Pop Goes The News — By the Sea, starring power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt, has earned a little more than $482,000 in its first 17 days in cinemas in the U.S. and Canada.
That’s less than another infamous A-list sea-themed project, Madonna’s 2002 flop Swept Away, which made a little under $600,000 in the same amount of time.
Both films involved spouses directing spouses — Jolie Pitt directed Pitt in By the Sea and Guy Ritchie directed Madonna in Swept Away — with scripts written by the directors. Both were made within the first year of the couples’ marriages.
Like Swept Away, By the Sea was filmed in Malta with a reported budget of $10 million.
Similarities to Swept Away aside, By the Sea was likely doomed to sink at the box office anyway.
History suggests that movies with titles that contain the word “sea” don’t inspire a tidal wave of excitement.
Earlier this year, The Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts, was critically slammed when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. (The Guardian called it “an exasperatingly shallow film” and IndieWire described the film as director Gus Van Sant’s worst.)
Will the tides turn for Ron Howard’s upcoming In the Heart of the Sea, starring Chris Hemsworth? Or for next year’s The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, The Seagull and Year by the Sea?
Here’s a look at 10 sea-list films and how they fared at the box office:
Sea of Love (1989)
This thriller starring Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin was a hit, opening in first place and going on to gross a little under $111 million worldwide.
Two if by Sea (1996)
Sandra Bullock and Denis Leary co-starred in this Nova Scotia-made romantic comedy that quickly washed up at the box office. It earned only $10.7 million.
Out to Sea (1997)
Screen icons Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau teamed up for this comedy that was advertised with the tagline: “Get ready to Rumba!” Not surprisingly, it managed to make only $31 million.
City by the Sea (2002)
What do you get when you put Robert DeNiro and James Franco in a $40 million drama set in Long Island? A mere $29 million at the box office.
The Salton Sea (2002)
Val Kilmer and Vincent D’Onofrio hammed it up in this crime drama that made only $764,000.
This horse racing flick managed to beat the “sea” curse, running off with an impressive $148 million worldwide.
Beyond the Sea (2004)
Kevin Spacey directed himself as Bobby Darin in this biopic that also starred Kate Bosworth. He earned a Golden Globe award but the movie flopped, earning only $8.5 million.
The Sea Inside (2004)
This Spanish drama starring Javier Bardem won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. But, despite the accolades (and a huge Spanish-speaking population), The Sea Inside sank in cinemas. It made only $38.5 million around the world.
The Deep Blue Sea (2012)
Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston co-starred in this critically-acclaimed British drama that managed to sell only $1.1 million in tickets. (It should not be confused with Renny Harlin’s cheesy 1999 film Deep Blue Sea, which earned a decent $165 million worldwide.)
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)
The Vancouver-shot sequel to 2010’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief earned only $68.6 million at the box office in the U.S. and Canada — about $20 million less than the first movie. Worldwide, Sea of Monsters grossed a respectable $199.9 million, or $26.6 million less than The Lightning Thief.