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Sci-Fi Movies That Made Audiences Get Up And Leave

When you purchase a ticket to see a movie, you're always hoping to have a good time. Maybe you'll be dazzled by some incredible action, given some good jokes to laugh at, or a few emotional moments of drama to entertain for a couple of hours. Every once in a while, you sit down in the cinema only to be treated to a horrific experience for one reason or another and wish you'd never bought that cursed ticket.

Maybe it's because the movie is just awful, or perhaps it's too long and dull. Maybe it's too scary or even offensive. Whatever the reason, we never want to waste the hard-earned money we spent to get in and usually grin and bear it to the bitter end. However, some of us understand the sunk cost fallacy: The money has been spent, so we might as well cut our losses and do something more enjoyable.

For sci-fi fans, it's sometimes a little harder, as twist endings or big effects-driven climaxes can save just about any movie, prompting us to gut it out in the hopes of an ending that can salvage the mess. Nevertheless, we've heard from plenty of viewers who've scurried for the exits before the end. So charge your proton blasters and open the pod bay doors because this is a list of sci-fi flicks that made audiences get up and leave.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Despite being a billion-dollar franchise, the "Transformers" films have never been without their throngs of critics, who roundly rejected them as soulless poorly-written excuses to splash big-budget FX all over the screen. Horror legend Stephen King famously once remarked on Twitter that the first "Transformers" film was the only movie he'd ever walked out on, but it's the second "Transformers" movie, "Revenge of the Fallen," that seems to have drawn most people's ire online. 

On Reddit, "Revenge of the Fallen" regularly pops up in topics asking what movies people walked out on. Some Redditors even started entire topics to address just how bad it was. With a thin story, a cacophony of nonsensical action that rattles the brain, and an excessive runtime, it's no surprise people wanted out early. But before you jump to blaming director Michael Bay, know that he might not have been entirely to blame. 

Just before production on the film was set to kick off, the Writer's Guild of America went on strike, forcing Bay and his team into a crunch to deliver a script. According to the director (via The Guardian), they had just three weeks to turn in a story. Suddenly, the whole thing makes a lot more sense. Although even star Shia LaBeouf criticized the film for lacking heart, it still wound up with nearly $900 million in box office receipts.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Today, the 1968 sci-fi epic "2001: A Space Odyssey" is seen as one of the most groundbreaking films in the genre. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, its impact on science fiction is immeasurable, with many, including critic Roger Ebert hailing it as a breathtaking achievement in cinema. Yet, there are just as many (today and then) who hate the movie for its slow, plodding, often dialogue-less story. A movie steeped in symbolism, audiences have been baffled by the film for decades. When it was initially released, that befuddlement led many to outright reject it.

If reports are to be believed, its premiere in New York saw not just individual walk-outs, not even dozens, but nearly 250 disgruntled patrons exit the screening. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a separate screening in Los Angeles led to similar walk-outs, with star actor Rock Hudson said to have asked, "What is this bulls***?"

Reviews of the film were decidedly mixed, with some lauding the film for its scope, scale, and jaw-dropping visual storytelling. However, just as many heaped hate on the movie, calling it a slow drag that went nowhere and achieved nothing. The New York Times was particularly unrelenting, calling it not just boring but also so slavish in its science fiction detail and visual awe that it lost all meaning.

Crimes of the Future

Writer, actor, and director David Cronenberg is no stranger to films so grotesque that they repulse movie-goers. After all, that's kind of his bread and butter as the master of body horror. From his earliest films like "The Brood" and "Videodrome" to the mainstream flick "The Fly," Cronenberg has reveled in nausea-inducing visuals. Given his track record, a wave of walk-outs for his 2022 film "Crimes of the Future" could be easily predicted by anyone ... and Cronenberg himself was one of them.

