8 (Apparently) Bad Movies That Made A Ton of Money

Adam Sandler’s latest movie, The Ridiculous Six, has 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, which means critics think it sucks. Like, a lot.

And yet, Netflix recently revealed it’s their most watched movie ever. Erm…what?

It’s far from the first movie to get a huge audience despite downright terrible reviews, though. Here are 8 more ‘bad movies’ that made more money than your average small country.

The Last Airbender

Rotten Tomatoes score: 6%

Box Office: $131 million

Based on the cartoon Avatar (a name they couldn’t use, for obvious reasons), The Last Airbender follows a young dude called Aang who can command the elements, which gives him the power to end a great war ravaging his homeland. Sounds exciting, right?

It ain’t. The Last Airbender plods along, weighed down by trying to explain everything in a short space of time and some dodgy action sequences. It doesn’t even have a signature M Night Shyamalan twist!

It still managed to make over $100 million at the box office though, taking $300 million worldwide.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Rotten Tomatoes score: 56%

Box Office: $474 million

Time hasn’t been kind to the first Star Wars prequel, which most people agree is the worst in the series. Shout ‘I LOVE JAR JAR BINKS’ in the middle of a convention if you want to find out just how much people hate this film.

So it’s easy to forget that The Phantom Menace didn’t actually get terrible reviews at the time. In fact, fan reaction was pretty positive in some quarters.

That might explain why The Phantom Menace made $474 million in the US and Canada, which makes it the 7th highest grossing movie of all time (before adjusting for inflation). Globally, it made over $1 billion!

Grown Ups

Rotten Tomatoes score: 10%

Box Office: $162 million

If there’s one lesson to take from this post, it’s this: people will watch Adam Sandler in anything.

Grown Ups basically consists of Adam Sandler and his buddies going on holiday and goofing around. Honestly, that’s about it. It might as well be a home video.

Critics hated it, obviously. But audiences didn’t. In fact, Grown Ups made so much money that Sandler made a sequel that also made a ridiculous amount of cash.

The Hangover Part III

Rotten Tomatoes score: 19%

Box Office: $112 million

The Hangover was one of the biggest box office surprises in recent history, so a sequel made perfect sense. And even though it was pretty much the same film but in Thailand, it was still pretty funny.

The Hangover Part III was a different kettle of fish entirely. Instead of getting drunk and trying to recall what happened the night before, the Wolfpack get kidnapped by a mob boss and are forced to retrieve his gold from Leslie Chow.

It’s weirdly dark and definitely not to everyone’s taste, but the power of the franchise got enough people down to the theatre to see it.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Rotten Tomatoes score: 19%

Box Office: $402 million

No one goes into a Transformers movie expecting high art, but you know something’s up when the main star and director both admit a movie was bad.

But while Shia LeBeouf and Michael Bay didn’t like Revenge of the Fallen, American audiences sure did. The mildly offensive explosion extravaganza is the 21st highest grossing film in history, just below Jurassic Park.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Rotten Tomatoes score: 12%

Box office: $102 million

Be honest: you forgot this existed, didn’t you?

Brendan Fraser returned to The Mummy franchise after a decade of straight-to-DVD sequels featuring various sports stars dressing up as the Scorpion King (none as well as The Rock).

Neither he or Jet Li could save Tomb of the Dragon Emperor from a critical panning, but they did help it make enough cash to build a pyramid entirely of money and fund Scorpion King sequels until the end of time.


Rotten Tomatoes score: 9%

Box office: $95 million

Just weeks after winning a Golden Globe for Dreamgirls, Eddie Murphy took home Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Supporting Actor at the Razzies for Norbit.

Norbit, which follows a shy nerdy guy who is forced to marry a scary woman of ‘larger’ stature (both played by Murphy), was destroyed by critics, with Murphy’s portrayal of a Chinese man widely condemned.

Fortunately for Murphy, years of goodwill brought in the audiences. That, or people wanted to find out just how offensive Norbit was for themselves.

The Devil Inside

Rotten Tomatoes score: 6%

Box office: $53 million

The Devil Inside is notorious for having one of the worst endings of all time. The found footage horror movie spends an hour and a half following a group of people exploring demonic possession and then ends with perhaps the cheapest trick in cinematic history (we won’t spoil it for you!).

It led to the movie getting a rare F from Cinemascore, which grades movies based on audience reaction. But by the time audiences could rage, they’d already paid their money.

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