Ghost in the Shell bombs at box office, but it's not a patch on these nuclear duds

Keerthi Mohan
Scarlett Johannson


Ghost in the Shell has bombed at the box office. The science fiction drama based on the popular Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune took home an abysmal $19 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, against a production budget of $110 million.

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According to a studio executive, casting Scarlett Johansson as a character who is Japanese may have contributed to the film's failure.

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"We had hopes for better results domestically," Kyle Davies, Paramount's domestic distribution chief, told CBC News. "I think the conversation regarding casting impacted the reviews."

Interestingly, it's unlikely that Ghost in the Shell will land the top spot in the biggest Hollywood box office busts. Here are four others that will take the cake for poor ticket sales and for almost shutting down the studio.

Shia LaBeouf

Man Down: Shia LaBeouf's new war thriller did not impress movie-goers in the UK. The film managed to sell just three tickets after being released in a theatre.

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"I think we've sold three tickets in total," the theatre's manager told the Hollywood Reporter adding she had never "experienced anything like it before."

Although the movie did comparatively better in the US, it was still a box office bomb grossing just $454,490 domestically.

Zyzzyx Road: The 2006 thriller starring Leo Grillo, Katherine Heigl and Tom Sizemore gained notoriety after it grossed just $30 on its opening weekend. The movie was released at a single cinema and it is said to be one of the lowest-grossing Hollywood films ever.

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Heaven's Gate: The movie was released in 1980 and the story was about a fictional dispute between land barons and European immigrants in Wyoming in the 1890s.

Right from the production stage, the movie was constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons. Allegations of animal abuse on set and reports of director Cimino being overbearing resulted in the movie getting a lot of negative press.

And when the film finally released, it did not get favourable reviews. "Heaven's Gate...fails so completely that you might suspect Mr. Cimino sold his soul to the Devil to obtain the success of "The Deer Hunter,'' and the Devil has just come around to collect," Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote in his review.

The film ended up earning only $3.5 million domestically and it resulted in its studio, United Artists, collapsing.

Cleopatra 1963: Like Heaven's Gate, Cleopatra too earned a lot of media attention during its production stage due to its cost overruns and other troubles with the cast and crew.

It was during the filming of Cleopatra that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love and began an affair, making headlines worldwide as they were already married to different people.

It was one of the highest grossing films of the year (earning nearly $58 million in the United States), but was considered a loss due to its production cost ($44 million). The movie almost left 20th Century Fox bankrupt. According to reports, Fox had to sell 300 acres of land to avoid permanent closure.

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