wars," isn't much of a box office draw himself when not playing people named Kylo Ren. 

Perhaps "65" is one of the rare original sci-fi films that can break out based on a modest budget? Well, "65" is estimated to cost $90 million (according to "Fastlane"), which might be somewhat modest by modern Hollywood standards, but it's also 30% more than the $61 million budget for "A Quiet Place Part II" and more than five times the $17 million budget for "A Quiet Place." The "A Quiet Place" series is such a surprise success because of just that; it's a surprise. Making back this kind of investment is a whole different ballgame. Even though we'll undoubtedly see "from the writers of 'A Quiet Place'" scrawled on all of the film's promotional materials, it could be that the "quiet place" for this pic could be in the movie theaters.


Any movie starring Woody Harrelson, Ernie Hudson, and Cheech Marin seems like a recipe for success, but "Champions" still doesn't seem poised to win. Per Collider, the film features Harrelson as a basketball coach for the minor leagues who takes his Special Olympics team to victory. Based on a real-life story, the movie is directed by Bobby Farrelly, so there are a few ways this can go, and neither of them sounds bankable. One approach is a silly, over-the-top, gross-out comedy with a surprisingly sweet center, just like we'd expect from the co-director of "There's Something About Mary." However, you could maybe get away with a comedy about people with intellectual disabilities in the 1990s; not today. 

The second — and more likely — approach would be making a more sincere (albeit schmaltzy and saccharine) movie. We can see "Champions" being Bobby Farrelly's "Green Book," the 2018 film which his brother and filmmaking partner Peter Farrelly directed solo to Oscar glory, including best picture (and much backlash). The 2023 "Champions" is a remake of a 2018 Spanish film that played it straight, so we're expecting more "Green Book," less "Stuck On You" and "Me, Myself and Irene." But even if "Champions" doesn't face the same backlash as "Green Book," the "coach who finds redemption" story arc is a notorious bomb formula; just ask Dwayne Johnson with "Gridiron Gang" and Ben Affleck with "The Way Back." Chances are, "Champions" will continue the trend.


Nobody chews scenery like Nicolas Cage, and in 2023's "Renfield" we do mean "chew" literally as he'll be playing Count Dracula. In the horror-comedy (a tough genre in almost any context) from Chris McCay, Cage plays the Count, though the focus is presumably on Dracula's henchman, the eponymous Renfield, played by Nicholas Hoult. Now we know what you're thinking because we thought the exact same thing: "Nicolas Cage playing Dracula sounds awesome. There's no way this will bomb!" 

Well, we also thought "Nicolas Cage playing Nicolas Cage sounds awesome," but "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" tanked with only $29 million worldwide on a $30 million budget. "Nicolas Cage saving his pet pig" also sounded awesome, but "Pig" bombed with $3.8 million, as did "Nicolas Cage goes in a trippy, fever dream revenge fantasy," but "Mandy" collapsed with only $1.4 million. Now, Cage is arguably in the most creative parts of his career, and we'd rather watch these types of films than "Ghost Rider" sequels, but there's no denying that moviegoers aren't buying what he's been selling. Basically, his movies are there for movie nerds like us to share click-bait articles with headlines like "Watch Nicolas Cage play a [insert wacky character here]." Yeah, moviegoers will watch the trailer, but they won't show up for the film. So as much fun as it sounds, we expect the box office for "Renfield" to bite.

Haunted Mansion

We had to do a double take when we looked at the movies being released in 2023 and saw "Haunted Mansion." Yes, "Haunted Mansion." One of Disney's biggest live-action failures of all time? The movie that pretty much killed Eddie Murphy's career as an above-the-title box office draw? That "Haunted Mansion?" Yes, afraid so. Given Disney's endless parade of sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots, some might suspect the creative well is running dry at the Mouse House, but even this is a shock. Apparently, Disney is once again trying to make "movies based on theme park rides" a thing — likely because that worked with the "Pirates of the Caribbean franchise." 

As detailed by Disney's blog, the film is directed by Justin Simien of "Dear White People" and stars Rosario Dawson as a doctor and single mother to a nine-year-old who moves to New Orleans and finds herself in — you guessed it — a haunted mansion. She then turns to some paranormal experts, including a psychic and a historian, for help getting rid of the specters. 

Unfortunately, there's a chance that the only thing "Haunted Mansion" will get rid of is Disney's money. While this is slated for theatrical release, given the lackluster reception to the first go-round, chances are, audiences won't wait in lines to see this movie as much as they do the Disney parks ride. 

Kraven the Hunter

Spider-Man has one of the best rogues galleries in pop culture, and Sony has been trying to mine it for gold. The latest example (victim) of this trend will be "Kraven The Hunter." Why do we think "Kraven The Hunter" will bomb? One word: "Mobius." The 2022 pseudo-Spider-Man spin-off "Mobius" bombed not once, but twice, when Sony Pictures mistook "It's Morbin' time" trending on Twitter for real people actually wanting to spend real money to watch a movie they didn't watch the first time. 

Yes, "Venom" and "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" collectively earned $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office ... but that's Venom, arguably the most popular comic book supervillain not named "The Joker." Kraven (and, y'know, Morbius) is a C-list villain even in the Spider-Man series, and in no way does he warrant his own movie. "Okay," you may be thinking, "But Black Adam is also a C-List villain and his movie made lots of money." Well, Black Adam was played by Dwayne Johnson and is still going to have a tough time breaking even on its $200 million budget (via The Numbers) and marketing costs. "Kraven The Hunter" stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, best known for playing Kick-Ass, that one guy in "Godzilla," and Quicksilver aka Pietro Maximoff in the MCU (and after that movie we're not looking forward to hearing him do a Russian accent again). Hey, maybe this movie will break through, but if "it's Kraven time" starts trending, it'll probably be for the memes.


What do you do when there are no stories left to tell in a franchise? You make a prequel! In 2023, we will finally get an answer to the question literally nobody was asking: What was Willy Wonka doing before the events of "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory"? Yes, if you've ever laid awake at night wondering how young Willy Wonka met the Oompa-Loompas — and who hasn't, right? — then "Wonka" is the movie for you. Honestly, we're far more interested in finding out why Grandpa Joe was laying in bed for decades while his family languished in abject poverty but was suddenly just fine when Charlie got the golden ticket. 

"Charlie and The Chocolate Factory" earned $475 million worldwide in 2005, but that was the same story as the beloved book and 1971 movie and starred Johnny Depp during the height of his post "Pirates of the Caribbean" star power. This is a prequel and stars Timothée Chalamet, who may get fawning praise on the awards circuit, but isn't always a bottoms-in-seats draw (more than one-third of his all-time worldwide career earnings is due to a small part in "Interstellar"). But Warner Bros. got greedier than Veruca Salt and gave this concept a greenlight, so maybe in the near future, the Oompa-Loompas will appear at company headquarters to sing to studio execs about how making "Wonka" was a big misstep.