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Movies That Bombed When They Released But Later Became Cult Classics

Some films are late bloomers. They have what it takes, but the conditions aren’t favorable. They might be ahead of their time. But sooner or later, they find their fans. Such films become a part of the popular culture and go on to influence art, films, literature, and the like. Their fans keep these films alive. These become cult classics. Cult Classics have it better than regular, successful films. They are passionately liked by their fans who keep them relevant years and decades after their release.

Regular commercial hits shine for a short period and then dim into oblivion. Cult classics endure. They have things inherent in them that make them special. These might be, ideas, new concepts, counter-cultural content, and so forth. Films like these fail at first, but slowly get entrenched in the hearts of fans. We take a look at 5 such films that bombed when they were released but later became cult classics.

1. Tank Girl (1995)

Films That Bombed On release but became cult classics later
Tank Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tank Girl was a commercial flop when it was released. It was based on a little-known British comic book series of the same name. It was odd, and quite frankly, crazy! However, with time it became a big cult classic. It had strong feminist undertones and was quite a free-spirited movie. The lead gave a solid performance. It had a strong influence on fashion and other films long after its release. It still has a dedicated army of fans who remember it fondly.

2. The Thing. (1982)

Films That Bombed On release but became cult classics later
A still from The Thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thing is often described as one of the best horror films of all time. It is very gory, very thrilling and very, very fun! However, at the time of its release, it suffered from bad reviews and tough competition from ET. Which later become one of the biggest films of all time (then). The antagonist is a scary alien that is a shapeshifter and it hunts humans mercilessly. The film slowly acquired cult classic status and is now widely watched and loved. Sad that it was not respected at the time of its release.

3. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club Cult Classics That Bombed At Theaters
Fight Club

This film was a huge letdown at the box office however, since then it has been a huge success, becoming a cult classic. The film regularly features one of the most frequently cited favorite films. The performances were out of this world but the plot is what takes the cake. The plot is quite iconic and has a huge twist at the end. The twist flips the film on its head and necessitates a re-watch. Bradd Pitt was amazing in this film and many of its dialogues have acquired a solid status of their own in popular culture.

4. Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The case of Starship troopers is baffling, it had all the necessary ingredients for being a huge hit. Namely, a stellar cast,  an awesome storyline, a huge budget, and a great director. Despite all this, it flopped and barely managed to recover the $100 Million it was made from. Critic reviews, as always, didn’t help. It still gets the occasional pull-down. However, the film slowly became a cult classic and is much loved now. Its humorous take on the sci-fi plot is a huge attraction.

5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – A Cult Classic Phenomenon

Films That Bombed On release but became cult classics later
The Shawshank Redemption

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shawshank Redemption is probably the biggest cult classic film of all on this list. Hands down, one of the all-time bests. It held the number 1 spot on IMDB’s top 250 films of all time. However, upon its release, it managed to earn a disappointing $16 million only. The confusing name and tough competition from other films might be a reason for its initial failure. Nevertheless, its reputation spread through word of mouth and it quickly got its due. It bagged several top awards and was one of the most rented films in 1995. Do you agree with the entries on our list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Written by Angad Singh

Lawyer, news junkie and about a dozen other things.