Making superhero movies is pretty much the same thing as printing money, especially for Marvel. Superhero films make up the most successful (highest-grossing) franchises in cinematic history. Of course, they aren't all winners, and there have been some truly dreadful bombs, costing the studios tens of millions.

Because of marketing and distribution costs, plus the fact that studios split the take with theaters, the general rule is that a film must make two or three times its budget to break even. Granted, breaking even isn't considered successful, and less is a failure. To be fair, the two-times-the-budget model will be employed to determine the biggest superhero movie box office bombs.

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10 The New Mutants

Estimated Loss: $111 Million

The New Mutants movie team

The 2020 film, The New Mutants, had the misfortune of being released in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and absolutely tanked. Then again, Christopher Nolan's Tenet was released at the same time and did gonzo box office, raking in $363 million, so maybe TNM was just poorly received.

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The New Mutants was actually done filming in 2017 but was delayed as Disney took over 20th Century Fox. There were supposed to be massive re-shoots, but they never happened, and it was released "as is" when there were severe limits to movie theater capacities. Costing $80 million to make, the film's $49 million worldwide gross, dealt Disney a $111 million loss.

9 Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Estimated Loss: $117 Million

Shazam looking shocked in Fury of the Gods.

Despite coming out around the same time as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Captain Marvel in 2019, Shazam!, which is more or less the same character, did very well at the box office. Dwayne Johnson was originally going to star as the villain, Black Adam, but split the character into a solo film, setting the stage for two bombs.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Black Adam were filmed simultaneously in Atlanta and had similar fates at the box office. The Shazam! sequel was panned by critics as having lost the charm of the original, and audiences stayed away in droves. Coming in far under expectations, the film lost an estimated $117 million.

8 Cat Woman

Estimated Loss: $118 Million

Catwoman's Halle Berry preys the night

In that sweet spot between the campy 1990s Batman films and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros. tried to slip in a Batman Universe film, with 2004's Cat Woman. With red-hot Halle Berry in the title role and an all-star supporting cast, it was a can't-miss endeavor that fell completely flat.

With a complete lack of action and zero-dimensional characters, Cat Woman is one of the worst-reviewed movies, not just in the superhero genre, but of all time. This was a bomb that didn't even need Hollywood math to prove its futility. With a $100 million budget, the film only grossed $82 million worldwide. With Hollywood math, that's a $118 million loss.

7 Black Adam

Estimated Loss: $127 Million

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam, sitting on a stone throne.

Black Adam is probably the straw that broke the DCEU's back, prompting James Gunn's soft reboot known as the DCU. The 2022 film was just another in a long stretch of underperforming DC releases, which forced Warner Bros. to rethink the entire franchise.

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Unlike several other DC duds, Black Adam couldn't blame the pandemic for its dismal run at the box office. It simply struggled to be a family film and a gritty action film at the same time. Normally when a movie pulls in $393 million it is a hit, but Black Adam's budget was a whopping $260, leading to a $127 million loss.

6 Fantastic Four

Estimated Loss: $142 Million

2015 Fantastic Four movie

The 2005 film Fantastic Four was a hit. Rebooting the superhero foursome should have been just as successful, but 2015's Fantastic Four (FANT4STIC) was horrible and flopped worse than Mister Fantastic on muscle relaxers.

After the film swept the 36th Golden Raspberry Awards, a 2017 sequel was promptly canceled. With a budget of $155 million, the movie only brought in $168 at the box office and lost $142 million. Roger Corman's 1994 The Fantastic Four did much better and that was never even released in theaters.

5 Dark Phoenix

Estimated Loss: $148

Dark Phoenix Movie Jean Grey

An origin story on how Jean Grey became the Phoenix should have been a pretty safe bet in the world of superhero movies, but 2019's Dark Phoenix defied the odds. Instead of a triumphant Phoenix rising, the film was a burnt turkey, and the worst performer in the X-Men franchise.

After test audiences hated early screenings, the entire third act was re-shot, which begs the question of how bad it was before it was "fixed." It did $252 million at the box office, which seems decent, but with a budget of $200 million, it would have had to do almost double that. It ended up as a $148 million loss for 20th Century Fox.

4 The Flash

Estimated Loss: $177 Million

Batman and The Flash standing together

A movie based on the DC character, The Flash, has been in development since the 1980s. After going through dozens of writers, directors, and potential stars in what has to be the most protracted "development hell" ever, a script was finally green-lit. Then, a global pandemic, controversies with the star, and various bureaucratic SNAFUs delayed the film until 2023.

All the time and turmoil it took to get The Flash made, as well as a $220 million budget, predictably resulted in a colossal flop. Multiple Batmans (Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney) couldn't avert the disaster, and it was at least a $177 million loss for Warner Bros., capping off the failure of the old DCEU.

3 Green Lantern

Estimated Loss: $180 Million

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern

The Green Lantern in 2011, was intended to start a movie franchise based on DC characters that would rival the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, it was one of the worst movies ever made, and the DCEU would have to wait a few more years for the Man of Steel to save the day.

The movie had an all-star cast and rich comic book history to draw from, yet somehow still managed to flop. The general consensus from critics and audiences was that the script was no good. Warner Bros. thought it could launch a media empire by throwing big stars and $200 million at a weak story. Instead, it took a $180 million hit when the movie only made $220 million.

2 The Suicide Squad

Estimated Loss: $202 Million

The Suicide Squad standing in a jungle

Despite getting panned, 2016s Suicide Squad was a huge hit, bringing in $747 million. Even the spin-off, Birds of Prey, also hated by critics, made money. In a weird twist, critics loved the 2021 sequel/soft-reboot, The Suicide Squad, which was a colossal bomb.

The film's $168 million at the box office versus a $185 million budget failure had less to do with its quality and more because Warner Bros. decided to stream it on HBO Max days after it was released in the theaters. Fans stayed home and watched it for free instead of paying $15. That move cost the studio a whopping $202 million.

1 Wonder Woman 1984

Estimated Loss: $230 Million

Wonder Woman twirling her lasso in Wonder Woman1984

Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84) is the biggest superhero box office bomb of all time, but that dubious distinction comes with an asterisk. The film was another pandemic victim, released in 2020 before the vaccine was available, plus it was streamed simultaneously on HBO Max, which added up to poor ticket sales.

Even so, it wasn't a very good superhero movie, unlike 2017's amazing Wonder Woman, which killed it with $882 million at the box office. The sequel was doomed by a lackluster script that tried to capitalize on the '80s nostalgia trend without including very much '80s nostalgia. The film didn't come close to recouping its $200 million budget and hit the #1 spot for superhero movie bombs with an estimated $230 million loss.