Bottom 10 Lowest Grossing Movies of the 1980s

The 1980s will always be remembered for blockbuster hits like Star Wars, E.T., Ghostbusters, and Indiana Jones.  While aliens, ghosts, and archaeologists were soaring to the lofty heights of the box office charts, who was plummeting to the bottom?  As cult classic movie mega-fans, we couldn't help but wonder... what were box office bombs of the 80s? 

Get ready to discover these troubled anti-heroes, the bottom of the box office barrel.  Who knows, you might even discover a cult classic fave!  Who will claim the dreaded last place spot?  Read on to find out...

10. Iron Warrior (1987) - $11,385 Worldwide Gross

Born of a...sorceress?  Sired by a....dragon?  Baptized in.....wait for it.... blood?!?!?!  In a tale of densely packed nicknames, Ator (a.k.a. "The Fighting Eagle," a.k.a. "The Blade Master," a.k.a. "The Iron Warrior"), must defend the kingdom of Dragor from evil sorceress Phaedra and her sidekick "Master of the Sword." 

As the third installment in the Ator series (I'm sure you've heard of it), this film has been described as "a constant stream of endless sword fights" by one discerning critic. 

Ator (Miles O'Keeffe) and Princess Janna (Savina Gersak) prepare for the constant stream of endless sword fights.

9. Haunted Summer (1988) - $9,911 Worldwide Gross

It's the year 1816, and things are about to get weird for writers Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and Mary Shelley, and somebody else named Claire Clairmont, as they vacation by the shores of Lake Geneva.  Literary hijinks ensue, and there might even be some g-g-g-g-g-g-g-ghosts!!!

Pictured here: ye aforementioned old tyme hijinks

Looks like Dr. John William Polidori (Alex Winter) is having an excellent adventure. 

Hang on, is Haunted Summer yet another constant stream of endless sword fights?

8. Duet for One (1986) - $8,736 Worldwide Gross

Dame Julie Andrews stars as Stephanie Anderson, a world-renowned violinist stricken with MS, whose life disintegrates, dismally, drearily, and dramatically.  Despite positive critical reviews and a Golden Globe nomination, nobody wanted to see this epic bummer of a film.

Pictured here: Dame Andrews acting totally tragic.

7. The Prince of Pennsylvania (1988) - Worldwide Gross $5,415

This comedic drama stars Keanu Reeves and a truly baffling haircut.  Reeves plays Rupert Marshetta, a teenager with a mistress (?) who kidnaps his own father for ransom.  But here's the twist: nobody cares.  Looks like nobody cared about this movie either! 

The haircut won a Golden Globe for "most confusing performance." 

6. When the Wind Blows (1986) - Worldwide Gross $5,274

A mix of traditional and stop-motion animation, When the Wind Blows is based on a comic book of the same name, and follows an elderly British couple's attempt to survive a nuclear attack.  Charmingly animated, yet deeply disturbing, the film remained obscure despite critical acclaim.  (No shade, this looks fascinating!)


The title track was written and performed by David Bowie.  

5. Crimewave (1985) - $5,101 Worldwide Gross

Directed by Sam Raimi, and co-written by the Coen Brothers, Crimewave is a comedy horror film sandwiched in-between Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981) and The Evil Dead II (1987) and the Coens' Blood Simple (1984) and Raising Arizona (1987).  Framed as a series of flashbacks from an inmate in an electric chair, it blended a Coen plot with Raimi's slapstick noir stylings, but failed to achieve commercial success.  Still, it's a deep-cut must-watch for any Raimi or Coen completists out there. 


Victor Ajax (Reed Birney) about to meet his demise.

4. High Stakes (1989) - $4,780 Worldwide Gross

The stakes couldn't be lower for this thriller-drama, which failed to achieve any thrills or any drama. Sally Kirkland stars as an aging call girl with A LOT of problems.  Though the film falters, you can catch glimpses of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Kathy Bates, who both play supporting roles.

"I got 99 problems, and, yes, this is one of them."

3. Hit List (1989) - $4,564 Worldwide Gross

 Kidnapping, mobsters, car chases, hit men, corrupt cops, blah blah blah, snooze, who cares!?

Rip Torn as unimaginatively-named gangster boss, Vic Luca. 

2. Catch Me If You Can (1989) - $3,686 Worldwide Gross

Catch me if you can?  I can't, and furthermore, I won't.  Not to be confused with the 2002 DiCaprio vehicle of the same name, Catch Me If You Can spins the age old yarn of high school students trying to save their school from closing (even though they wear leather jackets!), by betting $3000 (Does that seem like enough to fund an entire high school, even when adjusted for inflation? Also, why are teenagers in charge of this?) on an illegal car race.  Fun (?) fact: director Stephen Sommers went on to achieve commercial success with The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001).

This teenager is "cool."

1. Colonel Redl (1985) - $2,357 Worldwide Gross

Colonel Redl has been described by one discerning critic as "a film." 

BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS, this is the only film on our list to be NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR!  No shit!  It was up for an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, and also won the Jury Prize at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. WHAT THE HECK.  Critics loved this tale of an ambitious young officer climbing the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian military, but it sounds like they're the only ones who saw it!

Well, there you have it, my dudes and dudettes... the bottom ten films of the 1980s.  So now that you've seen the bottom, check out the top!  Here are the Top 10 Highest Grossing Movies of the 1980s


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