Predicting disaster: Five upcoming movies that are doomed for failure

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It’s never a nice thing to prognosticate inevitable failure for any movie, but sometimes, there’s just nothing about a film that makes it feel as though there’s any other fate but abject disappointment. There are so many variables for success that getting all the stars to align is no mean feat.

Blockbuster cinema, in particular, has become an elephant graveyard of terrible ideas that were never going to work, but the studios went ahead and did them anyway. Who wanted to see Battleship as a sci-fi epic? Why are there three G.I. Joe films with another to come? What the hell was the Dark Universe supposed to be?

In all of those cases – and many more – there were no surprises to be found when the titles in question fell off a commercial cliff and were then picked apart by the vultures of money-losing mediocrity. It’s a regular occurrence, and there’s an upcoming quintet that has an excellent chance of doing the same.

There’s no harm in being wrong, and it would be most welcome when any self-respecting supporter of the theatrical experience surely wants every movie to be the best it can possibly be, but there won’t be any shocks if the following five fail to make a splash.

Five upcoming movies doomed to fail:

5. Borderlands (Eli Roth, 2024)

Nobody bats an eyelid when a video game adaptation turns out to be terrible, and Borderlands has offered absolutely nothing to suggest it’s got enough gas in the tank to avoid the ignominy of becoming the latest entry into the genre to be declared dead on arrival.

On paper, the cast is top-notch, with Cate Blanchett, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Hart, Ariana Greenblatt, and Jack Black all on deck, but the footage spied so far looks painfully formulaic. Fans of the games might get a kick out it, sure, but it looks relentlessly bland, and Roth is hardly a proven commodity in the action arena.

Not only that, but Borderlands began production in April 2021, yet it isn’t releasing until August 2024. Between those two points, extensive reshoots took place, and Roth was nowhere to be found, with Tim Miller stepping in. His last feature was Terminator: Dark Fate, which is hardly encouraging, never mind the fact that Craig Mazin successfully lobbied to remove his name from the screenplay.

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4. Kraven the Hunter (J.C. Chandor, 2024)

If Aaron Taylor-Johnson really is locked in to be the next James Bond, then let’s hope the looming shadow of Kraven the Hunter doesn’t play a part in the decision-making process because it may well end up ruling him out of the running entirely.

He’s a talented actor, without a doubt, but he’s at his weakest playing a straightforward action hero. Similarly, J.C. Chandor is a fantastic director, as Margin Call and All is Lost proved, but Sony has developed a habit of butchering its Marvel Comics adaptations beyond belief.

The latest entry in the franchise that most recently gave rise to Morbius and Madame Web hardly drums up much in the way of excitement, while Kraven the Hunter was originally scheduled to arrive in cinemas in October 2023 before being pushed all the way back to August 2024. It’s not a guaranteed deal-breaker, but an ominous sign regardless.

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3. Alto Knights (Barry Levinson, 2025)

It might hail from the writer of Goodfellas, be helmed by an Academy Award-winning director, and boast one of cinema’s most esteemed icons in the lead role, but it’s also telling that Alto Knights first entered development in the 1970s.

Nobody wanted to make it for decades before Barry Levinson took the plunge. It’s been a long time since he made a great movie, but the biggest concern by far is that Robert De Niro is playing both Vito Genovese and Frank Costello in the biographical crime thriller, which can realistically only go one of two ways.

The legend is more than capable of delivering a knockout performance, but his recent filmography is still littered with abysmal duds whenever he’s collaborated with a filmmaker who isn’t firing on all cylinders. If Levinson doesn’t return to his best, then Alto Knights – which has already been pushed back for a year – has the potential to go down as a miscalculation of epic proportions on De Niro’s part if he can’t convincingly pull double duty.

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2. Scream VII (Kevin Williamson, 2025)

After a decade on the shelf, the Scream saga was brought roaring back to life in its fifth and sixth instalments to a varied degree of success. But it’s beginning to look as if the latest chapter in the franchise created by Wes Craven is happening for no other reason than the profit margins.

The previous two films focused on Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega as siblings Sam and Tara Carpenter, both of whom won’t be appearing for different reasons. Christopher Landon was announced as the director, but he became the third major player to jump ship in quick succession.

Neve Campbell was initially left out again but has since been confirmed to return as Sidney Prescott, with original Scream writer Kevin Williamson stepping behind the camera. That’s all well and good, but he’s directed precisely one movie, it was in 1999, and pitch-black teen comedy Teaching Mrs. Tingle was unanimously panned. At this stage, maybe it’s better off to let Ghostface rest for a little while.

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1. Here (Robert Zemeckis, 2024)

As the Oscar-winning director of Forrest Gump, the Back to the Future trilogy, and Cast Away, among others, Robert Zemeckis has made his mark on cinema, and the prospect of having him reunite with Tom Hanks is exciting enough on paper.

However, the director has gone seriously off the boil in recent times, and his last collaboration with the actor on Disney’s live-action Pinocchio was an interminable exercise in corporate synergy. There’s also his ill-advised detour into effects-driven motion capture that ended in financial misery, which makes Here a very unappealing prospect.

A time-hopping drama about the inhabitants of a single room over a number of decades, Here sounds more like a test run for AI technology than a real film. Zemeckis shilled it as giving him the opportunity to de-age his performers “in ways that were previously impossible,” going so far as to refer to the tools developed by Metaphysic as “the global leaders in feature-quality AI content.”

Zemeckis, overabundant CGI, de-aging, and AI all rolled together into one? Here sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

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