Every once in a while, some work will leave a big mark in the mind of audiences. The {{reviews|AreTheGospel}} [[FourPointScale won't give it a score under 9/10]], those who saw/read/played it almost unanimously love it, and the work is acclaimed for its originality, unique artistic touch, [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic beautiful soundtrack]], etc. Everything is perfect except for one thing: few people bought or watched it. Despite its huge critical success, the work is snubbed in the stores or [[BoxOfficeBomb cinemas]] and only avoids fading away from public view entirely by virtue of its acclaim.

Maybe it was [[AudienceAlienatingPremise too original, too unique, or too controversial]] to appeal to a large base (and maybe [[DoingItForTheArt deliberately so]]), or maybe it [[Main/InvisibleAdvertising lacked the advertisement]] that big and long-installed licenses or blockbusters get. Or just got a very clumsy marketing campaign. It can also be a consequence of TheFireflyEffect (people not wanting to watch a show they think will be quickly cancelled) for a series. But as a result of its glowing reputation, it will usually be sought out like a treasure several years later by many people who overlooked it at the time, and be all the more difficult to find in shops.

They are often {{Cult Classic}}s, but a cult classic isn't necessarily successful critically and can keep a very limited fanbase.

Compare VindicatedByHistory when the quality of the work is only generally acknowledged many years after it came out. Also see SugarWiki/NeedsMoreLove. CriticalDissonance is for when the opinions of critics and viewers don't match. MagnumOpusDissonance is for when the author loves the work above all else, and the audience refuses to. Contrast CriticProof, where the work is commercially successful despite negative critical reception.

Also contrast a SleeperHit, which is when a work that no one was expecting much from ends up being a commercial success despite the unfavorable odds.

See also HitlessHitAlbum for examples of albums that caught on despite producing no hit singles.

''This is not about works you personally liked that didn't get much attention. This is about works that did poorly despite being acclaimed.''


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''{{Manga/Nichijou}}'' sold poorly in Japan,[[note]]It is Kyoto Animation's sixth lowest selling anime. Only ''Anime/{{Munto}}'', ''LightNovel/MyriadColorsPhantomWorld'', ''Anime/TamakoMarket'', ''LightNovel/BeyondTheBoundary'', and ''LightNovel/AmagiBrilliantPark'' sold less.[[/note]] but received great reviews from critics, and got a warm, loving fanbase when it hit America and Europe, even in spite of it not having an official release at the time it was originally licensed due to the closure of Creator/BandaiEntertainment. It also managed to more than double its original sales with re-releases. After being rescued by Creator/{{Funimation}}, its ''sub-only'' release was a rather big hit.
* ''Anime/{{Fractale}}'', despite it getting decent to good reviews all around (at least at first), had the misfortune of sharing the same timeslot as ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''. ''Fractale'' never stood a chance. A CreatorBreakdown happened partway through production when the creator found out ''Madoka'' was trouncing his show, and the quality slipped dramatically from that point onwards.
* Any Creator/RumikoTakahashi series in the West that's not ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' or ''Manga/InuYasha'':
** ''Manga/MaisonIkkoku''. Often considered to be Takahashi's masterpiece, it received high critical acclaim when it was imported, and maintains a devoted fanbase to this day, with a surprising number even still calling it their favorite anime series of all time. However, the show itself, being more of a slice of life coming-of-age comedy, and more realistic than Takahashi's mega-hits ''[=InuYasha=]'' and ''Ranma ½'', failed to find much of an audience in the U.S. Its original VHS releases were cancelled after a handful of volumes, and was only released on DVD when ''[=InuYasha=]'' took off, where it also bombed (although the whole series was released, Creator/VizMedia was forced to do very small print runs of later volumes). The series is now out-of-print and very difficult to find. There are some fans campaigning Viz to release the series on Blu-ray after they've successfully released ''Ranma ½'' in the format, and Viz hasn't ruled the idea out, but says it will only likely have a chance if ''Ranma'''s sales are very strong. Other industry insiders (such as Justin Servakis) have strong doubt that the series will see the light of day in the U.S. again, despite its critical acclaim and devoted fan following. The manga has it a little bit better. The entire series was re-released in English un-flipped beginning in 2001, a solid 12 years before ''Ranma'' was. The series is now out-of-print, but still fairly easy to find on the used book circuit.
** The ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'' manga was a huge bomb for Viz, and they only released a handful of issues, but Creator/AnimEigo managed to at least release the entire anime TV series subtitled-only, and the movies with dubs. The series has always been well-received (especially the second movie, ''Beautiful Dreamer''), but is considered too old and long to be considered marketable here.
** ''Anime/RumikoTakahashiAnthology'' has the dubious distinction of being Creator/{{Geneon}}'s worst selling anime ever. ''Vol. 1'' sold 300 units on DVD, while ''Vol. 2'' sold a mere 80. In comparison, the first 28 ''[=InuYasha=]'' [=DVDs=] sold a ''million'' units combined. Nonetheless, hardcore Takahashi fans adore ''Anthology'', and it received very positive reviews from the few non-fans that saw it.
* Slower-paced, non-action anime series like ''Anime/{{Kikaider}}'' and ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent'' have rarely done well in the ratings on American television, regardless of how liked they are by those who watch them. This is because the anime-watching audience in North America is mostly made of teenagers and young adults who come in expecting wild, heart-pounding action. When it turns out to be something else, they often walk away uninterested.
* Despite having an incredibly diverse group of Western fans, ''Manga/OnePiece'' has traditionally had a tough time gaining a foothold in most Western regions. The manga has become a tentpole for Viz, though not without several years of struggling before it caught up with the Japanese releases and got promoted at conventions. The anime had not found its ground until the Creator/{{Toonami}} run, though it is experiencing diminishing returns and can only pull in about half the numbers ''Anime/SpaceDandy'' and ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' receive. The reason why ''One Piece'' always has to earn its success is simple: The kids, teenagers, and young adults who get into ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' and ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' do so because they are incredibly Japanese in their premises, art styles, and storytelling (in other words, they look and act like anime, or at least their definition of it[[note]]Keep in mind, despite the cultural differences, what we consider "anime" in the West is considered no different from regular Western cartoons in in Japan.[[/note]]), whereas the Western-influenced visual design of ''One Piece'' is itself an AudienceAlienatingPremise for a lot of anime fans despite having an equally unique premise. In other words, hardcore anime fans find it too "Western and cartoon-y", ironically enough. It didn't help that [[{{Macekre}} the original dub]], which was produced by [[Creator/FourKidsEntertainment 4Kids]], [[AudienceColoringAdaptation is the most well known version by far]], especially at a critical time when dubs for ''Naruto'' and ''Bleach'' were gaining ground with Western audiences in prime-time slots. It has gotten better as the Creator/FUNimation dub has gotten more attention, with their uncut [=DVDs=] often topping bestselling anime charts, while it has gotten steady recognition on Toonami on Creator/AdultSwim. Unfortunately, ''One Piece'' was not able to keep up in the ratings with the other series on Toonami, and in April 2017, ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'' took its place.
* ''Manga/LupinIII'', once again, in the West. It has a very devoted fanbase, and many attempts have been made to market it in the U.S. However, its success has always been modest at best. Creator/StreamlinePictures tried it, [=AnimEigo=] tried it, Creator/MangaEntertainment tried it, and Creator/FUNimation tried it, all unsuccessful. Most notably, Pioneer/Geneon attempted to market the classic Red Jacket TV series from '70s, but it was pulled from Adult Swim after 26 episodes due to poor ratings and the DVD releases stopped at episode 79 (out of 155) due to poor sales. In 2013, [=FUNimation=] once again gave it another shot by licensing the TV series, which focused heavily on [[MsFanservice Fujiko Mine]], with lots of fanservice (which usually sells very well for them). Unfortunately, the sales were still somewhat disappointing. The only company that's been able to make ''Lupin'' work has been Creator/DiscotekMedia, who has released many ''Lupin'' properties to DVD to a small niche audience. There's buzz that the upcoming TV series will see the series given ''another'' shot at some success in the U.S., but that remains to be seen. One of the biggest reasons for the series struggling in the U.S. is its own success in Japan. Because it's been such a hot property over there for decades with so much prestige, the licensing fee is apparently pretty expensive, to the point where it's more difficult for the series to make its money back.
* ''Manga/DetectiveConan''. [=FUNimation=] licensed the series as one of their earliest non-''Anime/DragonBallZ'' shows, and went all out with a big marketing campaign for the show's premiere on Adult Swim. Unfortunately, only about 50 episodes were shown (most of which were in the graveyard time slot) before the plug was pulled. [=FUNimation=] made many attempts to resume the series on home video, but only got to episode 130 before calling it quits (the series has well over 700 episodes in Japan). They did release six of the theatrical films, which they said sold better than the TV series, and were considering picking up more. However, the series has remained dead in the U.S. despite having a very loyal following and good critical reception from those who have seen the show. However, Viz has continued to publish the manga, though many of the earlier volumes have fallen out of print. Its own popularity in Japan makes it more difficult than most anime to make money overseas because of the higher licensing fees. There's also its questionable target audience. The show is seen as too dark, wordy, and boring for kids, while being too childish and silly for adult audiences, making it very difficult to market in the U.S.
* ''Manga/NoMatterHowILookAtItItsYouGuysFaultImNotPopular'' did very poorly in Japan in both anime and manga sales, [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff yet this series is well-liked]] among the American anime fanbase because the series [[ThisLoserIsYou pokes fun at the typical otaku]].
* The movie of ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' flopped at the box office thanks to two typhoons that hit Japan and the popularity of the ''Film/RurouniKenshin'' movie, though it got good reviews. Ultimately averted, as it eventually became the highest grossing movie in the franchise (discounting the ''All-Star'' movies) until the ''Anime/MahoGirlsPrecure'' movie came out two years later.
* ''Anime/RoyalSpaceForceTheWingsOfHonneamise'', a milestone for the newly established studio [[Creator/StudioGainax Gainax]], opened to good reviews and won a Seiun Award. The movie tanked at the box office.
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' had a very strong fan following and is one of the most well-known horror anime, but its [=DVDs=] notoriously bombed for both Creator/{{Geneon}} and [=FUNimation=]. It took 8 years for its sequel to be licensed in North America, after much, ''much'' outcry and demand, thanks to Creator/SentaiFilmworks.
* ''Manga/BigWindup'' is largely thought to have killed interest in the sports genre of anime until the 2010s revived it. Despite its thriving fanbase, the English home video release sold extremely poorly, and thus the second season went unlicensed until much later.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' is one of the most popular MagicalGirl series out there yet the English version absolutely bombed. It's often blamed that the {{moe}} looking cover [[GirlShowGhetto turned off]] people who didn't know it was an action-packed MagicalGirlWarrior series.
* ''Anime/YokaiWatch'' in the United States. While it has received largely positive reviews from critics, a small Western fanbase and [[AdoredByTheNetwork airs multiple times a day]] on Creator/DisneyXD, it's nowhere ''near'' as popular as it is in Japan. While it regularly is a top-rated show in Japan, in America its top-rated episode only pulled 500,000 viewers and regularly struggles to beat other shows airing on Disney XD such as ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'' and ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels''.
* The animated adaptation of ''Literature/FromTheNewWorld'' sold extremely poorly, mainly due to the yuri/yaoi themes, and the fact that it aired shortly before ''Anime/TheUnlimitedHyoubuKyousuke'' which initially portrayed a similarly bleak atmosphere, but much more action-focused. However, when reading online reviews, one finds that the anime is extremely well liked, and there have even been several signed requests for the original novel to be translated.
* ''Manga/KimagureOrangeRoad'' is yet another classic manga and anime series (one that had a heavy influence on the SliceOfLife genre) that has failed to find an audience in the West. While [=AnimEigo=] was able to make it work in the U.S. by selling sub only discs to a niche audience, the series is the worst selling anime of all time in the UK. The manga wasn't translated into English until 2014, and was released digital only. However, [=Digital Manga Publishing=] [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2016-05-11/digital-manga-kimagure-orange-road-kickstarter-campaign-ends/.101983 launched a successful Kickstarter campaign]] to re-localize and republish the manga in both digital and paperback formats, giving the series a second chance.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' and ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'' are two of the least successful ''Gundam'' series in North America. In the U.S., it might be due to the age of these respective shows and American aversion to older anime. There is also the fact that ''Mobile Suit Gundam'' didn't get to finish its run on Creator/CartoonNetwork due to being pulled from the air immediately after 9/11, although some feel that this was just a convenient excuse for CN to pull a "low ratings" show. ''Zeta Gundam'', although planned for TV airing, instead went straight to DVD. Most seem to chalk it up to the fact that they compared unfavorably to other series such as ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'', which was actually the first ''Gundam'' series to air in the U.S. ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' and ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeed'' would also be popular in North America and have successful runs. Despite the word of mouth by old-school Western anime fans through early anime fandom efforts, the mainstream viewers were simply unaware of the significance of the original or its sequel and could not look past the age of these two shows.
* Most of the Anime/{{Leijiverse}} in the United States. ''Anime/CaptainHarlock'' and ''Manga/GalaxyExpress999'' have had a long history of not being treated with respect by local American dubbers. When the chance came to see these anime uncut for the first time, only longtime anime fans really took notice. For everyone else, Creator/LeijiMatsumoto's style is just too old school.

