ByElle McFarlane, writer at
'There's always someone younger and hungrier coming down the stairs after you.'
Elle McFarlane

What do you do when your prized lucky charm ends up bringing you nothing but pain, suffering and misery? Well according to Hollywood you keep hiring him, putting him in your leading big-budget roles and watching as your hotly tipped Blockbuster goes up in a disappointingly pathetic mockery of a flame.

, once one of the biggest stars in the world has taken a rather dramatic turn for the worse, and if the past four years of consecutive box office flops are anything to go by, things don't look like they're going to change anytime soon. To add insult to injury, these filmic fiascos aren't just failing to bring in the big bucks, they're also being publicly ridiculed for being terrible movies, frequently scoring below forty percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Maybe this has something to do with his quirky, fedora wearing persona becoming a creepy parody of his younger self, or his collaborations with director Tim Burton becoming cliched and tired. Whatever the reason, it turns out that mass unpopularity is What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Let's take a look at Johnny Depp's catastrophic fall from Neverland.

The Face Of The '90s

  • Pinup Perfection
Cry Baby
Cry Baby

If Harrison Ford was the mischievous heartthrob of the '80s, Johnny was the bad boy darling of the '90s. With cheekbones chiseled at freakishly high angles, intense almond shaped eyes and an aura of devilish roguery masked behind the veneer of a chivalrous gentleman, it was Johnny's face that adorned the walls of rampantly lustful teenagers across the world.

  • Branded By Brando's Seal Of Approval

Gaining huge notoriety with his roles in Edward Scissorhands (1990), Benny & Joon (1993), Donnie Brasco (1997), Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998) and Sleepy Hollow (1999), Johnny carved out a unique niche in the market for himself during the decade of grunge. Simultaneously able to choose roles which were interesting, iconic and critically acclaimed and able to choose movies which performed marvelously at the box office, it was no surprise when Marlon Brando referred to him as "the most talented actor of his generation."

Maturing Into The Mainstream

  • The Birth Of Captain Jack Sparrow

Then the '00s hit, and Johnny still managed to retain his crown, but he began to make more mainstream movies which brought in more cash, but in the long scheme of things, may not have been the smartest move. In the decade between 2000 and 2010, Jonny starred in three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, four movies, made a further three critical and box office success films: Chocolat, Finding Neverland and Public Enemies and one notable flop, The Libertine in 2004.

  • From Magic To Misery
Pirates Of The Caribbean
Pirates Of The Caribbean

With the franchise now making a colossal 3.73 billion dollars worldwide, Captain Jack Sparrow is by quite a long-shot, Depp's most lucrative movie character to date. However, while the box office success of Pirates is undeniable, since the turn of the most recent decade, Johnny's magic touch has become the touch of cinematic death. Every film he touches turns to Tusk.

Descending Into The Darkest Of Shadows

  • The Bum Diary
The Rum Diary
The Rum Diary

While 2011 welcomed the fourth in the Pirate's franchise which made over a billion dollars at the box office, it also brought with it Johnny's ill fated movie which he both acted in and produced, The Rum Diary which, on a budget of 45 million dollars, only managed to bring in 24 million making a loss of 21 million dollars. It was also while filming this movie that he met Amber Heard, and we all know how well that turned out.

  • A Slew Of Charmless Botches

From here, Johnny descended the steep slope into relative obscurity. Kicking things off with Burton's Dark Shadows (2012) which scored a miserable 37 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and on a budget of 150 million brought in 245 million, the movie was declared a flop by Tim Burton standards. The following year bought the delights of Lone Ranger referred to by Mick LaSalle of the San Fransisco Chronicle as:

Raking in 260 million on a budget of 225 million, coupled with a 31 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but Lone Ranger was just the tip of the iceberg of crap that Johnny was about to fling into our disbelieving, tender eyes.

Depp Confirmed As Box Office Poison

In the wake of the Lone Ranger Johnny went on to feature in the following catastrophic failures:

Transcendence (2014)


On a budget of 100 million dollars, Transcendence managed to make only 103 million as well as inspire a Rotten Tomatoes rating of a minuscule twenty percent. The Guardian referring to it as:

Tusk (2014)


Earning only 846 thousand dollars in its opening weekend, Tusk was given a 41 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating, made a 1 million dollar loss by bringing in 2 million dollars on a budget of 3 million and provoked Seattle Times movie critic Erik Lundegaard to explode in vitriol stating:

Mortdecai (2015)


Depp's biggest failure to date, Mortdecai earnt Johnny two golden raspberry award nominations, one for Worst Actor and one for Worst Screen Combo for Depp and his glued on mustache, was given an abysmal 12 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, made a loss of thirteen million at the box office and led Christopher Rosen from The Huffington Post to say:

Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016)

Alice Through The Looking Glass
Alice Through The Looking Glass

While making 300 million dollars on a budget of 170 million may not look like a total failure, for a Tim Burton movie, this is pretty dire. The Hollywood Reporter actually went on to state that the financial loses for Disney would be around 65 million. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 30 percent and an opening weekend financial drop of 70 percent from Burton's previous films, it seemed the public had declared the relationship between Depp and Burton, and in fact Depp's career officially over.

But, A Glimmer Of Hope Still Remains

Even though he's making it a challenge, somehow it seems wrong to completely give up on old Johnny. With a role in the highly anticipated Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them series as well as the upcoming Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, perhaps Depp's going to turn his bad fortunes around and wow us all with an incredible comeback. But, if these movies aren't big hits, surely this could spell the end for Johnny's megastardom?


Do you think Johnny can ever make a comeback?

(Sources: The San Fransisco Chronicle; The Guardian; The Seattle Times; Huffington Post; The Hollywood Reporter)


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