10 Highest-Grossing 2000s Movies That Critics Hated, Ranked by Box Office


The 2000s were a pretty great decade for cinema financially. The turn of the century saw the industry take a turn toward stunning technological advancements, visual effects-centric blockbusters, and gimmick films that quite often resonated with audiences to great effect. Of the billion dollar movie club, four films were released near the start of the new millennium.

However, though they may have fared well at the box office, not all of the highest-grossing films of the 2000s’ earned the favor of critics. From movies that divided them, like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, to ones that they outright despised, like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, critics thought that some of the decade’s biggest financial hits were filmmaking flops.

10 ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (2004)

Worldwide Box Office: $552,639,571 USD

Image via Lionsgate Films

Based on the 1999 novel The Coming Global Thunderstorm, The Day After Tomorrow is a sci-fi disaster film by Ronald Emmerich, a director typically associated with the genre (often not in a positive way). In it, a paleoclimatologist must go from D.C. to New York to reach his son, overcoming the obstacles of a new Ice Age brought on by a sudden international storm.

“[It] might have been a success when it came to ticket sales, but it was generally a failure when it came to pleasing audiences and critics.”

With a 45% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 47 on Metacritic, the movie might have been a success when it came to ticket sales, but it was generally a failure when it came to pleasing audiences and critics alike. Though it has great visual effects, a clunky script and lackluster directing prevent The Day After Tomorrow from being a truly memorable blockbuster.

The Day After Tomorrow can be streamed on Fubo TV in the U.S.

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9 ‘Night at the Museum’ (2006)

Worldwide Box Office: $574,482,479 USD

the cast of 'Night at the Museum' behind Ben Stiller as Larry Daley
Image via 20th Century Studios

Though it spawned a prolific franchise, Night at the Museum was not quite so popular with critics. Even then, however, this family comedy about a newly recruited security guard at the Museum of Natural History who discovers that the exhibits come to life at night was a smash hit with families worldwide, making over five times its budget.

With a 42% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 48 on Metacritic, the film did undeniably poorly with experts. Though they praised its silly spectacle and outstanding visual effects, they called its story dumb and too childish, resulting in an experience that they labeled far more enjoyable for the little ones than for their parents.

Night at the Museum can be streamed on Disney+ in the U.S.

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8 ‘The Passion of the Christ’ (2004)

Worldwide Box Office: $612,055,538 USD

Jesus wearing a crown of thorns with 3 crosses in the background
Image via Newmarket Films

For a long time before the release of Deadpool in 2016, Mel Gibson‘s The Passion of the Christ was the 2nd highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, slightly behind The Matrix Reloaded. Brutally depicting the final twelve hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth on the day of his crucifixion, this is one of those movies about religion that anyone can appreciate.

Audiences resonated with Jim Caviezel‘s devout depiction of Jesus and with Gibson’s approach to the material, which came across as powerfully dedicated to realism. Critics, however, thought that the movie read more like torture porn than anything else, calling its excessive violence appalling and earning it a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 47 on Metacritic.

The Passion of the Christ can be streamed on Kanopy in the U.S.

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7 ‘Hancock’ (2008)

Worldwide Box Office: $629,443,428 USD

Will Smith as John Hancock walking through a spray of bullets in a police showdown in Hancock
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

Will Smith may no longer have the star power that he used to boast, but what’s undeniable is that the 21st century saw him at the height of his box office performance. One of his highest-grossing films is Hancock, a highly unconventional superhero film about a superpowered man whose questionable behavior usually causes collateral damage beyond belief. When a person he saves offers to help him improve his public image, he’s given a shot at redemption.

Hancock more than quadrupled its budget at the box office, but critics and audiences alike thought that it wasted its interesting premise on a poorly executed story with a ludicrous plot twist that was simply too much to roll with. Once this twist arrives, the film loses its sense of humor and gives its premise a full 180-degree twist that critics highly disliked. As a result, the movie earned itself a 42% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 49 on Metacritic.

Hancock Film Poster


Release Date
July 2, 2008

Peter Berg

92 minutes

Vincent Ngo , Vince Gilligan

Columbia Pictures

Hancock can be streamed on Apple TV in the U.S.

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6 ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ (2009)

Worldwide Box Office: $711,048,123 USD

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner in a promo poster for Twilight: New Moon
Image via Summit Entertainment

The 2000s and 2010s were characterized by a boom in teen genre film franchises, and the Twilight saga was one of the most popular. In the second film in the series, New Moon, Edward leaves Bella after an attack nearly takes her life. In her despair, she falls into yet another complicated relationship — this time with her close friend Jacob.