[[folder: Automobiles]]

* The Saturn Aura, launched in 2006, wasn't a huge failure, but compared to other brands in the General Motors product range at the time, it was seen as a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute to the Chevrolet Malibu. Critics such as Canadian Driver (now Autos.ca) liked it, and cars.com also gave it good reviews with its [[DeliberateValuesDissonance more European style by contrast to Chevrolet or Pontiac at the time]], but Saturn had competition from Chevrolet and Pontiac and it was launched during the Great Recession of 2007-2008. It eventually disappeared in 2010, but the Buick Regal sedan is its SpiritualSuccessor [[WhatCouldHaveBeen and was meant to be a Saturn originially, incidentally]]. In Europe, [[NoExportForYou where it never got sold]], people saw it as a CaptainErsatz of the Opel Vectra (which, it ''was'' based on mechanically, and explains why it has more European styling).
* The Chrysler Crossfire was popular, but had low sales during its run. The politics of the era and the fact it was launched during a DorkAge for Chrysler didn't help.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/DeathVigil''[='=]s rating on Comic Book Roundup is consistently more than 9 out of 10 and the artist/writer gets many positive responses from fans on his deviantART page. It, however, has experienced TroubledProduction and poor pre-order and revenue numbers, so despite the acclaim, it's set to be cancelled after the first story arc.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* The Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon has a number of examples.
** ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'' (1940), ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' (1940), ''Disney/{{Bambi}}'' (1942), and ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' (1959) are all highly acclaimed classic movies which failed disastrously at the box office upon their original release (though they did better in re-releases), although partly due to overblown budgets (''Sleeping Beauty'' nearly bankrupted the studio) as much as audience disinterest. In addition, the first three of these films were released during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, a time when Americans were too busy supporting the war effort to watch movies (in addition, the entire European cinema market was cut off by the war). The production cost of ''Sleeping Beauty'' (an estimated 6 million dollars) reportedly was more than twice as expensive as the production costs of ''Disney/AliceInWonderland'' (1951), ''Disney/PeterPan'' (1953), and ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp'' (1955). Disney invested in a new film format for this film, the then-innovative Super Technirama 70, and some of the film prints included six-track stereophonic sound (rare for this time). Which only added to the cost. Disney also hired additional staff to work on this film, at a time when the rest of the American animation studios were laying off personnel or considering shutting down operations (due to a drop in profits and competition from television). Also controversial was the part of the budget that went to developing background animation (the film's scenery), which Walt wanted to be fully detailed in a style reminiscent of Italian Renaissance paintings. As Clyde Geronimi (the film's supervising director) complained: "All that beautiful detail in the trees, the bark, and all that, that's all well and good, but who the hell's going to look at that?"
** ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'' (2000) got very positive reviews but performed at a subpar level at the box office, generally because of Disney's poor marketing efforts. In retrospect it did not perform too badly, earning 169.3 million dollars at the box office (89.3 million from the United States, and 80 million from the rest of the world). It turned out a profit. But Disney still considered it disappointing, as it performed worse at the box office that most of their animated films from the 1990s. By comparison, ''Disney/TheLionKing'' (1994) had earned 763.4 million dollars in its in initial run, and has managed to earn more in re-releases.
** ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'' (2002) is another film that had mostly positive reviews from critics, yet it became a major flop at the box office, and merchandise is scarce. Since its release in 2002, however, it has become a CultClassic. In this case the film actually failed to earn as much as its own budget. It earned a total of 109.6 million dollars from its worldwide box office, and the estimated budget was about 140 million. Part of the film's box-office failure was due to Disney choosing to release it during a particularly "competitive holiday season" (their words prior to the release) where the film would compete against other intended blockbusters. It was overshadowed during its debut weekend by three other films: ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', ''Film/DieAnotherDay'', and ''[[Film/TheSantaClause The Santa Clause The Santa Clause 2]]''. Apparently Harry Potter, James Bond, and Santa Claus had more box-office appeal than Long John Silver.
** Disney's sequel to ''Disney/TheManyAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh'', simply titled ''Disney/WinnieThePooh'' (2011) is a strange case of this in the Canon. Released to thunderous acclaim (including a 90% Website/RottenTomatoes score, which was, at the time, the highest score for any Disney Canon movie since 1994), it only made a meager $33 million at the box office - at a $30 million budget. This was most likely a result of the dubious decision to release the movie simultaneously with ''[[Film/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II]]''. It actually performed much worse than ''Treasure Planet'' (earning about 70 million dollars less than it). Some of the elements which the critics praised may explain why the audience was not interested. The film was praised (summarizing critics' quotes from Wikipedia): because it was mostly hand-drawn (at a time when hand-drawn animation was considered a relic of the past), because it felt as a nostalgic throwback to an earlier era of animation, because of its lack of "3-D animation and special effects", and because it provided "a nightmare-proof experience for even the youngest viewers" (unlike other Disney films it lacks memorable drama or horror elements). It may appeal to younger audiences, like most of the Franchise/WinnieThePooh, but it lacks in elements that would draw in older kids, teenagers, and adults. As of October 2017, Box Office Mojo ranks ''Winnie the Pooh'' as the 2752nd most profitable film in its entire database. According to the rankings of Box Office Mojo, even ''WesternAnimation/AllDogsGoToHeaven'' (1989) has a better box-office ranking than ''Disney/WinnieThePooh'' (2011).
* ''WesternAnimation/TeachersPet'' (the film) from 2004. Despite poor marketing, critics loved it.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNIMH'' suffered from poor marketing and competition with ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'', but was widely acclaimed for its vibrant animation and moving storyline.
* ''WesternAnimation/CatsDontDance''. Critics loved it, and it even won an Annie Award for Best Animated Film of 1997, but box office numbers were very poor. This is because Warner Bros. acquired Turner after production was completed, and chose to give it no promotion outside of toys from Subway and a few children's storybooks, and gave it a very small release too. The movie would later go on to being VindicatedByHistory, thanks to the movie airing on Cartoon Network several times during the early 2000s.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheIronGiant'' was a financial disaster due to a horrible marketing campaign on Creator/WarnerBros' part. However, it picked up new life on DVD, and has become well-known and respected, in part due to Creator/CartoonNetwork [[VindicatedByCable running 24 hour blocks of it every Thanksgiving.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRoadToElDorado'' gained acclaim from many viewers, but it failed to turn a profit.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Frankenweenie}}'' has been acclaimed by critics and was a strong contender to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars (it got the strongest reviews of that year's five contenders), but opened to a disappointing $11 million despite the positive reception and a huge marketing campaign. The financial disappointment owes to several factors: an AudienceAlienatingPremise, the fact that [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids it's not nearly as kid-friendly]] [[MisaimedMarketing as its marketing suggested]], and the fact that it opened only ''a week'' after the more accessible {{Dueling Movie|s}} ''WesternAnimation/HotelTransylvania''.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'' was critically acclaimed, with critics and moviegoers citing the film's musical score, mature writing, and animation as being exceptionally strong. However, due to the decision to make it a theatrical release being rather last-minute, it didn't get much promotion and turned out to be a box-office bomb. It was much more profitable in home video releases later on, and is still highly regarded, with some fans still considering it the best Batman movie.
* ''WesternAnimation/FantasticMrFox'' scored a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and did even better with what the site describes as "Top Critics," earning only a single negative review (overall 98%). 84% of viewers on the site also said that they liked it, but the film only banked $20.9 million in box office. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that though the film was targeted as a PG children's film, [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids much of the humor and storylines were more adult]] and perhaps also the film's unusual visual style and introspective nature. It is also a stop-motion film, which, despite a growing number of them, have typically had a harder time with families than [=2D=] animation or [=3D=] CGI.
* Pixar's ''WesternAnimation/TheGoodDinosaur'' was well received like most of the studio's other works (although considered by many to be [[SoOkayItsAverage one of their weaker films]]) earning a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, even receiving award nominations, but has the dubious honor of being their first box office flop. Despite having passed $100 million in the U.S., it cost double that to make, and it faced competition from the likes of ''Film/TheHungerGamesMockingjayPart2'', ''Film/{{Creed}}'', and Disney's own ''Franchise/StarWars'': ''Film/TheForceAwakens'', which had the biggest opening weekend ever.
* Creator/DreamWorksAnimation's ''WesternAnimation/RiseOfTheGuardians'' received mostly positive reviews from critics, but cost $145 million to produce and only made $103.4 million at the North American box office as it came out right after ''Disney/WreckItRalph''. The total worldwide gross was $306.9 million, but it's considered a box-office failure for [=DreamWorks=] since the total gross did not meet the cost of production and advertisement. They ultimately lost $83 million on it. In fact, the losses forced [=DreamWorks=] to lay off over three hundred workers.
* ''WesternAnimation/KuboAndTheTwoStrings'' opened to critical acclaim (97% on Website/RottenTomatoes), but it was one of the last films released during a largely underwhelming summer. It made $70 million worldwide against a $60 million budget as of December 2016.
* Almost any film from Creator/{{Laika}} can be included. ''WesternAnimation/TheBoxtrolls'' and ''WesternAnimation/ParaNorman'' under-performed domestically, and needed the worldwide box office to break even. Both were very well-received by critics though, and were nominated for Academy Awards. The only Laika films to make back their budget domestically are ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'' and ''WesternAnimation/{{Coraline}}''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ferdinand}}'' got positive reviews and nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Awards, but was curb-stomped by ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/TheLastJedi''. Still, it was only a flop domestically ($83.1 million), as its $110 million budget was easily recouped overseas ($206.3 million).

