Summer blockbusters tend to have a similar set of characteristics: huge budgets, big stars, lots of special effects and whole lot of media hype.
Usually this is a fairly consistent winning formula. Who could forget the success of summer blockbusters like "Star Wars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Spider-Man" -- all of which have spawned a litter of sequels? Unfortunately, every once in a while a summer blockbuster that is supposed to be "da bomb" is simply "a bomb."
Considering all the expense and publicity that goes into making a potential summer blockbuster, it only makes sense that if it crashes and burns, that movie must be so bad that even a "Saved by the Bell" fan couldn't sit through it (and they can sit through anything!).
So as this year's summer blockbuster season gets under way, take a look at five of the worst summer movie flops ever ...
No. 5: "Stealth" - July 2005
"Stealth" was supposed to be a high-flying hit in the summer of 2005, but instead it lived up to its name and flew way under the radar. The film cost more than $130 million to make but took in only a little more than $30 million at the U.S. box office, making it one of the biggest summer belly flops of all time.
The movie starred Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx, but these triple J's did not turn out to be a triple threat. In fact, they were virtually no threat at all to their summer competition, which included "Batman" and "Star Wars" sequels.
The big competition was only part of the problem, however. The whole idea of machinery coming to life had already been done to death, and this film brought nothing new to that tired old sci-fi plotline. Still, it could've been worse ...
No. 4: "Waterworld" - July 1995
Kevin Costner has a knack for choosing movies that are either really good or really bad. "Waterworld" definitely falls into the latter category.
At the time it was made, this futuristic flop set the record for the most expensive film ever made at $175 million. Yet it managed to take in barely more than half of that figure when word quickly spread that the movie was laughably bad.
With corny lines like "I've had a vision so great, as it came to me I wept," it is not surprising that the movie's anticipated profits went down the drain. That, along with the fact that Kevin Costner was the film's only major star, simply didn't carry enough weight for this turd to float.
And 13 years later, Hollywood still hadn't learned its lesson ...
No. 3: "Speed Racer" - May 2008
If you grew up watching the original "Speed Racer" cartoon on TV, you knew that the appeal was in the shameless cheesiness of it.
The show was so bad that you just had to tune in to make fun of how Speed Racer just blew up in his car and in the next scene didn't have a scratch on him. So what in the world would make Hollywood producers think that turning this absurd cartoon into a "real life" movie was a good idea? And more than that, who thought that $120 million in production costs was a relatively safe investment? Writer/directors Andy and Lana Wachowski, that's who.
Not a wise assumption as it turns out, considering that the movie grossed only $45 million in the U.S., resulting in a whopping $75 million loss. The only ones who didn't lose in this venture were the people who elected not to see it. Speaking of which ...
No. 2: "Speed 2: Cruise Control" - June 1997
Speed, water and ships seem to be a common theme in many summer blockbusters flops, and "Speed 2" has them all. This movie is a perfect example of how something so right can go so wrong, so fast.
The original "Speed" was a huge success, despite Keanu Reeves' dubious acting prowess, because it was entertaining, suspenseful and original. Its sequel -- which cost $110 million to make but grossed less than $50 million at the U.S. box office -- lacked all these key elements.
This movie was so long and so boring and senseless that even the overtly likeable Sandra Bullock couldn't rescue it. The studio executives were expecting big things from "Speed 2," but all they got were big debts. Which brings us to the most horrendous summer blockbuster dud of all time ...
No. 1: "Catwoman" - July 2004
Comic book superhero movies are almost guaranteed to be huge summer blockbusters. "Batman," "Superman," "Spider-Man" and even "Iron Man" have attracted audiences in droves.
Apparently, that all changes when you put "woman" in the title, because this Halle Berry disaster has been skewered by audiences, critics, and we hear, even cats. The fact that it lost almost $60 million is bad enough. But what makes this movie our top pick for worst summer blockbuster debacle is that it really, really deserved it.
This film had no redeeming qualities whatsoever, except possibly for those viewers who enjoy a hot actress slinking around in a cat suit. But even those guys would have trouble recommending this film to anyone but their enemies. This is one movie that should have been scratched from the summer roster before it ever grew paws.