12 Flop Movies That Killed Directors’ Careers

It takes only one movie to launch a career and only one movie to destroy careers. And this situation becomes even more dire in the case of directors. On top of that, a lot of careers are also riding on the shoulders of the director. They too can become collateral damage in the wake of a flop. Hence, the job of a director is not easy at all. This list talks about the flop movies that single-handedly destroyed directors’ careers:


12. Rollerball (2002) – John McTiernan

Rollerball (2002)

McTiernan is known for his sensibilities in the genre of action-thriller. He has given us some breathtaking action thrillers. The list includes ‘Die Hard’, ‘Predator’, ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ and his first adaption in the form of ‘The Hunt for Red October’. He more often than writers the screenplay of his movies. Hence, he understands the nuances of the script and the ways it can be translated on-screen. He had some serious setbacks with ‘The 13th Warrior’ and ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’. But it was ‘Rollerball’ that became the lynchpin. The 1972 remake earned only $26 million dollars on a budget of $70m. The movie was a disaster to say the least. Hence, McTiernan hasn’t directed since. Let’s hope that he comes back with a bang, maybe in form of a new Die Hard movie.


11. Freaks (1932) – Tod Browning

Tod Browning is a sheer reflection of versatility. He is one of the few directors who has made movies in every genre and category. Tod made nearly 50 movies but was still in mostly unknown. And every one of them were actually at least decent. Finally, he received his deserved recognition for his feature ‘Dracula’. Then his earlier works also started gaining a lot of traction. People started talking about Tod and he became “The” Director. Well, that’s until he made ‘Freaks’ — an attempt at neo-horror which was nothing short of a weird circus at play. The film was whimsical to say the least. And it took everything that ‘Dracula’ had got him and he couldn’t make it to direction again.


10. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) – Ron Underwood

It is very peculiar what a big flop can do to a director’s career. Ron Underwood made the very successful and thrilling ‘Tremors’. And then displayed his versatility with the hilarious ‘City Slickers’. Both were widely successful and the producers started being on his speed dial. He then went onto make ‘The Adventures Of Pluto Nash’, a $100 million dollar project with Eddie Murphy. The movie could only make $7 million and for the most part went with empty theatres. This cost him dearly and a very successful career came to an end. He went into a void and never came back.


9. Pinocchio (2002) – Roberto Benigni

Imagine ‘Life is Beautiful’ and then imagine ‘Pinocchio’. Roberto Benigni directed both of these movies but they couldn’t have been any more different from each other. How can someone go so wrong after directing a movie as amazing as ‘Life is Beautiful’? Roberto Benigni not only was applauded for ‘Life is Beautiful’ but also received three oscars for it. But then something happened like it happens to people who taste success even before they pull a straw. He made an absolute dud in the form of ‘Pinocchio’ and boy could it have been any worse. It was so bad that it seemed hilarious. After that Benigni has acted in a few movies but hasn’t directed a feature since. Let’s hope he soon helms a project and makes something as beautiful as ‘Life Is Beautiful’.


8. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) – Stephen Norrington

This is a story of how comics gave a director his purpose and then took everything away. The curious case of Norrington’s career. A career that started with a huge blockbuster in the form of ‘Blade’, a Marvel comics adaptation. The Wesley Snipes starrer became symbol of cool and jaw breaking action. But then came the anti-climax of Norrington’s career. He adapted Alan Moore’s beloved graphic novel ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’. And the movie didn’t go well with the critics. Also, the peculiar thing is the movie didn’t flop, it made considerable money. But it brought some strong reactions from people including Sean Connery announcing retirement from acting. Since then, Norrington has been losing out on directing assignments like ‘Ghost Rider’, ‘Clash of the Titans’, etc and hasn’t received any offers to direct again.


7. The Scarlet Letter (1995) – Roland Joffé

When your first film itself gets seven Oscar nominations, you either die as a hero or you live long enough to become a villain. That is exactly what happened with Roland Joffe. He started with directing assignments on T.V and subsequently got an offer to direct a feature. And the struggle fetched him huge rewards with his first two movies ‘The Killing Fields’ and ‘The Mission’. Both the movies were huge successes critically and commercially. Then came testing times during the 90s with a series of mediocre movies. Shadow Makers and City of Joy. Then, the vile attempt of adapting Super Mario on-screen. And then finally ‘The Scarlet Letter’. This movie bagged almost all the Razzie awards.. After this , Joffe found got some offers here and there. But they were all direct to direct-to-TV movies and probably are in dumps now.

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