Along with films and TV shows that knocked the stuffing out of us in a good way, 2016 had its fair share of turkeys that never should have been basted and put in the oven. In honor of Thanksgiving, Variety’s staff have picked the biggest financial, critical and celebrity turkeys from the past year.
Ratchet and Clank
Continuing the trend of video games being adapted into terrible movies, “Ratchet and Clank” brought the titular young spaceship mechanic and his miniature robot sidekick to the big screen, to the joy of hardly anyone. The film had a budget of $20 million and only managed to recuperate $13 million of that at the box office.
Courtesy of Gramercy Pictures
While the 2016 Presidential election smeared or destroyed many reputations, none sank lower than poor old Billy Bush’s. The former “Access Hollywood” host’s misogynistic “locker room talk” with Donald Trump will go down in infamy, causing him to lose his “Today” hosting gig after only three months on the job. Someone must feel sorry for him,“how about a little hug for the Bushy?”
Ryan Lochte’s account of his alleged Rio robbery would make for a solid thriller flick. Unfortunately, the Olympic swimmer won’t be winning an Oscar for his lying performance, after security footage revealed that Lochte had greatly exaggerated his story, and he was later accused of minor vandalism. As a result, he was banned from swimming for 10 months. Even an appearance on “Dancing With the Stars” couldn’t save Lochte’s reputation — protesters rushed the floor after his first performance. He finished 7th, just for the record.
The 1959 “Ben Hur” was arguably one of the most epic films ever made, with Charlton Heston leading the way as the wealthy prince, turned slave, turned legendary charioteer. Sadly, the 2016 version was more of an epic failure. The film was panned by critics and is considered as one of the biggest box office bombs of 2016, after it returned only $94.1 million of its $100 million budget.
Courtesy of Paramount
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Based on its box office return, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” doesn’t look like a turkey; the film took over $870 million. However, when you compare this figure to the $1.153 billion that its ultimate nemesis “Captain America: Civil War” brought in, “Batman v Superman” proved that Marvel is still the Thor to DC’s Loki.
Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Some things cannot be unseen. Aubrey Plaza having sex with Robert De Niro while he’s pretending to look for his glasses is one of them. “Dirty Grandpa” would have killed most actors’ careers stone dead, but somehow De Niro and Zac Efron will work again. A Variety critic called the film a “brutally unfunny stab at ribald comedy” and also declared it to be De Niro’s “big screen nadir.” Ouch.
Courtesy of Lionsgate
After he made a spectacularly terrible appearance on last year’s Turkeys list for “Mortdecai” (the question, why Johnny? still very much applies), Johnny Depp returns to our list after a rotten 2016. This year, the actor went through a bitter divorce with Amber Heard, starred in a hilariously wooden apology video with Heard for having illegally imported their dogs into Australia, and appeared in the box office flop “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Let’s see if he can make it three in a row for 2017.
Amongst all the President Trump arguments and Hillary Clinton popular vote debates, let’s just spare a thought this Thanksgiving for Jeb Bush. After poor results in Iowa and New Hampshire and a ton of spending in South Carolina only garnered him 8% of the vote there, the former Governor of Florida suspended his campaign when it had only just begun. However, the second Bush to make our list subsequently turned into the lovable loser of the campaign. He had to ask the audience at one of his own rallies to clap, poor guy.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
It turns out pride, prejudice and zombies doth not a box office hit make. The film, which had a budget of $28 million, only managed to accumulate $16.4 million, a figure which would have made even Jane Austen faint. Maybe give “Sense and Sensibility and Vampires” a try?
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
After a string of wildly popular songs on YouTube, such as “I Just Had Sex” feat. Akon and “Jizz in My Pants” with a Justin Timberlake cameo, comedy trio The Lonely Island decided to foray into the world of film in 2016. The result was box office flop “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” which only took home $9.5 million from a budget of $20 million. Ironically, “Popstar” got solid reviews from critics.
Courtesy of Universal
Kim Kardashian’s Bodyguards
Kim Kardashian’s security team allowed five armed men to enter her Paris apartment, tie her up, gag her, and rob her $11 million worth of jewelry. Great job guys!
Surely a show co-created by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and “Boardwalk Empire” creator Terence Winter would produce a multi-platinum hit right? Wrong. “Vinyl” may have been historically accurate and featured gorgeous costumes and sets, but the show failed to produce a spark to get viewer’s fired up, and HBO decided to cancel the show after the Season 2 pilot premiered. Oh well, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
Courtesy of HBO
Who doesn’t love the Muppets? Apparently quite a lot of people. The 2016 series explored the personal lives of iconic characters like Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Gonzo and of course Miss Piggy, and adopted a mockumentary style similar to “The Office” or “Modern Family.” However, unlike these other two, the show didn’t receive great ratings or critical acclaim and was cancelled after one season on ABC.
Courtesy of ABC
Of Kings and Prophets
While the Bible wasn’t cancelled after two chapters, the ABC show based on one of its books was cancelled after two episodes. “Of Kings and Prophets” tried to bring a “Game of Thrones” flavor to the Old Testament, but the lack of dragons and properly-developed characters meant that this Jonah was swallowed by the whale, but couldn’t get out.