Epic Fail: The 19 Movies That Received an F CinemaScore
CinemaScore has been one of the most successful marketing research firms in the film industry in its 38 years of operation, offering box office predictions based on its thorough analyzing of surveys given to audiences at movies to get their opinions on the film and whether they would see it again, recommend it, buy it on home media, etc. While most films tend to average around a “B” rating on the site, as audiences are much more forgiving about films than critics are, there have been the rare exceptions — 19 to be exact — when audiences despise a movie so much, it results in an F CinemaScore. In “honor” of the latest entry onto the list, let’s take a look at the films to earn the lowest possible rating on the site.
Alone in the Dark
Oh, Christian Slater, why hast Hollywood forsaken thou? Video game adaptations are very rarely a hit critically, but they are typically able to find some audiences to appreciate what they were going for in bringing the characters to life on screen. With Alone in the Dark, however, not only did they not find their audiences, but critics absolutely demolished the film, calling it one of the worst films of all time which helped contribute to its box office failure.
When he made his directorial debut with 2001’s Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly showed a lot of promise for the future, delivering one of the most mind-bending and intelligent modern sci-fi classics to date, but in the years since, his career has waned with both critics and audiences, beginning with the widely-polarized Southland Tales and concluding with 2009’s psychological thriller The Box. Following a couple who must decide whether or not to press the button on a mysterious box in which they will get $1 million but someone they won’t know will die, the film was a dud with audiences, many complaints directed towards the convoluted story and bleak ending.
Long before he became the alien villain in the DCEU-beginning Man of Steel, Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd starred together in the paranoia-driven thriller Bug. Set in a claustrophobic motel room, the film follows a single mother in Oklahoma who gets involved with a deluded man who believes there are bugs hiding under his skin put there by the government and quarantines him and the woman in the room until the situation comes to a heartbreaking end. Though receiving mixed to positive reviews from critics and garnering double its small budget at the box office, audiences despised the film for its unanswered questions and bleak tone, resulting in its F CinemaScore.
Let’s journey back to the year of 2002, when horror movies were failing and nothing showed signs of saving the genre. With the year finally coming to a close and the industry putting its horror movies out to pasture, Dimension Films gave one more movie a chance to try and break the mold, and from the darkness came Darkness, a film so bad both critics and audiences tried to repress it from their memories. Following an American family that move into a seemingly haunted Spanish home, the film starred post-X-Men Anna Paquin in her first attempt at scream queen stardom and thanks to a dull story filled with cliches and lacking scares, it resulted in the grisly F CinemaScore.
The Devil Inside
Remember when Paramount Pictures tried to recreate their success with Paranormal Activity with a second found-footage horror flick? Well I hate to refresh your memories, but in keeping with this list, I must bring up the dreadful film that was The Devil Inside. Following a woman in search of answers as to how her mother can be cured of a demonic possession, the film was condemned by critics for its cheap attempts at scares and recreating other, better films in the genre, and though it was a major box office success, audiences in the end didn’t find it all too appealing, giving it the dreaded F CinemaScore.
Let’s be real here, if you went into any of the “Movie” releases expecting quality films, you are equally very optimistic and very naive, and Disaster Movie is arguably still the worst of them all. A parody of at least 30 different movies, “Disaster” revolves around a group of twentysomethings who must fight for survival amidst biblical and natural disasters, with the primary group of characters featuring parodies of Juno and Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. With no real smart humor in the film and endless parodies that fall flat, audiences deemed this the worst in the franchise and made this the lowest-grossing of the films and the worst-reviewed.
Dr. T & the Women
After 1980’s hit American Gigolo, Richard Gere became Hollywood’s go-to leading man for many popular romantic and dramatic roles, hitting it big in the ’90s with Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride. But the turn of the millennium saw Gere struggling to find a hit, and Dr. T & the Women was the first sign of struggle in being both a box office and critical misfire. The film follows a gynecologist whose life begins falling apart when his wife is committed to a state mental hospital and he must juggle with all of the other women in his life, including his daughter who is set to be married but has feelings for her maid of honor, his conspiracy-theorist daughter, his obsessed assistant, his meddling sister-in-law and a comforting golf instructor. In trying to tell too many character stories in one film, audiences became pretty turned off by the movie and gave it the lowest rating on CinemaScore.
Eye of the Beholder
Remakes get a tough rap with audiences for filmmakers working to recreate the original so well-loved by fans that it’s rarely a surprise when they are flops, but 1999’s Eye of the Beholder proved to be one of the worst in history, delivering a film with such an incomprehensible plot that both audiences and critics widely detested it. Part psychological drama and part spy thriller, the film follows a British Secret Service agent as he investigates a woman connected to the death of a politician’s son, and after the breakthrough success of McGregor’s role in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, the F CinemaScore rating this earned was certainly a major step back for the young actor.
Back when the internet boom was still in its early days, movies were all trying to capture the paranoia and craze that came with it, and FeardotCom was the quintessential worst of them all, featuring an overly-violent story, terrible dialogue and an incoherent story. When viewers sign on to the titular website, they are subject to torture murder images and videos and are then killed themselves within 48 hours of logging on to the site. The film was a critical and commercial disaster, earning less than half of its budget at the box office.
