Actor James Stewart as George Bailey and actress Donna Reed as Mary Hatch in film 'It's a Wonderful Life', 1946. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Movies That Flopped So Hard They Practically Put Studios Out Of Business
The Golden Compass
"The Golden Compass" had a massive budget — about as much as the entirety of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy — and was intended to be the first of a blockbuster series of movies. The film had all the makings of a big hit, but unfortunately, it turned out to be a monumental failure that led to New Line Cinema's consolidation into Warner Bros. in order to survive.
It took 20th Century Fox $44 million to produce "Cleopatra" — which totals around $370 million when adjusted for inflation — forcing the studio to cut the budgets of its other films in production at the time to stay afloat. The film made some profit, but before that happened, it left Fox on the brink of shutting down.
Rise of the Guardians
"Rise of the Guardians" got respectable reviews from critics but was far from the box office smash that DreamWorks Animation was hoping it would be. It was the first movie out of 17 in a row that didn't work for the studio, prompting DreamWorks to lay off 350 employees and find new ways to make films more quickly and for less money.
It's A Wonderful Life
Liberty Films spent $2.3 million to make "It's A Wonderful Life," but the film only earned back $2 million, and the studio was sold to Paramount Pictures. However, Frank Capra, William Wyler, and George Stevens — three directors who founded the studio with former Columbia Pictures executive Samuel Briskin — signed deals with Paramount, so not all was lost.
The Right Stuff
"The Right Stuff," produced by the Ladd Company, failed to turn a profit and proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the young studio. Despite the success of "Police Academy," Warner Bros., who was financing and distributing Ladd Company films, ended their partnership, leading to the end of the studio.