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10+ Box Office Flops That Ended Up Becoming Classic Movies

Redemption is soo sweet.

This is exactly what happened to these 10+ movies that initially flopped at the box office.

Thanks to a pinch of persistence and a dash of cult followers, these flicks were soon transformed into the classics they were always meant to be.

If there were ever a time for a Drake song lyric, it's definitely now since these 10+ movies started from the bottom and now they're here.

1. *The Big Lebowski*


When the movie starring John Goodman and Jeff Bridges first hit theatres, the reaction was the opposite of "big."

In fact, it only grossed a profit of $2 million against the film's $15 million budget.

Things all changed, however, once the movie was released to home video.

This helped the movie in a big way, as it went on to make another $28 million!

That's not all. There's even an annual Lebowski Fest which takes place in Kentucky to celebrate the film.

2. *Highlander *

YouTube | Illustrated Fiction

Bad reviews are what soured this sword-fighting film's 1986 debut at the box office. It ended up making only about $4 million in profit.

This was despite the fact that the film had Sean Connery as its lead and a soundtrack by Queen.

Once the movie was released on VHS, everything changed.


It gained a huge cult following that has since spurred into sequels, a live-action TV series that went on for six seasons, and a series of books and comics.

Definitely not bad for what was once a flop.

3. *Fight Club *


The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club. So maybe that's why the 1999 drama flopped.

It suffered a huge blow by only earning $37 million against a $63 million budget. Like many of the movies on this list, things changed due to a VHS release.

4. *The Rocky Horror Picture Show* (1975)

What started out as a movie that bombed at the box office soon turned into the movie with the longest theatrical run in history!

This was all thanks to one brilliant Fox executive.

He decided to do midnight showings of the film at the Waverly Theatre in New York City.


This soon transformed the film into a cult classic that has spawned several musicals.

This includes the one that took place in 2016, starring Laverne Cox and Victoria Justice.

5. *Hocus Pocus*

Not even magic could save Hocus Pocus from being a major box office flop.

Despite costing $28 million to make, the film got lukewarm reviews and only earned $39,514,713 in the end. This is way below Disney standards.

A lot of this could have had something to do with the movie being released in the summer.


Once people started giving the movie a chance, though, it soon became a classic people would go back to over and over again.

Now, you can't have Halloween without watching it at least once!

6. *Blade Runner*


The science fiction classic starring Harrison Ford wasn't that well-received when it first came out.

While the movie did make a profit, it simply wasn't that much. It was just a little over $11 million.

The movie has science fiction buffs to thank for its redemption, as they soon turned it into a cult classic.

Since then, there's even been a sequel!

Blade Runner 2049, which starred both Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, came out in 2017.

7. *Heathers*


When this black comedy by director Michael Lehmann came out in the '80s, not even its all-star cast could save it from being a box office dud.

This included Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, and Christian Slater.

In the end, it only earned $1.1 million against its reported $3 million budget.

Word quickly spread about the movie, however, when it was released to VHS.

This turned the movie into a cult classic that now has a musical and 4K restoration of the original film.

8. *It's A Wonderful Life*

When the Christmas classic first came out, it only earned $3.3 million. Success, however, soon came when it was nominated for five Academy Awards that same year.

Like Home Alone and A Christmas Story, it's become a cult-classic to always watch during the holidays.

9. *The Shawshank Redemption*

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It's known as a cinematic masterpiece, but the movie bombed at the box office due to it having some stiff competition when it first came out.

This included Pulp Fiction, The Specialist, and The River Wild.

In the end, the movie only made $3 million.

Things really turned around once the movie was nominated for seven Academy awards.

It was also played almost daily on the TNT channel after the channel's owner, Ted Turner, acquired the rights to the film.

10. *Scott Pilgrim vs. The World*

Bad reviews are what first caused the movie to flop at the box office.

Peter Debruge of Variety called it "an example of attention-deficit filmmaking at both its finest and its most frustrating."

The movie went on to earn a dismal $47,664,559 against a $60 million budget.

Everything changed when the movie was released to home video.

It soon developed a fan following thanks to its talented cast, impressive visuals, and unique storyline.

11. *Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory*


Things weren't so sweet when the classic candy film only made $1 million at the box office.

Things changed when the movie got an at-home release. It even has a modern sequel starring Johnny Depp!

12. *Dazed & Confused*.

Gramercy Pictures

At the time of its release, Dazed & Confused barely made a splash at the box office.

It's gone on to be regaled as one of the greatest coming-of-age films ever made. The film's portrayal of high school life is arguably the greatest that's ever been captured on film.

13. *Scarface*.

Brian De Palma's Scarface is one of the greatest gangster flicks ever made. But few people paid attention or gave it much thought at the time of its release.

Since then, it has become cemented as a cult classic and one of the most brutal unforgiving portrayals of the American dream.

14. *The Room*.

Chloe Productions

You know how sometimes a movie can be so bad that it becomes good? Well, that's The Room for you. To call it a flop doesn't begin to encapsulate how poorly this film performed.

Nowadays, it's considered one of the best worst movies of all time and was the inspiration behind James Franco's The Disaster Artist.

15. *Citizen Kane*.

RKO Radio Pictures

How ironic: The film widely considered to be the greatest movie ever made was a complete and utter failure at the box office!

It just goes to show that some movies need to be revisited and explored several times over before we truly begin to understand them.

16. *Reservoir Dogs*.

Artisan Entertainment

It's mind boggling to think about how Tarantino's best film could have possibly been one of his biggest flops. But that's exactly what happened with Reservoir Dogs.

It barely scratched $3 million at the box office. But thanks to the home video release, it's now considered to be among Tarantino's greatest achievements.

17. *Donnie Darko*.

It's not hard to understand why theater audiences weren't fans of Donnie Darko. I've seen the film probably close to 20 times and I'm still at a loss to explain certain aspects.

You need to watch it several times in order to fully appreciate just how staggering a film it truly is.

18. *The Wizard Of Oz*.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Wizard of Oz cost MGM $2.7 million dollars to make, an incredibly high budget for the time. Sadly, the film only managed to rake in $3 million at the box office.

But that didn't stop future generations from falling in love with Dorothy and Toto!

19. *Office Space*.

There are very few movies that everybody should see at least once in their life, but Office Space is one of them. The film was a flop by every definition of the term but has since gone on to achieve legendary cult status.

If you know what it's like to hate your job, then you have to watch Office Space.