39 Actors Who Hated Their High Grossing FilmsBy John P.
Landing a role as a star in a big-budget film is basically a ticket to fame and riches. After toiling away as a B-list celebrity doing low-budget films and obscure commercials, many actors and actresses are pumped to get cast in a Hollywood blockbuster.
However, not all stars are excited about their breakthrough roles. Although they might be grateful for the opportunities the role opened up, they don’t look back fondly on the movie itself. Everyone from Robert Pattinson to Carrier Fisher has expressed dislike or outright hatred at the roles that made them household names. Below are 39 of those actors and their hated high grossing films.
The Farrelly brothers’ comedy film Shallow Hal is all about loving people for their inner beauty rather than judging them for their outer beauty. The main character Hal (Jack Black) falls in love with Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Although fans loved Gwynneth in the film, she didn’t love making the film. Wearing a fat suit all day was both physically uncomfortable and psychologically humiliating. Despite that, it was a big hit in its time – on a budget of $40 million, it made $140 million.
When Mandy Patinkin signed on for the TV show Criminal Minds, he might have jumped the gun. Patinkin played the character Jason Gideon for two seasons, but those seasons were more than enough for him – he backed out as quickly as the contract allowed.
Reflecting on his experience later, Patinkin said he never should have signed up in the first place. It was “destructive to my soul and my personality,” he said to Looper. Patinkin was not a fan of TV productions.
When the 22-year old Kate Winslet landed a starring role of Rose in the 1997 film Titanic, it was an enormous career booster. Her performance as a smitten passenger who falls for Jack Dawson made loved the world over. So, why did Winslet hate the role?
It turns out that Winslet is her own harshest critic. When she looks back on the film, she thinks, “Really, really? You did it like that?” Although her performance was stellar, her acting has improved since then.
In 2001, the incredibly talented singer Mariah Carey starred in the movie Glitter. The role was close to her heart because it was about a singer on the rise – something she knew all about. It sounds like a win-win, right?
Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Glitter didn’t turn out to be all that glamorous – the $22 million film only brought in about $5.3 million. Critics panned it, audiences barely went to see it, and Mariah Carey herself felt ruined by it.
Sylvester Stallone is most famous for his role as Rocky Balboa in the Rocky films. He wrote and starred in 1976’s Rocky and had a huge role in the creation of the next eight films. Stallone is proud of that accomplishment.
What he’s not proud of is his role in the Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Although it did okay at the box office, he told GQ magazine that it was “maybe one of the worst films in the entire solar system.”
The film Grease told the right story at the right time and resonated with audiences all over the world. Trying to recapture that magic years later is a risky game to play – often, as in the case with Grease 2, it fails miserably.
Unfortunately for Michelle Pfeiffer, she auditioned and was chosen for the role of Stephanie in that ill-fated sequel. Reflecting on it later, she said it was a youthful mistake. Luckily, it didn’t affect her career too much.
Although Channing Tatum has been a steady source of income for major studios, he isn’t always proud of the blockbusters that he stars in. For example, he was less than happy about the 2009 film G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.
It’s true that audiences loved the film and it grossed over $300 million at the box office but Tatum hated it. “I was pushed into doing it,” he told radio host Howard Stern, “The script wasn’t any good.”
Jamie Foxx is loved for films like Ray and Collateral. All that success, however, has come with a few mistakes. A few slip-ups that he admits after the fact. One of those was his role as Lt. Purcell in the 2005 action film Stealth.
Critics hated it, audiences barely watched it, and the film lost $56 million at the box office. Yet despite that rough reception, Foxx was under contract to do media appearances to tout how great the movie was.
In the mid-90s, George Clooney was making a switch from television (starring as Doug Ross in the TV series ER) to the world of Hollywood. An important milestone in that switch was landing the role of Batman in 1997’s Batman and Robin. It made a killing at the box office.
Despite the commercial (and career) success, Clooney was not a fan of playing a superhero role. He quickly pivoted away from that and chose more comedic roles like O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The mega-star Marlon Brando rose to fame in the early 1950s when he played Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Based on the Tennessee Williams’ play, the film was a major cultural and financial success. However, Brando wasn’t a fan.
