There are bad movies that come and go with barely a notice. And then there are the giant, colossal wastes of celluloid that made millions of dollars worldwide despite the fact that absolutely no one you know went to see them.
Take for instance 'Grown-Ups 2,' which somehow beat the far superior 'Pacific Rim' at the box office despite earning some of the worst reviews of the year. Scratch that -- some of the worst reviews of all time. (Seriously, it has a "6% Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) It's safe to say 'Grown-Ups 2' will make a ton of money despite the fact that almost no one liked it. But it's not the only film that has us scratching our head over who exactly forked over hard-earned dough to see it. Here are 10 hugely successful films that pretty much no one will confess to liking.
The Box Office: $760 million
Who Made It a Hit: You, us and the entire world.
Why Everyone Hates It: Well, hate is a strong word, but does anyone really like 'Avatar'? It may be the highest-grossing film of all time and it may have been a sensation at the time of its release, but if there's any lingering fondness for it now, everyone sure does a good job of keeping their enthusiasm hidden. Although it is undeniably an amazing technical accomplishment, James Cameron's environmentalist sci-fi epic-by-way-of-'Ferngully' hasn't latched onto popular culture in any significant way. (It certainly won't be as beloved decades from now as 'Titanic' is.) Basically it's a movie that inspires more shrugs (and, in some cases, outright hate) than enthusiasm. After that box office gross, who saw that coming?
'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen'
The Box Office: $402 million
Who Made It a Hit: Fanboys who can't let go of their blissful childhoods and hipster doofuses who saw it ironically.
Why Everyone Hates It: Although we'd be perfectly happy if the 'Transformers' franchise died in a fire, we totally understand why many people like the first film. Heck, we even kinda get why people enjoy 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon.' What we cannot comprehend is how 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' is the highest grossing film of the series so far. A nightmare of awful jokes, racial stereotypes and incoherent action, it's more of showcase for all of director Michael Bay's bad habits than an entertaining action film. We're still at a loss to explain this one.
The Box Office: $336 million
Who Made It a Hit: Comic book fans who went back three or four times just to make sure they could believe what they were seeing.
Why Everyone Hates It: We'll be perfectly honest -- we're the exception that proves the rule in this case. We kind of like the goofy and downright bizarre 'Spider-Man 3,' but everyone else in the world did not. With its overstuffed plot, slapstick humor and two dance scenes, the film inspired nerd rage of the highest caliber. In fact, buzz was so toxic after the first weekend of release that it remains absolutely shocking that the film was as successful as it was.
'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'
The Box Office: $241 million
Who Made It a Hit: Johnny Depp fans and international audiences.
Why Everyone Hates It: The first 'Pirates of the Caribbean' was such a pleasant surprise and generated such goodwill that everyone was able to forgive the borderline incomprehensible second and third films. However, 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' is where that goodwill officially ran out and everyone stopped forgiving the franchise's convoluted storytelling (and stopped loving Johnny Depp's increasingly tired Captain Jack Sparrow). Everything about the fourth 'Pirates' movie feels tired and dull, hence a gross that's significantly lower than its predecessors...but that's still a lot of money and international audiences transformed it into one of the biggest hits of the year. So now we're getting a 'Pirates 5.' Thanks, rest of the world.
The Box Office: $474, $310 and $380
Who Made It a Hit: Your weird roommate who read all of those expanded universe novels.
Why Everyone Hates It: If you ask a 'Star Wars' fanboy to explain to you why the prequel trilogy sucks, you better have a chair and a refreshment because you're in for a lecture. If you ask a 'Star Wars' fanboy to explain why the prequel trilogy still made more money than God, you'd better hope he'll be honest with you. It's all about denial. Right now, it's no secret that the 'Star Wars' prequels are wooden, dull and poorly plotted messes, but as they came out, fan enthusiasm was so high that they just couldn't comprehend that they were paying money for terrible films. Everyone made excuses for 'Episode I' until 'Episode II' came out, when they finally admitted the previous film was bad and that the new one is what they wanted from a 'Star Wars' movie. Then, when Episode III came out, they admitted that Episode II was bad and that the final one is what they've been waiting for. Now, years later, fans have run out of excuses. They willingly went and saw three bad movies multiple times. It's not just a river in Egypt, folks.
