Net losses, inflation adjusted: $83,346,947
Total cost: $80,000,000
Worldwide theater gross: $17,626,234
Net losses (actual): $62,373,766
In the early 1990s, Kevin Costner was as A-list an entertainer as it gets. After winning Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director with Dances With Wolves, he went on to star in such hits as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, JFK and The Bodyguard. Then came 1995’s Waterworld, a commercial and critical disaster that almost destroyed his career.
To get back on track, he decided to repeat the Dances With Wolves formula and directed The Postman, another three-hour epic starring himself as the titular letter carrier. The post-apocalyptic movie (which inexplicably had a cameo by Tom Petty as himself) was eaten alive by critics and took in less than $18 million, barely even a quarter of its $80 million budget.