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Intolerance}}'' was a tremendous critical success, and is now [[VindicatedByHistory considered D.W. Griffith's masterpiece]], but its ponderous length, overly experimental cinematography, and [[AuthorTract anti-war message]] drove away audiences on the eve of the U.S.'s entry into UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. Given its inflated budget - $ 2.5 million, enough to build a naval cruiser at the time - it went down in history as Hollywood's first big failure.
* It's become a measurable trend that Oscar nominees are grossing less and less. Part of this is because the general public has come to perceive Oscar nominees as being only artistic fare without much wider appeal. Also, now that there are nine or ten nominees for Best Picture each year (previously it was only five), you'll frequently find nominees that only sold two or three million worth of tickets.
* No one was yet calling it the greatest movie of all time, but ''Film/CitizenKane'' opened to glowing reviews and a disastrous box office. It didn't win "Best Picture" that year, but it was nominated, and it won for "Best Screenplay". A lot of its early misfortune is due to the powerful media mogul William Randolph Hearst, whom the film was partly based on, refusing to give publicity to the film and actively suppressing it, actually preventing cinemas from showing it.
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' was this when it originally came out in 1939. It was well-received by critics and those who saw it. It even snagged a few Oscar nominations (winning for Best Original Song and Best Original Score). However, it lost money in its initial release, and didn't begin to recoup its large budget until it was reissued a decade later. It wasn't until the 1950s, when it became a staple of television showings, that it became the classic it is today.
* Franchise/TheMonkees' film ''Film/{{Head}}'' was the last thing anyone expected from the group: a surreal, deliberately plotless satire of their journey through the ShowBusiness meat grinder. It failed at the box office, but got a lot of good reviews, and today it's fondly remembered as an UnintentionalPeriodPiece of the psychedelic era.
* Any Creator/RoaldDahl adaptation. ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory'', ''Film/TheWitches'', ''Film/{{Matilda}}'', ''Film/JamesAndTheGiantPeach'', ''WesternAnimation/FantasticMrFox'', and, most recently, ''Film/TheBFG'' were all flops but were received very well. However ''Willy Wonka'' recouped its low budget and was VindicatedByCable. ''Matilda'' and ''James'' have also developed a cult following over the years.
** ''Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' is the only exception, because it had a huge marketing campaign behind it, starred Creator/JohnnyDepp in the peak of his popularity, and the studio was heavily banking off of ''Willy Wonka'''s cult classic status. Ironically, it's turned out to be perhaps the most polarizing Dahl adaptation, largely due to the colossal shadow the first adaptation cast over it.
* ''Film/TuckerTheManAndHisDream'' failed to recoup its production costs and prompted director Francis Ford Coppola to take time off from the Hollywood system. However, critics credit the film for renewing interest in Preston Tucker's cars.
* ''Film/TheShawshankRedemption'' did very poorly in the box office but nonetheless received glowing reviews. The Academy also recognized it and led to its {{vindicat|edByCable}}ion as everyone wanted to know what was that film with quite a few Oscar nominations. It's also the highest-rated movie on Website/{{IMDB}} with a score of 9.3.
* ''Film/EdWood'' is one of Creator/TimBurton's most acclaimed films, even giving one of his stars an Oscar...and is the director's biggest box office failure with a mere $5.8 million domestically (even ''Film/BigEyes'' did better. Not much better, with a domestic take of $14.48 million, but still better).
* ''Film/WesCravensNewNightmare'' is considered one of the best ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' installments, known for being an early deconstruction of the slasher genre, and paving the way for ''Film/{{Scream 1996}}''. It's also the lowest grossing of them all, though it recouped its low budget twice.
* PJ Hogan's live-action ''Film/PeterPan'' did poorly at the box office, likely due to opening only a week after ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings: Return of the King'' and on the same day as ''Film/CheaperByTheDozen''. However, it was highly praised by critics and is regarded as one of the best ''Peter Pan'' adaptations out there. These days, it's edging close to CultClassic status. Blog/UnshavedMouse called it superior to the Disney version.
* The Creator/AlfonsoCuaron version of ''Literature/ALittlePrincess'' got critical raves in May 1995. But, as Roger Ebert admitted in his review, kids were hyped up for flashier SummerBlockbuster fare like ''Film/BatmanForever'' and ''Film/MightyMorphinPowerRangersTheMovie''. ''Film/{{Casper}}'' and Disney's ''Disney/{{Pocahontas}}'' were getting a lot of hype too, and with the GirlShowGhetto working against it on top of all that, the movie died at the box office. Warner Bros. was encouraged by the positive responses from those who saw the film, to the point that they brought it back to theaters later that summer (look at the poster at its [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Little_Princess_(1995_film) Wikipedia page]]) in hopes that families would respond to the raves, but that proved completely futile. This was partially because ''Film/{{Babe}}'', another hit with critics, had become a SleeperHit with those families by that point.
* ''Film/AlmostFamous'' was one of the best reviewed films of 2000 (Creator/RogerEbert called it the best film of 2000), its script won the Oscar, and even today is considered a benchmark of making films about rock music. Financially, the film barely made half its $60 million budget (even after foreign totals, it still failed to break even), due to a [[SexSells misleading print campaign]] that put Kate Hudson's supporting character front and center and possibly due to handing director Cameron Crowe such a large budget for a niche-appealed premise.
* ''Film/DonnieDarko'' was well-received, but did poorly in cinemas. This was in part due to it receiving a limited theatrical run owing to its subject matter ([[TooSoon it came out almost immediately after 9/11]]). It's a definite CultClassic these days.
* Creator/MikeJudge's ''Film/{{Idiocracy}}'' was well-reviewed by critics and is widely considered a clever comedy (although Americans of a certain stripe consider it ''very'' SeriousBusiness), but due to [[InvisibleAdvertising poor marketing]], it did badly box office-wise. Limiting initial release to only 7 cities and capping out at 130 theaters hurt.
* ''Film/{{Rogue}}'', starring a then-unknown Sam Worthington, was said by the few critics that saw it to be surprisingly good for a movie about [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever a giant crocodile]] and a fine horror/adventure flick in its own right. Poor advertising and a severely scaled back theatrical release caused it to bomb.
* ''Film/TheAssassinationOfJesseJamesByTheCowardRobertFord'' was a critical success and made nearly every Film of the Year list of that year, topping several, and was particularly praised for its lead performances, music and cinematography. It flopped and made a measly $15m, about half of its budget, and only received nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Cinematography, winning neither. It very likely failed due to its somewhat slow pace and running time (the titular event occurs about two hours into the movie, [[EndingFatigue but the movie continues for another half hour]]), and possibly due to its AudienceAlienatingPremise--the {{deconstruction}} of popular HollywoodHistory by [[ShownTheirWork accurately]] portraying the titular AntiHero as a cold, violent, AxCrazy sociopath rather than a brave and daring Myth/RobinHood-type.
* ''Film/TheHurtLocker'' was one of the most acclaimed movies of the year... and before the Oscar victory brought it back to theatres, its total gross was $12.6 million, less than its $15 million budget (it ended with $17 million domestically and $49 million worldwide, still the lowest-grossing Best Picture of all-time).
* ''Film/{{Detroit}}'', by the same director; also fell victim to this. The film garnered massive critical acclaim and praise from audiences who saw it; but has opened at #3 at the box office amid a very underwhelming summer, making just $7 million in its opening weekend against a budget of $30 million.
* ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'' received near-universal acclaim for its unique approach. Internet buzz prior to its release predicted a blockbuster and a summer comedy champion. The film tanked next to the guy-centric ''Film/TheExpendables'' and the girl-centric ''Film/EatPrayLove'', mainly due to the film's target demographic being rather limited in comparison to the other two films. It did [[VindicatedByCable better on video]], though.
* ''Film/TheTreeOfLife'' failed to make its budget back (grossing just $12 million domestically on a $32 million budget) but won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and won much acclaim from critics (even becoming a top awards contender).
* ''Film/{{Hugo}}'' won five of the eleven Academy Awards for which it was nominated, tying it with Best Picture winner ''Film/TheArtist'' for the most of any 2011 movie. And its $185,770,160 gross would also have made it a net commercial success -- had its budget not clocked in at ''$170 million'' (not counting marketing!).
* ''Film/{{Warrior}}'', Gavin O'Connor's ambitious sports drama, followed on the heels of similarly-themed ''Film/TheFighter'' and got strong critical reviews, especially for the lead performances. This strong point was also its undoing: the stars (Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton) were still niche supporting/character actors who had not yet headlined many flicks of their own and were only gradually building a bigger reputation. The film was dropped in a September release by Lionsgate, and lost money.
* ''Film/{{Dredd}}'' has been critically praised but failed commercially, losing its place in the top 10 within just two weeks and not recouping its modest $45 million budget. [[CultClassic However, it has gained a rabidly devoted fanbase who are campaigning for a sequel]].
* ''Film/TheMaster'' was the kind of film that had the makings of an awards hit: hot-button topic as its premise, strong cast of leads (led by Creator/JoaquinPhoenix and Creator/PhilipSeymourHoffman) and a director with a strong track record in Creator/PaulThomasAnderson. But despite strong reviews and having the publicity that most films could wish to have, The Weinstein Company saw different and basically left it for dead in September (despite having had the biggest opening weekend per-theatre average ever for an R-rated film) in order to push other OscarBait titles ''Film/SilverLiningsPlaybook''. The final result failed to make its budget back and proved to be another casualty in making arthouse fare in Hollywood.
* ''{{Film/Bandslam}}'' has an 80% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes but made only a little over 12 million at the box office. Its budget was 20 million. Its disastrous advertising campaign is legend in the industry, as many believed Summit killed its chances by pushing supporting actress Vanessa Hudgens front and center and positioning the title as a ''High School Musical'' type of fluff tween-girl piece when it had more of a John Hughes-type of ambition.
* ''Film/AllIsLost'' had serious awards buzz, a powerful lead performance by Robert Redford, an acclaimed soundtrack and a 93% "Fresh" on Website/RottenTomatoes. But it failed to make back its modest $8.5 million budget largely due to [[InvisibleAdvertising almost non-existent advertising,]] a release topping out at 400+ theaters, and distributor Lionsgate pushing most of their resources into ''Film/TheHungerGamesCatchingFire''.
* ''Film/MuppetsMostWanted'' received favorable reviews, but unfortunately, it barely passed $50 million domestically (and $80 million worldwide) for a number of reasons. It opened next to the CriticProof ''Film/{{Divergent}}'' (which got a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes vs. a 78% for ''Muppets''), which put the teenage girl demographic out of bounds for Kermit and friends; the critically acclaimed ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' opened two weeks later, restricting the Muppets' audience even further. The film was released after a string of similarly acclaimed family films in Disney's own ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' followed by ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'' and March rival ''WesternAnimation/MrPeabodyAndSherman'', meaning its target audience was somewhat exhausted by the time it was released (not to mention ''Peabody'' was still taking audiences away from ''Muppets''). The release of two blockbusters in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' (also produced under the Disney family) and ''Film/{{Noah}}'' in the two weeks following also hurt. Finally, its publicity campaign [[CripplingOverspecialization relied on social media]] ViralMarketing at the expense of traditional marketing, the latter of which proved more effective for its competition.
* ''Film/BrainDonors'' was the result of David and Jerry Zucker blending their form of [[Film/{{Airplane}} screwball]] [[Series/PoliceSquad madcap]] [[Film/TheNakedGun wacky]] [[Film/TopSecret comedy]] with Creator/TheMarxBrothers' classic ''Film/ANightAtTheOpera''. Unfortunately, the Zuckers left Paramount before the movie was finished, and [[ScrewedByTheNetwork the studio retaliated by scrapping all advertising, pulling the film soon after its release, and generally disavowing its existence.]] The movie remains a fun, fast-paced farce, albeit one that many folks have never heard of.
* ''Film/TrueRomance'' came just shy of recouping its $13 million budget, but has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and has become a cult classic in the years since.
* John Waters' ''Film/CryBaby''. It got good reception from critics, but failed to make back its $12 million budget. It's since become a cult classic, inspiring a Tony-nominated Broadway musical of the same name.
* ''Kit Kittredge: An American Girl'', a film based on the [[Literature/AmericanGirlsKit eponymous]] [[Literature/AmericanGirlsCollection American Girl]] character, was released to mostly positive reception, but it didn't fare well at the box office as theatres didn't want to gamble on another "doll movie" following the release of ''Film/{{Bratz}}''.
* ''Film/WalkHardTheDeweyCoxStory'' was reviewed as one of the much-better parody films but failed to break even at the box office.
* ''Film/MidnightSpecial'', an original science fiction thriller by ''Film/TakeShelter'' and ''Film/{{Mud}}'' director Creator/JeffNichols, was highly praised by critics for its performances, huge emphasis on ShowDontTell and being able to [[GenreThrowback channel the early works of Spielberg and Carpenter]] without it seeming like a ripoff of those filmmakers. However, the film had its release date shuffled around from November 2015 to March 2016, the same month as Warner Bros.' mega budget tentpole ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice''. As a result of WB putting all of their eggs in one basket with ''[=BVS=]'' and a slow roll out to theaters, ''Midnight Special'' wound up getting the short end of the stick, only making a little over $6 million on its $18 million budget and a release that only went a little over 500 theaters.
* The Kenneth Branagh version of ''Hamlet'' received mostly positive acclaim and Oscar nominations, but didn't break even at the box office.
* ''Film/TheEdgeOfSeventeen'' got highly positive reviews, with considerable praise given to Creator/HaileeSteinfeld's lead performance (she later got a Golden Globe nomination). Some even thought it was the best teen movie since Creator/JohnHughes. Unfortunately, it opened the same weekend as ''Film/FantasticBeastsAndWhereToFindThem'', and struggled to break even at the box office, even with its low budget, finishing with just under $18 million worldwide.
* ''Film/TheNiceGuys'' received largely positive reviews when it was released in summer 2016, with many praising the performances of the leads and the direction of Creator/ShaneBlack. It regrettably didn't make much money at the box office amid competition from ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBirdsMovie'' and ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar''.
* ''Film/LoganLucky'' has been widely praised by critics and those who have seen it, with many praising the cast's performances and the film being hailed as a great comeback for director Creator/StevenSoderbergh. Regrettably, the film only made about half of what was expected for its opening weekend amid competition from ''Film/TheHitmansBodyguard'' and ''Film/AnnabelleCreation''.
* The Creator/DarrenAronofsky film ''Film/Mother2017'' has opened to roundly positive reviews. However, it only made $7.5 million in its opening weekend beneath ''Film/{{It|2017}}'' and ''American Assassin''. It also earned a rare Cinemascore of F from audiences, who sought out the latter films instead. The film was not helped by a very abstract and symbolic plot that may have driven potential viewers away − and also the fact that the trailers sold the film as a classic home-invasion thriller, or that Jennifer Lawrence had made some controversial statements that hurt her popularity with conservatives.
* Despite being the most critically acclaimed film by ''Creator/DavidLynch'', ''Film/TheStraightStory'' only made $6.2 million of it's $10 million dollar budget.
* The 2017 film adaptation of ''Theatre/APortraitOfTheArtistAsFilipino'' barely broke even at the box office, earning ₱29 million despite critical acclaim. Well, considering how [[LowestCommonDenominator mainstream entries]] at the film festival like ''Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad'' do appeal more to the ''masa'' than what is perceived to be too highbrow, it isn't surprising. Producer Girlie Rodis however stated that they were [[DoingItForTheArt doing it more for the art]] than to compete with those "[[RomanticComedy romcoms]]" mainstream studios [[ItsTheSameNowItSucks churn out every so often]], aiming to provide an alternative to the latter that is suitable for school educational viewings.
* ''Film/BladeRunner2049'' cost $150-185 million to produce (''very'' ambitious for a sequel to a film that was itself an AcclaimedFlop) and opened to a lousy $32 million in North America, well below the openings of comparable titles ''Film/TronLegacy'' and ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad''. This was despite the film opening against little direct competition (it easily topped the weekend in its opening frame). It only barely surpassed the original film's [[http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=bladerunner.htm&adjust_yr=2017&p=.htm inflation-adjusted box office total]] (though it fell short when you include the original's various re-releases), and failed to top director Villeneuve's previous film ''Film/{{Arrival}}'', even though those films had lower production value and much heavier competition (''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'' and ''Film/DoctorStrange2016'', respectively). Regardless, the film retains a high critical approval rating, received an "A-" [=CinemaScore=] despite its "challenging" nature (which many box office pundits cited as a reason for its failure), and was nominated for five Oscars (in technical categories). It did not do particularly well internationally either, notably bombing in China when it opened against ''Film/{{Geostorm}}''. In an odd case, though it earned more on its opening weekend, it actually ''lost'' its first weekend in Japan to the ''Anime/KiraKiraPrecureALaMode'' movie. The film eventually grossed $259.2 million worldwide, [[https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/blade-runner-2049-losses-could-hit-80-million-producer-alcon-1055855 making an estimated $80 million loss.]]

