Looking back at summer blockbuster bombs

Every summer has its hits, that handful of popcorn movies whose earnings soar into the hundreds of millions. On the flip side, there’s at least one bona fide bomb whose dismal performance spills lots of red ink. These films are usually critical as well as commercial failures, earning them a special degree of scorn.

Here’s a look at summer bombs of the past, some of which are still synonymous with excess and mediocrity. Since some of the films can generate a perverse sense of nostalgia, ratings are provided to remind potential viewers that these movies still have the power to disappoint:
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•Battlefield Earth (2000) 4 stars: traumatic.

Possibly the most unwatchable movie on this list, or the most watchable if you like to sit around and mock crummy movies with your friends. Adapted from the bloated novel by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, the movie cost somewhere around $45 million (despite inflated budget estimates) and grossed less than $30 million worldwide. The story takes place centuries after a bunch of tall aliens with dreadlocks and long, dirty fingernails called Psychlos have invaded Earth. Some surviving humans live in the plant-choked ruins of civilization, while others are used as slaves by the nasty Psychlos. The humans band together and rise up to destroy their oppressors, etc., etc. One of the worst things about the movie— and this is saying a lot— is the Psychlos’ appearance. With their long hair, high foreheads and bad teeth they look like a race of interstellar Ted Nugents, only saner.