After looking at the best of the year, Insider revisits the movies we had high hopes for in 2019 that let us down. A lot of fans were bummed by a lukewarm conclusion to the "Unbreakable" trilogy. Despite Sony getting two bankable stars in Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, the "Men in Black" revival fell flat. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
2019 gave us some really good movies, but it also brought a lot of remakes, sequels, and adaptations people weren't interested in seeing. Insider rounded up the movies audiences were looking forward to this year that missed the mark. We're not talking about the worst movies of 2019. This list looks at the films that we had high expectations for that didn't live up to the hype and underwhelmed at the box office. If there's any lesson that can be learned from this year, it's that Hollywood needs to focus on originality. From failed attempts at reviving long gone franchises to big actors starring in complete misfires no one asked for, here's what disappointed us the most at theaters."The Curse of La Llorona" was not as scary as fans hoped.
Despite being a box-office hit, the horror film was not well-received by critics or audiences. Filled with hit-jump scares and moments that delivered chuckles instead of frights, more was expected from a film that was based on the terrifying Mexican legend about a woman drowning her children. No one's going to want to watch this film again. "Terminator: Dark Fate" was a huge box-office misfire.
"Terminator: Dark Fate" was the best movie in the franchise since "Terminator 2." It even reunited original stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was everything fans could have wanted from a "Terminator" movie with good reviews, so it's a shame more didn't come out to see it. "Dark Fate" makes our list because it was one of the biggest box-office letdowns of the year and should've kicked off a new franchise. Instead, the R-rated "Dark Fate" only brought in $29 million opening weekend and could lose well over $100 million for Paramount, Skydance Media, and Fox (now Disney), which handled international distribution for the film. What went wrong? What may have upset fans is that the sixth movie scrapped the last three films from canon. The past three times audiences have shown up for "Terminator" films, they frankly haven't been very good. (Remember the last film, "Genisys"?) Even with original director James Cameron back as a producer, that may not have been enough of a nostalgia sell in order for fans to take a risk on going to theaters. The failure of "Dark Fate" may be the end of the franchise on the big screen moving forward. You can read our review of "Dark Fate" here. "Doctor Sleep" showed that not every Stephen King novel needs to be adapted.
"It" worked for Warner Bros., so why not try and bring back another Stephen King classic for audiences to relive all over again? "Doctor Sleep" is a strange mix between book adaptation and "The Shining" sequel. It tried delivering too much in an attempt to pay homage to the book and Stanley Kubrick's film while also trying to set itself apart with a third act that throws the source material out the window. We're fine with giving us a new ending. I thought Paramount's "Pet Sematary" did a clever job at remixing its source material earlier this year. But Warner Bros.' adaptation leaned too heavily on simply regurgitating a lot of Kubrick's film toward the end to give us something we've already seen before. The film also gave us an unnecessary Jack Nicholson look-alike that felt too weird. We're not sure anyone needed Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) doing an impression of Nicholson's iconic ax chase, either. Audiences agreed as the film bombed opening weekend. According to Deadline, the film is set to lose Warner Bros. $20 million. You can read our review here. "The Kitchen" was the worst box-office opening for both Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish.
It's tough to believe these three women Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish), and Claire (Elisabeth Moss) — two who are squeamish at the sight of blood — are able to take over the Irish mob after their husbands are put away in jail for a robbery. The transitions of all three women into slightly reckless killers feels unearned and a bit empty in a convoluted plot. Haddish and McCarthy in particular don't sell that they're two mob wives and, in a confusing turn, Moss' character almost instantly transforms from a timid, abused woman into a hardened killing machine without little development. "The Kitchen" often feels like you're watching a parody of a gangster movie. Despite the star power, the film bombed, becoming the worst opening weekend at the box office for McCarthy and Haddish. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it could lose "tens of millions" for Warner Bros.
"Serenity" was a waste of star talent you may have missed all together.
Trailers looked like "Serenity" could've been a promising thriller with Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. But when the reviews came out, it was trashed by critics as a disaster. The first sign that "Serenity" wasn't going to work should've been its January release date. The film was pushed back twice from an original awards season run to a time that's notoriously known as a dump month for movies. Aviron Pictures must have known what they had on their hands because they stopped promoting the film after failed test screenings with press and viewers. The movie opened to the worst-ever box-office opening for Hathaway with $4.5 million. Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler's reunion in "Murder Mystery" was painful to watch.
Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler reteaming for a movie for the first time since 2011's "Just Go With It" sounded like a fantastic idea, but "Murder Mystery" is pretty unwatchable. The two star as a couple who go on a long overdue honeymoon. Unfortunately, they wind up on a yacht caught up in a murder mystery. Like many other Sandler films, this one is filled with low-brow humor. Although Aniston and Sandler look like they're having fun, they're the only ones as the film drags along for a dull 90 minutes. Apparently, it doesn't matter how bad the film was reviewed. Nearly 31 million Netflix accounts tuned into the film the weekend it debuted and it was enough for the streaming service to warrant a sequel. "Hellboy" proved that you just can't stick a popular star into any old remake.