Why not? It was the same reason that Kate Winslet hated her performance in Titanic – Brando was his own worst critic. Despite being incredibly talented at acting, he was always uncomfortable with his career choice. He didn’t feel it was “respectable.”
At Christmas 2003, everyone was watching (and loving) the romantic comedy Love Actually. With an ensemble cast and an uplifting story, it became a classic that grossed many times its budget. Not all of the cast loved it, though.
In particular, Andrew Lincoln hated the character he was cast to play. Mark, a hopeless romantic trying to woo Juliet, was seen as sweet by audience members. Lincoln, however, saw Mark as going into “stalker territory” that he was uncomfortable with.
Long before his role as Batman, Ben Affleck had another stint as a superhero – as the lead role in the 2003 film Daredevil. It was a huge box office success, but it wasn’t a role that Affleck loved.
He said he was less than pleased about the role. Well, in fact, he was a bit more clear – “I hate Daredevil so much,” he said. The feeling that he failed at Daredevil made him want to try again by playing Batman years later.
The 2000 action film Reindeer Games tanked pretty hard at the box office. On a budget of $42 million, it managed to make back $32 million. Critics hated it, audience members hated it, and so did the actress Charlize Theron.
Theron, who played Ashley Mercer, has since regretted her role, claiming it was a “bad, bad movie.” Despite the negative press, it didn’t keep her career down. Only three years later, Theron won critical acclaim playing a serial killer in Monster.
In 2007, the actress Katherine Heigl starred opposite Seth Rogan in the hit comedy film Knocked Up. Financially it was a major success, grossing $219 million on a $25 million budget. The Judd Apatow production was also loved by audiences and critics alike.
However, Katherine Heigl, who played Alison, was not a fan. In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Heigl said that the biased portrayal of women as “humorless and uptight” made it hard for her to enjoy doing the movie.
The sci-fi film The Terminator launched the careers of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and director James Cameron. The surprising success led to various sequels including the 2015 Terminator Genisys. In that film, Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame played Sarah Conner.
Unfortunately, Clarke hated playing Sarah Conner. She was secretly (or not so secretly) happy when the film didn’t do as well as expected because that meant she was free to pursue other projects like Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker’s role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City is one of the most iconic roles ever played on TV. The HBO series was a huge success and spawned two movies that were also major successes.
The sequel Sex and the City 2 grossed $294 million. Despite the commercial success, Parker felt that the film “fell short” of its potential. Kim Cattrall felt the same, pointing out that she and Parker didn’t see eye to eye during the filming.
Harrison Ford is a master when it comes to landing lucrative franchise roles. His role as Han Solo in 1977’s Star Wars was reprised in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, 1983’s Return of the Jedi, and 2015’s The Force Awakens. Ford was okay with the first two, but he hated the last one.
Despite the massive boost to his bank account and popularity, Ford felt that Han Solo was a “thin” character, so he was happy when Solo’s career came to an end.
In 2010, Cher starred opposite Christina Aguilera in the musical Burlesque. Having two big-name musicians starring in the musical certainly helped, but it didn’t change Cher’s view of the film.her
Despite being a moderate commercial success, Cher felt that it could have been better. “It was always sad that it was not a good film,” she told the Guardian. Luckily, it wasn’t Cher’s only film. She has been part of productions that she loved, including The Witches of Eastwick and Moonstruck.
Many know James Spader from critically acclaimed films like 2012’s Lincoln and hit TV series like The Blacklist, but they probably don’t remember 1994’s sci-fi action flick Stargate. At the time, however, it was a massive box office hit – grossing around $196 million.
Although fans loved the film, James Spader didn’t. He took the role because he needed the money. Nothing major happened on set, but the role of Daniel Jackson just wasn’t his thing. When the opportunity came for a spin-off TV series, he declined.
Veteran actress and director Sally Field has been in the entertainment business since the mid-1960s. She has been in comedies and dramas over her long career, and in 2012 played Aunt May in Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man.
