In 1994, Sandra Bullock became a star thanks to her role in the action classic Speed. The sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control, released three years later, almost killed her career. In the first movie, Bullock played a regular person who has to save the day by driving an explosives-rigged bus that would explode if it slowed down. In the second, she inexplicably has to fight terrorists on a cruise ship. Speed 2 grossed $48 million, which isn’t good considering that the movie cost a staggering $160 million.
Affleck somehow came back from this bomb to play Batman and direct the Oscar-winning Argo. In 2003, he was a tabloid fixture for his high-profile relationship with Jennifer Lopez, his co-star in Gigli, a bizarre crime comedy. Affleck plays a mobster who tries to seduce a gay female gangster (Lopez) while watching over a developmentally disabled man he kidnapped. Somehow it cost $72 million to make Gigli, and it made a paltry $7 million at the box office.
The 2015 movie Pan wasn’t the first time Hollywood made a Peter Pan movie, but it’s the first time Hollywood made a gritty prequel to Peter Pan. Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, plays the fearless and fearsome pirate Blackbeard…but maybe if he wasn’t buried under a ton of makeup and prosthetics (and playing the bad guy), more people would have seen the movie. Pan grossed $35 million…but cost $150 million to make.
Witherspoon starred in hits like Legally Blonde, won an Oscar for Walk the Line, and produced the multiple-Emmy-winning miniseries Big Little Lies, but she couldn’t make How Do You Know? work. This 2010 low-key romantic drama directed by James L. Brooks cost $120 million to produce, mostly to pay its cast: Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson. It made only $30 million at the box office.
This odd movie about a middle-aged man who talks to his family via a beaver puppet was supposed to a comeback for Mel Gibson after numerous scandals derailed his career. It was also supposed to spotlight Jennifer Lawrence, just after her Oscar-nominated turn in Winter’s Bone, and right before The Hunger Games. Neither Gibson nor Lawrence benefited much. It made less than $1 million in theaters.