"There are some very strong scenes," he told Deadline. "I'm sure that we will have walkouts within the first five minutes of the movie. I'm sure of that. Some people who have seen the film have said that they think the last 20 minutes will be very hard on people and that there'll be a lot of walkouts." The film, starring Viggo Mortenson and Kristen Stewart, is a sci-fi body horror flick about a not-too-distant future in which humans undergo hideous malformations to adapt to new artificial environments.

Sure enough, there were plenty of audience members (who surely knew to expect something extreme given Cronenberg's history) who left the theater in disgust, according to The New York Times' Kyle Buchanan on Twitter. It's certainly not the first time for the director, whose movie "Scanners' was said to have prompted similar walk-outs.

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace

We've heard from Stephen King that the only movie he ever walked out on was "Transformers," which means he must not have seen the sequel to one of his own films, "The Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace." And we can say that with confidence because King himself hated the first movie so much that he sued the studio to have his name removed from the credits. The sequel was even worse, taking a simple thriller and turning it into mind-numbing schlock, prompting some movie-goers to walk out.

As a cheaply made, quickly slapped-together follow-up, "Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace" is an overly complex, poorly acted film with embarrassing special effects. It definitely isn't worth finishing. Critic Stacy Richter, movie reviewer for the Tuscon Weekly, knew something was wrong right from the get-go, considering the screening she attended had just four other patrons. Little did she know just how bad it would be, forcing her to do the unthinkable. She walked, something verboten for a movie critic. 

However, Richter wasn't the only one, as anecdotes all over the web can be found of horrified viewers who switched it off before it ended. In an IMDb review, One user notes they only finished it on a second viewing via home rental following a walk-out in cinemas during its theatrical run.

Mars Attacks!

There are many reasons to walk out of a film before it ends. For some, it's just because it's too awful to sit through. For others, it's a sense of disgust at the over-the-top material. For still more, particularly those on the younger side, it's films that prove a bit too intense and cause enough emotional turmoil that they just can't sit through the whole thing. One such film from the '90s was Tim Burton's sci-fi spoof "Mars Attacks!"

From the trailers, it may have seemed like a fun, brightly colored adventure more like the 1950s space invader movies that Burton was paying homage to, but for some of the little ones who went to see it, it was a graphic, horrifying nightmare, as human victims burned alive and ray guns vaporized entire crowds of people in sudden moments of sheer shock and horror. Though funnier to adult audiences, kids weren't always as amused, as some online commenters can attest. Reddit user LegoForte commented, "I was 7 years old, and when the Martians started shooting people and transplanting heads onto dogs I was f***ing terrified."

Others, however, couldn't get over just how asinine the whole affair was, an accusation leveled by many critics. At least one person on Reddit walked out for that reason alone. "I did go back a few years ago and actually watched the whole thing ... and will never watch it again. So dumb."


Released in 2008, the J.J. Abrams-produced "Cloverfield" landed with great fanfare. Surrounded by plenty of media hype, the film was a classic monster movie in every sense but with a modern twist. Filmed in a handheld style, "Cloverfield" was a found-footage film that wowed audiences with the story of a world-ending monster that rises from the ocean to destroy New York City. Unfortunately, not all audiences could make it all the way through.

This time, however, it wasn't because it was bad or boring or even confusing. This time there was science behind it, as many moviegoers were affected by the jittery, shaky nature of the filming, walking out due to motion sickness. "Reports of illness while watching Cloverfield started popping up on internet bulletin boards over the weekend," the L.A. Times stated shortly after the film hit cinemas, "with some people writing that they had to leave a few minutes into the movie. One poster reported vomiting several times."

Not the only movie to prompt such walk-outs, "District 9" from Neill Blomkamp was said to have induced a few similar reactions, but nothing compared to the widespread problems seen during screenings of "Cloverfield," which were enough to receive mainstream coverage. ABC News, CNN, and other outlets all covered audience members' bouts of nausea, prompting WebMD to publish a report on the phenomenon.

