12 Upcoming Movies That Are Already Doomed (And Why)



At its core, the film industry is built on a series of calculated gambles, where studios bet a big pile of their chips on properties and filmmakers who can reliably deliver strong returns-on-investment.

However, sometimes these gambles get a little on the “optimistic” side, to be kind, where to fans the failure – commercially if not also critically – seems immensely obvious.

To be fair, audiences can get caught off-guard by a surprise success every now and then. For instance, Aquaman seemed like a doomed project before the first trailer dropped, but box office tracking suggests it’s on-course to be a solid hit.

On the other hand, while Alita: Battle Angel probably won’t be a financial hit, the newer trailers point to it possibly scoring solidly with critics. And as much as you might want to bet against it, you know what? Toy Story 4 is probably going to be great.

But these 12 movies haven’t got much hope at all, either in terms of box office success or critical favour. Each has struggled to justify its own existence to audiences, unaided by poor marketing and troubled productions which don’t exactly inspire much confidence.

It’d be wonderful to be wrong, of course, but knowing Hollywood as we do, that’s sadly not terribly likely…

12. Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle


Release Date: December 7

Why It’s Doomed: Andy Serkis’ long-delayed Mowgli origin story is simply a movie nobody really wants or “needs.”

Misguidedly nudged into production after Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book was already shot, the film began shooting over three years ago and has been repeatedly delayed in order to distance itself from Favreau’s 2016 smash hit.

In order to avoid themselves an inevitable box office embarrassment, Warner Bros. sensibly sold the distribution rights to Netflix earlier this year.

Given Mowgli’s evidently gigantic budget and the general lack of audience interest, though, it’s likely more a loss-cutting measure than one that actually generates profit.

The trailers released so far look..fine? It seems competent but fairly uninteresting, and considering how terrible Netflix is at promoting their movies, it’s safe to say that Mowgli looks destined to get lost in the streaming shuffle regardless of whether it’s actually any good or not.

This thing’s sure to be forgotten before the year’s even over, if people even bother to check it out at all.

11. The New Mutants


Release Date: August 2, 2019

Why It’s Doomed: When The New Mutants was first announced as a horror-themed spin-off to the X-Men franchise, fans were pretty excited, especially given the talented cast and crew involved.

Then the first trailer dropped and suggested a more generic and safe film than people were hoping for, dampening enthusiasm significantly.

But that was just the beginning of the movie’s troubles, as a series of delays pushed its release date from April 13 of this year all the way to next August.

Reports soon emerged of a stressful shoot for director Josh Boone, who Fox had micro-managed throughout production in the hope of steering the movie away from strictly being a horror film.

After the middling trailer posted strong social media engagements, though, Fox relented and allowed Boone to carry out extensive re-shoots to fully realise his initial horror-centric vision.

And while it wouldn’t be the first time that re-shoots actually improved a movie, it’s nevertheless incredibly difficult to be optimistic about the end result with it languishing for so long in post-production.

And let’s be honest, would it surprise anyone if the film just forewent a theatrical release entirely and ended up dumped on Disney’s new streaming service Disney+?

10. Mortal Engines


Release Date: December 14

Why It’s Doomed: A $100 million adaptation of a hit Y.A. novel series is releasing in a matter of weeks and…nobody’s talking about it?

One gets the distinct impression Universal is burying this Peter Jackson-produced fantasy flick, given the piecemeal, uninspired marketing campaign leaning lazily on Jackson’s involvement and clearly hoping Lord of the Rings fans will just assume he directed it.

Mortal Engines is in fact directed by Jackson’s longtime pal and visual effects supervisor Christian Rivers, and the dangers of giving a tentpole movie to a first-time filmmaker obviously speak for themselves.

More than anything, though, the trailers point to the film being yet another bland, soulless Y.A. blockbuster trying to squeeze some easy money out of the demographic even though that well mostly dried up a while ago.

Plus, releasing within mere days of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Aquaman, Bumblebee and Mary Poppins Returns ensures it’s going to get eaten alive at the box office, even if by some miracle it actually ends up a good movie.

9. Fantastic Beasts 3

Warner Bros.

Release Date: November 20, 2020

Why It’s Doomed: Without spoiling any of the insanity that is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the movie is a complete mess.