* ''Literature/TheCuckoosCalling'' was this at first. Upon release, it got critical praise, but only sold a few copies. When the author's [[Creator/JKRowling real identity]] was revealed, however, it received a lot more attention. But it was only a flop compared to Harry Potter's sales numbers - and frankly, what isn't - since ''Cuckoo'' did in fact sell ''more copies'' in its first two months than ''Philosopher's Stone'' did in the same time.
* Early in his career, ''Creator/GeorgeRRMartin'' wrote a fantasy-murder mystery novel inspired by the rock of TheSixties, the occult, underground comix and ''Literature/LordOfTheRings''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Armageddon_Rag It was a passionate project called ''The Armageddon Rag'',]] the critics loved it, and it flopped so hard that it scared Martin out of the lit industry for almost half a decade.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' was loved by viewers, but got cancelled after eleven episodes due to [[ExecutiveMeddling FOX screwing with it]]. A letter campaign led to a [[TheMovie movie]] sequel, ''Film/{{Serenity}}'', which was just as acclaimed... and bombed just as much due to incoherent advertising. After that though, the series got a long healthy life of spin-offs and DVD releases.
* The miniseries ''[[UsefulNotes/MartinLutherKingJr King]]'' was nominated for nine Emmy awards and won much acclaim for its star Paul Winfield but was a ratings disaster when first aired.[[note]]The first part finished dead last in the weekly ratings.[[/note]]
* The Fox show ''Series/TwentyFour'' started this way at first, possibly because it came on so soon after 9/11 and no one really wanted to see a show like that on the wake of a real terrorist attack. However, word of mouth eventually made it a popular series.
* ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' consistently garnered just enough audience to keep it afloat, but barely managed to raise itself above the bottom of the ratings ladder for three straight seasons. It was a critical darling from the word "Go", and its core fanbase is rabid. Seven years after the cancellation, fan demand got a fourth season made for early 2016. The ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode "With Friends Like Steve's" lampshaded this when Francine compares Steve's boredom with Stan to America's reaction to ''Arrested Development'': "It's not bad, but it failed because it wasn't universally loved like ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''".
* ''Series/TheWire'' was virtually ignored on its first broadcast, but its reputation among television commentators as one of the best shows ever made has become something of a meme.
* ''Series/FreaksAndGeeks'' only lasted one season. It was beloved by those who saw it from the beginning. TV critics were so engaged with it they often ranked it highly in their "best of the 00s" lists, with only 12 of its 18 episodes airing in that decade.
* ''The Tick'' (both the [[WesternAnimation/TheTick Saturday morning cartoon]] and the live-action [[Series/TheTick2001 series]] that aired in the early 2000s).
* ''Series/DontTrustTheBInApartment23'' was loved by people who actually watched it. But between poor production choices, bad scheduling, and low ratings, the series never took off and was cancelled halfway through Season 2, with its last episodes being released solely on DVD and later on Netflix.
* ''Series/PoliceSquad'': Its flop was because it couldn't be watched casually. [[ViewersAreGoldfish Viewers had to pay active attention to catch the jokes]]. Keep in mind it aired in 1982 when the VCR was still a luxury item, so it was a yeoman's effort to get the references.
* ''Series/{{Awake}}'' suffered truly abysmal ratings, even for NBC, but was endlessly praised by TV critics, and unlike earlier shows with similar ratings in its time slot, aired its entire season.
* ''Series/MySoCalledLife'' was critically acclaimed and is remembered for poignantly capturing the zeitgeist of teenagers in TheNineties, but didn't last past a season.
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' is beloved by its fans, and was also perpetually on the verge of cancellation throughout its entire run. Lack of promotion and [[ScrewedByTheNetwork scheduling shenanigans by the network]] certainly didn't help, and [[TroubledProduction behind-the-scenes conflict]] between Creator/ChevyChase and Creator/DanHarmon (which resulted in an entire season [[OnlyTheCreatorDoesItRight produced without Harmon]] which [[CanonDiscontinuity most fans would prefer to forget]]) didn't help either, but more than anything, the show is simply a niche product whose humor tended to be more challenging than lighter, more accessible fare.
* HBO's ''Series/{{Enlightened}}'' earned ''terrible'' ratings, averaging less than half a million viewers for each of its respective seasons. Despite this, its second season was universally praised as one of the greatest pieces of television in 2013 (with the AV Club even naming it the best show of the year, over the final season of ''Series/BreakingBad'').
* After [=VT4=] renamed itself to [[UsefulNotes/FlemishTVStations VIER]], two shows of their library won the 2014 critical award ''De HA! Van Humo'':
** The satirical news show ''De Ideale wereld''. Critics have given it lots of awards, but it had very low rating numbers (around 200.000). The fact that the television network that airs it airs it late at night may have something to do with that, aside from the fact that it is not the traditional fare of that network. Over the years it however got increasing viewership and peaked at 400.000.
** ''2013'' is one of the lowest viewed and most obscure things the network put out, but it tied in with the above for the award. The people themselves were really glad to have the award because the show had a really low viewership.
* ''Series/PartyOfFive'' was never a ratings hit, and was cancelled after its first season, only to be UnCanceled when it was the surprise winner of the Golden Globe for Best Drama. It had its loyal fans, was a critical favorite, and it lasted a decent six seasons, but the show peaked at #56 in the ratings. In 1995, TV Guide named it "The best show you're not watching." It went on to have an unsuccessful spinoff, and is currently best known for launching the careers of Creator/NeveCampbell, Creator/LaceyChabert, and Creator/JenniferLoveHewitt.
* ''Series/AmericanDreams'' was a critical favorite with a loyal fan following. However, it was never a ratings hit, was ScrewedByTheNetwork, and was cancelled after its third season, not resolving its story, with the last four episodes supposedly requiring product placement to even get produced. Fans organized a campaign to help change NBC's mind, but to no avail. A 12-minute epilogue ''was'' quickly put together, but it wasn't screened until 2013.
* ''Series/HillStreetBlues'' received plenty of critical acclaim and loads of awards during its original run, and today it is widely considered possibly ''the'' best CopShow ever. At the same time, it consistently received dismal ratings during its original run. It still ran for an impressive seven seasons, largely because of the goodwill of network executives who in this case did believe in DoingItForTheArt.
* Spanish crime drama ''Series/ElCaso'' was adored by critics and developed a relatively small but devoted fanbase. It got ScrewedByTheNetwork, with TVE scheduling it on an overly competitive Tuesday night timeslot and refusing to move it despite its poor ratings performance. The series got shut down after one season, with right-wing TVE execs allegedly feeling uncomfortable about the show being set in the 1960s Spain.
* ''Series/MrRobot'': You'd never know it from the critical acclaim, but the show has surprisingly low ratings. The ratings for Season 2 dipped substantially below one million viewers per episode, putting it well behind other USA Network shows like ''Series/ChrisleyKnowsBest''.
* ''Series/CrazyExGirlfriend'' received acclaim from both critics and audiences in addition to a large amount of awards, but finished ''dead last'' in Network TV ratings for two years in a row.
* ''Series/{{Girls}}'' was beloved by critics but got abysmally low ratings for much of its run (averaging less than a million viewers per episode).

* Music/NickDrake had people who heard his albums at the time loving them, but he sold a fairly small amount of original copies because of his hatred of live performances and doing promotion, plus a lack of singles. His popularity has exploded thanks to word of mouth on the internet, and original vinyl copies continue to appreciate in value even though there are numerous reissues now which preserve the original mastering and sound quality.
* Music/ElvisCostello's ''Imperial Bedroom'' is considered one of his best, but all of its singles flopped.
* Music/TheRoots: Except for their 1993 debut and 2004's ''The Tipping Point'', just about every one of their albums has garnered rave reviews from both critics and fans, not to mention numerous Grammy nominations. And yet, thus far, the only album they've released that has achieved Platinum certification is 1999's ''Things Fall Apart'', and even that took nearly ''fourteen years'' after release to reach that milestone. Meanwhile, except for 2002's ''Phrenology'', none of their other albums have even reached Gold certification yet.
* Singer/songwriter Music/NicoleAtkins. Her 2007 debut ''Neptune City'' was heavily acclaimed by music critics, with some even predicting she would become the "next big thing" in pop. But [[ExecutiveMeddling an unexpected delay in the album's release]] along with its resulting underpromotion by her then-label Columbia Records quickly [[ScrewedByTheNetwork doomed]] the album to low sales (it didn't even chart on the Billboard 200) and an almost complete neglect by End of Year lists despite how well reviewed it was. The following years were equally unkind to Atkins: her backing band "The Black Sea" left her in 2009. She released two more studio albums that were well received by critics but performed poorly sales-wise. And in 2012, her home city of Neptune, New Jersey was hit by Hurricane Sandy.
* The album ''Resurrection'' by the rapper Common.[[note]]Known at the time as "Common Sense".[[/note]] Upon release in late 1994, the album was praised by critics for its thoughtful lyrics and mellow-yet-jazzy style of hip hop. Unfortunately, while the album is widely considered to be an underground classic among rap and hip hop fans (even being listed as one of ''The Source'''s "100 Best Rap Albums" in 1998), it sold very poorly. It debuted at #179 on the Billboard 200 and then immediately dropped off the charts. Nonetheless, its influence on underground hip hop (most notably The Roots - who, coincidentally, are also listed on this page) is undeniable.
* Music/VanMorrison's ''Astral Weeks'' is widely regarded as his best, but sold a small number of copies when it came out. On the other hand, it has continued to sell steadily ever since its release, and it has never been out of print. One reviewer, Andrew Ford, commented, "''Astral Weeks'' will sell as many copies this year as it did in 1968 and has every year in between". It finally went gold in 2001.
* The Music/BeastieBoys followed up their bestselling debut, ''Licensed to Ill'', with ''[[NewSoundAlbum Paul's Boutique]]'', a psychedelic showcase of the group's rhymes backed by a mountain of samples compiled by Music/TheDustBrothers. ''Paul's Boutique'' contrasted with the frat-bro attitude of ''Licensed to Ill'', which the Beasties [[OldShame immediately denounced]]. As a result, ''Paul's Boutique'', while getting good reviews, was a commercial failure when it was released. However, it set the tone for the group's later work, which enjoyed more success. Eventually, the album began to be regarded as [[VindicatedByHistory a rap masterpiece]].
* Music/TheSmashingPumpkins' ''Music/{{Adore}}'' was highly acclaimed by critics from the day of its release, but its sales were disappointing by the band's standards (as of May 2005, it had only sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S.). It seems to be a case of being VindicatedByHistory as Pitchfork has commented that the album is cited as "underrated" so often that this can no longer be the case.
* Music/CarlyRaeJepsen's ''Emotion'' gained acclaim from music critics and achieved high ratings on even the [[{{Hipster}} stuffiest]] music websites. Unfortunately, despite its positive reception, the album stalled out at #16 on the Billboard 200 and sold less than her debut album, which [[http://noisey.vice.com/blog/why-did-carly-rae-jepsens-emotion-flop-commercially music outlets were quick to notice]].
* Music/RichardThompson, whose virtuoso playing and incisive songwriting is both acclaimed by critics and highly influential on fellow musicians, but whose albums seldom trouble the charts. At his invariably sold-out concerts he often announces a medley of his greatest hits, then stands in silence for a minute or two in silence. He's been called "the best guitarist nobody's ever heard of"; he was ranked 69 in UsefulNotes/RollingStone100GreatestGuitaristsOfAllTime.
* Music/AvengedSevenfold's 2016 album ''Music/TheStage'' has been considered one of their best albums by critics and is also quite beloved among fans. It's also their album that sold the most poorly ([[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness save for the first one]]), in part because album sales have fallen off a cliff since their last release in 2013 thanks to the rise of streaming services, in part due to its more experimental nature compared to their previous outings, and in part because they released the album [[InvisibleAdvertising almost completely by surprise after announcing a fake release date.]] The members noted that half a year after the release, there were still people who weren't even aware that a new album was out.