Generally regarded as one of the worst romance films of the 21st century, New Moon took everything that made its predecessor a critical flop and multiplied it by a hundred. With a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 44 on Metacritic, the movie was panned for its excessive length and glacial pace, even if fans did loyally show up at the theater in droves to support it.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Release Date
November 18, 2009

Chris Weitz

130 minutes

The Twilight Saga: New Moon can be streamed on Hulu in the U.S.

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5 ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (2006)

Worldwide Box Office: $760,006,945 USDTom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code standing side by side.

Based on Dan Brown‘s highly controversial mystery novel of the same title, The Da Vinci Code finds a Harvard professor uncovering a religious mystery protected by a secret society for thousands of years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity. Ron Howard has never been critics’ favorite director, but they thought that this was a new low, even for him.

“Howard was ludicrously unable to properly translate what made Brown’s book so fascinating.”

The Da Vinci Code earned a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 46 on Metacritic, with critics saying that Howard was ludicrously unable to properly translate what made Brown’s book so fascinating and worthy of conversation on the screen. Not all thrillers are created equal, and this is certainly one of the least popular of the 2000s.

the da vinci code

Release Date
May 17, 2006


Main Genre

Akiva Goldsman , Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code can be streamed on Amazon in the U.S.

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4 ‘2012’ (2009)

Worldwide Box Office: $791,217,826 USDA plane flying through collapsing buildings in 2012

Back in 2009, some still believed that the world would end in 2012. Hollywood saw a golden opportunity in this paranoia to create 2012, a disaster epic by famous director Roland Emmerich about a writer struggling to keep his family alive when a series of global catastrophes threaten to annihilate the human race.

Hollywood’s ambitions proved successful at the box office, with the film making nearly $800 million dollars internationally. However, critics weren’t nearly as impressed by the movie, calling Emmerich’s direction dull, the story far too bloated, and the runtime sadistically long. Disaster epics can be great, but only when they have a solid script to support their visual spectacle, which critics thought that 2012 did not. Because of this, it only holds a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 49 on Metacritic.


Release Date
October 10, 2009

Roland Emmerich


Roland Emmerich , Harald Kloser

2012 can be streamed on Netflix in the U.S.

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3 ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ (2009)

Worldwide Box Office: $836,303,693 USD

Skids and Mudflaps in egypt
Image via Paramount Pictures

Outside of an atypically fun first installment, Michael Bay‘s Transformers franchise was never a particularly highly acclaimed series. In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Sam Witwicky leaves the Autobots behind for a chance at a normal life. But when he’s dragged back into the Transformers’ war, his friends must protect him once again.

Even with its astronomically high box office numbers, Revenge of the Fallen is considered to be astronomically far from being one of the best action movies of the 2000s — or even a good one, at that. With a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 35 on Metacritic, it earned the spite of critics due to its excessively loud tone and extremely poorly written script.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Release Date
June 19, 2009


Ehren Kruger , Roberto Orci , Alex Kurtzman

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen can be streamed on Max in the U.S.

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2 ‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’ (2009)

Worldwide Box Office: $886,686,817 USD

The Momma Dinosaur from Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Image via 20th Century Fox

Before Blue Sky Studios went down under, they made one of the highest-grossing animated movie franchises of all time in the Ice Age series. The third installment, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, follows the prehistoric crew as they journey into an underground lost world to rescue Sid the sloth from a dinosaur who abducted him.

The movie isn’t only the highest-grossing in the franchise, but one of the highest-grossing animated movies of all time. Critics, who gave the film a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 50 on Metacritic, praised its wonderful animation and the fun design of the dinosaurs. However, they also criticized the trite story and the forgettable characters, preferring to leave Dawn of the Dinosaurs for the kiddos to enjoy by themselves.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs poster

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Release Date
June 26, 2009


Eunice Cho , Karen Disher , Harrison Fahn , Maile Flanagan , Jason Fricchione , Bill Hader

Peter Ackerman , Michael Berg , Yoni Brenner , Jason Carter Eaton , Mike Reiss

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs can be streamed on Disney+ in the U.S.

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1 ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’ (2007)

Worldwide Box Office: $960,996,492 USD

Tia Dalma, Barbossa, and Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a surprise hit both with critics and at the box office. As such, a lot of weight rested on its sequels’ shoulders. At least financially, they certainly delivered. At World’s End, the third movie in the series, where the pirates sail to the edge of the world to find a lost Captain Jack Sparrow, made nearly a billion dollars worldwide.

Though audiences loved the movie’s epic action scenes and grand story full of twists and double-crossings, those were precisely the elements that critics found distasteful. Calling the story tedious and confusing, they lamented how the simple charm of the original seemed to be long gone. Even if audiences and critics were unable to find middle ground, though, the fact remains that At World’s End was one of the highest-grossing movie spectacles of the 2000s.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End can be streamed on Disney+ in the U.S.

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KEEP READING: The Lowest-Grossing Superhero Movies of the 21st Century


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