Practically everyone loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe, more commonly known as the MCU. That being said, not all of their movies do exceptionally well at the box office. That's right, even they have some that don't perform as well as they might have hoped. While some of their worst performers still bring in more money than a lot of other films on their best days, they're not all the massive success that might have been expected when they were filmed.
Below are 10 of the lowest performing Marvel movies, according to box office sales. The list starts at number 10 and goes all the way down to number one with the lowest performer. Check it out and see if any of your personal favorites made the list, as everyone has a different opinion when it comes to expressions of art.
10. Blade II (2002) ($82,348,319)
This was a film that was first made popular by Wesley Snipes. It's easy to see why that initial film eventually spurred a trilogy, especially when you consider the fact that people have a tendency to love two things when it comes to major action movies- superheroes and vampires. Since this is a film that has both, it's easy to understand why so many people decided to walk to the cinema in order to see it. Obviously, the first one did well enough that it inspired the second one and eventually, even a third.
For the purposes of this entry, the film in question is the second installment, one that was directed by none other than horror film great Guillermo del Toro. You would think with someone like him directing the film and an established actor such as Snipes (who had already established the character in commanding fashion), this film should have done better at the box office. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The funny thing is that no one could ever identify a clear reason why this happened. There was just something about it that either didn't click with audiences or perhaps it was the timing of the release itself. For whatever reason, it didn't do as well as they'd hoped.
9. Blade (1998) ($70,087,718)
A lot of people are quick to point out that the second installment of the “Blade” trilogy actually performed better than its predecessor, as you can clearly see here. That being said, a lot of people weren't terribly upset that the original movie didn't perform better than this because it was such a low budget film in the first place. As a matter of fact, it only cost $45 million to make the entire film. As a result, the studio was still capable of making quite a lot of money, despite the fact that it didn't have the best box office run in history by a long shot.
Even though things weren't looking great as far as box-office sales were concerned, the studio wasn't terribly concerned about the issue, as you can see from the fact that they continued on with the trilogy. However, it is important to note that while Marvel has been responsible for launching countless numbers of careers and character arcs, this one never really found its footing.
As a matter of fact, a lot of people that have come into these films after the trilogy was finished don't even know anything about it and they're actually surprised to learn that Marvel was responsible for it. Why? Marvel doesn't really include this character in a lot of its stories that exist today, largely because the movies didn't perform that well at the box office. By the time you're done reading this list, you're likely to discover that there are a few more movies that the company probably wishes people would simply forget about.
8. Fantastic Four (2015) ($56,117,548)
This is a film that gave the studio a gigantic black eye when it came out. As far as the comic book version of the story, people absolutely loved it. They couldn't get enough of it. When news came out that they were going to make a movie that centered around this particular story, people were thrilled beyond belief. That is, until the movie actually came out and a few people saw it. It seems that virtually no one likes this film. There are a number of reasons that it's been so widely criticized, not the least of which involves the accusation that they didn't stick to the story that was presented in the comic book, but instead tried to create their own take on things and do it for as little money as possible.
In addition, most people that were critical of the film said that the script was badly written and that the individuals who were cast in the film should have never been there in the first place. Keep in mind, one of those individuals was Miles Teller, who has since made a rather notable career for himself in the film industry. At the time this movie came out, he was probably wondering if he would ever have the opportunity to work again once people saw the film.
7. Blade: Trinity (2004) ($52,411,906)
What can you say about this film, it just didn't do justice to the series. That's saying quite a lot, especially when you consider the fact that both films in the trilogy also ended up on this list. However, there were special issues with this one that made it less than desirable, and that's putting it mildly. The biggest thing was that the studio decided they wanted a new director when the second film in the trilogy didn't perform as expected. For some reason, they decided that they would simply have the same person who wrote this particular screenplay direct the film.
As a result, David S. Goyer ended up taking the reins. Unfortunately, he had only directed one film prior to this. The end result was a director that didn't really know what he was doing, directing his own screenplay, which wasn't that great to begin with. The film ended up jumping from one story to the next without ever really developing a fully-formed plot in any capacity. Audiences didn't appreciate it and as a result, the film more or less bombed at the box office.
6. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) ($51,774,002)
The truth of the matter is that the first film in this particular storyline wasn't all that popular, either. It did well enough at the box office, bringing in $228 million. However, it turned out to be a film that was widely criticized by professional movie critics and audiences alike. As a matter of fact, it's one of those Marvel films that a lot of individuals who consider themselves dedicated MCU fans won't even touch. There are a number of reasons that the films are widely criticized, but one of the biggest reasons involves the writing itself.
For whatever reason, audiences never really identified with the story and that made it virtually impossible for either film to have any type of longevity within the MCU. In addition, the star of both of the films is Nicolas Cage and that fact tends to polarize fans. Some people absolutely love him and others not so much. If you're not a particularly big fan of Cage, you may not be as inclined to go see these movies as someone who doesn't have such strong feelings. Either way, this is a film that the studio most likely wishes it had never made because all it really did was waste time and money.
5. The Punisher (2004) ($33,810,189)
There are so many reasons why this film didn't do better at the box office. It's genuinely unfortunate for the star of the film, Thomas Jane, as he did an exceptional job. However, he's not really a superhero and this is supposed to be a superhero film. Instead, he spends the majority of his time on screen running around shooting at various individuals. This makes the film feel much more like one of those testosterone-filled action films than anything else. What it does not feel like is a superhero film, not even in the slightest.
Another thing that might have hurt the film's performance in the box office was the addition of John Travolta, who is cast as the main antagonist. He’s sort of like Nicolas Cage. Some people absolutely love him and others will actively avoid a film that stars him because they really don't want to see anything that he's in. If the film had been written (and cast) differently, it might have performed better.
4. Elektra (2005) ($24,409,722)
It's unfortunate that this particular film didn't perform better. It was meant to be a spin-off of another low performer, “Daredevil.” It was also handled largely by Fox Studios who had the Marvel license at the time. Many people have since speculated that Fox rushed the film out in order to keep the license, which ultimately resulted in a film that is noticeably lackluster. The idea is promising enough, one that involves sorcery and loads and martial arts fight scenes.
However, the script wasn't really written all that well, the CGI is absolutely terrible and the performances are uninspired, to say the least. Marvel decided that things needed to change after this film and eventually got the license back for both this and “Daredevil.” They also decided to revisit the whole idea of magic and sorcery with another group of films that started with the 2016 movie “Doctor Strange”. It would seem they learned their lesson well, because that particular movie brought in $677 million at the box office.
3. Howard the Duck (1986) ($16,295,774)
This was essentially the first Marvel character that ever appeared on screen in a full-length feature film. Unfortunately, the story was one that ended up being all over the place. Audiences were not exactly impressed with the performances of any of the individuals who were cast, either. The end result was a dismal performance at the box office that didn't even manage to bring in $20 million. Nevertheless, it did seem to plant the seed, as not only is Marvel still around, but arguably stronger than ever. If you'll remember from another Marvel film, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Howard also made a short cameo.
2. Punisher: War Zone (2008) ($8,050,977)
You might be asking yourself why a movie that does poorly gets a sequel. For whatever reason, that is the decision they chose. The funny thing is, they didn't fix any issues that caused the first film to bomb. It's hard to understand why they thought the results would be any different here. As it turns out, they were even worse. This is a film that didn't even make half of its production budget. It cost the studio a ton of money in the process. You probably would think that would spell the end of this particular character. However, it actually showed up as part of a Netflix series years later.
1. Inhumans (2017) ($1,521,787)
If you're like most people, you're wondering why this film doesn't ring a bell. Especially considering it's only a few years old. After all, most people are acutely aware of everything Marvel does so it's weird to have a film this obscure. Rest assured, there is a good reason that it's so obscure. What is that reason, you ask? Put simply, it's a terrible film. Everything about it is absolutely embarrassing. The only thing more embarrassing is its box-office performance. It's definitely not one that should be on anybody's watchlist, no matter how dedicated a fan you consider yourself.
Regardless of the performance of these films, there still continues to be powerful Marvel characters in them.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson