Search icon

Movies & TV

19th Jul 2023

10 years ago today, Ryan Reynolds had his 5th huge flop in a row

Rory Cashin

Ryan Reynolds

Unbelievably, there was a time when Ryan Reynolds was practically considered box office poison.

In 2013, poor Ryan Reynolds just couldn’t get a break. Sure, he had successfully managed to break into the romantic comedy genre – 2002’s Van Wilder, 2005’s Just Friends, 2008’s Definitely Maybe, 2009’s The Proposal. But every time he tried to front an action movie, it wouldn’t go well.

And not just flop a little bit. It would flop a lot. It would flop so much that everybody knew about it. 2013 would represent his fifth attempt at breaking into the action genre, after this series of unfortunate critical and/or commercial events:

2004: Blade Trinity – 25% Rotten Tomatoes score

2006: Smokin’ Aces – 31% Rotten Tomatoes score

2009: X-Men Origins Wolverine – 38% Rotten Tomatoes score

2011: Green Lantern – 26% Rotten Tomatoes score, reportedly lost over $75 million at the box office

Clearly in need of a bit of a hit, his next project looked like a winner. It was coming from David Dobkin, the director of hit comedy Wedding Crashers, it was based on a popular comic book series, and the cast was reported to already include Zach Galifianakis and Jodie Foster. Plus the plot was basically “What if you took Men In Black and replaced the aliens with ghosts?”

What could go wrong? Well, by the time RIPD arrived in cinemas on 19 July 2013, pretty much everything…

Ryan Reynolds was the only one still involved in the project.

Dobkin dropped out of directing, deciding to make The Judge with Robert Downey Jr. instead, and he was replaced by Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, RED). Galifianakis dropped out of the project, as the schedule conflicted with filming The Hangover Part III, and was replaced by Jeff Bridges. And Foster dropped out of the role of Proctor, choosing to make sci-fi thriller Elysium instead, and was replaced by Mary-Louise Parker.

After release, Bridges himself came out against the finished product, blaming producers for getting too involved in the edit: “I think they really screwed up the editing of the movie, we had a wonderful time making it, with Ryan Reynolds. Wonderful time working with the director. But the suits just cut it against the grain, and I thought, screwed it up.”

The movie wasn’t shown to critics before release (never a good sign), and upon release, on a reported budget of over $154 million, it made just $73 million worldwide, and to this day, is considered one of the biggest box office flops of all time. When critics did eventually get eyes on the movie, it scored just 12% on Rotten Tomatoes.

And some of those reviews… oh boy…

Time – “Less a bad movie than simply not a movie, R.I.P.D. gives every indication of having been a sloppy first-draft script.”

New York Post – “For a movie that so strenuously rips off Ghostbusters and Men in Black, R.I.P.D. manages to come up with fresh new ways of being absolutely terrible.”

Vulture – “The whole thing seems ill-conceived from the start, unable to keep its parameters simple – think of Ghostbusters and ‘Don’t cross the streams!’ – but also lacking any genuine comic spark or imagination. It’s an exhausting 98 minute ride to nowhere.”

So that was five for five. Like we said, poor Ryan Reynolds. The next few years are a fog of interesting but not amazing projects (The Captive, Self/Less, The Voices, Mississippi Grind, Criminal) before he goes all in on Deadpool in 2016, and finally – FINALLY! – it paid off.

Since then, he’s had all of the biggest critical and/or commercial successes of his career – The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Life, Detective Pikachu, Deadpool 2, The Adam Project, Free Guy, Red Notice, Spirited, Welcome to Wrexham – and already hard at work at what could be his biggest hit ever.

Looking back now, it seems hard to believe that one of the biggest stars in the world had such a long run of bad luck. But there is a lot to be said for perseverance. Should you want to, RIPD is available to watch on Prime Video right now.

Related articles:

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge