This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Creator Killer
The rise, the slump, and the killers.note 
"Killed his career? Son, I hope it put a stake in its heart, sawed its head off and filled its mouth with garlic."
Chris Sims on Jean-Christophe "Pitof" Comar, director of Catwoman (2004)

A Creator Killer is a rather unpredictable phenomenon when one or more works flop badly enough to take down or badly damage the publishers, the reputation of creative talents behind it, or both. Though there are usually many factors needed to cause the death of a publisher or a creator, some high-profile flops are linked (rightfully or not) to the death of the organization working on it. They will Never Live It Down.

Compare with Genre-Killer and Franchise Killer. Not to be confused with Author Existence Failure (though they can overlap if the work's performance is so bad that the creator is Driven to Suicide or otherwise dies shortly after), Rage Against the Author or The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You, where the creator can be literally killed by his or her work. See Star-Derailing Role when it happens to the performers. See Old Shame for an old work which a creator turns against later (or refuses to let see the light of day), but which by itself probably won't destroy their credibility. See Tough Act to Follow when one's career was not killed by a flop but the inability to follow-up a massive success. Contrast Breakthrough Hit (when the work makes the creator a big name) and Career Resurrection and Win Back the Crowd (when the work makes the creator a big name again after a Creator Killer). For understandable reasons many of these overlap with Troubled Production. If it literally, and directly, kills them, then it's probably an example of Fatal Method Acting.

Note: While a good number of these entries have either been Vindicated by History or are a Cult Classic, they still count as Creator Killers because of the damage they did at the time of their release.

Not to be confused with Fallen Creator, where a once-respected creator is permanently disgraced due to a string of flops or personal misbehaviors. A creator/business that went defunct after one or two serious flops/mistakes could still leave a lasting legacy and be fondly remembered in hindsight.

Do not confuse with A.I. Is a Crapshoot or for when an author wants to kill their own work. Has nothing to do with killing God, either.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ultimate Girls was the last anime ever produced by Masters of Entertainment, a Pony Canyon label. The show suffered from massive overuse of phallic imagery and innuendo, clichéd plots, and was considered worse than one of its previous titles, CosPrayers (itself an easy go-to joke for low-quality anime), by those brave enough to sit through it all.
  • Fractale was conceived as a way for its director, Yutaka "Yamakan" Yamamoto, to make Kyoto Animation regret firing him, with all the resources put into it that you'd expect with a goal like that. He was so sure of its success that he said he'd step down if it did poorly. The end result was said to be good, if not great, by most people who watched it to the end, but not many people did. Yamakan probably would have had to step down even if he hadn't explicitly staked his career on it doing well.
    • The main problem was the competition; Fractale was billed as the "moe-killer" series by the director himself, and as if to prove this it was released at the same time as a cutesy-looking Magical Girl show. Unfortunately for Fractale that show was Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which proved to be the anime for the Winter 2011 season.
    • It also garnered some of the worst ratings for the noitaminA animation block. Although the 2011 Sendai Earthquake didn't help matters, the show's ratings prior to the earthquake were noticeably behind the average ratings for all other series in the block.
  • Pretty Cure producer Hiroaki Shibata was Kicked Upstairs to Toei's Super Sentai division around the time Go! Princess Pretty Cure was approaching its halfway point, so that he wouldn't repeat the costly mistakes he had made with Doki Doki Pretty Cure and Happiness Charge Pretty Cure and risk turning GoPri into a Franchise Killer.Explanation  It's been suggested that the camel's back broke when HaCha suffered its second-half slump after initially being hailed as a welcome improvement from DokiDoki. Even worse, HaCha was the second straight season to suffer such a fate, and Toei apparently didn't want to take any more chances with Shibata after his mismanagement resulted in two consecutive seasons becoming train wrecks.
  • As an in-universe example: in Shirobako, the director of the fictitious series Exodus is thrilled to have any work at all after the complete and abject failure of his last show, an adaptation that went over-budget, devolved into a fanservice-y mess, and enraged the parent manga's fanbase by completely botching its story, to the point where he got absolutely no work for years on end. Naturally, he's still a bit traumatized by the memories of it and suffers constant fears of Exodus turning into the second coming of that debacle.
  • Blood-C is CLAMP's first and (probably last) original anime work after the low BD/DVD sales and the mixed-to-negative reception of the show. A movie, Blood-C: The Last Dark, tried to undo some of the damage, but was still weighed down with the same flaws as the TV series and bombed at the Japanese box office (though its BD sales were still moderately good). This led CLAMP to move their studio to Kyoto and return to some of their previous manga works (xxxHolic and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-) and putting some of their newer ones (Drug & Drop and Gate7) on hold. When Tsubasa World Chronicle finished publication in 2016 with only two volumes, CLAMP released a sequel of Cardcaptor Sakura which will also have an anime in 2018. Time will tell whether Cardcaptor Sakura will become a Career Resurrection or just another attempt to milk the franchise.
  • Ironically, Yu-Gi-Oh!, the biggest Cash Cow Franchise for 4Kids Entertainment, eventually became this to them. In 2011, TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS) sued 4Kids over unpaid royalties for the franchise, resulting in their shutdown a week later. Before then, the loss of the Pokémon license had severely damaged their financial state. The Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit was the final straw for 4Kids. A year after filing for bankruptcy, the company reincorporated itself as 4Licensing Corporation, while selling most of their remaining licenses to Saban Brands and the Yu-Gi-Oh! license and production facilities to Konami.
  • Subverted with Kyoto Animation, after the whole Endless Eight fiasco, many fans raged against KyoAni, and sales took a far tumble from the Cash Cow Franchise it once was. However, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and K-On! managed to turn around the fortunes, and prevented the death of the studio. (Not that the movie stopped Endless Eight from being a Franchise Killer though, despite the success of The Movie.)
  • Samurai Flamenco and Gangsta were both very popular in the West. Domestically, the former sold poorly, and the latter sold middling enough, but not enough to get Manglobe out of the hole before the studio's shutdown in 2015.
  • Bee Train hadn't done any work since 2012 after its last work, Hyouge Mono, suffered Troubled Production and Creator Backlash from the mangaka. There's no official statement yet but it appears to have been quietly shut down as a result of several factors, including the founder Koichi Mashimo's apparent retirement from the industry in the same year and a shortage of major hit productions since Bee Train's split with Production I.G in 2007. Many of the studio's old staff seem to have moved over to the recently independent C-Station.
  • Despite The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There receiving critical acclaim, the financial failures of these films, combined with the temporary retirement of Hayao Miyazaki, was the final straw for Studio Ghibli; it took a temporary break from producing its feature-length animated works until their Career Resurrection with The Red Turtle and Miyazaki making yet another return as director. Kaguya was also Isao Takahata's final film as director before he retired, but Takahata still serves as producer.
  • Crimson Wolf was this to Streamline Pictures. It was so bad not even Fred Patten, an animation historian and Streamline's longest-serving employee, had anything nice to say about it in his chronicle of the company on his blog, and yet they had to license it in order to get a more attractive title founder Carl Macek wanted. Good luck trying to convince any hardcore fan of the company that Crimson Wolf had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the distributor problems that kicked in a few months after its release in April 1995 and ultimately finished off the company (not helping matters was that the distributor in question, Orion Pictures, was dealing with its own crippling issues—see the Film — Studios/Production Companies section for more on that one).
  • Funimation voice actor Scott Freeman's career came crashing to a halt in 2015 when he was convicted for possessing child pornography. In response, Funimation announced that he would no longer be involved with them.

