Some of the best movies of all time aren’t critically acclaimed award winners but instead cult classics. These are films overlooked at the time of release. Down the line, however, they develop a loyal audience.
Sometimes you can figure out which movies are destined for such a following. Other times, however, you miss the mark.
Recently, a question was posed: What movie should have become a cult classic but never did?
Death to Smoochy
The 2002 satirical black comedy stars Robin Williams, Edward Norton, and Danny DeVito, who also directs.
Disgraced children’s TV host “Rainbow” Randolph Smiley attempts to sabotage his replacement, Sheldon Mopes (Norton), and his character Smoochy the Rhino.
Despite its cast and promising premise, Death to Smoochy is a box-office bomb, failing to make $10 million. Fans of the film love to sing its praises, though.
Trapped in Paradise
With a cast featuring Nicolas Cage, Dana Carvey, and Jon Lovitz, this 1994 Christmas comedy seems like a sure thing. But, sadly, that isn’t the case.
Despite being a flop with critics and audiences, it has developed a small but loyal following. Maybe one day, it’ll catch on and become a Christmas-time staple.
Unlike other films on this list of possible cult classics, Smokin’ Aces isn’t a box office bomb. Instead, the movie grossed nearly $60 million on a budget of $17 million.
The ensemble cast features Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, and Ryan Reynolds.
Drop Dead Gorgeous
This 1999 mockumentary starring Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Allison Janney, and Kirstie Alley seems like a recipe for instant success. But, alas, that isn’t the case; Drop Dead Gorgeous struggled to break even at the box office.
However, when the film debuted on Hulu, it started to garner widespread recognition. It receives praise today for being a departure from traditional 90’s teen comedies. But, sadly, it isn’t always in the conversation of beloved cult classics.
1991’s Hudson Hawk stars Bruce Willis, Andie MacDowell, David Caruso, and James Coburn. While it made almost $100 million at the box office, it has become lost to time.
One possible reason for its lack of staying power? A failure from the studio to understand what the movie was about. Despite being marketed as a Bruce Willis action movie, the film leans more toward slapstick comedy. Sadly, it is not currently streaming everywhere but is available to rent on several digital platforms.
With a star-studded ensemble cast featuring Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, and William H Macy, Mystery-Men seemed like a sure thing at the 1999 box office. But, as it turns out, that wasn’t the case.
The film completely flopped, failing to make back its budget. Still, the movie has a loyal fanbase today that enjoys its charm and camp.
John Dies at the End
Despite making little to no money at the box office, John Dies at the End has a very devoted following. But is that enough to make it a cult classic? Unfortunately, the jury is still out on that.
“Big fan of the books and run with a crowd that loves movies and would argue it’s a borderline cult classic now.”
Director Alex Cox is the co-writer of one of the most famous cult classic movies of all time, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, his directorial debut, Repo Man, hasn’t reached the same level of popularity.
Starring Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez, Repo Man’s popularity today are due to its re-edited TV cut. To replace profanity, some wild and over-the-top dubbing is added. This puts it in the “so bad it’s good” category.
Brendan Fraser is seeing a career revival thanks to his work in The Whale. Maybe it’s time we see Airheads reach cult classic status.
The 1994 comedy, starring Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley, is a box office bomb. As has gone on, however, critics and audiences are starting to enjoy the movie. While it’s not available on any major streaming service, one has to wonder if its popularity will skyrocket if it’s added to something like HBO Max.
“Dennis Hopper fighting killer androids and Charles Dance as a cyborg pirate captain.” What’s not to love here?
2001’s Evolution, directed by Ivan Reitman, seemed ready to cash in on the popularity of sci-fi at the time. But, unfortunately, it didn’t translate to mainstream success.
Despite maxing nearly $100 million at the box office, it barely grossed more than its $80 million budget. The film, starring David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore, and Seann Willliam Scott, hasn’t found the audience other cult classics have.
The Long Kiss Goodnight
1996’s The Long Kiss Goodnight is an action thriller starring Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, and Brian Cox. While the cast has enjoyed long-term success in other projects, the same cannot be said here.
Upon release, critics and audiences enjoyed the movie. As time went on, however, the film became lost to obscurity. Some fans blame 1995’s Cutthroat Island, also starring Davis and directed by Renny Harlin, for tanking Davis’ marketability.
Despite modest success at the box office, Sky High couldn’t draw appeal away from its targeted young adult demographic. Some still look back fondly on the movie during repeat viewings, but it falls short compared to other cult classics.
Jason Statham may be better known for his work on the Transporter and Fast & Furious franchises. However, his performance in 2006’s Crank is one of his best. Fans call it one of the best “dumb action movies” of all time.
The 1999 comedy horror movie starring Devon Sawa, Seth Green, and Jessica Alba is a box office flop. Idle Hands didn’t resonate well with critics, either.
Still, the movie has a devoted following today, leaving us wondering why it’s not discussed as a cult classic. Fans praise Sawa’s performance in particular.