Although the film was financially successful, Field didn’t enjoy the experience of playing Aunt May because she felt that the character was very two-dimensional. Despite her discomfort, she reprised the role in the 2014 sequel (which became her highest-grossing film to date).
In 1997’s The Devil’s Own, Hollywood star Brad Pitt played an IRA member trying to transport missiles from New York to Ireland. It was an unusual film for its time but managed to do alright at the box office – partly due to Pitt’s credentials.
Despite that, Pitt wasn’t a huge fan of the film. He enjoyed the $10 million check but recollected later that it was “the most irresponsible bit of filmmaking” he’d ever seen. Critics agreed and panned the film for its historical inaccuracy.
The 2008 vampire flick Twilight was a massive box office hit that grossed over $400 million. It was also a massive boost for Robert Pattinson’s career – he played the vampire Edward Cullen in all five of the movies. When looking back on the film series, however, the actor feels embarrassed by his work.
Pattinson has said (multiple times) that he finds the characters and storylines unbelievable and ridiculous. That might be why he pivoted toward smaller budget indie films like Cosmopolis and The Rover.
The actress Elizabeth Taylor is practically a synonym for “Hollywood stardom.” She was famous for both her on-screen performances and her off-screen life. One thing she wished she wasn’t known for was starring as Gloria Wandrous in the 1960 drama BUtterfield 8.
Taylor regretted it the moment she landed the role, and she hated her time on set. She thought the character Gloria was horrible and supposedly threw her shoe at the screen when it first premiered. Despite that, Taylor won an Oscar.
Tom Cruise was the man of the hour in the late 1980s, so when relatively unknown actress Kyra Sedgwick landed a role as Donna opposite him in Born on the Fourth of July, it should have been a dream. Instead, it was a nightmare. Well, not really a nightmare, but she didn’t particularly enjoy the film.
The film did well at the box office (grossing $161 million), but she was happy to move on to other film and TV projects like The Closer.
The James Bond franchise has grossed billions of dollars over the years and launched the careers of at least five actors who took on the role. In 2006, it was Daniel Craig’s time to shine. After the successful Casino Royale, he came back for round two – it wasn’t as smooth.
2008’s Quantum of Solace didn’t live up to audience or critic expectations. Craig felt the failure but was able to win back fans and critics alike with his role in 2012’s Skyfall.
The 1985 sci-fi Back to the Future was a massive success in its day and continues to be influential all these years later. Although Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd were the two big names attached to the film, a budding Crispin Glover made an appearance as George McFly.
No doubt it helped Glover’s career, but it was far from an easy production. He and director Robert Zemeckis butted heads over the direction of the film. In retaliation, Glover wasn’t invited back for the sequel.
In the 1962 spy film Dr. No, the actor Sean Connery played James Bond. He continued playing Bond in a series of highly successful films that stretched from 1962 to 1983. It brought him fame, fortune, and a lot of extra work. One thing it didn’t bring him was a sense of satisfaction.
Through the entire franchise period, Connery had disagreements over pay rates, plot points in the film, and the amount of media advertising he was required to do.
The musical The Sound of Music told the story of an Austrian military man (Baron von Trapp) who hired a nanny (Maria) to look after his kids. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was a box office hit that won multiple awards and left the world with a half-dozen songs that they’re still singing today!
Despite all that, the actor Christopher Plummer, who played Baron von Trapp, disliked the film. Plummer complained that his character was boring and the storyline was awful.
If you’re a child of the 90s, then you probably remember watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Starring Will Smith as Will, a street-smart kid from Philadelphia who moved to a mansion in Bel-Air, it ran for six seasons and garnered many fans.
Will Smith, however, wasn’t one of those fans. It was early in his career and he was so over-eager to impress that he remembered everyone’s lines. He can’t bear to watch reruns because he can see himself saying other lines.
Before Christopher Reeve, there was George Reeves – he was the original Superman in the 1950s TV show Adventures of Superman. Reeves also played Superman in the 1951 B-movie Supermanand theMole Men. Reeves’ identity became deeply woven in with the identity of Superman.