In many respects it is exactly what fans feared when Warner Bros. announced from the outset that they were moving ahead with five Fantastic Beasts movies.

The second Beasts film suffered from an often nonsensical, tonally jarring script clearly rushed together by J.K. Rowling for shooting without being sufficiently thought through.

It consequently became the first movie in the Wizarding World franchise to receive negative reviews from critics and fans alike, while also posting the lowest opening weekend box office numbers of any entry in the series.

Given that the third film’s date has been set in stone for some time and shooting will likely begin early next summer, Rowling doesn’t have much time to course-correct her script following the polarising response to The Crimes of Grindelwald.

As such, this could very well end up similar to the Justice League situation, where a tight production deadline forces Rowling and director David Yates to basically shape the movie on-the-fly during production.

This is of course all speculatory, but at the most basic level, it’s tough to be optimistic about the middle-chapter of this franchise given the previous film’s disappointing lack of finesse, and especially considering some of its sillier revelations and cliffhangers.

8. Welcome To Marwen


Release Date: December 21

Why It’s Doomed: You have to give Robert Zemeckis credit for always making intriguing movies that push the boundaries of movie tech, even if they don’t always land as he might hope for.

His new film Welcome to Marwen, however, looks like a visual embodiment of every bad instinct the legendary filmmaker has ever had.

Adapted from the true story of Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell), a man who was almost beaten to death outside a bar and build a miniature World War II village to cope with the trauma, Zemeckis’ latest looks like a syrupy, atonal mess of an Oscar-baiting drama.

Sure, the effects are impressive, but considering that a documentary on the subject already exists – the hugely acclaimed Marwencol – the movie will need to work hard to justify its existence and actually prove tasteful rather than exploitative.

Given the lack of awards buzz despite its Oscar-friendly release date, there’s very little hope for this being anything more than a passably acceptable effort. Box office and Oscar prospects feel dead in the water already, and critically it’ll probably fare lukewarm also.

7. Hellboy


Release Date: April 12, 2019

Why It’s Doomed: Though the impending Hellboy reboot does have a few things going for it – namely an R-rating, director Neil Marshall and star David Harbour – it’s virtually impossible not to view it as an inferior retooling without the presence of Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman.

The leaked New York Comic-Con trailer looked stylistically similar to the two del Toro movies at least, but without his distinct visual ingenuity and imagination, is it likely to be anywhere near as good?

Plus, if that “Legendary AF” poster is indicative of the film’s general tone, it could end up a bit of a cringe-fest.

Furthermore, reports from a recent early test screening have been uniformly negative, and even if Marshall can turn that around in the editing process, releasing it between Shazam! and Avengers 4 will guarantee that it craters at the box office.

Keep your expectations low and be pleasantly surprised if it’s actually any good, but if Lionsgate doesn’t shift that release date, Hellboy’s going to be a one-off movie no matter what.

6. Kingsman: The Great Game


Release Date: TBA 2020

Why It’s Doomed: After Kingsman: The Golden Circle turned out to be a self-indulgent dud last year, is anyone really interested in a Kingsman Cinematic Universe?

Rather than simply focus on making a solid return to form with Kingsman 3, Matthew Vaughn is also prepping a prequel spin-off called Kingsman: The Great Game, which will reveal the formation of Kingsman in the early 1900s.

Ralph Fiennes and Harris Dickinson are reportedly set to star, with Vaughn planning to shoot the movie early next year back-to-back with Kingsman 3.

Fiennes is great and all, but without the presence of Taron Egerton and Colin Firth, this one has box office dud written all over it regardless of its eventual quality.

5. Gambit


Release Date: March 13, 2020

Why It’s Doomed: Any movie with its own “Development of…” Wikipedia page should invite middling expectations at best, and considering that Fox has been attempting to get a Gambit film made for around a decade without avail, maybe this is a sign to just hang it up.

After burning through directors such as Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman and most recently Gore Verbinski, the project is currently without a director while the script is being re-worked from its original heist film premise into a…romantic comedy?

The only real constant throughout the process has been star Channing Tatum, but one has to believe that even he may end up losing patience and walking away if the stalled production prevents him from accepting other work.

It is indeed possible that Gambit may start shooting early next year for its current March 2020 date, but given the tumultuous creative differences with numerous directors and the sudden genre-shift, it’s virtually impossible to be even remotely hopeful.

