Box Office Duds That Turned Into Cult Classics

    You get good movies and then you get classics that you can watch over and over again. The funny think about the classics is that there are a number of them that bombed at the cinemas. Their sales during the opening weeks sucked, but they ended up being some of the most memorable ones.

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show

    Now, who did not enjoy the cross-dressing Tim Curry in his youth? When it was released in 1975, it didn’t do all that well. Some speculate that it was a bit risqué for the time. It took a while, but today it is a classic.

    Dazed and Confused

    It’s hard to believe that one of Matthew McConaughey’s movies was a bit of a let-down when it was released. Although the movie had good reviews, it fell victim to some sub-par marketing and never received the attention it was due.

    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

    Paramount pictures can easily feel that they have been done in with this one. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory received nominations for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe, but it still wasn’t a commercial success. Warner Brothers bought it over and changed its status forever.

    Shawshank Redemption

    To think that the IMDB’s number one movie of all time was a flop at the box office is unthinkable. Shawshank had a very slow start, but it gained speed over some years and set the bar pretty high for quality movies.


    Jane Fonda will always be remembered for her role as the futuristic female heroine in Barbarella. On the US circuit is didn’t do great, but people in Europe loved it. Fonda’s seductive outfits became iconic after the movie and ensured that the movie would rise to success. 

    Blade Runner

    Anyone who is a fan of Sci-fi will tell you that Blade Runner deserves a spot in the top three sci-fi movies. Along with Star Wars and Star Trek, Blade Runner was one of the greatest Sci-Fi films which even got a remake in 2017. 

    The Thing

    John Carpenter was known in the Horror genre as one of the best in the business. The thing was one of his greatest movies, but it didn’t do very well when it was released. Some argue that it came out at just the wrong time and had some steep competition. 

     It’s a Wonderful Life

    To think that It’s a wonderful life was a box office failure is hard to imagine, but when it came out, people were not impressed. According to the reviews, it was much too dark for such a happy season. When the copyright wasn’t renewed, it took off as it was aired on TV.

    Donnie Darko

    Donny Darko is one of the most intriguing movies that you will ever see. However, when it was released, people were not ready to leave a cinema with so many questions to ponder. The visions of a creepy rabbit named Frank was disturbing for most.

    Ender’s Game

    One of the more recent movie releases that didn’t do well at the box office was Ender’s game. The book was an instant hit in 1985, but the author took a while to get on board. It only made a mere $15 million, which is low for Hollywood levels.


    This dark comedy left the audiences torn in two. For the most part, it was not received well and failed t the box office. However, Christian Slater and Wynona Ryder got a reprieve when the rental market picked it up and word spread like wildfire.


    David Lynch was not impressed with how the producers squashed his artistic vision for the movie. The fans of the novel turned the tide, however, and made it into a cult classic. Sting’s presence in the movie might have also helped things along.

    Office Space

    Office space was a difficult movie to market. It fell into a genre of its own and ended up failing on release. When it hit the video store, things started to heat up and word got around. Anyone who could relate to sucky office work found the movie hilarious and turned it into a cult classic.


    Terry Gilliam was the mastermind behind this classic. Needless to say, he had a hard time agreeing with the film executives over the editing and scenes. Very few people had seen his original vision, but it was enough for the LA film critics association to award the movie their Best picture in 1985.

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    To say that the producers missed the mark with their budget is an understatement. The movie only had an $18.5 million budget, but still only managed to bring in $13.7 million at the box office. DVD rentals saved this one and it is still enjoyed today.