Some top-grossing movies bring in huge box office hauls only to have their storylines, writing and acting crushed by film critics and reviewers. GOBankingRates looked at the highest-grossing movies of all time according to domestic totals from Box Office Mojo, then identified which top box office films were skewered by more than half of the critics on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. All but one of the movies was either a sequel, part of a franchise or both. In fact, two film franchises are each represented by two different films and one franchise contributed a whopping four movies to the list.
Click through to see top billion-dollar movie franchises.
‘Meet the Fockers’
Domestic box office earnings: $279.26 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 39 percent fresh
Although 2000’s “Meet the Parents” was highly regarded, its sequel four years later wasn’t so well-received. The Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes stated plainly that a “talented cast is wasted as the movie is content with recycling jokes from its predecessor.” Fans in the general population, however, were kinder: The audience score for the epic in-law battle is 58 percent.
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‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1’
Domestic box office earnings: $281.29 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 25 percent fresh
Although “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” grossed nearly $713 billion worldwide, the teen vampire drama fell short with critics, scoring just 25 percent on the Tomatometer. The Critics Consensus is a major burn that called the novel-turned-film “slow, joyless and loaded with unintentionally humorous moments.” Rotten Tomatoes summarized the movie as only designed to please franchise fans, which seems to be confirmed by the movie’s much healthier 60 percent audience score.
‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’
Domestic box office earnings: $292.32 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 49 percent fresh
The follow-up to “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” didn’t fare as poorly as the first, but it certainly didn’t receive much praise — especially considering it earned more at the box office than the previous installment. The Critics Consensus was that it was the most entertaining “Twilight” movie, but like its predecessor, “Breaking Dawn Part 2” threw a bone only to franchise loyalists, who rewarded it with a respectable 70 percent audience score.
‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’
Domestic box office earnings: $296.62 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 28 percent fresh
If you’re starting to notice a pattern emerging, you are not alone. Once again, a “Twilight” film earned a tolerable score — 60 percent, in this case — from its target audience while repulsing reviewers, which helps explain its respectable gross. That phenomenon might just be by design, according to the Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus, which stated that despite satiating its hardcore fans, “outsiders are likely to be turned off by its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone and excessive length.”
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‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’
Domestic box office earnings: $300.53 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 49 percent fresh
As if three commercially successful movies that reviewers hated weren’t bad enough, the “Twilight” series managed to force its way into a fourth consecutive spot, which means that the franchise dominates one-fourth of the entire list. This time, the Critics Consensus was that the movie is “stuffed with characters and overly reliant on uninspired dialogue.” Once again, Rotten Tomatoes critics objected to the now-familiar theme that the entire affair was meant to please only those who had already committed to the series, which gave the film a score of 60 percent with fans.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’
Domestic box office earnings: $309.42 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 45 percent fresh
The “Twilight” series isn’t the only big-money, high-grossing franchise to have an installment or two fall out of favor with reviewers. The Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus is that the third installment of the Disney franchise “mixes in too many characters with too many incomprehensible plot threads.” Fans didn’t agree. The audience score turned out to be a satisfactory 72 percent.
‘Shrek the Third’
Domestic box office earnings: $322.72 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 41 percent fresh
The “Shrek” franchise is a $3.5 billion juggernaut at the global box office, and with $322.72 million in the U.S. alone, the third installment certainly pulls its ogre-like weight. That, however, wasn’t enough to convince skeptical reviewers, who feel that the movie didn’t fill the giant shoes of the first two critical darlings. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes is that “Shrek the Third” has “pop culture potshots galore, but at the expense of the heart, charm and wit that made the first two ‘Shreks’ classics.”
Domestic box office earnings: $325.1 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 26 percent fresh
“Suicide Squad” is by no means the only DC Extended Universe film that missed the mark with critics, but it just might be the funniest of the bunch. Rotten Tomatoes critics acknowledged the movie’s successful use of humor, but concluded that isn’t “enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters and choppy directing.” Fans begged to differ — the movie earned an audience score of 60 percent.
‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’
Domestic box office earnings: $330.36 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 27 percent fresh
Joining “Suicide Squad” in the DC franchise is “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which critics at Rotten Tomatoes say “smothers a potentially powerful story — and some of America’s most iconic superheroes — in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.” Regular viewers, however, don’t agree with that assessment. The movie received an audience score of 63, which ordinarily wouldn’t be something to brag about — unless, that is, all but 27 percent of critics gave the film a thumbs down.
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‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’
Domestic box office earnings: $352.39 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 35 percent fresh
The third installment of the modern “Transformers” franchise earned more than $1.12 billion worldwide — but that didn’t stop audiences from loathing it. The Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes is that the film’s impressive special effects are undeniable, “but they aren’t enough to fill up its loud, bloated running time, or mask its thin, indifferent script.” Ouch. The audience score was a slightly more forgiving 55 percent.
‘The Passion of the Christ’
Domestic box office earnings: $370.27 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 49 percent fresh
Just 34 movies have ever done better at the domestic box office than Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” — but that didn’t stop Rotten Tomatoes critics from reacting squeamishly to the film’s difficult subject matter. The movie portrays in graphic detail the torture and execution of Jesus Christ, the details of which “make the movie tough to sit through and obscure whatever message it is trying to convey,” according to the critics’ consensus. In what might be a case of the elites being out of touch with the commoners, fans disagreed and gave the film — the only standalone movie on this list — a respectable 80 percent rating.
‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’
Domestic box office earnings: $402.11 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 19 percent fresh
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” ranks among the 30 top box office movies of all time, and that’s without considering that it more than doubled its domestic haul in foreign theaters. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes, however, weren’t impressed. Their consensus panned it as a “noisy, underplotted and overlong special effects extravaganza that lacks a human touch.” In total, the movie suffered a dismal 19 percent, although fans tripled its value with a relatively generous 57 percent.