Everyone has a comic book, graphic novel, or manga that we would love to see in live-action. On the other hand, we also have comics we wish were never made. A comic fan recently asked what are the worst movies based on different comics. The internet responded to deliver this list of comic book movie mishaps.
1. Howard the Duck (1986)
It stars Tim Robbins, Holly Robinson Peete, Pete Guilfoyle, Jeffrey Jones, and Lea Thompson. Howard, a sarcastic anthropomorphic duck, is transported from his homeworld to Earth, where he must assist in halting an alien invasion with the help of a nerdy scientist and a struggling female rock singer.
Howard the Duck was released to theaters on August 1, 1986, despite difficulties throughout production and mixed response to test screenings. Critically and commercially unsuccessful primarily due to an uneven tone, mediocre performances, and unconvincing special effects.
2. Steel (1997)
Steel is a superhero film loosely based on the DC Comic of the same name. The film stars Shaquille O’Neal as the lead character, John Henry Irons, and his alter ego Steel. The film also stars Annabeth Gish, Judd Nelson, Richard Roundtree, Hill Harper, Irma P. Hall, and Ray J.
On opening weekend, Steel only grossed $870,068 with an estimated production budget of over $16 million. Overall the movie was considered a box office bomb, earning $1.7 million. The film had a decent concept, but with terrible execution and minimal excitement generated, this abysmal movie is unwatchable.
3. Jonah Hex (2010)
Jonah Hex is a Western superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. In his live-action debut, the title character, Jonah Hex, is played by Josh Brolin. The supporting roles include Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnet, Michael Shannon, Wes Bently, and John Malkovich.
In exchange for his freedom, the US Military offers a scarred bounty hunter named Jonah Hex. To remove the warrants from his head, Jonah must stop terrorist planning from bringing about the darkness.
4. The Green Hornet (2011)
The Green Hornet is an American superhero film based on a character with ties to the 1930s radio program era. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote The Green Hornet’s screenplay.
It stars Seth Rogen as the title character, and Christoph Waltz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour, Tom Wilkinson, and Cameron Diaz are present in supporting roles. The film received mildly negative reviews from critics and viewers. Nevertheless, The Green Hornet grossed $227.8 million against a $120 million production budget.
5. Man-Thing (2005)
This creature feature was intended initially for theatrical release, but Man-Thing was released under the Sci-Fi Pictures label on the SciFi Channel. This movie stars Conan Stevens as the titular character. With supporting roles filled by Rachael Taylor, Alex O’loughlin, and Matthew Le Nevez.
Despite its direct television release in North America, Man-Thing garnered over $1.1 million across multiple international markets. Unfortunately, even with proper directing guidance and significant special effects, this film still ended up as a garbage movie with an outstanding concept.
6. Dragonball Evolution (2009)
An American fantasy superhero martial arts fill starring Justin Chatwin, Emmy Rossum, James Marsters, Jaime Chung, and Chow Yun-fat. The first official live-action adaption of the series Dragon Ball was a flop. It was a critical financial failure. Critics and fans alike showered this film with negative reviews.
Most reviews disliked the character casting and the inexplicable unfaithfulness to the source material. Dragonball performed poorly at the box office, grossing $9.4 million in North America against a budget of $30 million. Dragonball Evolution was going to be the first in a series of films, but since its release and significant failures, all resulting films have been canceled.
7. Morbius (2022)
Michael Morbius, an accomplished biochemist, tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but he inadvertently turns himself into something undead. This 2022 Marvel Comics superhero film stars Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson. It’s the third attempt to bring the Living Vampire to life, the first and second attempts not coming to fruition.
Due to the many reshoots and delays, Morbius’ journey to the big screen was hampered. It was its second weekend at the box office, and ticket sales dropped by 74%, the second worst all-time for a superhero film behind Steel. Morbius is not an MCU film, but it belongs to the Spider-Verse.
8. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
Based on a French science fiction comic, this English/French 3D space opera film stars Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Herbie Hancock, and Rihanna. A vast metropolis world, Alpha, is threatened by dark forces.
It’s up to Valerian and Laureline to save not just Alpha but the universe’s fate. Valerian was written, directed, co-produced, independently financed, and personally funded by Luc Benson. It received mixed reviews from critics, criticizing the plot and some of the casting but praising the visuals.
9. Catwoman (2004)
Loosely based on the comic book character, the 2004 superhero film Catwoman stars Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, and Alex Borstein. The film’s main character is Patience Phillips, a designer who discovers a conspiracy within her company.
Phillips’ conspirators kill her After her revelation, but magic Egyptian cats revive her. These cats grant her superhuman-cat-like abilities. Unfortunately, Catwoman performed poorly at the box office, grossing $82 million against its budget of $100 million.
10. Fantastic Four (2015)
Starring Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, and Kate Mara, this remake puts their unique twist on the character’s origin story, as we’ve seen repeatedly. Reed Richards and Ben Grimm are longtime childhood friends who have been working on a teleporter since they were kids.
Richards and Grimm catch the attention of Franklin Storm, Director of the Baxter Foundation, a research institute for young prodigies. Sue and Johnny Storm are the adoptive children of Professor Franklin Storm. Unfortunately, this reboot mainly received negative reviews from critics and viewers alike.
11. Fantastic Four (2005)
Before the disaster that is 2015’s Fantastic Four, we have the 2005 version of the movie. While successful enough to warrant a sequel, its attempts to cash in on the success of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies ultimately fail.
Also fun fact: Chris Evans, best known for playing Captain America, appears as Johnny Storm in the movie!
12. Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998)
Did you know that before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, David Hasselhoff starred in a made-for-TV film about Nick Fury? No? Then you’re lucky to not be aware of this disaster.
13. Elektra (2005)
A spin-off of 2003’s Daredevil sees Jennifer Garner take a leading role in the comic book movie Elektra. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t know whether to take itself seriously or keep cracking one-liners.
14. Devilman (2004)
This manga about a teenager who absorbs the powers of a demon and fights creatures hidden in society, was turned into a movie in the early 2000s. A lot of fans aren’t a fan of this movie, and it has a pretty low rating on Internet Movie Database.
15. Death Note (2017)
Based on the beloved comic and anime Death Note, the 2017 American version of the story has been heavily criticized. The story is about a high school student who discovered a mysterious notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written on it. People prefer other adaptions than this one, but Willem Dafoe was a good addition.