Writer and director Damien Chazelle’s Hollywood excess tale “Babylon,” for instance, has only managed to pull in $41.8 million against a $78 million budget, despite its all-star cast featuring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. (Here are more examples of A-list actors’ biggest box office flops.)
Throughout history, dozens of Oscar-winning films have failed to make money. To compile a list of Oscar winners that never turned a profit, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on production budget and box office from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. Films that won Academy Awards were ranked based on the return on investment ratio between production budget and worldwide box office. Data is not adjusted for inflation. Director and cast information is from IMDb. Data on Oscar wins came from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The majority of the films on this list were released in the ‘80s and ‘90s - although a few classic films of the ‘40s and ‘60s appear, as do a handful from the 21st century. Six of the films tanked so badly that they didn’t recover even a quarter of their production budgets, while a handful managed to nearly break even, pulling in at least $0.92 per dollar spent.
Some of the films come from hit directors including James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Woody Allen, and Cameron Crowe. Prolific actors John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Robert Redford also directed Oscar-winning movies that didn’t turn a profit. (Here are the best and worst movies directed by actors.) (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)