Did anybody ask for a "Hellboy" remake? Once Guillermo del Toro, who directed the first two movies, wasn't attached to the franchise, there was little interest in why fans should get invested in a reboot when the first two were well-liked among fans. Even with the popular David Harbour ("Stranger Things") taking over the role, the re-imagining was a huge misfire. Despite a passionate performance from Harbour, this remake was forgettable. Critics reamed the film for being flat out awful, dragging on and overcomplicating a simple story, and having an overabundance of CGI. "The Goldfinch" didn't translate to the big screen.
Many were excited for the adaptation of Donna Tarrt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel because of its stacked cast (Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, and Ansel Elgort) along with Oscar-nominated director John Crowley, but it was another big miss. Insider's Kim Renfro said the movie's non-linear storytelling robs the story of cohesion and make its emotional punches fall by the wayside. The movie also feels laboriously long while failing to properly develop its characters . Most curiously, the film fails to answer every question it presents even though they're resolved in the book. Unless you're familiar with the novel, you may be confused with the film's conclusion. "The Goldfinch" opened to $2.5 million opening weekend, the sixth-worst opening of all time for a release that large. On a reported $45 million budget before marketing, the film has only grossed $9.7 million worldwide. You can read Renfro's analysis of "The Goldfinch" here. "Glass" didn't deliver the film people were expecting.
I liked "Glass" a lot more than others. But I'm aware that it's not what people expected going into the movie. M. Night Shyamalan surprised audiences when it was revealed 2016's "Split" was a secret sequel to 2000's "Unbreakable." Expectations were extremely high that fans would get a big showdown from this year's "Glass" between Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and James McAvoy's characters. That wasn't the case. Instead, the three spent much of their time locked up in a psychiatric hospital throughout the film delivering what may have felt like to many as a bait and switch. You can read our review here. "Gemini Man" looks gorgeous, but the story was awful.
"Gemini Man" looked like it was going to be something really special. Not only was Will Smith playing dual roles as his young and old self, but director Ang Lee ("Life of Pi") shot the movie at 120 frames per second (fps) for a film that should have been an in-theater experience unlike any other. Unfortunately, the film has two things working against it. The first is that no theater has the technical capabilities of screening the film the way Lee intended the film to be seen on a 4K projector at 120 fps and in 3D. The second is that the story was too dull to match the sharp visuals on screen. The film failed to pick up steam stateside or in China and faces a $75 million loss. You can read Business Insider's review here. "Men in Black International" should've been the start of a new franchise.
Sony didn't have Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones back for another time around, but that shouldn't have mattered. The studio had built-in anticipation for the film by having Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson working together. These were two people fans wanted to see together after Marvel's hilarious "Thor: Ragnarok" had the two team up. All Sony needed to do was deliver a film with a decent story. It was too bad that this "MIB" requel (a franchise reboot staged as a sequel) didn't live up to the hype. Thompson and Hemsworth do what they can with a predictable, uninspired script, but it looks like there was more effort put into making sure the gadgets and tech looked sleek than delivering an interesting enough story to match. More time is spent telling Hemsworth's Agent H throughout the film that he seems different (but no one can put their finger on exactly what has changed about him) than fully explaining the film's mystery villains. The addition of a tiny alien sidekick, voiced by Kumail Nanijiani ("Stuber"), weighed this one down as it seemed like nothing more than a corporate mandate to appeal to kids. Even Sony's studio boss, Tom Rothman, told sister site Business Insider there probably "was not a strong enough idea in the story." Audiences were probably quick to recognize that and as word of mouth spread, decided to wait for the film's home release instead. The fourth film had the worst opening in the franchise's history and grossed less worldwide than any of the three films before it. The X-Men went out with a dud in "Dark Phoenix."
Fox's final big "X-Men" movie wasn't the worst in the franchise, but it left a lot to be desired as the film revisited the Jean Grey phoenix story line that was previously brought to screen in 2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand." The movie mainly suffered because of poorly fleshed-out villains and a completely reshot ending. Viewers probably would've gotten better versions of both if it wasn't for another movie. In an interview, James McAvoy told Yahoo Movies UK the movie's entire ending was changed in order to avoid similarities to another unnamed superhero movie. According to another interview with Tye Sheridan, the film's vague alien villains were supposed to be shape-shifters named Skrulls. If that name sounds familiar it's because those are the aliens who appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and who were a big part of Disney's "Captain Marvel." It's worth noting Disney acquired 20th Century Fox ahead of the film's release and was in charge of its final marketing and theatrical release. The movie had the lowest box-office gross worldwide of any "X-Men" film with $252 million worldwide and is set to lose over $100 million. It's unfortunate because this is possibly the last outing with some of these actors before Disney eventually reboots the property into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The "X-Men" really helped define and influence the direction of popular superhero movies today. You can read our review of "X-Men: Dark Phoenix" here.