Godzilla (1998)

Despite its nausea-inducing shaky cam, "Cloverfield" received strong reviews as a captivating story of survival that modernized monster movies with a fresh style. However, a decade earlier, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the producers behind "Independence Day," tried to do the same thing with "Godzilla" by bringing the iconic Japanese kaiju to American shores in a big-budget blockbuster. Reviews were unkind, to say the least, as critics lambasted that film as a dumbed-down, over-the-top FX spectacle with no soul and far too much bluster. Tellingly, actor Kenpachiro Satsuma, who played the beast himself in the 1980s-era Toho films, said he walked out of the American remake, and many moviegoers did the same.

All over forums online you'll find diehard fans of "Godzilla" (and casual viewers alike) who claim to have exited the theater mid-movie. "I didn't even pay to get in but I was one of at least 20 who left the theater," says one viewer on Reddit. "Godzilla is not an iguana ... lame," said another. Criticisms of the new look for 'Zilla weren't the only complaints though, with some pointing to its plodding story and bad acting. "Incredibly boring, boring enough that even though I was a poor kid I was happy to lose the money I spent."

For some, it changed how they approached new releases. Another unhappy ticket-holder on Reddit claimed they'd never go to see a movie on opening night ever again after "Godzilla" and would wait for reviews instead. 


There are some movies that people walk out of that seem surprising in hindsight. A few like "2001: A Space Odyssey" become all-time classics. There are others that seemed promising when audiences filed into the theater, only to disappoint like "Godzilla." Then, there are movies that looked awful from the beginning. These are the movies that looked so bad even in the trailers that one has to question why people purchased tickets in the first place. One example is "Battleship," a sci-fi action movie based on the iconic family board game that prompted more than one movie-goer to get going before it ended.

Sure, the producers of the film could have simply gone for a straightforward naval war film. Instead, the filmmakers went literal for some reason and turned the little plastic gaming pegs into devastating weapons dropped from the sky by an invading armada of alien starships from outer space. Make that one make sense because it didn't add up for audiences, much of which kicked it to the curb and left early from screenings. On forums where users list their most regrettable walk-outs, "Battleship" comes up over and over and over again.

Though the effects are top-notch and the action isn't bad, the silly characters and nonsensical story are what really sunk "Battleship" and left viewers running for the exit.

Solaris (2006)

Often compared to "2001: A Space Odyssey," the 1972 Soviet sci-fi masterpiece "Solaris" is a symbolist work of science fiction, and like Kubrick's classic, is a less-than-literal story that requires deep dissection to fully appreciate. In 2002, director Steven Soderbergh teamed with George Clooney on an American remake, and it once again caused the wrong kind of stir with audiences, who were bored, confused, and annoyed with this new version.

Though it doesn't quite compare with the superior 1972 version, Clooney's remake is underrated and undeserving of its poor reputation that's further sullied by multiple reports of audience members fleeing the theater long before the credits rolled. A user on Twitter remarked that the entirety of his theater's audience had left the hall, and while he could be exaggerating, we believe it's at least partially true because he wasn't the only one with claims of a mass exodus from screenings.

Reviewer Nathan Zoebel described a scene in which half the audience left, while Slant Magazine's look back at the film in 2009 remarked on the widespread reports of moviegoers grabbing their jackets and departing after the first 15 minutes. Though it will never be remembered as fondly as the original, it's not worthy of the hate that it receives. Yet, it's also true that it is an extremely slow, more thought-provoking film than people may have expected from Soderbergh and Clooney, who'd previously teamed for the fast-paced heist film "Ocean's 11."

Cowboys and Aliens

Another would-be blockbuster to get the walkout treatment is the sci-fi Western "Cowboys and Aliens." A high-profile project for Harrison Ford, who was fresh from his return as the whip-wielding relic hunter in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," it paired him with newly minted Bond actor Daniel Craig. With director Jon Favreau on the heels of "Iron Man," expectations were high. Nevertheless, the film was roasted by critics and audiences alike, and anecdotes can be found all over of unhappy ticket holders who were so disappointed that they left the movie before it was over.

