After failing at the box office, becoming a “cult classic” is the best thing that can happen to a movie, and recently, Lady Gaga explained Donnie Darko’s cult status to Jake Gyllenhaal. A cult classic is a movie that gains a huge following after it bombs at the box office or has gotten negative reviews from critics. And a film can become a cult classic either because viewers think it’s so bad it’s good or because it’s a genuine masterpiece.
Some movies seem destined to become cult classics based on their niche subject matter and their box office performances, but for some reason, it just didn’t happen. Between the very first Marvel movie, an unmarketable animated sci-fi flick, and a comedy that came and went over COVID, Redditors are shocked these films never became cult hits.
Snakes On A Plane (2006)
Being another movie that attempted to gain instant cult status with its intentionally kitschy and cheap aesthetic, Snakes on a Plane failed to achieve its goal. MattTheSmithers puts it best, explaining, “Snakes on a Plane was a cult classic before it was released and then the cult completely disappeared. “
The film is definitely a product of its time. And while the iconic line in the movie was quoted to no end 15 years ago, younger audiences may not have a clue where “I’ve had it with these motherf ****** snakes on this motherf ****** plane “comes from. However, it does hold a legacy in that it helped the success of movie studios like Asylum, and they continue to make tens of mockbuster movies a year.
Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow (2004)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow has the high concept of giant robots attacking New York City, and a secret airforce is the only thing that can save the city from them. Even with big names like Jude Law and Angelina Jolie attached to the sci-fi adventure movie, it came and went, bombing at the box office and not even making back its budget.
The movie failed to find its audience in the almost 20 years since its release too, but Ex_Hedgehog argues, “I’m still waiting for people to fall in love in Sky Captain. it’s such a fun movie. “In fairness, for as ridiculous and over top the movie is, its CGI was way ahead of its time and it was a landmark in digital effects.
Howard The Duck (1986)
Long before Avengers: Endgame became the second-highest-grossing movie of all time, and before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was ever a thing, Howard the Duck was the very first major Marvel movie. It’s a strange and somewhat unsettling film, as Howard the Duck was much darker than advertised, and the Howard design was borderline terrifying.
TheRealCPB thinks it could have been a cult classic, explaining, “I’m not sure what statement this film is trying to make and it gets overly involved at the end. The aesthetic looks like it appeals to children but the content is adult in nature . ” The film could have very easily become a cult classic if it was possible for fans to find, as it wasn’t even released on Blu-ray until 2016. But it seems as if the studio is no longer trying to forget the film exists and is embracing the prospect of it being “so bad it’s good,” as the 4K Blu-ray version was released to commemorate the movie’s 35th anniversary last year.
Southland Tales (2006)
Paultheschmoop thinks that Southland Tales has the potential to reach cult status. The Redditor notes, “I’m shocked that Southland Tales isn’t a cult classic. So many good quotes from that movie. “It’s unclear whether the user believes the quotes or genuinely good or so bad they’re good, as the film was universally hated when it was first released for its forced political commentary and cringeworthy dialogue.
Ironically, Richard Kelly’s one great movie is a cult classic. Donnie Darko bombed at the box office, but it found its audience in the years since and is now considered one of the most imaginative sci-fi movies of the 21st century. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Southland Tales will reach that same status any time soon.
One of the newer movies mentioned by Redditors that were destined to be cult classics but never reached the status is Hellboy. However, Turok1134 thinks that the 2019 film still has a chance. The Redditor posits, “The Hellboy reboot might have a shot at being a future cult classic, but right now, people still aren’t very fond of it.”
The user’s love of the reboot is an unpopular opinion, and most would have much preferred a threequel to Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy movies. But between David Harbor’s performance and the metal aesthetic, 2019’s Hellboy is underrated.
Planet Terror (2007)
A_Feast_For_Trolls loves the Robert Rodriguez-directed Grindhouse movie Planet Terrorwhich was packaged as a double feature with Quentin Tarantino-directed Death Proof. The two movies were shot in the style of old B-movie horrors, and Planet Terror even has a “missing reel” segment, meaning 20 minutes are missing from the film, which was a common occurrence in the ’50s.
The Redditor makes a great point, noting, “I feel when you’re a movie that tries to be a cult classic off the bat, you run into trouble. It’s like giving yourself a nickname, you gotta earn it from others baby.” However, Death Proof has a good chance of becoming a cult classic, if it isn’t already, simply due to the fact that it’s directed by the celebrated Tarantino. And it doesn’t get mentioned as much amongst the other movies in his filmography.
Lucky_Plan7855 thinks that 9 was the prime movie to gain “cult classic” status. The Redditor notes, “I know it has a very tiny following, but it has pretty much disappeared from time into obscurity since 2009.” It’s hardly a wonder why the movie doesn’t have a fanbase, as the title doesn’t exactly explain to audiences what it’s about, and the poster of a CGI burlap sack isn’t going to get viewers tuning in either.
13 years after 9’s release, it’ll still briefly confuse potential viewers as they scroll passed it online. However, 9 itself is a genuinely heartfelt and fascinating animated movie, and it’s a shame that the movie’s marketing kept it from gaining an audience, even to this day.
Idiocracy is a dystopian comedy that follows a man with an average IQ, who is frozen in the present day and wakes up hundreds of years in the future where civilization is in tatters, and he’s the smartest man in America. Even though Idiocracy was a critically acclaimed 2000s movie, it bombed at the box office.
The movie has a lot to say about America and its societal and political economics, but regardless of where audiences sit on the political spectrum, everyone will find the movie hilarious, and it takes aim at everyone, not just one specific group. Toxicavenger70 is surprised that the film hasn’t become a cult classic, but it does have a small fanbase, and as the world becomes more anti-social, the movie’s relevance will grow, as will its cult following.
Miller’s Crossing (1990)
The Coen brothers are household names in Hollywood, especially amongst cinephiles, as the beloved directing duo has effortlessly churned out classics like The Big Lebowski,, Fargo, and so many others. But one movie in their prolific filmography that never gets mentioned is the 1990s gangster flick, Miller’s Crossing.
A deleted user thinks the movie had the potential to become a cult classic but failed. The Redditor notes, “my favorite Coen bros. Movie,” and they’re not alone, as other Redditors think Miller’s Crossing is the Coens’ best movie. And while it might have a pocket of fans, as far as it goes when it comes to Coen bros. debates, it’s unheard of.
Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar (2021)
Given that Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar reunites the Bridesmaids writing team, as it was written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, who wrote the 2011 comedy classic, the 2021 film made no impact whatsoever. Traverstown claims, “COVID definitely killed whatever buzz there was for this one.”
Even though it’s an easy excuse for movies that bombed in the period, Barb and Star was released at a time when the world was still in the middle of a pandemic. Because of the current state of cinemas, it was released on VOD, which could have kept people from seeing it or even finding out about it. As the film received generally positive reviews, it could possibly get more attention in the coming years.
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