21 Seemingly Forgotten Box Office Hits

These massively successful movies have given us all a case of pop culture amnesia…

As far back as this writer can remember, box office success usually translated into cultural relevance with some staying power, whether in the form of iconic images, quotable scenes, or even parodies on the big and small screen.

Ticket office at home

However, a film can approach a fad on certain occasions, having hit the jackpot before just as quickly descending into cinematic obscurity. As such, I’ve collected 21 box office hits that somehow slipped through the cracks of our collective memory.


Beowulf (2007)

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Opening at No. 1 at the box office and temporarily establishing the box office viability of motion-capture animated films, the star-studded adaptation of Robert Zemeckis’ epic poem Beowulf became a cinematic afterthought.


The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Universal / Courtesy of Everett Collection

This action-thriller was meant to cede the Bourne franchise to Jeremy Renner, who was simultaneously being courted as a major player in the Mission: impossible films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but its financial success was considered modest compared to its predecessors, leading Universal to return the franchise to Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass a few years later with Legacy never to be recognized again.


San Andreas (2015)

Warner Bros / Courtesy of Everett Collection

No, that movie wasn’t as memorable as Skyscraper Where Carnagebut this disaster flick starring The Rock nevertheless raked in big bucks in big-format theaters only to ultimately find its fate on endless late-night cable presentations.


Oz the Great and Mighty (2013)

Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy of Everett Collection

In the past decade, no one has particularly clamored to review Sam Raimi’s mistake Wizard of Oz reboot that attempted to capitalize on the CGI-soaked fantasy wave unleashed by Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland.


identity thief (2013)

Universal / Courtesy of Everett Collection

With sales of $174 million worldwide, identity thief was another entry in Melissa McCarthy’s impressive streak of success that included Bridesmaids, To spy, The heat, and Tammiebut no one ever seems to mention, reference, or fondly remember this crude road trip comedy.


Super 8 (2011)

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

JJ Abrams hoped that Super 8 would resonate with audiences the same as classic Steven Spielberg movies like HEY and Dating of the Third Kindbut ultimately saved closer to Spielberg’s more forgettable fare as The terminal and The BFGdespite racking up $260 million worldwide on a $50 million budget.


safe house (2012)

Universal / Courtesy of Everett Collection

This tense action-thriller was a hit with audiences, grossing $208 million worldwide, but its otherwise mundane nature makes it borderline indistinguishable from Denzel’s other shoot-’em-up movie. ‘Next year, 2 guns.


Angels (2009)

Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Despite the fairly vilified sequel Da Vinci’s Code 2006 adaptation, Angels has still nearly amassed $485 million worldwide, though it remains a barely shining point in a forgettable franchise that has barely impressed its target audience.


Lee Daniels’ Butler (2013)

Weinstein Company / Courtesy of Everett Collection

A huge success with the public and critics, Lee Daniel’s the butler didn’t quite permeate the larger cultural conversation in the decade that followed, with the film’s stunt casting and dramatic heft never quite revered as much as its contemporaries (although that criticism can be directed at many other Oscar-winning The Weinstein Company hopefuls, like The artist and The King’s Speech).


Over the limit (2006)

Dreamworks / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Grossing $336 million worldwide against an $80 million budget, Dreamworks’ comic book adaptation had an all-star cast and a warm reception from audiences, but the fact that it never spawned a sequel or any kind of substantial spin-off has relegated this animated film to the depths of obscurity.


Knock down the house (2003)

Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy of Everett Collection

This rom-com starring the odd duo of Queen Latifah and Steve Martin used its trove of charm to rake in nearly $165 million in the spring of 2004, but rarely became a talking point for the most memorable comedies of its time. .


sole survivor (2013)

Universal / Courtesy of Everett Collection

A surprise success for Universal in 2013, sole survivor is indeed thrilling and action-packed, but its sad true story and lack of particularly memorable performances has allowed its cinematic legacy to have been overshadowed by films like 2014’s. American sniper and 2016 hacksaw crest.


Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection

Still holding the accolades of being the highest-grossing documentary of all time and the only documentary to surpass $100 million at the box office, Fahrenheit 9/11 is, of course, a product of its time, and of the changing political and media climate, coupled with Michael Moore’s relative inactivity since 2018, much less successful Fahrenheit 9/11, didn’t help the film age particularly well among later generations.


I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry (2007)

Universal / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Although stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James team up with wedding crashes director Dennis Dugan’s box office payoff (over $187 million, to be exact), the film’s somewhat problematic subject matter, and the gargantuan success of the The adults films have since cemented this film among Sandler’s lesser esteemed and revisited titles.


The glutton (2013)

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Although the solo Wolverine films have been defined by prestige (Logan) and disaster (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), the good-but-not-great middle child of the saga, the Japanese setting The gluttongrossed over $400 million but remains the leading among the least discussed films of the 13 films x-men franchise.


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

If you are one of the millions of people who showed up for Jurassic World: Dominion with the mindset of “wait, who is that?” or “wait, why is there a human clone?”, you’re probably not alone, because the second film in the jurassic world The banner doesn’t offer much in terms of rewatch value despite its incredible $1.3 billion box office earning, plus it’s notoriously hard to find on popular streaming services.


Clash of the Titans (2010)

Warner Bros / Courtesy of Everett Collection

With an impressive cast led by Sam Worthington fresh off his starring role in Avatar, Clash of the Titans earned just under $500 million at the worldwide box office, but as public interest in fantasy content grew in the years that followed due to the immense popularity of game of thronesthis film and its less successful sequel struggled to remain culturally significant.


Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

The third big budget from Paramount and Skydance star trek the film grossed over $340 million globally, which was largely tied if slightly below its predecessors, but the franchise pissed off much of its audience with public deceptions on Star Trek Into Darkness and the departure of JJ Abrams from the director’s chair, which made this film the black sheep of the trilogy.


Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

The fourth film of the Transformers the franchise may have had a flashy new lead with Mark Wahlberg, the addition of the Dinobots and a worldwide box office gross of over $1 billion, The age of extinction lacked the cool factor of its predecessors or the camp factor of its sequel, earning it the status of the most mediocre of Transformers movies.


Finding Dory (2016)

Walt Disney Studios Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

Finding Dory may have been the third most successful movie of 2016 with a box office total of $1.028 billion, but even the latest live-action Pixar movies seem to be more celebrated and discussed among Disney die-hards, which is still more baffling considering how revered The world of Nemo remains in the Mouse House to this day.


Snow White and the Hunter (2012)

Universal / Courtesy of Everett Collection

With Kristen Stewart wearing the sparkle of the Dusk franchise and Chris Hemsworth are soaring with Thor, this epic reimagining of White as snow mythos struck a chord with audiences in 2011 and amassed nearly $400 million at the box office, but the film slowly faded into “who cares?” territory over the past decade, especially after the disappointing response to the Stewart-less sequel left little inspiration to rediscover it.

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