For a film that could have been a franchise, fans were crushed that The Last Airbender was such a failure. Artistically, maybe. Commercially, not even close. Budget: $150 million... Gross: $319 million!
Batman and Robin was thought to be an overstuffed disaster that ended the Batman franchise until Christopher Nolan could revive it. Yes, it was overstuffed, but a failure it was not. With a budget of $125 million, its gross of $238 million spells success to us!
Superman Returns was meant to usher in a new era of Superman with Brandon Routh as the lead. We thought he was an awesome Man of Steel, but alas, no sequel. The film was deemed a failure. In what world? With a budget of $270 million and a gross of $391 million... we'd say that is a hit.
Cars 2's perceived lack of success almost turned Pixar off of doing sequels. Then, they looked at the bottom line: $200 million budget, $559 million gross... gee, let's open Carsland at Disneyland and get a Cars 3 revving!
When The Dictator finished in theaters, it was thought that Sasha Baron Cohen should go back to supporting roles. Why? The Dictator made $177 million on a $65 million budget. That's almost a three-times profit!
Waterworld is considered the movie that ended Kevin Costner's run as a box office leading man. Why? Sure, it was expensive, But, we'd take a $264 million profit off of a $175 million investment any day of the week.
Something about Johnny Depp movies lately have people thinking they're bombs, when they're not. Dark Shadows, for instance, was thought to be proof that the Depp-Tim Burton tandem should stop. Seriously? It made $245 million with a $150 million budget. Keep making movies together, you two!