On 12.22 The Hollywood Reporter‘s Pamela McClintock posted a summary listing of 2011’s worst box-office performers. And yet for some reason she declined to name the worst performer in terms of production cost-to-earnings.
The worst wipe-out wasn’t Cowboys & Aliens or Green Lantern or Anonymous. And it wasn’t Arthur or Sucker Punch or The Thing or Conan The Barbarian. No, the movie that lost the most money in proportion to what it cost (according to McClintock’s figures) was David Frankel‘s The Big Year (20th Century Fox).
The bird-watching comedy costarring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson cost $41 million to make and took in a worldwide total of $7.4 million, which is 18% of its production budget. Add in marketing costs (which you should, of course) and it’s an outright calamity.
The Big Year‘s biggest proportional-loss competitor was Disney’s Mars Needs Moms, which cost $150 to make and earned a worldwide theatrical gross of $39 million, or 26% of its production budget.
Update: Martin Scorsese‘s hugely expensive Hugo was a big loser also, but the proportional pain wasn’t as bad as that suffered by The Big Year and Mars Needs Moms. It cost $175 million to make and and has so far earned a worldwide box-office tally of $51,343,914, or 29% of its production budget.