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Actors Who Criticized Their Own Box Office Bombs: Dakota Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and More

Actors Who Criticized Their Own Box Office Bombs
Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Michael Loccisano/WireImage

Madame Web, Marvel’s latest superhero movie and a Spider-Man spinoff, debuted in February 2024 to overwhelmingly negative reviews. Its 13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 26/100 Metacritic score were bad enough, but the film’s star Dakota Johnson’s own comments on the movie’s press tour didn’t exactly help matters.

Asked if she could name the three Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, she replied (in between giggles) with “Spider-Man: Here He Comes, “Spider-Man: And He’s Back” and “The Goblet of Spider-Man.” All are, clearly, incorrect.

She didn’t stop there as she continued one of the more entertaining press tours we’ve ever seen. Johnson later said she’d seen exactly 4 percent of all Marvel movies, that she could win an Oscar for her stunt driving in Madame Web (spoiler: she didn’t do the stunt driving), and how she’s constantly trying to get her friend arrested.

Oh, and she has no plans on actually seeing the movie she was promoting.

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To be fair, that’s typically Johnson’s policy for all her movies. She calls it a way of self-care.

“For me, it’s a way to not have, like, an existential crisis,” the Fifty Shades of Grey star said in an interview with Magic FM. “Not watching my movies is like self-care.”

She later added,“I don’t know when I’ll see it.”

Johnson hasn’t outwardly called Madame Web a flop yet, but that’s obvious. The numbers and the reviews say it all. As we await her next viral moment, keep scrolling for how other actors have reacted to their biggest box office bombs.

Jennifer Hudson: Cats (2019)

Actors Who Criticized Their Own Box Office Bombs
Jennifer Hudson in “Cats” Universal Pictures

“You know what? I think it was a bit overwhelming,” the EGOT winner said of the critically savaged, star-studded adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Broadway musical. “It’s unfortunate that it was misunderstood. I think later down the line, people will see it differently. But it is something I am still very proud of and grateful to have been a part of.”

Rooney Mara: Pan (2015)

Sometimes the criticism goes beyond the quality of the movie. Critics blasted Pan (about Peter Pan et al) for casting Mara, who has European ancestry, to play Native American character Tiger Lily. In hindsight, Mara sees why people were angry.

“I really hate, hate, hate that I am on that side of the whitewashing conversation. I really do,” she said. “I don’t ever want to be on that side of it again. I can understand why people were upset and frustrated. … Do I think all of the four main people in the film should have been white with blonde hair and blue eyes? No. I think there should have been some diversity somewhere.”

Ryan Reynolds: Green Lantern (2011)

Actors Who Criticized Their Own Box Office Bombs
Ryan Reynolds in “Green Lantern” Cover Images

“There was just too many people spending too much money and when there was a problem rather than say, ‘OK, let’s stop spending on special effects and let’s think about [the] character,’” he said at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in 2023. “That just never … the thinking was never there to do that. … It was not a feeling I wanted to repeat. So I really spent the following years just owning as much as I could, it was the only way to kind of process it.”

George Clooney: Batman & Robin (1997)

Clooney famously played Batman for just one flick. “Let me just say that I’d actually thought I’d destroyed the franchise until somebody else brought it back years later and changed it,” he said during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show. “I thought at the time that this was going to be a very good career move. It wasn’t.”

Alec Baldwin: Rock of Ages (2012)

“It was a complete disaster,” Baldwin told The Wrap of the film take on the hit Broadway jukebox musical. “A week in you go, ‘Oh, God, what have I done?’”

Jessica Alba: Fantastic Four (2005)

Actors Who Criticized Their Own Box Office Bombs
Jessica Alba in “Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer” Cover Images

“I hated it. I really hated,” she told Elle of her early foray into superhero fare. “I remember when I was dying in Silver Surfer. The director was like, ‘It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica.’”

Kumail Nanjiani: Eternals (2021)

Negative reviews can bruise any actor’s ego, and Nanjiani admitted on Michael Rosenbaum‘s “Inside of You” podcast that the reaction to Marvel’s Eternals — for which he famously transformed his body with a personal trainer — caused him to seek therapy.

“It was really hard, and that was when I thought it was unfair to me and unfair to [my wife] Emily, and I can’t approach my work this way any more. Some [thing] has to change, so I started counseling. I still talk to my therapist about that.”

Tom Hanks: The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

“One of the crappiest movies ever made,” he said of the film based on Tom Wolfe‘s classic novel. “And yet if I hadn’t gone through that experience, I would have lost out on something valuable. … Bonfire taught me that I couldn’t manufacture a core connection. … When I was playing Sherman McCoy, people stopped me on the street to say, ‘You’re not Sherman McCoy.’ I was like, ‘Oh, yeah?’ I was going contrary to everything about the character and even the screenplay, but I kept telling myself, ‘No, no, no — there’s a way I can get into this.’”

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Halle Berry: Catwoman (2004)

Berry showed up at the Razzies to personally accept her award for Worst Actress in Catwoman (a standalone DC Comics flick about Batman’s nemesis) and used her acceptance speech to slam everyone involved with the movie.

“First of all, I want to thank Warner Bros. for putting me in a piece-of-s–t, godawful movie. It was just what my career needed! I was at the top, and then Catwoman just plummeted me to the bottom. Love it! It’s hard being on top. It’s much better being on the bottom,” she said. “I want to thank my manager Vincent Cirrincione. This guy loves me. … He loves me so much that he convinces me to do projects even when he knows they’re s–t! That’s how much he really loves me. My only advice to you … is next time I do a movie, if I get a chance to do another movie, maybe you should read the script. … Just counting the zeros behind the one really isn’t enough. You really got to read the script. I love you, man. Love you.”

Jamie Lee Curtis: Virus (1999)

“That would be the all time piece of s–t. … It’s just dreadful,” she told IGN of the box office flop based on the comic book of the same name. “That’s the only good reason to be in bad movies. Then when your friends have [bad] movies you can say ‘Ahhhh, I’ve got the best one.’ I’m bringing Virus.”

Ben Affleck: Gigli (2003)

Actors Who Criticized Their Own Box Office Bombs
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in “Gigli” Cover Images

“It engendered a lot of negative feelings in people about me,” Affleck told Entertainment Weekly of the film costarring his love Jennifer Lopez. “There’s that aspect of people that I got to see that was sad and hard, it was depressing and really made me question things and feel disappointed and have a lot of self-doubt. But if the reaction to Gigli hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t have ultimately decided, ‘I don’t really have any other avenue but to direct movies,’ which has turned out to be the real love of my professional life. So in those ways, it’s a gift. And I did get to meet Jennifer, the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life.”


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Charlize Theron: Reindeer Games (2000)

“That was a bad, bad, bad movie,” she told Esquire in 2007. “But even though the movie might suck, I got to work with John Frankenheimer. I wasn’t lying to myself – that’s why I did it.”

Jennifer Lawrence: Mother! (2017)

“It’s awesome, what we did — some people hate it and the people who hate it, really hate it,” she told Variety of the divisive film directed by then-boyfriend Darren Aronofsky. “But it’s nothing that needs to be defended and if I read a negative review, I just feel defensive.”

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