* ''Pinball/{{Indianapolis 500}}'' is considered to be one of Creator/DennisNordman's best games, with fast action, exciting artwork, stirring music, and lighthearted humor. It consistently ranks in the top 50 of many "best pinball games of all time" lists. However, it was released during the decline of arcade pinball in TheNineties, and ended up being Creator/WilliamsElectronics' second-worst-selling game of 1995.
* Sister game ''Pinball/{{Congo}}'' fared worse; although it offers a good variety of satisfying shots and challenging gameplay, it was also saddled with lackluster art, a tie-in to a [[Film/{{Congo}} badly received movie,]] and the aforementioned decline in arcade gaming. It was Creator/WilliamsElectronics' ''worst''-selling game of 1995, though it is often ranked higher than ''Pinball/{{Indianapolis 500}}'' in players' lists.
* ''Pinball/PinballMagic'' is widely considered to be a respectable debut game from Creator/{{Capcom}}'s newly-formed pinball division, but Capcom's small market share all but doomed it to obscurity, and only 1,200 tables were ever made. Worse, while the game is praised by most, it still struggles to escape from the shadow of the {{Dueling Game|s}} ''Pinball/TheatreOfMagic''.
* Another Creator/{{Capcom}} example: ''Pinball/BigBangBar'' was garnering critical acclaim as soon as the first test games hit the streets, with many predicting it to be the company's BreakthroughHit. Unfortunately, Capcom closed their pinball division before the game was released, and only [[NetworkToTheRescue the intervention of Gene Cunningham and Illinois Pinball Inc.]] saved it from total obscurity with a production run of 191 tables.
* Look at some top 50 lists for pinball, and you will see a number of them from the late '90s: ''Pinball/MedievalMadness'', ''Pinball/CactusCanyon'', ''Pinball/MonsterBash'', ''Pinball/NoGoodGofers'', and sometimes ''NBA Fastbreak''. These machines only had production runs of about 1,000 (compare to the 4,000 to 10,000 copies most other non-boutique releases get, with breakout successes reaching 15,000 or more). This is because pinball was on a nosedive in public popularity, with few people interested in playing pinball and even fewer operators, proportionally speaking, who wanted to buy these machines. Although pinball would receive a revival in the 2010's, pinball was largely seen as passé during the late 90's, and with repeated financial failures of these highly-acclaimed machines, Williams and Bally would both stop making pinball machines in 1999.
* ''Jolly Park'' is the top-rated pinball machine designed in Spain, but its manufacturer, Spinball SA, was on its deathbed when production began due to a series of flops of less-well-received machines. Spinball did not have the resources to do anything other than manufacture about 250 of these machines, then go bankrupt. This includes any sort of promotion, becoming a victim of InvisibleAdvertising by necessity. As a result, very few people had heard of it, even among pinball fans in Spain. It was rediscovered many years later when they started appearing at pinball shows in Europe and North America, and the presence of one creates lines to go play it due to its near-legendary status among some.

* ''Theatre/TheGoldenApple'' was well-reviewed when it was first produced in 1954, and in retrospective histories is often hailed as an refreshingly original work of musical theatre. The original production closed in a few months and the show has only been infrequently produced since. The original cast recording ruthlessly abridged the score to fit on a single LP, yet it took until 2015 for the show to receive a more complete recording.
* The original 1957 production of Music/LeonardBernstein's ''Literature/{{Candide}}'' closed after running for a mere 73 performances on Broadway. The cast album it produced sold much better.

