Movies

10 Box Office Flops That Are Secretly Sci-Fi Masterpieces

10 Box Office Flops That Are Secretly Sci-Fi Masterpieces
Image credit: Legion-Media, globallookpress.com

When it comes to sci-fi films, sometimes the box office numbers don't tell the whole story.

These are the films that, for one reason or another, didn't get the love they deserved during their initial release.

10. Attack the Block (2011)

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Budget: $13 million

Box Office: $6,459,183

A South London teenage gang, led by Moses, defends their block from an alien invasion, turning from petty criminals to unlikely heroes as they fight to protect their turf and community. Despite being a financial underperformer at the box office, recouping just half of its million budget, the movie was well-received by critics and later gained a status as a cult classic.

9. Under the Skin (2014)

Budget: $13.3 million

Box Office: $7,229,933

An extraterrestrial being disguised as a woman roams Scotland, seducing and consuming men, while grappling with human emotions and experiences that challenge her mission and perception. The audience reception was polarized; some admired the movie's artistic approach, while others found it too abstract and slow-paced. Scarlett Johansson 's performance, though, is a thing of beauty here.

8. The Thing (1982)

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Budget: $15 million

Box Office: $13,843,590

In a remote Antarctic research station, a group of scientists encounter a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people it kills, leading to paranoia and a desperate fight for survival. Initially "The Thing" received negative reviews and was a box office disappointment, criticized for its gore and bleak tone. Over time, though, it has been reassessed as a classic of the horror genre, with praise for its special effects and paranoia-driven story.

7. Blade Runner (1982)

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Budget: $28 million

Box Office: $39,581,774

In a dystopian future, a former police officer is tasked with hunting down bioengineered beings known as replicants, leading him to question his own humanity and the nature of reality. Initially met with mixed reviews and underwhelming box office performance, the film has since been re-evaluated as a cult classic of the science fiction genre.

6. Serenity (2005)

Budget: $39 million

Box Office: $40,319,440

Continuing the story of the TV series "Firefly," the crew of the spaceship Serenity becomes embroiled in a massive conspiracy when they take on a telepathic passenger harboring a deadly secret. The film was well-received by critics, particularly for its dialogue and action sequences, and is often celebrated by fans of the original "Firefly" series. However, the movie just wasn't working for general audiences without the background of the TV show.

5. Annihilation (2018)

Budget: $40 million

Box Office: $43,070,915

A biologist joins a mission to explore a mysterious, mutating landscape known as "The Shimmer," where the laws of nature don't apply, confronting psychological and physical horrors that threaten their lives and sanity.

4. Children of Men (2006)

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Budget: $76 million

Box Office: $69,845,011

In a bleak future where humans are infertile and society is on the brink of collapse, a disillusioned bureaucrat becomes the protector of the only pregnant woman in the world, offering hope for humanity's survival. Highly praised by critics for its direction, screenplay, and cinematography, this movie was considered a modern masterpiece of science fiction. Sometimes box office earnings really mean almost nothing, and "Children of Men" is proof enough.

3. Snowpiercer ( 2013)

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Budget: $39,2 million

Box Office: $86,808,204

In a post-apocalyptic world where a new ice age has killed all life except for the inhabitants of the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, a class system revolt unfolds led by the lower-class passengers. Audience reception was generally positive, appreciating its thought-provoking themes and Bong Joon-ho's direction; however, this reaction wasn't enough to conquer box office.

2. Ad Astra (2019)

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Budget: $90 million

Box Office: $135,406,280

An astronaut embarks on a perilous mission to the outer edges of the solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now threatens the universe. Critics praised the film for its visual beauty and Brad Pitt's performance, but some found the pacing slow and the story lacking in emotional depth. In other words, this one's no "Interstellar."

1. The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

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Budget: $190 million

Box Office: $159,755,133

"The Matrix Resurrections" sees Neo living a seemingly normal life as Thomas Anderson in San Francisco, unaware of his past as Neo. He's a successful game developer, having created a game series based on his dreams, which are actually memories of the Matrix. Meanwhile, Morpheus, now a program within the Matrix, and a group of rebels, including Bugs, work to free Neo from the Matrix once again. The film received mixed reviews, with praise for its ambitious storytelling and nostalgia but criticism for its convoluted plot.