5 War Movies That Flopped at the Box Office but Won Over the Industry, Ranked

5 War Movies That Flopped at the Box Office but Won Over the Industry, Ranked
Image credit: Legion-Media

These movies never achieved commercial success, but are still worth seeing.

The war movie genre is not as popular as, say, the action thriller one. There aren't that many big war or anti-war hits that you can name off the top of your head, and they don't come out every month. And when they do make it to the big screen, they tend to bomb at the box office.

These five war movies were great in many ways, but they still couldn't make enough money. And there are solid reasons for this, including plot details, timing of release, marketing, etc.

5. Stalingrad

The budget of this war film was actually quite modest — only $10.7 million. But with that money, Stalingrad’s crew managed to create a story that stood out among other war movies. The writers focused on the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II and made it from the perspective of Nazi deserters.

The film, although critically acclaimed, earned about the same amount as its budget, yet it made viewers admire the story.

4. G.I. Jane

The movie that was supposed to be the big break that would launch the massive franchise ended up being a real flop. With a budget of $50 million, it only grossed $48 million.

This was not predicted by the creators because the premise of the movie was quite new and unique. G.I. Jane, the first woman to complete the 37-week U.S. Navy SEAL training course, was arguably Demi Moore's best role. A feminist story in a war movie is not something we see every day.

3. Operation Finale

This film is the post-Holocaust war thriller that tells the story of the real-life Mossad mission in the 1960s. In fact, it later inspired many 20th century spy films.

The movie had a budget of between $20 and $24 million, but only managed to gross $17 million. And that's considering that it stars Oscar Isaac.

2. Jarhead

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the movie had a budget of $72 million, but grossed $97.1 million at the box office. The thing is, this isn't your typical war movie that shows the horrors that people face on the front lines.

Instead, the director focused on the boredom faced by highly skilled U.S. Marines while they waited to be sent into actual combat. The film was not critically acclaimed at the time, but in the years following its release, it has been hailed as the most accurate war movie ever made.

1. Hotel Rwanda

The film features human rights activists in Rwanda fighting for the best future for their nation. The movie was highly praised by audiences and critics.

It is a story of hope and courage, as well as a genuine portrayal of horrific war crimes that happened at the time. The film did not underperform per se, but had only grossed $33.9 million against a $17.5 million budget.