'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'
The Box Office: $317 million
Who Made It a Hit: New fathers who tried and failed to replicate the experience of seeing 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' with their own dads.
Why Everyone Hates It: Like with the 'Star Wars' prequels, the world was so desperate to like 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' that they put blinders over their eyes, covered their ears to any and all criticism and made it into a smash hit. Now, people tend to look back on the fourth Indiana Jones adventure with shame and embarrassment, grumpily insisting that there are only three Indy movies. This isn't just a bad movie, it's a sad movie. All it does is remind us that our favorite hero is now an old man and that the kind of filmmaking that made 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' a classic simply doesn't exist anymore.
The Box Office: $334 million
Who Made It a Hit: Hot Topic shoppers. Pre-teen goths. Your obnoxious children.
Why Everyone Hates It: 'Alice in Wonderland' is one of the worst big budget studio releases of all time. A toxic, cancerous experience, it takes its whimsical source material and mutates it into an ugly, tedious and obnoxious experience. No one involved cared that Lewis Carroll's world wouldn't fit into a 'Lord of the Rings' template, but they crammed it in there anyway, resulting in a poisonous, misshapen misfire. People with good taste stayed as far away as possible from this one, but Disney and director Tim Burton didn't need to rely on people with good taste to make this a hit. All they needed to do was cater to a massive demographic without any sense of taste whatsoever: teenagers. Yep, you can blame the texting generation for making this monstrosity a hit. Armies of 15-year-olds with 'Nightmare Before Christmas' hoodies flocked to this thing, all of them oblivious to the damage they were doing to themselves and the world at large. With luck, they'll grow up and learn what evil they have done.
The Box Office: $312 million
Who Made It a Hit: Robert Downey Jr., who had us all brainwashed at the time.
Why Everyone Hates It: In the year 2013, Robert Downey Jr. is the biggest movie star in the world, but he's far from infallible. We've seen him stumble. We've seen his films underperform. We know that he's mortal. However, in the year 2010, he was like a god. The entire world followed the Man Who Was Tony Stark to Hell and back...and by Hell, we mean 'Iron Man 2.' How else can we explain the success of the second Iron Man film? Downey Jr. had us all brainwashed in the palm of his hand. We were convinced that everything he touched was pure gold. After all, we turned the clumsy and downright dull 'Iron Man 2' into a box office smash! A film filled with more aimless banter and nonsensical plotting than action or adventure, 'Iron Man 2' was a massive creative stumble for the young Marvel Studios. If we weren't so enraptured with its leading man, it could've failed and we wouldn't have gotten 'The Avengers.' So, in other words, this is the rare case where an awful film being a hit actually led to something positive.
'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'
The Box Office: $241 million
Who Made It a Hit: Your mom. And probably your girlfriend, who gets really mad at you when you put it on this list.
Why Everyone Hates It: At the time, it was the success story of the year. 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' was the little move that could, the inexpensive, indie rom-com that rose out of obscurity, grew amazing legs and became a smash hit. Everyone saw it. Everyone was excited to be a part of the word-of-mouth. Everyone wanted to support the underdog. And then the TV spin-off immediately flopped. And then writer/star Nia Vardalos' career stalled after a series of flops. Now, 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' is a footnote, a cruel reminder of that time we all made a feature length sitcom with bad jokes about Windex into a smash hit.
The Box Office: $162 million
Who Made It a Hit: Satan.
Why Everyone Hates It: Adam Sandler's pact with the Dark Lord has led to a very successful career, with his few true bombs only coming when he felt slight pangs of regret about signing over total control of his soul to the forces of Hell. As Lucifer's key avatar on the human plane, Sandler did his evil masters proud with 'Grown Ups,' one of the most ruthlessly unfunny comedies ever to make a ludicrous amount of money. Of course evil black magic was involved in the creation of 'Grown Ups'! After all, the entire world looks upon the impending release of 'Grown Ups 2' with despair while the film's tracking is through the roof. If this isn't an unholy plot, it means that a certain selection of people actually did like 'Grown Ups' and that would be too much for us to bear.