After anxiously awaiting the release of that exciting new blockbuster and standing in line for hours on opening day, you rush into the theater to discover that the highly anticipated movie, well, stinks. Just because an overly hyped film rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars on opening weekend does not guarantee that it will receive critical acclaim. As a matter of fact, some of the highest grossing movies of all time are barely watchable.
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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
This three-hour long third installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy had audiences singing: "Ho-hum and a bottle of rum, when will this terrible movie be done?" Newsweek critic David Ansen called it, "The longest, grimmest and least funny of the trilogy." Yet, "At World's End" brought in more than $114 million in its opening weekend and a total of $309.4 million in domestic box office sales.
The disappointing pirate flick earned a shameful 45% on rottentomatoes.com's "Tomatometer" and a 50 out of 100 metascore on metacritic.com.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Although Hugh Jackman attracted hordes of X-Men fans to the theater for this highly anticipated film, "Wolverine" didn't come close to living up to its great expectations. While the film brought in more than $85 million opening weekend and grossed a total of $179.8 million, it earned some horrifying reviews.
"My brain glazed over while the stupidities of this action thriller played themselves out," wrote Joe Morgenstern, a Wall Street Journal critic. While most praised Jackman's individual performance, critics and audiences accused the film of being superficial and replete with clichés. "Wolverine" earned a pitiful 36% on the rottentomatoes.com Tomatometer and a mere 43 out of 100 on metacritic.com. (Learn more about which moves get the most box office bucks, read Movie Genres That Make The Most Money.)
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Blood-thirsty Twilight fans flocked to theaters to see this much-awaited second installment of the popular teenage vampire saga. Consequently, the movie raked in an impressive $142.8 million in its opening weekend and earned a total of $296.6 million in domestic box office sales, making it the third highest opening weekend grossing movie of all time.
While rabid Twilight fans may have been pleased with "New Moon," critics railed against the second-rate flick. World-famous movie critic Roger Ebert wrote "The Twilight Saga: New Moon takes the tepid achievement of "Twilight" (2008), guts it and leaves it for undead." Slapped with a wretched 27% on the Tomatometer and a pitiful 44 out of 100 metascore, this lifeless vampire/werewolf drama left audiences furiously howling.
The Da Vinci Code
After devouring Dan Brown's page-turner of a book, fans rushed to the theater in droves to see "The Da Vinci Code" on the big screen in 2006. Unfortunately, most of those audience members left the theater feeling terribly let down, furious that they'd never get those miserable two-and-a-half hours of their life back.
Starring the much-loved Tom Hanks, the film brought in $77 million in its opening weekend and earned a total of $217.5 million. "Da Vinci never rises to the level of a guilty pleasure. Too much guilt. Not enough pleasure," critic Kirk Honeycutt wrote in The Hollywood Reporter. The foul film earned a stinky 46 out of 100 metascore and a putrid 25% on the Tomatometer. (Acting and directing aren't the only jobs in Hollywood. Find out more in Under-The-Radar Hollywood Jobs.)
The Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
However, there's one top-grossing, low-rating movie that puts the others to shame. The winningest biggest loser, if you will. And that would be (drum roll please) "The Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."
Earning nearly $109 million in its opening weekend and a total of $402.1 million at the domestic box office, "Revenge of the Fallen" is the 10th highest-grossing opening movie in history. The film raked in a whopping $600+ million worldwide. However, this much-hyped 2009 sequel left audiences feeling confused, annoyed and downright angry. Featuring a flashy, disjointed series of metal-clashing scenes (the robots) punctuated by glimpses of cleavage (Megan Fox), Revenge has been called tedious, dumb, infantile and despicable by critics and viewers alike.
"This Transformers is a pile of glittering junk," wrote Joe Morgenstern for The Wall Street Journal. Peter Travers with Rolling Stone went so far to say, "Transformers 2 has a shot at the title Worst Movie of the Decade."
Peter Rainer with the Christian Science Monitor called Revenge, "An impossibly, incomprehensibly overlong and cacophonous bore." Dana Stevens with Slate fumed, "It is loud (boom!), long (two-and-a-half hours!), incoherent (poorly explained intergalactic warfare!), leering (Megan Fox in short shorts!), racist (jive-talkin' robot twins!), and rife with product tie-ins (Chevy! Hasbro!)."
It's no surprise that the horrendous film earned a measly 35 metascore and a paltry 20% on the Tomatometer.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it: five of the most horrific, highest-grossing films. These stinkers raked in millions upon millions dollars and heaps upon heaps of terrible reviews. It just goes to show that the money doesn't always follow the magic.
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