* ''Toys/{{Xevoz}}'' was overlooked when the line debuted, despite favorable reviews and strong fan reaction. The prices of the toys have remained high on the secondary market even years after its cancellation.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/SleepingDogs'' was met with lukewarm sales taking a year to reach one million only after the game was heavily discounted, but was hit among critics. Most who hadn't played it saw it as ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' set in Hong Kong. The game focuses more on martial arts rather than gunplay and features light free-running through the city. However, sales weren't so bad for Creator/SquareEnix to rule out a potential sequel.
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound''. It didn't catch on when it came out in America, but the cult following grew greatly since. Most dedicated fans have played the game on emulators, since official copies are both rare and [[CrackIsCheaper expensive]], and the game was never re-released outside of Japan until 2013, when it was announced that it's coming to the Wii U Virtual Console. The huge number of downloads led to it averting its flop status.
* ''VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil'' was met with glowing reviews, some even comparing it to ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'', and earned relatively high marks all around. It didn't do so well. It got to the point where free copies of the game were being packaged with cheese. [[http://www.destructoid.com/oh-canada-beyond-good-evil-is-a-cheese-pack-in-122277.phtml Yes, really.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{ICO}}''. Good thing it got an UpdatedRerelease, because the UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 original is now unobtainable ([[CrackIsCheaper not at a reasonable price anyway]]).
* Various games made by Clover Studios, later Creator/PlatinumGames:
** ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' had no advertising, and was released at the dawn of the seventh-gen era, both factors causing it (and ''VideoGame/GodHand'') to sell so badly that it led to the dissolution of Clover Studio ([[Creator/PlatinumGames though not for long]]), and yet the game is considered one of the best the [=PS2=] has offered. So much that it later got a port to the Wii, [[VideoGame/{{Okamiden}} a sequel]] by another studio on the Nintendo DS, and the HD remaster treatment.
** ''VideoGame/{{MadWorld}}'' was loved by critics, but had terrible sales. The fact that it was a violent, M-rated game exclusive to Wii, and the fact that it came hugely under fire from MoralGuardians and Christians were huge causes for its demise.
** ''VideoGame/{{Vanquish}}''. Critics loved it, but the game itself slipped right under the radar. [[InvisibleAdvertising The game sneaked onto store shelves without any promotion or fanfare]], so hardly anyone knew about it until it was released for PSN's games on demand in 2013.
** ''VideoGame/TheWonderful101'' also had this problem: Reviews were generally positive, but it sold poorly in Japan and even worse in the rest of the world. [[ScrewedByTheNetwork Nintendo published the game, but only gave it viral advertising]], and the fact that [[AnimationAgeGhetto the general public derided it as "kiddie" due to its art style]] also hurt.
** ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'' was praised for its originality, style, and excellent gameplay, but sold below Platinum's expectations. Creator/{{Nintendo}} then funded [[VideoGame/{{Bayonetta 2}} a sequel]] that gathered multiple perfect scores, but sold even fewer copies, possibly due it being exclusive for the UsefulNotes/{{Wii U}} as opposed to the first game's multiplatform release for the UsefulNotes/PlayStation3 and UsefulNotes/{{Xbox 360}}. However, enough fans rallied together to get Bayonetta to win a fan ballot to be included in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros for Nintendo Wii U and 3DS'', to its [[ColbertBump great fortune]]. Since then the original game received a port to the PC platform, and the UsefulNotes/NintendoSwitch is set to get ports of both games along with an exclusive release of ''VideoGame/Bayonetta3''.
* Several of Tim Schafer's games:
** ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'' was extremely well-received critically, even managing to win several Game of the Year awards despite having some pretty stiff competition in 1998.[[note]]This includes ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'', ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', ''VideoGame/HalfLife'', and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime''.[[/note]] However, the game [[CriticalDissonance didn't sell well]], becoming the first Creator/LucasArts game to lose money, and marking the company's shift out of the genre. It's since gotten an UpdatedRerelease on modern consoles, including a PC version, and is doing well there.
** ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' from 2005 was critically acclaimed, but very few gamers bought it. However, it was beloved enough to get a port to PC/Mac/Linux. Then Double Fine's deal with the publisher Majesco expired, and the studio was able to publish a slightly UpdatedRerelease of the game through digital platforms such as UsefulNotes/{{Steam}}. According to Double Fine's own sale numbers, from 2016, Psychonauts in total sold just shy of 1.7 million copies, and about 1.2 millions of these sales happened after the expiration of the publishing deal, turning enough of a profit to partially fund the sequel, ''VideoGame/Psychonauts2'', which is to be released in 2018.
** ''VideoGame/BrutalLegend'' got great reviews but poor sales. The MisaimedMarketing, which portrayed it as a straight-up third-person action game when it makes a GenreShift to a RealTimeStrategy after the first few hours, also hurt.
* ''VideoGame/KyaDarkLineage'' got some pretty good reviews, but for most people not that many knew about it. For those who got it, it's a shame it's widely unknown. Doesn't help either that it ended on a cliffhanger.
* ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}}: Door to Phantomile'' for the UsefulNotes/PlayStation received glowing reviews from critics, but bombed at retail for being mistaken as kiddy. The game would go on to become a cult classic, fetching over $60 on eBay at its peak. Same went for its EvenBetterSequel ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}} 2: Lunatea's Veil.'' History repeated itself with the Wii remake, which Namco hoped would sell greatly and regain interest in the franchise, especially since most Wii owners like cutesy games, but the remake sold poorly too, and the planned ''Klonoa 2'' Wii remake was cancelled.
* ''VideoGame/JetSetRadio'', a [[GenreBusting platform-rollerblading-graffiti]] game for the Dreamcast, was extremely well-received and won several awards but didn't sell well even among games for the unsuccessful platform. ''Jet Set Radio Future'' for Xbox suffered the same fate, even when it was packaged with the system.
* ''VideoGame/SuikodenII'', the EvenBetterSequel to the first ''Suikoden'', was also a bomb, but certainly not for lack of quality; it is considered by many who have played it to be one of the best [=RPGs=] ever. Rather, it came at the worst possible time: the week before one of gaming history's most anticipated sequels, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', not to mention the UsefulNotes/SegaDreamcast launch. Speaking of the former, ''Final Fantasy VII'' had stylistically redefined the genre with its big-budget, cinematic [=3D=] visuals just two years earlier, and ''Suikoden II'', which stuck to the isometric [=2D=] of its predecessor, looked extremely outdated by comparison, as practically every other major RPG was following the charge lead by the new generation of ''Final Fantasy''. The game did become a CultClassic within the next couple of years, and would fetch massive sums on eBay. The game was finally re-released in December 2014 on PSN after many fan requests.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'' was an initial stateside flop due to it being a late era [=PlayStation=] release, receiving a meager marketing push from Enix, and just being too unique for its own good. It did gain a following, and similar to ''Suikoden II'' above, become valuable on the aftermarket, but thankfully it received a port on the UsefulNotes/PlayStationPortable and two follow-ups.
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' made very little money, despite being named one of the greatest role-playing games of all time by multiple review organizations. After being rereleased by Website/GOGDotCom, it took the top position in their besteselling list and doesn't tend to stray far from it.
* ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' sold far less than ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' and any of Creator/BioWare's later original [=IPs=], despite some heavy praise from reviews.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}}'' sold poorly and its sequel sold modestly ([[UpdatedRerelease at launch, at least]]), but both received very favorable reviews.
* ''VideoGame/TheNeverhood'', an adventure game animated entirely in claymation, was released around the time adventure games were going out of style.
* ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'', due to limited advertising and late arrival to the Nintendo 64, didn't sell as well as hoped. But it gained critical acclaim and a cult following among fans regardless. Since being put on the ''Rare Replay'' compilation, it has sold better on Xbox One.
* ''VideoGame/LittleKingsStory'' received critical acclaim, many reviewers considering it to be on the same level of quality as some of Nintendo's first party titles, yet nearly no one brought it. The kiddy presentation hurt despite the game being quite dark in places. The developers seem to have realized this, because the remake for Vita uses a typical RPG/anime artstyle.
* ''VideoGame/{{BattleZone|1998}}'' (the 1998 FPS/RTS version) was loved by videogame magazine critics, but failed to make an impression in the marketplace. The sequel, ''Battlezone II: Combat Commander'', likewise failed to sell, though it was received less warmly partly because its SceneryPorn was the cause of [[ObviousBeta poor performance]] and partly because the gameplay was slowed down in favor of more [[GenreShift RTS elements]].
* ''Cornerstone'', Creator/{{Infocom}}'s attempt to enter the business-software market, generally got good reviews, but sold very poorly, in part because of a general economic-downturn at the time of release.
* The ''VideoGame/PanzerDragoon'' series, especially its RPG one, ''Panzer Dragoon Saga''. Being released on the doomed-from-creation Saturn (which has proven nigh-impossible to emulate) sent it straight into obscurity.
* ''VideoGame/BurningRangers'', another Saturn exclusive. It was released when the console was nearing its end in America and Europe. While it was a success in Japan, it was a commercial failure in other countries. American or European copies usually go for $75-100 on eBay, while Japanese copies can be found for about $15-30.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfParadise'', despite gorgeous graphics and relatively high ratings by critics, faced underwhelming sales. It remains a hidden gem in the world of gaming.
* ''VideoGame/SteelBattalion'' was a game which was produced with skepticism and launched with little advertising. Simply put, the controller used made the game economically unviable due to the 200$ price tag plus the fact the game was made for Japan but released on an American console (the Xbox). However, the game was groundbreaking in terms of its simulation abilities, and easily well ahead of its time. So much so that a cult following still apparently maintains the multiplayer expansion even after Microsoft ended Xbox Live.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendaryStarfy'' in America. It got very good reviews and has a dedicated following, but sold poorly. In Japan, it sold better, but not as well as the other 4 Starfy games, which [[NoExportForYou are Japan-exclusive]].
* ''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilationKingdoms'' is considered as one of the best RTS games next to its predecessor ''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation'', even though it didn't sell much.
* ''Videogame/SpecOpsTheLine'' was universally praised for its writing, but sold poorly due to advertisements [[NeverTrustATrailer portraying it as a generic modern warfare third person shooter.]] They were trying to invoke an IntendedAudienceReaction, since the game is a DeconstructorFleet, but word of mouth just didn't kick in as strong as they wanted. It hurts that the message of the game is "stop playing", [[GoneHorriblyRight which fans sometimes mention when talking about the game]].
* ''{{VideoGame/Gladius}}'' was universally praised at release; it was even called the best Xbox game nobody played.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shenmue}}''. While the first one sold okay, the sequel didn't. This is mainly because Creator/{{Sega}} released it as an Xbox exclusive outside of Japan and Europe, since video game developers ended production on Dreamcast games in America at this time. Most Xbox owners only cared about shooters and sports games, and ''Shenmue 2'' was neither of those, thus the sequel suffered from horrible sales, and it ended on an unresolved cliffhanger that was never resolved due to Yu Suzuki leaving Sega, and Sega not having enough of a budget to make a third game due to losing so much money on both games. Suzuki had to rely on Kickstarter to get a third game off the ground.
* Most of Creator/{{Suda51}}'s non-licensed games have dedicated followings and are admired for their audacity. However, only one of his games, ''VideoGame/LollipopChainsaw'', was profitable and sold over 1 million units. A mix of AudienceAlienatingPremise and [[WidgetSeries quirkiness]] make his games seem unapproachable to many in both the West and Suda's own native Japan. ''VideoGame/{{Killer7}}'' was the first game from Suda to be exported overseas, but it sold poorly due to its unorthodox gameplay and story. ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' was adored by critics, but lacked in sales. It sold 40,000 in Japan, and 208,000 in America. Preceding ''VideoGame/{{Madworld}}'', it was an M-rated Wii exclusive, and came under fire from MoralGuardians. Despite lackluster sales, it ended up getting a sizable cult following and a [[VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle sequel]], and was later ported to the [=PS3=] in hopes that it would sell better there (it didn't).
* ''VideoGame/EliteBeatAgents'': Praised by critics for its tight, challenging, and unique gameplay and amazing atmosphere, it even won [=GameSpot=]'s UsefulNotes/NintendoDS Game of the Year award in 2006, beating out front-runners like ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros'', but failed commercially because it was perhaps just [[WidgetSeries a little too weird]] for most gamers' tastes (not to mention that said atmosphere let to a ''very'' jarring case of SurpriseDifficulty). This has, unfortunately, effectively quashed any hopes of an official sequel ever being released in the West.
* ''VideoGame/{{Perimeter}}''. While the game had pretty good reviews, it flopped spectacularly... and yet for some reason both an ExpansionPack and a sequel were created.
* Due to very poor marketing ''VideoGame/ColdFear'' was largely unheard of by gamers, and most who did hear about it were very quick to dismiss it as a rip off of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4''. However, those who play it ''love it'', and many say it's as good or better than ''[=RE4=]''.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker''. While it was one of the biggest ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' games and received glowing reviews, it sold poorly overseas due to the fact that it was a PSP exclusive. This was averted once it was a part of the ''HD Collection'' for the UsefulNotes/{{Xbox 360}} and UsefulNotes/PlayStation3, where it sold much better.
* ''VideoGame/MoonBaseCommander'' received fairly positive reviews, but flopped terribly upon its release and won IGN's "Best Game No-One Played" award in 2002. It has somewhat of a small following, if not simply for the fact that it was made by Creator/HumongousEntertainment.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' was not a good seller when it came out, despite abundant marketing and a lot of good reviews. This is because it was released on the Nintendo 64's last days, when people were hyped about the [=GameCube=] and games like ''Super Smash Bros. Melee'' were just around the corner. It was also released at the time where the highly praised ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'' left pretty big shoes that ''Paper Mario'' [[ToughActToFollow had a hard time filling]]. It was VindicatedByHistory several years later, thanks in part to its [[VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor sequel]] managing to fill said shoes, [[GrowingTheBeard making fans much more appreciative of the series]], and until the Nintendo [=eShop=] re-released it digitally, copies of ''Paper Mario'' remained at their original selling price of US$50 or higher.
* ''VideoGame/FreeSpace 2'', to the point where it was a GenreKiller -- because if a game that well-received still couldn't sell the genre, what could?
* ''VideoGame/RaymanOrigins'' and its sequel ''VideoGame/RaymanLegends'' were universally praised but didn't sell very well, probably due to the fact that ExecutiveMeddling dictated that they be released around the same time as ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' and ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'', respectively. The former may have been pushed out of this status by sheer amount of re-releasing on new consoles though.
* ''VideoGame/TheLastExpress'' received high praise for its writing, character development, and intricate-yet-flexible storyline, but the game only sold 100,000 copies, 1 million short of breaking even. This was mostly due to [[Creator/BroderbundSoftware Brøderbund]] [[InvisibleAdvertising not marketing the game at all]], part of which was probably because Brøderbund's entire marketing staff had quit a month before the game's release.
* Up until the [[SleeperHit surprisingly great sales]] of the thirteenth game in the series, ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening Awakening]]'' for the 3DS, ''every single game'' in the ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' series of TurnBasedStrategy games since the series' debut all the way back in [[LongRunners 1990]]. Despite the praise the games managed to acquire, none of them ever managed to crack even a million sales. As mentioned, however, ''Awakening'' managed to break this, becoming both the best selling and most critically-acclaimed entry in the franchise.
** Out of all the pre-Awakening games, the most blatant example was ''VideoGame/FireEmblemThracia776''. The game was released in 1999... at the very end of the Super Famicom's life, meaning that it sold terribly - it was the worst-selling game to date in fact. Reviews on the other hand praised the game highly with all-around good scores.
* The ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' series have great reviews and a dedicated fandom, but only a few managed to be commercial hits. One that got hit the most was ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'', [[http://www.ign.com/articles/2005/01/14/prime-outperforms-echoes whose sales got dwarfed by its predecessor]] for among other reasons being released the same month as ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}''.
* ''VideoGame/DJHero'' was unsurprisingly unsuccessful, coming out at a time when the RhythmGame fad was on the way out, right before the early [[TheNewTens New Tens]] resurgence of electronic music (one has to wonder how well it would have sold if it had come out ''after'' said resurgence). Coupled with the game's difficulty curve, the general unpopularity of DJ music in general, and costing twice the price of a standard retail game due to the turntable controller, nobody was shocked when the game's sales weren't up to snuff. Despite this, the game was well received by the people who did play it, praising the unique remixes the game incorporated and how original it was compared to the {{Mission Pack Sequel}}s music games.
* ''VideoGame/SpyroSeasonOfIce'', ''VideoGame/Spyro2SeasonOfFlame'', and ''VideoGame/SpyroAttackOfTheRhynocs'' were praised by critics but sold poorly due to being from a formerly Sony-exclusive series and being released around the time of the abysmal ''VideoGame/SpyroEnterTheDragonfly'', which scared many away from the other games.
* ''VideoGame/TailConcerto'' is a fun, cute and light-hearted platformer for the [=PlayStation=], but it sadly didn't get much attention when it was released. However, does have a following, which was enough for the developers to make a SpiritualSequel with a SharedUniverse, namely ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}''.
* ''VideoGame/ZackAndWikiQuestForBarbarosTreasure'' was beloved by critics and fans alike for playing to the strengths of the Wii's motion controls and clever (and ''[[NintendoHard hard]]'') puzzles. However, between poor marketing and the AnimationAgeGhetto, it tanked.
* ''VideoGame/GoneHome'' [[ZigZaggingTrope went back and forth]] on this after release. The game was a massive critical darling and enjoyed an early burst of strong sales when positive reviews came out, but once the heavy CriticalDissonance surrounding the game set in it rapidly vanished from charts and seemed destined to have mediocre lifetime sales. However, this appears to not to have come to pass as it picked up momentum again during multiple rounds of Steam sales (the game's short runtime and relatively high price was one of the major factors fuelling the backlash).
* ''VideoGame/AzraelsTear'', a 3D adventure game with some action, had interesting characters and a good story that made you do some serious thinking, not just because of the puzzles, but also because it's increasingly apparent the ImmortalityInducer that everyone is after has some very bad side effects, and not all of the characters are what they seem. It also had pretty good music. The critics liked it, too. But its graphics engine was a bit on the slow side, and it had the great misfortune of being released ''the very same week'' as ''{{VideoGame/Quake}}'', which was much anticipated, had fantastic graphics performance, and was quite addictive.
* ''VideoGame/YoKaiWatch'' in North America. Despite near-universal praise from critics and those who played it; the game sold poorly in North America, [[AmericansHateTingle in stark contrast to its]] [[CashCowFranchise sales in Japan]]. Launching ''the very same day'' as ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOpsIII'' definitely didn't help matters. Thankfully, though, the game [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff did much better in Europe]]. The same fate would befall ''Yo-Kai Watch 2'', not helped by the decision to release the game on the same date as ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXV'', having it quickly overshadowed by the DuelingGames of ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon''.
* ''VideoGame/PokkenTournament'', a fighting game aimed at older ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' fans that the Internet can't get enough of? What's the problem? Well, until its Wii U release, it was playable only in Japanese arcades. Skilled players can net an hour of play from a single token, making it very unprofitable for arcade owners. Then it got subverted thanks to the Wii U version, which launched to great fanfare, and the subsequent UpdatedRerelease on the UsefulNotes/NintendoSwitch in September 2017.
* ''VideoGame/PocketCardJockey'' is a horse-racing solitare game that combines the two into a surprisingly deep package with near-endless replayability. It hit it off very well with many critics and fans, but garnered little attention due to poor advertising from Nintendo, [[WidgetSeries being weird]], and being released during a news drought for ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'', causing irritated ''Pokémon'' fans to bash the game [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch despite having never played it.]]
* ''VideoGame/TadpoleTreble'' is a rhythm platformer about the musical misadventures of a young tadpole. Kickstarted with $34,250, 4 years of development by indie software developers, and a score of 90 on Metacritic, it has... less than 100 reviews on Steam one week after release. Note that Steam is the main place to get ''Tadpole Treble'' for the PC - even the low-bass toad sung so! Unfortunately, a lot of people simply don't want to play a rhythm game starring a tadpole.
* ''VideoGame/{{Oddworld}}: Stranger's Wrath'' was acclaimed for its unique take on the First-Person Shooter and story, and was considered the best ''Oddworld'' game in the series since ''Abe's Exoddus''. However, the game sold incredibly poorly due to InvisibleAdvertising and was even a CreatorKiller for a while until Oddworld Inhabitants bounced back in the 2010s. Since then, it's sold much better in its HD remaster on digital platforms.
* ''VideoGame/{{Obsidian}}'' was a unique, surreal spin on ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}'' which launched with $2 million spent on advertising, ''Music/ThomasDolby'' was hired to write its soundtrack, and was lauded by many critics on release. But it sold only 80,000 units and eventually caused its its creator, Rocket Science [[CreatorKiller to go bankrupt and fold not long after]]. It's notable that the game's demo consisted of a very small area with an {{Unwinnable}} puzzle and a slideshow, nothing more, which may have been one cause of the game's failure. Despite all this, the game has gained a minor cult following in the adventure genre.
* ''VideoGame/{{Titanfall 2}}'' received near unanimous critical acclaim, a warm reception from the series' fanbase after a coldly received beta, and a multiplatform launch after the first game's Xbox console exclusivity. Despite this, it ultimately [[http://www.pcgamer.com/ea-share-price-dips-in-response-to-analyst-predicting-substantially-disappointing-titanfall-2-sales/ sold only a little over half of the sales of the first game.]] Many believe that publisher EA's decision to launch the game only a week after their own highly hyped multiplayer shooter, ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield 1}}'', in a gambit to launch two shooters against Activison's next ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'', only ended up causing the bigger ''Battlefield 1'' to dwarf the game's presence. The fact that ''Titanfall 2'' is a external project only published by EA while ''Battlefield 1'' is both published and developed by EA has led some of the more [[ConspiracyTheorist devout fans]] to believe that EA [[ScrewedByTheNetwork purposely gimped]] the success of ''Titanfall 2'' in order to ensure Respawn Entertainment's financial failure, thus allowing EA to buy the IP outright from amongst the wreckage.
* ''VideoGame/TokyoMirageSessionsFE'': It doomed itself on arrival by not exactly being the crossover between ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' and ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' it had promised to be; its Japanese sales were pretty low as a result not helped with InvisibleAdvertising. Then it got exported to the West and suffered some [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsjWqCHPZ0w/ heavy censorship in its localization]], which worsened its already spotty reputation among gamers. Not helping matters is the lack of a dub and also had InvisibleAdvertising just like the Japanese version. It ended up selling even fewer copies. Both Japanese and Western critics, however, had very good things to say about it.
* ''VideoGame/{{Blur}}'' was a game that received high marks for approaching VehicularCombat kart racing games with a DarkerAndEdgier feel and more skill-based style of gameplay. Unfortunately, it sold poorly thanks to a combination of factors, including an ad campaign that took aim at ''VideoGame/MarioKart'' but only made itself look immature, as well as being released within the same week as rival games ''VideoGame/ModNationRacers'' and ''VideoGame/SplitSecond''. It's low sales ended with Creator/BizarreCreations being shut down: many of its employees migrated to ''[[VideoGame/{{Forza}} Forza Horizon]]'' developer Playground Games, while lead designer Gareth Wilson went to work on ''[[VideoGame/SegaSuperstars Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing Transformed]]'' with Sumo Digital.
* In the ''VideoGame/RhythmHeaven'' series, the only one to sell well outside of Japan is ''Rhythm Heaven'' for the Nintendo DS, even though all of them pleased critics and the few who bought them for their charm. ''Rhythm Heaven Fever'' flopped despite being for the ever popular Wii, while the English version of ''Rhythm Heaven Megamix'' was announced on the day of its release and is digital-only...and is also a poor seller. The most common explanation behind ''Rhythm Heaven Fever'''s underwhelming sales is that its marketing and box art makes it look like a minigame compilation on a system that was already totally overloaded with them, and the reduced price made it look like UsefulNotes/{{shovelware}}. Some parts of the game became [[MemeticMutation memetic]], but memes do not sell a game. ''Rhythm Heaven Megamix'' did not succeed due to InvisibleAdvertising and interest in rhythm games having mostly evaporated in North America and Europe. Averted in Japan, where it was made, however, where they sell well enough that pop musicians and their songwriters make songs just for this series.
* ''VideoGame/AceCombatZero'' is fondly remembered by fans as one of the most memorable titles in the ''Ace Combat'' series, on par with the best-selling ''VideoGame/AceCombat04ShatteredSkies''. However, being released at the very end of the UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 life cycle and with the UsefulNotes/PlayStation3 already replacing it, impacted the game's sales negatively, making it the lowest-selling title in the [=PS2=] titles at under 1 million copies sold (in fact, under a third of [=AC04=]'s).

