Home Features Flop films of 2012 that should have been hits….

Flop films of 2012 that should have been hits….

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Going back over the years we’ve come across a load of films that bombed when really they should have been a hit and so in the first of an occasional series we’ve gone back to the Flop films that should have been hits in 2012. It was a year that saw the first Avengers Assemble film along with The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol, Django Unchained all big hits unlike John Carter which went onto become one of the costliest flops of recent times. But here’s some of the films that deserved to do better starting with ……

 

Dredd

The oft argued character of the 2000AD comic had had its first big screen incarnation with Stallone in the title role in 1995’s Judge Dredd. Ideal casting except that this was a big summer blockbuster and the producers had not hired Stallone only to keep his face hidden under the characters permanently worn helmet and the film ultimately flopped. So it was seventeen years later in 2012 that filmmakers felt the time was right for another go and this time it would be in 3D as so many films would be in the aftermath of Avatar. In the lead role was Karl Urban who kept the helmet on and did a great job as the Dredd, the judge, jury and executioner battling against Ma-Ma played with psychotic gusto by Lena Headey and all the carnage was orchestrated by director Pete Travis who had helmed the underrated ‘Vantage Point’. Unlike so many films that had hopped on board the 3D train ‘Dredd’ used it to great effect especially in its slo-mo sequences with bullets blasting through walls and bad guys that almost fetishized what was often regarded as fascist hero whereas it was the most sly of satires. Unfortunately its plot involved Dredd battling his way up an enormous tower block to get to Ma-ma which would, have been fine if the Indonesian film, The Raid, had not used the same plot device the year before. Now quite why an Indonesian film should have any impact on a Hollywood film might seem a push but it was an action film the likes of which wiped the floor with every action film that dared come near it with the most exhilarating of fights that seemed too incredible to have been done safely and the that fact that a mooted Hollywood remake has been in development hell for years suggests that that was certainly the case. Whatever it was audiences just didn’t take to Dredd and though it was modestly budgeted at only $50m, it only took $41m at the box office worldwide. Dredd had many admirers and despite its lack of success producers were urged on by fans to produce a sequel which was tried  but the moneymen just never came forward and so a sequel now seems highly unlikely.

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Cloud Atlas

The Wachowski’s had made huge impact on film with the release in 1999 of their ground breaking and influential film ‘The Matrix’ followed by two further sequels but with the trilogy seemingly having come to its conclusion in 2003 the pair looked further afield and their 2006 film ‘Speed Racer’ had crashed at the box office. But their penchant for challenging big budget films continued with the release of Cloud Atlas based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by David Mitchell (not the comedian). A mulita layered film that hopped back and fore in time and across genres where the actions of individuals would impact on others in the past present and future. Cloud Atlas had an incredible star cast that included Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent & Susan Sarandon many of whom played multiple roles – Hanks played seven! Lana Wachowski would co-write the script with Tom Tykwer and along with Lilly Wachowski all three would direct what was a another costly film at $120m and one of the very few to have three directors.

But the big budget (some of which had been provided by the Wachowskis’ themselves) , big stars and A-list directing duo were impressive audiences just didn’t take to a story the likes of which many found difficult to keep up with and the fil, earned only $130m. Cloud Atlas though is a film that rewards a re-watch with an intriguing story structure and actors playing the most visually extraordinary roles notably Hanks as a shaven headed goatee bearded gangster. In the end its failure meant that the Wachowskis were starting to acquire a reputation for expensive films that didn’t perform at the box office and their following film, the flop $176m space opera ‘Jupiter Ascending’, compounded their reputation.

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The Cabin in the Woods

With a script that was thrashed out over the course of a weekend audiences might expect The Cabin the Woods to be haphazard and sub-standard. But this was a script co-written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon much revered for their screenplays for TV hits Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, Lost, Firefly and Angel and the pair, both reeling from the failure of getting a film project greenlit, went off to …well…. a cabin in the woods and wrote a script where five friends (all genre stereotypes), go for a break in …well, a cabin the woods where they find themselves at the mercy or outside forces beyond their control until they discover what is behind it all. To say anymore would spoil the film for those who have not seen it but there are twists and turns and best of all a glorious array of film fan favourites with an impressive array of movie monsters with a suitably apocalyptic ending. It would be Goddard’s first film as director and Whedon produced but its release was delayed when the studio fell into bankruptcy meaning that there was a liklihood it would sit on the shelf indefinitely. But Lionsgate Pictures saw it and loved it and the film was further helped by its star Chris Hemsworth being cast in what would be his breakout role as Thor and with anticipation for that Marvel film being so high, The Cabin in the Woods was released shortly before it. Unfortunately the delay of a film’s release, and this was well before the pandemic lockdown, has audiences uneasy suspecting something was awry with the film. Often it’s not a misplaced judgement but occasionally its wrong and was certainly the case with this. Sharp writing, a smart concept and a clever playing on the tropes and clichés of the genre made this an immensely entertaining watch and the film just about broke even with a $70m haul at the box office but the film deserved a much bigger audience and a far bigger box office return.

The premiere of the film believed to have lost the studio $100m

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