The Lowest-Grossing No. 1 Movies of All Time
Not every film that makes it to the top spot actually earns the big bucks.
Historically speaking, most of the best-performing movies of all time have brought in hundreds of millions of dollars on their opening weekends, claiming the top spots at the box office for weeks on end. However, every now and then a movie makes it to the No. 1 box office position and doesn’t perform all that well. Sure, $5 million to $9 million is a whole lot of a money to us—but by Hollywood’s standards, it’s mere pocket change. Keep reading to discover the movies that took that top box office slot by the skin of their teeth. These are the lowest-grossing No. 1 movies of all time, according to Box Office Mojo.
War Room (2015)
Christian drama War Room debuted over the weekend of Aug. 28, 2015, to mostly negative reviews. The film, which stars Priscilla Shirer and T.C. Stallings, tells the story of a well-off couple that seemingly has everything—though behind closed doors, things are hardly picture perfect. During its second weekend in theaters, the film went on to reach No. 1 at the box office, bringing in $9.5 million that week. For comparison, Straight Outta Compton was the top-earning film at the box office the weekend prior and it raked in $13.1 million in its third week in theaters.
Forces of Nature (1999)
This road trip rom-com stars Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock as they try to make it to New York City for Affleck’s character’s wedding. The film, which hit theaters on March 19, 1999, debuted at No.1 at the box office. But during its second week at the top, it brought in just $9.4 million. It was toppled the following weekend by the blockbuster debut of The Matrix, which made a far grander $28 million during its first weekend.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr, this ‘90s horror film hit screens on October 17, 1997, just in time for Halloween. Though I Know What You Did Last Summer pulled in $15.8 million in its opening weekend, the film only made $9.4 million while holding on to the top spot during its third week in theaters. It was finally ousted in its fourth week thanks to Starship Troopers, which debuted at $22 million.
The Possession (2012)
As you might’ve guessed, fright film The Possession—starring Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Kyra Sedgwick—tells the story of a young girl who becomes possessed. This scary movie debuted the weekend of August 31, 2012 at the No. 1 spot, pulling in $17.7 million. A week later, it held on to its title, though it earned a much less exciting $9.3 million. The following week, The Possession was ousted by Resident Evil: Retribution, which made a cool $21 million.
John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)
Yet another horror movie—noticing a trend here?—John Carpenter’s Vampires reached No. 1 at the box office during its opening weekend of October 30, 1998. However, the film’s earnings were not nearly as impressive as its spot at the box office. The flick, which stars James Woods as the head of a vampire-slaying pack, pulled in a slim $9.1 million whilst at No 1. It was knocked from its top spot just a week later by the smash hit The Waterboy, starring Adam Sandler. The comedy more than quadrupled John Carpenter’s Vampires’ earnings, bringing in $39.4 million.
The Relic (1997)
This sci-fi horror film takes place in Chicago’s Field Museum where a creature wreaks havoc right before an upcoming gala, and a pair of scientists (played by Penelope Ann Miller and Tom Sizemore) must figure out how to get rid of it. The movie topped the box office when it debuted the weekend of January 10, 1997, pulling in a modest $9 million. It took the top title from Evita, which brought in $8.4 million in its third weekend in theaters.
The Best Man (1999)
This classic African-American romantic dramedy follows author and bachelor Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) as he steps in to be his longtime friend’s best man. With its $9 million opening weekend earnings, The Best Man took down Double Jeopardy to become the No. 1 movie at the box office for the weekend of October 22, 1999.
Thriller Disturbia stars Shia LeBeouf as a troubled high schooler placed on house arrest. The movie was No. 1 at the box office for three weeks, and in its final weekend on top—that of April 27, 2007—it made $9 million. Just a week after Disturbia’s paltry performance, Spider-Man 3 hit theaters and made a whopping $151 million during its opening weekend.
Pleasantville, starring Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon, tells the story of siblings stuck in a 1950s TV show set in a midwestern town. The movie debuted at No. 1 during the weekend of October 23, 1998, even though it only pulled in $8.9 million. The poorly performing flick only remained on top for one weekend—it was later taken down by another film on this list, John Carpenter’s Vampires. October isn’t a great month for profitable movies, apparently!
The Covenant (2006)
Horror film The Covenant took the No. 1 spot when it was released the weekend of September 8, 2006, earning $8.9 million. The film stars Steven Strait, Taylor Kitsch, Toby Hemingway, and Chace Crawford as the descendants of colonial families and is chock-full of magic, mystery, and family politics.
There’s Something About Mary (1998)
This classic romantic comedy starring Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, and Cameron Diaz hit theaters during the weekend of July 10, 1998. When it came out, it debuted at No. 4 at the box office—but eight weeks later, during the weekend of September 4, 1998, Mary finally reached No. 1, pulling in just $8.9 million. Still, the movie went on to net a domestic gross of $176.5 million—and for a comedy, that’s certainly nothing to scoff at.
This martial arts drama high-kicked its way into theaters the weekend of August 27, 2004, pulling in $18 million. A week later, though it held on to the top spot, it only made $8.8 million. Despite a meager second week in America, this Jet Li film ended up cashing out to the tune of $177.4 million in worldwide box office sales.
Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)
This sequel to the cult classic horror film Urban Legends centers around two college seniors trying to evade the killer in their midst who’s picking off students one by one. Though the movie debuted at No.1 when it hit theaters the weekend of September 22, 2000, it did so with a lackluster $8.5 million.
Gambling drama Rounders (which refers to people who travel from city to city searching for underground high-stakes poker games) debuted the weekend of September 11, 1998. During its first weekend, the film brought in just $8.5 million, barely enough to claim the top spot at the box office. (That’s probably because during this same weekend, fellow low-grossing top movie There’s Something About Mary was in its ninth week in theaters.)
G.I. Jane (1997)
Military action film G.I. Jane stars Demi Moore as a fictional version of the first woman to undergo U.S. Navy Special Warfare Group training. When it was released the weekend of August 22, 1997, it reached the No. 1 box office spot, pulling in $11 million. Though the film held on to the position the next weekend, it only made $8.1 million.
This 2001 sports comedy based on the book of the same name centers around a gambler played by Keanu Reeves who coaches a little league team to pay back a debt. When it debuted the weekend of September 14, 2001, Hardball snagged the No. 1 spot with $9.4 million in earnings; the following week, it held on to the top spot but only earned $8 million. By its third week, the flick fell to the fourth slot at the box office (behind Don’t Say a Word, Zoolander, and Hearts in Atlantis.)
Next Friday (2000)
This stoner comedy sequel stars Ice Cube and Mike Epps as cousins who move from the city to the suburbs where they struggle with the politics of their new neighborhood and some characters from their past. It hit theaters the weekend of January 14, 2000, debuting at No. 1 with $14.5 million. A week later it still remained on top, but only made $8 million.
Bangkok Dangerous (2008)
Bangkok Dangerous was released over the weekend of September 5, 2008. When it debuted, it snatched the No. 1 spot, pulling in just $7.7 million. It took down military comedy Tropic Thunder, which had been sitting at the top of the box office for the previous three weeks.
He Got Game (1998)
Sports drama He Got Game stars Ray Allen as Jesus, the No. 1 high school basketball player in the country, and Denzel Washington as Jesus’ father, a convicted felon who mistakenly killed Jesus’ mother. The film was released May 1, 1998—and that weekend, it took the No. 1 spot, despite bringing in just $7.6 million.
The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
This murderous comedy, starring Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry as a hitman and his latest target respectively, was released on February 15, 2000. Though it debuted at No.1 with $13.7 million in earnings, by its third weekend at the top, the film made only $7.2 million. Overall, the movie grossed $57.3 million; for comparison, the No. 1 comedy of 2000 was Meet the Parents, which nearly tripled that number with $166.2 million in earnings.
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003)
Dickie Roberts stars David Spade as a former child TV star who is desperate for a comeback. Debuting the weekend of September 5, 2003, the film made $6.7 million, barely taking the top spot from Jeeper Creepers 2, which made $6.6 million in that same weekend.
Fire Down Below (1997)
Government action thriller Fire Down Below is a classic Steven Seagal flick about the battle of good versus evil in this corrupt world. Released over the weekend of September 5, 1997, it pulled in just $6 million—and yet, it was enough to take the top spot from G.I. Jane. The following weekend, Fire Down Below was ousted by The Game, which made $14.3 million in its opening weekend. (For comparison, Fire Down Below only grossed $16.2 million in total.)
Eye of the Beholder (2000)
Eye of the Beholder stars Ewan McGregor as a spy known as “The Eye” who witnesses the murder of a man (Steven McCarthy) by his girlfriend (Ashley Judd). Released on January 28, 2000, this British spy thriller debuted at No. 1, even though it only pulled in $6 million. Unsurprisingly, its time on top was short lived; the next weekend, slasher film Scream 3 hit theaters and pulled in a whopping $34.7 million—just a casual six times the amount that Eye of the Beholder earned.
The Watcher (2000)
The Watcher tells the action-packed story of a retired FBI agent (James Spader) who is being provoked by a serial killer (Reeves again). When it was released on September 8, 2000, the film hit No. 1, despite racking up just $9 million. The following weekend, it maintained its top spot, but brought in an even less impressive $5.8 million. The third weekend it was in theaters, it was finally toppled by another entry on this list: Urban Legends: Final Cut.
Jerry Maguire (1997)
We know what you’re thinking: How is Jerry Maguire on this list? Well, hear us out. This Academy Award-winning drama—which stars Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding, Jr. as a sports agent and NFL superstar, respectively—was released on December 13, 1996. When it debuted, it brought in a staggering $17.1 million—but during its seventh No. 1 weekend—the weekend of January 24, 1997—it made a mere $5.5 million. Unsurprisingly, the film went on to earn a worldwide gross of $273.5 million. (Yes, Jerry did indeed show us the money after all.) And for movies that were even less revered, check out the Movies on Rotten Tomatoes with the Lowest Ratings.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to follow us on Instagram!