With a worldwide box-office gross of around $151 million on a production budget of $225 million, 47 Ronin is estimated to be the biggest box office bomb based on absolute loss on worldwide gross. However, such claims usually refer to losses when only taking into account theatrical revenue and production budget. It is not immediately clear which film loses the most when home video and television income, which can form a significant portion of a film’s earnings, and the prints and advertising budget, which can inflate a film’s overall cost, are factored in. For instance, in addition to the $225–250 million spent on producing The Lone Ranger, it was estimated that Disney spent a further $150 million on worldwide marketing,[8] causing Disney to ultimately take a $160–190 million write-off on the film.[9] The cost of Sahara also spiraled out of control: Los Angeles Times provided an extensive special report about the film’s financial troubles two years after its release, which included a net loss of $78 million through 2006.[# 1]
Sometimes a film can be financed by selling its distribution rights to cover costs before production begins. C2 Pictures made deals with Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Toho-Towa to release Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in their respective territories in return for $149 million, with another $11 million earned by transferring the copyright to German tax shelters. The final budget was estimated to be $187.3 million, so at least 85% of costs had been covered for the producers before any box office revenue came in.[10]
Only the revenues from theatrical exhibition and production budgets at their nominal value are included here, which sees 47 Ronin rank in the top position. Up to nine films in total have lost in excess of $100 million. The films on this chart have all had their theatrical releases during or after 1995, and films that were released prior to then do not appear on the chart due to ticket-price inflation, population size, and ticket purchasing trends not being considered. The most represented years are 2005 and 2011, both with five films.