Movies can be a hit or miss, and sometimes even the biggest bombs can become beloved cult classics over time. Here are 20 movies that flopped at the box office but gained a dedicated following and became cult classics:
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – Initially a commercial failure, this musical comedy-horror film gained a following through midnight showings and has since become a cultural phenomenon.
- Blade Runner (1982) – Though it underperformed upon its initial release, this science fiction film is now considered a classic and has influenced countless movies and TV shows.
- The Big Lebowski (1998) – This Coen brothers film was a box office bomb but has since gained a massive cult following, inspiring festivals, merchandise, and even a religion.
- Donnie Darko (2001) – This dark sci-fi film was a flop at the box office but has since gained a dedicated following for its complex plot and unique style.
- Office Space (1999) – Despite its lack of success at the box office, this workplace comedy has since become a cult classic and a favorite among office workers.
- The Boondock Saints (1999) – This vigilante action film was a box office bomb but has since gained a cult following for its violent, over-the-top action and quirky characters.
- Dazed and Confused (1993) – Though it was a commercial failure upon release, this coming-of-age comedy has since gained a dedicated following for its nostalgic look at high school in the 1970s.
- Fight Club (1999) – This controversial film underperformed at the box office but has since gained a massive following and become a cultural touchstone for its commentary on consumerism and masculinity.
- Heathers (1988) – This dark comedy was a box office disappointment but has since become a cult classic for its biting satire of high school cliques and teen culture.
- The Room (2003) – Widely regarded as one of the worst films ever made, this drama has gained a cult following for its unintentionally hilarious dialogue and bizarre plot.
- Wet Hot American Summer (2001) – This summer camp comedy was a commercial failure but has since gained a cult following for its absurd humor and talented cast.
- Repo Man (1984) – This sci-fi punk rock film was a box office disappointment but has since gained a dedicated following for its irreverent humor and unique style.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) – Though it was a box office bomb, this action-comedy film has gained a cult following for its video game-inspired style and clever humor.
- Army of Darkness (1992) – This horror-comedy film was a commercial failure but has since gained a dedicated following for its over-the-top humor and cult hero, Ash Williams.
- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) – This sci-fi adventure was a box office flop but has since gained a cult following for its bizarre plot and offbeat humor.
- The Monster Squad (1987) – This horror-comedy was a box office bomb but has since gained a cult following for its campy humor and monster-filled plot.
- Harold and Maude (1971) – This dark romantic comedy was a commercial failure but has since gained a dedicated following for its offbeat humor and unconventional love story.
- The Warriors (1979) – This action film was a box office disappointment but has since gained a cult following for its unique look at New York City gang culture in the 1970s.
- Dark City (1998) – Though it failed at the box office, this sci -fi film has since gained a following for its unique visuals and mind-bending plot.
- Clerks (1994) – This indie comedy was a commercial flop but has since gained a cult following for its witty dialogue and realistic portrayal of the retail experience.
- The Iron Giant (1999) – Despite critical acclaim, this animated film failed at the box office but has since gained a devoted following for its touching story and beautiful animation.
These movies may have initially been deemed as failures but they have since become beloved by many. Sometimes a movie needs time to find its audience, and in these cases, the movies’ unique and unconventional qualities helped them to gain a dedicated following.
In some instances, a movie’s failure may be due to its marketing or timing. For example, The Big Lebowski was released during the same week as Titanic and was overshadowed by the massive success of that film. It wasn’t until later that The Big Lebowski found its niche audience and became a cult classic.
The Room is another example of a movie that failed due to poor marketing and lack of funds. However, its infamy has since grown due to its unintentional humor and the cult following it has gained as a result.
Overall, these 20 movies are a testament to the fact that a box office failure doesn’t necessarily equate to a cinematic failure. Sometimes, it takes time for a movie to find its audience and to be appreciated for its unique qualities.