GOBankingRates

Flop or Fortune: What Became of 2017’s Biggest Budget Movies?

©Film Frame/Walt Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

2017 was a year of movies with huge budgets. Some were standalone films, and others were highly anticipated franchise sequels. Some broke records, others turned into embarrassing flops.

When investors gamble on big-budget movies, they take on immense risk for the possibility of reaping enormous rewards. Big-budget flops can ruin careers, and blockbusters can make them. Here’s a look at the fate of 2017’s biggest movies.

©M.S.Gordon/Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Dunkirk’

Release date: July 21, 2017
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Production budget: $100 million
Worldwide gross: $525 million

World War II drama “Dunkirk” chronicles the real-life Allied evacuation of 300,000 British troops on the brink of annihilation by the Germans. Not only did the movie earn more than five times its budget, but it received rave reviews. An Entertainment Weekly critic called it “the British response to Steven Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan.'”

Don’t Miss: 25 Celebs Who Got Their Big Break in Box Office Hits

©Universal Pictures/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘The Mummy’

Release date: June 9, 2017
Distributor: Universal
Production budget: $125 million
Worldwide gross: $409.1 million

According to Time, “The Mummy” was the first in what is sure to be a recurring franchise of monster movie sequels. Although the film earned back its budget more than three times over, it was a flop that cost investors roughly $95 million, according to Deadline. It also received largely abysmal reviews — it retains a hideous 16 percent score on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

Open a New Bank Account
©Clay Enos/Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Wonder Woman’

Release date: June 2, 2017
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Production budget: $149 million
Worldwide gross: $821.8 million

“Wonder Woman” launched the career of Gal Gadot, an Israeli model who played Gisele in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise but still was relatively unknown before this movie — and “Justice League” — made her a star.

The biggest standalone box-office success of the DC Extended Universe franchise, “Wonder Woman” is part of what will be a 15-film juggernaut by 2020.

©20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’

Release date: July 14, 2017
Distributor: Fox
Production budget: $150 million
Worldwide gross: $490.6 million

Although it didn’t come close to matching the success of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the 2017 “War for the Planet of the Apes” is the second-highest-grossing film in the franchise at the global box office. It also received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with Roger Ebert’s website giving it 3½ out of four stars.

©Columbia Pictures/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Blade Runner 2049’

Release date: Oct. 6, 2017
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Production budget: $150 million
Worldwide gross: $248.83 million

“Blade Runner 2049” received decent reviews — despite the enormous shoes it had to fill. The original 1982 movie with Harrison Ford remains one of the most celebrated science-fiction movies of all time. In the end, “Blade Runner 2049” was a box-office flop — but then again, so was the original, and it is now a cult classic.

‘Blade Runner’ Then and Now: Find Out Which Cast Is Richer

©Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Beauty and the Beast’

Release date: March 17, 2017
Distributor: Buena Vista
Production budget: $160 million
Worldwide gross: $1.26 billion

“Beauty and the Beast” earned nearly eight times its budget and became the fourth-most successful Disney movie of all time behind the two most recent “Star Wars” films and “Marvel’s The Avengers.” It had the most successful opening of any PG movie in history and the seventh-biggest launch of any movie with any rating.

©Warner Bros./Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’

Release date: May 12, 2017
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Production budget: $175 million
Worldwide gross: $148.7 million

Director Guy Ritchie’s big-budget re-imagination of the classic “King Arthur” story flopped so badly that it earned just $15 million on opening weekend. It never came close to recouping its budget, which was $300 million, according to IndieWire, when you include marketing.

Among the problems were that it was released on Mother’s Day weekend, yet was geared almost exclusively to men. And, it debuted during a time that was crowded with good movies.

©Chuck Zlotnick/Columbia/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

Release date: July 7, 2017
Distributor: Sony/Columbia
Production budget: $175 million
Worldwide gross: $880.2 million

Of the six installments of the “Spider-Man” franchise, only 2007’s “Spider-Man 3” earned more at the global box office than “Spider-Man: Homecoming” — but only by less than $11 million. With a 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was lauded by The Atlantic as “one of the best superhero movies in years.”

©EuropaCorp/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’

Release date: July 21, 2017
Distributor: STX Entertainment
Production budget: $177.2 million
Worldwide gross: $184.68 million

The Guardian called it “a big-budget flop.” Variety called it “one of the biggest flops of the year.” Forbes simply said it bombed. After dying a slow death at the domestic box office, the only hope for “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” was China, but it declined by a stunning 80 percent there after its first week.

©J Boland/Marvel Studios/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Release date: Nov. 3, 2017
Distributor: Buena Vista
Production budget: $180 million
Worldwide gross: $793.4 million

“Thor: Ragnarok” is the seventh-most successful movie in Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most successful film franchise in the world. Not only did it earn more than four times its budget at the worldwide box office, but the third “Thor” film was lauded for its humor and excitement by reviewers. The film maintains an enviable 92 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

©Warner Bros/Legendary/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Kong: Skull Island’

Release date: March 10, 2017
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Production budget: $185 million
Worldwide gross: $566.7 million

“Kong: Skull Island” got some lukewarm but also many positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, which rates it at an acceptable 76 percent, applauds its frantic pace and “eye candy” visuals. Most agree, however, that it does not match the 2005 original in the franchise. Whether it does or doesn’t, it earned more at the worldwide box office than the first installment.

©Marvel Studios/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

Release date: May 5, 2017
Distributor: Buena Vista
Production budget: $200 million
Worldwide gross: $863.6 million

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has the fifth-highest earnings among films in the world’s most successful movie franchise: Marvel Cinematic Universe. It even earned more at the domestic box office than the original.

Both Rolling Stone and Roger Ebert gave it three stars out of four, and it received an 82 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which lauded the film’s “dazzling visuals” and favorably compared it to the original.

©Paramount Pictures/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

Release date: June 21, 2017
Distributor: Paramount
Production budget: $217 million
Worldwide gross: $605.43 million

When a movie makes more than $600 million, it’s hard to call it a flop. But “Transformers: The Last Knight” woefully underperformed at the box office.

Forbes blamed expensive but cloudy marketing, as well as the impression that the movie spent more time setting up sequels than entertaining viewers. Variety blamed a combination of bad early reviews, the lack of a must-see feel surrounding the movie and the phenomenon known as “franchise fatigue.”

©Peter Mountain/Walt Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’

Release date: May 26, 2017
Distributor: Buena Vista
Production budget: $230 million
Worldwide gross: $794.78 million

According to Forbes, the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” film was such a success that it finally broke Disney’s longstanding “Memorial Day curse.”

Compared with the other films in the franchise, the fifth installment was underwhelming — at the domestic box office, that is. It actually crushed the overseas box office, where it earned more than 78 percent of its money.

©Universal/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

‘The Fate of the Furious’

Release date: April 14, 2017
Distributor: Universal
Production budget: $250 million
Worldwide gross: $1.24 billion

Like the fifth “Pirates” film, “The Fate of the Furious” also was driven by international movie fans, who contributed more than four out of every five dollars to the action blockbuster’s massive 10-figure haul. The film’s worldwide opening entered into a virtual tie with that of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” It was the highest-grossing movie ever in China.

Next Up: ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Iron Man’ and 18 Other Billion-Dollar Movie Franchises