4. Chaos Walking


Release Date: March 1, 2019

Why It’s Doomed: If this prediction is correct, Doug Liman jumped from the sinking wreckage of Gambit onto another doomed vessel with this glossy adaptation of Patrick Ness’ novel The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Though its box office will undeniably benefit from the presence of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Rey (Daisy Ridley), the $100 million Y.A. adaptation has the unmistakable whiff of a troubled production.

In addition to being penned by six credited screenwriters, there are several weeks of re-shoots still yet to happen despite the movie being barely four months from release.

Firstly, don’t be surprised if the film is delayed from its current date, because even ignoring the re-shoot drama, releasing between How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Captain Marvel is commercial suicide.

As for the final film itself? Liman is a fairly reliable director but certainly not faultless, and the last time he operated in the PG-13 fantasy sandbox, we ended up with Jumper.

3. Dora The Explorer

Paramount Pictures

Release Date: August 2, 2019

Why It’s Doomed: For starters, isn’t Dora supposed to be a seven-year-old? Instead Paramount has cast the talented yet wildly ill-suited 17-year-old Isabela Moner to play the intrepid explorer, infuriating fans of the franchise and pretty much baffling everybody else.

Many have joked that the first production still released from the movie looks more like a well-made Dora the Explorer porno than a legitimate attempt at an official live-action adaptation. Ouch.

One suspects this could end up appealing to neither Dora fans nor anyone else, landing with a thud and serving as yet another warning against studios listlessly milking every popular IP for every cent they think they’re worth.

2. Dark Phoenix

20th Century Fox

Release Date: June 7, 2019

Why It’s Doomed: Oh boy, where to begin with this one? After X-Men: Apocalypse was a disappointment critically and commercially, expectations were immediately lowered for this follow-up, all the more so once franchise writer Simon Kinberg jumped in the director’s chair.

There are so many other red flags surrounding Dark Phoenix: Fox’s apparent embarrassment of the X-Men branding and subsequent removal of it in the film’s marketing, Jennifer Lawrence’s lack of enthusiasm in playing Mystique, the atrocious early test screening reports, the abundance of re-shoots, that uninspired first trailer, numerous release delays and, of course, the impending Disney/Fox merger being finalised mid-production.

If the supposed plot leaks are true, this thing’s a real mess and has far more in common with X-Men: The Last Stand than just about anyone wanted it to (though tellingly, both were written by Kinberg).

Rumours have abounded that Fox may have ordered re-shoots to give the film a more concrete ending following the merger announcement, but even so, this looks like a painfully mediocre limp to the finish line for a superhero franchise that’s always been defined by its wild inconsistency.

As for Dark Phoenix’s box office? It’s probably going to have its lunch eaten by both the MIB reboot and Toy Story 4, which release in the subsequent weeks and will probably cut its legs out from under it.

That’s to say nothing of Godzilla: King of the Monsters releasing the week prior and The Secret Life of Pets 2 the very same day.

1. G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant


Release Date: March 27, 2020

Why It’s Doomed: Firstly, there’s virtually no chance that a third G.I. Joe movie is in cinemas 16 months from now, and secondly, should it really take seven years to release a sequel to 2013’s braindead yet fitfully amusing blockbuster G.I. Joe: Retaliation? Also, that title is horrible.

Earlier this year Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec – who wrote both of the Michael Bay-produced Turtles movies – were hired to pen the script, and though much has already been said about the planned plot and characters, it ultimately all hinges on one thing: Dwayne Johnson’s availability.

Unquestionably one of the busiest stars in Hollywood, Johnson is currently filming Hobbs and Shaw, will start shooting Jumanji 2 early next year and follow up with the spy thriller Red Notice.

After that, he’s got the in-the-pipeline likes of San Andreas 2, the Big Trouble in Little China remake, Black Adam, Doc Savage, The King and so much more.

Ultimately for Johnson it will come down to which projects are likely to prove the most successful for his time investment, and given that Retaliation was a modest box office success, it’s far more probable he’ll keep it on the back burner and never firmly commit.

As a result, G.I. Joe 3 will either never get released at all, or press ahead with a new actor playing Roadblock, which would obviously be terrible. Either way, doomed.


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