I Know Who Killed Me
Lindsay Lohan used to be a childhood name in the late ’90 to early ’00s thanks to her Disney movie fame in hits including The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Herbie: Fully Loaded, as well as the hit high school comedy Mean Girls, but as she got older and could no longer be a high school performer, her roles in films became either less frequent or in less quality pictures, the crux of which was the 2007 thriller I Know Who Killed Me, in which she played a dual role of a stripper rescued after being kidnapped by a serial killer and being mistaken for a previously-unknown twin, and having to help find her twin before it’s too late. With a plot both ludicrous and confusing, a terrible attempt at a dual lead performance and gruesome visuals, the film earned nine Razzie nominations and won eight of them, setting the record at the time for the most “wins.”
In the Cut
She’s one of America’s sweethearts for her roles in some of the biggest rom-coms in history, ranging from Sleepless in Seattle to When Harry Met Sally…, so when Meg Ryan signed on for the erotic thriller In the Cut, it was definitely a surprise to audiences to see her play against type, but sadly it was not a surprise they were ready for. Following an English professor who becomes involved with a detective investigating a serial murder in her area, the film was an adaptation of the novel of the same name, and though it received mixed reviews from critics, it barely earned back its budget from the box office and was loathed by audiences for its lack of thrills or interesting story.
Killing Them Softly
It’s always been a well-known fact that critics and audiences will disagree on movies and that it will happen quite often, but the majority of these instances are audiences being more forgiving and giving fairer reviews than critics, but every once in a while audiences will find a film critics loved to be unwatchable, and Killing Them Softly is one of these instances. After three small-time crooks rob an illegal casino protected by the Mob, two hitmen are sent in to find the robbers and get the money back and take them out. The film earned positive reviews from critics for its dark humor and deep themes of corrupt capitalism, and earned approximately $38 million compared to its $15 million budget, but audiences found the film too droll and slow-moving, resulting in the unfortunate F CinemaScore.
As the world neared the end of the millennium, people were left to wonder what the future could hold, whether everything would go on without issue or if the world would end, be it Y2K or a biblical apocalypse, and multiple movies helped to capture these fears, ranging from End of Days to Y2K, but the least memorable of them all was Lost Souls. Starring Winona Ryder and Ben Chaplin, the film followed a woman who learns of a prophecy to help the devil become a man and her journey to ensure the target for Satan, a crime journalist, doesn’t become him. Though it received some favorable reviews for its visual atmosphere and cinematography, it was overall scorned by critics and audiences alike for its dull characters and cliche writing, ending with its F CinemaScore.
Featuring a cast of Tarantino-alums and comedy vets and directed by Hollywood’s warm-hearted Nora Ephron, Lucky Numbers already sounds like it has the formula to be a big hit, but sadly, these pieces went about as well together as a square peg and a round hole. Loosely based around the 1980 Pennsylvania Lottery scandal, the film follows a TV weatherman who rigs the local lottery with the help of his girlfriend to pay off his debt to a hitman and cure him of his other financial woes. Grossing less than 20% of its budget at the box office and scoring terrible reviews from critics, the film proved to be a major disaster and earned an F CinemaScore.
It was one of the most talked about and controversial films leading up to its release, and once mother! hit theaters, it became one of the most polarizing films of the year, earning very positive reviews from critics for its deep thematic storytelling and biblical allegories, but earning scorn from audiences for its confusing story and violent imagery. The film follows a young woman and her husband as their quiet lives are increasingly disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious couple and their family drama that follows. Though its directional choices and performances have received positive reviews from both sides, the lack of answers and cohesion frustrated audiences to the point of hating the film and awarding it the low F CinemaScore.
A few years before joining in the Avengers Initiative,Elizabeth Olsen was well-known for her independent work in critically-acclaimed films including Martha Marcy May Marlene, but of her early indie work was the audience-condemned 2011 horror Silent House. Following a young woman terrorized by unknown beings in her family vacation home, the film received attention for its compelling performance from Olsen and its technically impressive “one-take” structure, both positive and negative attention from critics, but audiences found it to be unappealing and droll, giving the film the big fat “F.”
George Clooney has been one of Hollywood’s go-to suave leading men for years, and after working with many directors, the one frequent collaborator that has delivered mixed results with him has been Steven Soderbergh, who delivered him the highly-successful “Ocean’s” trilogy while also creating failures The Good German and Solaris, the latter of which earned an F CinemaScore. Following a therapist who travels to a space station to help counsel a group of astronauts claiming to see entities and coming across one himself, the film earned generally positive reviews from critics for its slow-burning mysteries and cerebral atmosphere, but audiences were more harsh for its dull tone and confusing plot.
The Wicker Man
Widely regarded as both one of the worst remakes and one of the worst Nic Cage movies of all time, The Wicker Man remake has received a cult following for its unintentionally hilarity, but even this cult following can’t save its “F” rating on CinemaScore. The film follows a policeman who is asked by his ex-fiancee to travel to an island where her missing daughter was last seen missing, and while there he, stumbles upon a sinister plot amongst the neo-pagan residents. Filled with moments so bad they’re hysterical, an over-the-top performance only Cage can deliver and screenwriting so bad even Michael Bay would cringe, this is the one film on this list so bad you have to watch it.
One would think if a film could be successful enough to earn a sequel and a TV adaptation, audiences must enjoy the film to some degree. Well, if we’re to base it solely on CinemaScore, then Wolf Creek would be the confusing exception, as the first entry in the franchise was an audience repellent. Following a group of backpackers in the Australian desert, the story revolves around their fight for survival when a rural man named Mick Taylor begins hunting and torturing them. While critics have debated for years whether it was brilliant or terrible for its grindhouse depiction of violence, especially women, audiences clearly were turned off based on the reviews given to it.