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheWorldOfVickiFox'' is one of the only ''four'' web comics to get [[http://badwebcomicswiki.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Vicki_Fox a positive review]] on the Bad Webcomics Wiki. However, [[http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vickifox.com if you type the name of the comic on Alexa,]] you will find out that the comic is read just as much as the average web comic victim of SturgeonsLaw.
* The same is also true of ''WebComic/ForestHill'' which also has a positive review on the Bad Webcomics Wiki, which praises it for dealing with adult subjects in a mature and not over-the-top way, but it is nowhere near as well known as ''WebComic/JackDavidHopkins'', which the review contrasts against ''Forest Hill'' as an example of how ''not'' to do an adult FurryWebComic.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The ''[[Creator/BobChipman Big Picture]]'' episode [[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/3281-The-Numbers "The Numbers"]] is about this trope, and how it leads to studios making [[StrictlyFormula safe, formulaic movies]] pandering to the LowestCommonDenominator. Specifically, it describes how Creator/{{Universal}} experiencing a number of these, particularly ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'' (which suffered the added indignity of getting squashed at the box office by ''Film/TheExpendables'', a film that Bob hated), caused them to fling Creator/GuillermoDelToro's adaptation of ''Literature/AtTheMountainsOfMadness'' into DevelopmentHell and commission more sequels to ''Film/TheFastAndTheFurious'', one of their few bright spots at the time.
-->"When great movies fail at the box office, other movies will suffer because of it."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SymBionicTitan'' was beloved by critics and fans on the Internet, but lasted only 20 episodes. The most often-used reason is because of a lack of toy companies willing to make merchandise for it. The real reason is more complicated: It was pitched to toy companies ''with a female protagonist'', which made toy companies hesitant as female action figures sell much worse than their male counterparts; this wouldn't be so big of a problem (considering other shows remain on the air with little to no merchandise) if it weren't for ''Sym-Bionic Titan'''s titanic budget. It got good ratings, but not enough to turn a profit without the extra push the merchandise would've given it.
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' gained a massive and loyal fanbase for weirdness and BlackComedy such as hadn't been seen on Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} since ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow''. But ratings didn't justify the (very expensive) cost of the animation and it was axed after 1 and a half Seasons.[[note]]Season 2 wasn't fully completed.[[/note]] It was [[VindicatedByReruns Vindicated By DVD]], and merchandise still sells at a healthy rate to the Hot Topic set. The series was eventually continued in the form of comic books.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Robotomy}}'' was well loved by fans, but Creator/CartoonNetwork couldn't justify the production costs due to ''all of their overseas channels refusing to air it''. The channel decided to barely market it as a result, as they wouldn't be able to recoup costs even if it was a success.
* Creator/CartoonNetwork's WesternAnimation/DCNation block. The set-up of two anchor shows interspersed with various shorts and mini-specials about [=DC=] was highly praised for its immersion and uniqueness, but only [[WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo one of the four featured shows]] received any promotion, with the other three all axed because, despite strong fanbases and good writing, their merchandising didn't turn a profit (or, in the case of ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries'', exist at all).
* Despite having a large adult fanbase, ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' did not sell enough merchandise or appeal to the target demographic enough to warrant more than two seasons. It was replaced by ''WesternAnimation/AvengersAssemble'' which allegedly sells tons of merchandise but is widely hated by fans of the previous series and fans of the movies that it so poorly mimics. (Adding insult to injury, it's since been shown that at the time of its cancellation, EMH was consistently one of the highest rated shows on Disney XD.)
* ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'' was hyped and received much acclaim for its animation, writing, voice acting and action. However, Cartoon Network didn't pay much attention to that, more to the toys by Bandai, which were not selling as well as they hoped. Although a move from Friday night to Saturday morning helped in ratings and Bandai was eager to continue with selling the toys, the series ended after 26 episodes, despite being planned to have 65 episodes, and it was replaced it with a more marketable replacement, ''WesternAnimation/LegendsOfChima''.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers'' received some genuine praise for its darker, more mature stories but alas it appealed more to teens and 20-something college age sci-fi fans than it did to the toy happy little boys who were the main target demographic, and did much better overseas ([[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff especially Germany]]) than in America, which is said to have doomed it to merely being a CultClassic.