It would be easy to slap together a list of the lowest-grossing movies of the year and then make fun of them. It wouldn't be fair, though. A lot of independent films only play on two or three screens for a couple weeks before going to DVD or Video-on-Demand. Their theatrical grosses are tiny -- often less than $50,000 -- but that doesn't mean they were failures. Those films usually didn't cost much to make, and a big box-office haul was never in the cards anyway.
It will be much more sporting, then, to look only at the wide releases, the films whose distributors put them on more than 1,000 screens and then got jack-squat in return. These tend to be the bloated studio productions, the cynical cash-grabs, the absurd star vehicles. They are ripe for mockery, especially insofar as this mockery makes us feel better about ourselves. (Even a big-studio "flop" is seen by hundreds of thousands of people, which is more famous than we will ever be.) So here are...
The Lowest-Grossing Wide Releases of 2010*
*For our purposes, wide release is at least 1,000 theaters. All grosses are U.S.-only and courtesy of Box Office Mojo.
Dishonorable mention: 'Letters to God' (Gross: $2.9 million. Widest release: 897 theaters.) This Christian-themed tearjerker, about a boy with cancer whose letters to God are intercepted by an alcoholic mailman, only played on 900 screens. But we wanted to mention it anyway, mainly because it's about a boy with cancer whose letters to God are intercepted by an alcoholic mailman.
10. 'Splice' (Gross: $17 million. Widest release: 2,450 theaters.) The divisive reviews didn't help. The icky premise probably turned a lot of people off, too. It turns out the audience for Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley creating genetic abominations is smaller than anyone realized.