17 Blockbuster Movies That Nobody Remembers Today

17 Blockbuster Movies That Nobody Remembers Today
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Some movies live on forever. But some movies, like old toys, are loved passionately — and then abandoned entirely. Sometimes that’s by design; movies made to catch hold of a cultural moment aren’t likely to endure. A star or a style that’s big today isn’t necessarily going to make money tomorrow. Sometimes we were convincingly sold on a movie that turned out to be disappointing, and once was decidedly enough. And sometimes, it’s just that our tastes change.

Forgotten blockbusters aren’t necessarily bad (they’re not necessarily good, either). Every movie is somebody’s favourite, and they’re sometimes forgotten unjustly. Of course, just as often, it’s hard not to wonder why they were ever successful to begin with.

Here are some of the biggest blockbuster movies you may have forgotten ever existed at all.

2012 (2009)

Worldwide box office: Around $1,106 million

Legacy clearly wasn’t in anyone’s calculations when developing this movie, based on some misguided ideas about a (then) coming Mayan apocalypse. Any movie positing the end of the world in a specific year is going to age fairly poorly, but it’s doubtful that anyone was too disappointed. The movie cleaned up when it counted.

Where to stream: Netflix, Binge

Hancock (2008)

Worldwide box office: Around $880 million

Hitting just a few months after Iron Man, Hancock actually made a bit more money than that Ur-Marvel Studios film. Still, more than a decade’s worth of superhero movies have left Will Smith’s interesting but uneven effort behind.

Where to stream: Binge

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Worldwide box office: $1.42 billion

Tim Burton’s Wonderland was a sensation when it was released, and a reminder that the once-niche director was still more than capable of producing a blockbuster. A more-of-the-same sequel, however, lost a tremendous amount of money, and it seems that our fascination with the freaky film faded rather quickly.

Where to stream: Disney+

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Worldwide box office: $690 million

With decent box office but middling reviews, our cultural falling-out-of-love with James Franco has ensured that Oz’s glory days remain in the past.

Where to stream: Disney+

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

Worldwide box office: $525 million

Either of the first two live-action G.I. Joe movies could fill this spot: Each did respectable box office, but neither made a ton of money given their large budgets. This sequel, though, was slightly cheaper and made a bit more money. Narrowing the focus and losing some of the cartoon-ish elements that Rise of Cobra was criticised for, Retaliation has some fun moments and impressive action, but in losing some of the goofiness, it loses any distinctive flavour.

Where to stream: Netflix, Prime Video, Binge, Paramount+Stan

Due Date

Worldwide box office: $296 million

Thanks to Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, director Todd Phillips’ road trip comedy made a fair bit of money.

Where to stream: Netflix

What Lies Beneath (2000)

Worldwide box office: $407 million

A Robert Zemeckis movie with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer (with a script by Agent Coulson himself, Clark Gregg), this might have been a slam-dunk. And it did quite well given its budget, but the Hitchcock-in overtones fall flat. (I know that I’ve seen this movie, but I have absolutely no idea what lies beneath.)

Where to stream: Disney+

S.W.A.T. (2003)

Worldwide box office: $290 million

Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Jeremy Renner, and other big-ish names put butts in theatre seats for an otherwise stock police action thriller.

Where to stream: Netflix

Wild Hogs (2007)

Worldwide box office: $355 million

You know: The wildly popular Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, John Travolta, and William H. Macy biker comedy that entranced the nation back in 2007.

Where to stream: Disney+

Runaway Bride (1999)

Worldwide box office: $433 million

A throwback to a time when a rom-com could make over $420 million (and back when $420 million was real money), Runaway Bride always felt too heavily calculated to remind viewers of Pretty Woman…over time, it’s become clear that we’d rather just watch Pretty Woman.

Where to stream: Disney+

What Women Want (2000)

Worldwide box office: $523 million

If only, this movie asks, there were some way to understand women! It would probably take some sort of weird psychic superpowers, amirite, fellas?

Where to stream: Binge, Stan

San Andreas (2015)

Worldwide box office: $663 million

An earthquake impacts Los Angeles and San Francisco, bringing with it plenty of standard disaster movie tropes.

Where to stream: Stan

Troy (2004)

Worldwide box office: $696 million

Though the works ascribed to the poet Homer may be immortal, this nearly three-hour Brad Pitt/Eric Bana/Orlando Bloom joint isn’t anyone’s favourite adaptation. Though there are some fine performances and competent action set pieces, The Iliad has never been quite so bland.

Where to stream: Paramount+

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Worldwide box office: $773 million

Disaster movies are very often of their times, designed to be enjoyed and discarded in favour of the next star-studded catastrophe to come out of Hollywood. Roland Emmerich’s climate-change disaster movie is unique, at least, in its source material: a part-fiction, part-fact (-ish) book by paranormal radio host Art Bell and alleged alien abductee Whitley Strieber.

Where to stream: Disney+

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Worldwide box office: $690 million

Though it did well enough to earn a sequel, neither one of them has really eclipsed the 1981, Ray Harryhausen-powered original.

Where to stream: Apple TV

We’re the Millers (2013)

Worldwide box office: $378 million

I’ve never heard of this movie in my life.

Where to stream: Netflix, Binge, Paramount+

Avatar (2009)

Worldwide box office: $3.94 billion

In other circumstances, I’d be perfectly happy to defend Avatar as spectacle and as a piece of filmmaking. And, though it doesn’t qualify as “forgotten,” exactly (certainly given the multiple sequels that are forthcoming, it’s very much the case that the film lacks the passion and fan recognition that its nearly $4 billion box office take would suggest. Its legacy remains a work in progress, but it’s certainly an interesting case of a movie that we all loved (it’s still the highest unadjusted box office earner in history)…and then collectively decided to ignore.

Where to stream: Disney+

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