"I've never walked out of a movie before ever," said a user on Reddit. "I went with a bunch of friends, the moment the gold mining [sic] got brought in I stood up and walked out ... I got up and I just walked away into another movie." In the comments section on a review from FirstShowing in 2011, a commenter sounded off, bluntly saying, "I didn't like this movie. I walked out at the part where they are observing how to attack the alien tower. I was an hour and a half into the movie, and it was only getting worse."

User TheJett25 may have said it best on Reddit. "I looked at my buddy and said 'kill me now' and then we walked out." Suffice it to say, "Cowboys and Aliens" never became a franchise. 


The most expensive movie ever made at the time it was released, Kevin Costner's "Waterworld" is seen today as one of the biggest box office blunders in history. A highly anticipated sci-fi actioner, it stars Costner as a post-apocalyptic hero in a grim future world where water covers the Earth, and dry land has become all but a myth. A kind of reverse "Mad Max," it had the potential to be the next big post-apocalyptic classic but wound up sinking in theaters, receiving scathing reviews for its dismally uninteresting screenplay and wooden performances. According to director Kevin Reynolds, it was also the victim of the dreaded walk-out.

Speaking to Newsweek in 2015, Reynolds spoke about the poor early reception and the uphill battle he faced, especially from movie critics. "The press wanted it to bomb. The head of Universal, Bill Washington, thought the bad publicity cost us at least $50 mill in the box office ... The reviews were painful. People didn't like it. I remember publicists saying that people walked out of a press screening." It wasn't just the critics who left early, as "Waterworld" regularly makes people's lists of movies they walked out on.

Today, opinions on "Waterworld" have softened somewhat, but it's still a black mark on Costner's otherwise sterling resume.

The Predator

While some movies are abandoned midway because they're boring, confusing, offensive, or sometimes just downright stupid, you'd be hard-pressed to find one that's all of those — and more. There's at least one franchise film that landed with a ton of hype and a fair amount of promise that sadly devolved into pathetic schlock and sent audiences to the exits before it was over. That film is the 2018 clunker "The Predator." 

Written and directed by Shane Black, who'd worked on the 1987 original, there was plenty to be excited about for longtime fans who saw Black's return to the franchise as a reason to overlook their initial skepticism. Unfortunately, they probably should have stuck to their gut on this one. The movie is a total disaster from start to finish. Among the film's offenses: a sloppy story with poor action sequences, misguided attempts at humor that left fans feeling betrayed, and an autistic character whose use as a McGuffin offended many viewers.

Over on Reddit, in a discussion simply titled "F*** this movie," users are particularly irked by the film's use of autism as a major plot point. On Bloody-Disgusting.com fans seem more upset by the movie's tongue-in-cheek comedy. One user, Mark Dunn, called it "Easily the worst in the series. I walked out of the cinema when the Predator used a detached arm to give someone the thumbs up."

Battlefield Earth

Regarded as one of the worst movies of all time, "Battlefield Earth" is based on the science fiction novel by L. Ron Hubbard. Unfortunately, the film version was also a passion project for Hubbard's Church of Scientology and has gained a reputation as "the Scientology film." Every bit as bad as its infamy suggests, the movie is borderline incoherent, the editing and directing haphazard, while the performances from its all-star cast (including John Travolta, Forest Whitaker, and Kelly Preston) are so ham-fisted and cringe-worthy, it quickly becomes an unintentional comedy.

Essentially, "Battlefield Earth" is a big-budget B movie, so it's no wonder audiences felt hoodwinked and wanted out before it was over. Audiences point to its goofy plot points and comical attempts at serious science fiction storytelling when asked what forced them to leave the theater. When one moviegoer talked about his experience, the forum's entire discussion became a discussion of how legendarily awful the movie is. "[It] will always be a garbage film of epically bad proportions," said one user. Another remarked, "I understand the concept of 'so bad it's good,' but this movie eclipses that."

Our only advice for watching "Battlefield Earth" is "get out" and "get out now!"