At what point does a movie become so bad that it’s good?


Photos courtesy of Chloe Productions, 20th Century Fox, and Amblin Entertainment.

Genevieve Ick , Assistant Editor-In-Chief

Bad movies are easy to spot. Any combination of low-production budgets, poorly cast actors, or a bad script or plot can cause a movie to flop at the box office.  But at what point does a movie become so bad that it cycles back around to being good? Why do some movies become instant flops soon to be forgotten to the general public, yet others are launched into Internet infamy or become cult classics?

There are typically three paths these types of films follow once they are released. Either they are ignored and forgotten, become an overnight internet sensation, or they develop a devoted fan base.

 Most often, bad films are quickly forgotten simply due to the lack of interest or failure to make an impact. Movies with big-name production companies can flop if they never pick up enough attention either because of poor reviews or an unsuccessful marketing campaign. Remember Marvel’s newest X-Men movie “Dark Phoenix”? No? Of course you don’t. The film was released in June as the final installment if Marvels X-Men series. A Marvel film, released over the summer, and the last part of a beloved franchise; what could go wrong? Seemingly everything. The film never caught traction with audiences and ended with a 23% Rotten Tomato score and a 170 million dollar loss for Disney. This is a perfect example of the many movies that don’t make the cut and are sent to the heap of obscurity.

On the other hand, sometimes movies are vaulted into the public eye before the movie is even released. Just from the trailer, you can already tell that the movie is poorly made and the internet loves to rip these types of movies apart quickly and viciously. With the upcoming release of the Cats, everyone can agree the animation is downright terrifying and predict the horrible quality of the movie, but the Internet cannot stop talking about it. It could even be argued that the trailer gained more attention from being terrible than it would have if it was well made. It is always questionable if movies benefit from the massive surge of negative attention online. 

The most notable category of bad cinema is initially met with failure, yet somehow over time becomes cult classics. For example, The Room is an iconic movie loved by many with live screenings to this day, yet no one is claiming it to be good. The plot is terrible and the dialogue makes no sense. However, it is still incredibly popular to the point that it inspired a movie The Disaster Artist about its creator Tommy Wiseau. The movie is undeniably atrocious but it remains so fun to watch; people continue to pay money to see the movie over-and-over again.