Dave and Chuck the Freak

There have been a number of band films/documentaries starring popular bands that have grossed significant returns. They are the films that have earned the love of fans and critics alike. This list won’t be highlighting those films.

Frankly, some of the most interesting films and documentaries to talk about flopped so hard that they are impossible to ignore. Other times, they’re films from iconic bands or artists that land with a big “meh.” This list covers that and more.

One of the films we touch on is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This film was famously terrible, and the reviews were brutal.

Variety wrote,”‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ will attract some grown-up flower children of the 1960s who will soon find the Michael Schultz film to be a totally bubblegum and cotton candy melange of garish fantasy and narcissism.” The New York Times wrote, “This isn’t a movie, it’s a business deal set to music.” The Washington Post was actually sort of nice writing, ” … The movie’s fun in a wholesome, innocent kind of way, and there are worse fates than having to look at Peter Frampton for two hours.”

In a recent appearance on The Bob Lefsetz Podcast, Frampton says he was duped into appearing in the film. He says producer Robert Stigwood told him Paul McCartney was going to be in the film. Hearing that, Frampton said he was in. Unfortunately, once he arrived in Los Angeles for the first meeting about the film, he learned McCartney wasn’t on board.

Frampton then noted, “I realized from the first day of shooting, ‘Oh, this was a disaster.’ I didn’t walk because I would have been sued to high hell, but we all hated being in that movie.”

Without furth ado, here are seven band films that (in)famously flopped.

  • 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'

    Oh, geez…where to even begin with this mess? Few band films, if any, are as infamous as 1978’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Taking its narrative from the iconic Beatles album of the same name, the film stars The Bee Gees as the Lonely Hearts Club Band and Peter Frampton as Billy Shears. The film was produced by RSO Records founder Robert Stigwood who was fresh off the massive successes of Saturday Night Fever and Grease, so it’s no wonder why the project received the green light. However, the acting is just horrible. The only redeeming part of the film is its soundtrack which yielded some great Beatles covers with notable standouts being Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Got to Get You into My Life” and Aerosmith’s “Come Together.”

  • 'Studio 666'

    Studio 666 received a massive marketing push with Dave Grohl showing up seemingly everywhere in the lead up to the release of the film, but according to Billboard, the film only took in $1.6 million in its opening weekend screening in 2,306 theaters in the United States. The film received 56% over on Rotten Tomatoes, but it managed an 81% audience score, so maybe it’ll receive a cult home-viewing following. (After all, you can’t take your bong into a movie theater. I hear that’s frowned upon.)

  • 'Tenacious D In: The Pick of Destiny'

    Speaking of not being able to take your bong into a movie theater, Tenacious D In: The Pick of Destiny is another film that was a financial flop. Per Box Office MojoThe Pick of Destiny produced a net loss of about $6 million after it grossed just under $14 million, but its budget was $20 million. Rotten Tomatoes summarized the film with, “Tenacious D fans will find this movie hilarious; everybody else will see only a low-brow concept movie and a small assembly of jokes stretched past the 100-minute mark.”

  • 'Metallica: Through The Never'

    It may have been “Certified Fresh” and had a decent audience score, but 2013’s Metallica: Through The Never was a financial bomb. It grossed just under $8 million worldwide, but it had a budget of $18 million. Yikes!

  • 'Under The Cherry Moon'

    Surely after the success of Purple Rain, Prince could repeat that success, right? Wrong! Rotten Tomatoes summarizes it best saying, “‘Under the Cherry Moon’ may satisfy the most rabid Prince fans, but everyone else will be better served with this vanity project’s far superior soundtrack.”

  • 'Head'

    Head was billed as the “most extraordinary adventure, western, comedy, love story, mystery, drama, musical, documentary satire ever made (And that’s putting it mildly).” In reality, the film co-written/co-directed by Jack Nicholson was an attempt to shed their teen idol image cultivated by The Monkees television series, which had been canceled just before the film was released. However, it seemed to serve as the final nail in the group’s coffin in the ’60s.

  • 'KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park'

    Oof! KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park was only a TV movie, but its awfulness continues to live in infamy. Paul Stanley said of the film in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter“I embrace it like an ugly child. You have to realize that we were like these imbeciles who got to take over the school. We knew nothing about acting, nothing about filmmaking. We were sold the idea of the film in a sentence that was virtually, ‘A Hard Day’s Night meets Star Wars.’ Well, it was far from either.”

     

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