He was so well-known for Superman that he found it was nearly impossible to play anything else. He had a tough time landing any other roles because producers only saw him as Superman. Tragically, Reeves died young of an apparent suicide.
The Star Wars franchise of the late 70s and early 80s was a massive success that made lots of people rich and famous. The actress Carrie Fisher played the lovable Princess Leia, but she wasn’t comfortable with everything she was asked to do.
For example, Fisher was not a fan of the gold bikini scenes shot with Jabba the Hutt. The chainmail bikini was uncomfortable to put on, and it felt objectifying – all the focus went toward Leia’s body away from Leia’s character.
Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of actress Joan Crawford in 1981’s Mommie Dearest was successful at the box office (making $19 million on a $10 million) budget but universally panned by critics. Another person who didn’t like it was Faye Dunaway.
It affected Dunway’s public image and career prospects in a negative way. It certainly didn’t help that it won “Worst Picture” of the year at the Golden Raspberry Awards. Luckily, after a while, she got past it and her career improved.
The film Boogie Nights was not a favorite of actor Burt Reynolds. Over the years, he has let plenty of people know that. However, less known is that Mark Wahlberg – whose career was launched by the raunchy flick – also wasn’t a fan.
Years later, Wahlberg lamented his “poor choice” by saying he hoped God “was forgiving.” It was a racy film that dealt with pornography in the 1970s. If asked to do it nowadays as a father, Wahlberg would definitely decline.
The 80s hit TV show Miami Vice made it to the big screen in 2006. The role of James “Sonny” Crocket, the narcotics detective, went to actor Colin Farrell. Despite high hopes, the film was a huge flop – on a budget of $136 million, it managed to make $164 million.
Fans weren’t pleasant and neither was anyone on the set. Farrell opened up later on and claimed that no one enjoyed making it and that it was “style over substance.”
The original dark comedy Horrible Bosses was a massive success when it hit theaters in 2011. When the sequel – titled Horrible Bosses 2 – came out in 2014, it was not a success. With characteristic humor, the star Jason Bateman said he understood why it failed – “People weren’t interested.”
Fair enough. The film was more of a paycheck for the actors involved rather than an earnest attempt to tell an original or interesting story. Alongside that, the studio had “no discipline” as Bateman claimed.
The singer Miley Cyrus first gained fame as the lead character in the hit Disney show Hannah Montana. Alongside the four seasons of the show, the character Hannah Montana also made appearances in two movies. Towards the end, however, Miley Cyrus was getting pretty bored with the character.
As Miley Cyrus grew older, it felt uncomfortable to play the teenage character. Cyrus acknowledged the important role Hannah Montana played in her life, but she was ready to let her go.
Angus T. Jones
Angus T. Jones was only 10 years old when he landed the role of Jake Harper in the TV sitcom Two and a Half Men. The comedy show ran for 12 seasons and had millions of fans. It also had plenty of critics – including the actor Angus T. Jones.
In 2012, Jones converted to Christianity and started speaking out against the show – calling it “filth.” He felt disguised by his role as a “paid hypocrite” and asked people not to watch it.
Megan Fox became a household name with the 2007 blockbuster film Transformers. She played Mikaela Barnes in that film as well as the 2009 sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Despite the off-screen success, things on-screen weren’t going well.
Fox did not get along with director Michael Bay because, she said, he wanted to create “an insane, infamous mad-man reputation.” After comparing Bay to Napoleon and Hitler, Steven Speilberg demanded that she get fired. Fox didn’t appear in the 2011 Transformers.
Although Christian Bale is well-known as a leading man in Hollywood, his acting career wasn’t always so smooth. Back in the early 90s, he starred in the Disney musical Newsies. With a budget of $15 million, it made a whopping $2.8 million – a box office bomb.
Before Newsies was a movie, it was a hit Broadway play. The fact that the movie failed on the big screen left Bale confused. He’s not overly proud of the film, but he said it was fun to make.