Even Insanely Good Reviews Couldn’t Save $121M Mark Wahlberg Disaster

Critical acclaim couldn't shield Mark Wahlberg's film, a deep dive into the box office disappointment, and its surprising impact.

Even Insanely Good Reviews Couldn't Save $121M Mark Wahlberg Disaster


  • Despite positive reviews and a gripping portrayal of the 2010 oil rig disaster, Deepwater Horizon failed at the box office.
  • The film's budget was high, ranging around $110-120 million post-tax incentives, compared to its worldwide earnings of approximately $122 million.
  • Despite aiming at an adult audience with a PG-13 rating and intense disaster portrayal, the film failed to resonate with viewers due to a lack of authenticity.
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Mark Wahlberg’s Deepwater Horizon faced an unexpected financial downturn, defying exceptional reviews and missing projected success. It scrutinizes the enigmatic dynamics surrounding this unexpected setback, revealing that even critical acclaim failed to safeguard the film from its economic downturn.

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Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg
Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg

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Despite Positive Reviews, Deepwater Horizon Failed At The Box Office

Deepwater Horizon, lauded for its gripping portrayal of the 2010 oil rig disaster, stumbled unexpectedly at the box office.

Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron in Daddy’s Home (2015)
Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron in Daddy’s Home (2015)

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Despite positive reviews from viewers and critics alike. The film faced challenges, failing to resonate with audiences for various reasons.

Set in 2010, the movie recounted the true story of the drill rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, led by Mark Wahlberg as Chief Electronics Technician Mike Williams.


Through heroism and camaraderie, the film authentically captures the crew’s struggles in the face of disaster, showcasing the indomitable human spirit.

Despite critical acclaim, this is reflected in an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film’s lackluster box office performance presents a perplexing narrative.


However, the question lingers: Why did Deepwater Horizon falter commercially despite its compelling narrative and positive reviews? 

What Caused Deepwater Horizon’s Box Office Failure?

Deepwater Horizon encountered an unexpected setback at the box office, prompting inquiries into its root causes.

Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg in Deepwater Horizon

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The film’s staggering budget ranges from $110 million to $120 million post-tax incentives. Starkly contrasts with its worldwide earnings of approximately $122 million (via Box Office Mojo).


Despite aiming at an adult audience with its PG-13 rating and intense disaster portrayal. The film’s budget was deemed exorbitant, a consequence of over-ambition among filmmakers and production designers.

Proof of this was the construction of a 70-foot-tall, 85% scale replica of the original Deepwater Horizon rig in an abandoned parking lot. It showcases an unwavering commitment to authenticity.


The film’s struggle at the box office is also attributed to its release window. Which also faced tough competition from Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and the true-story adaptation, Sully.

Both Deepwater Horizon and Sully garnered critical acclaim as true-story adaptations. Sully gained an edge due to its titular reference to the hero in its narrative.


This complex interplay of budgeting, release timing, and thematic nuances adds another layer to understanding the intricate dynamics. It influences a movie’s financial success within the ever-changing landscape of the film industry.

The disparity between expectations and performance raises compelling questions about the nuanced factors steering a film’s economic fate in a highly dynamic cinematic environment.


Written by Muskan Chaudhary

Muskan Chaudhary, Junior Content Writer at Fandom wire. Having completed her degree in Commerce, she has written over 500 articles spanning FandomWire and Animated Times in the pop culture. She is dedicated to bring the latest and informative content from the entertainment world, thus expanding her knowledge in the field. Apart from her contributions to FandamWire, she has a keen interest in video games, sketching and playing tennis.