    Comic Books 
  • The infamous crossover Deathmate is often accused of killing Valiant Comics. The other side, Image Comics, did recover from it.
  • After the infamous Clone Saga, it was decided that the Spider-Man titles were to be canceled and relaunched with new "number ones" alongside a miniseries written and drawn by John Byrne that would retell Spider-Man's origin. This reboot was notable in that one writer - Howard Mackie - would be looking for both titles. The reboot was heavily promoted with garnered much anticipation amongst fans and critics, with Mackie claiming that they would "fix" the books and make things "fun" again. But things soured after the reboot where Mackie had Spider-Man face off against lackluster villains, engage in weird plots like facing off against vampires, supernatural villains, an alien-infested senator who was set up as the Big Bad of his arc, and - most notably - "killed" Mary Jane Watson. Fan and critical reaction was sour, and soon Mackie's plans were outright scuttled - he was replaced on one of the books by Paul Jenkins, and was given just enough time to wrap up his run and bring back Mary Jane before he was pulled from the title and replaced by J. Michael Straczynski. Mackie's career never recovered from the debacle. In the decade since then, Mackie rarely worked in comics with his last work being a six-issue mini-series that was to serve as a "reinterpretation" of what was to actually have happened in the initial Clone Saga alongside Tom Defalco.
    • The Clone Saga itself also nearly killed Marvel Comics as a whole, making it another example. There were many organizational problems with Marvel at the time, which was one reason the Clone Saga ran overlong and ended up being such a badly-regarded story. While the series itself sold very well at the time, the damage to the corporate culture was long-lasting and can still be felt today. These are partially documented in the web series Life of Reilly.
  • Chuck Austen is, apart from maybe his earlier works, one of the most hated writers in comics, owing mostly to poor characterization and story-telling, along with his attitude towards any criticisms. But it wasn't until his Superman run that his career as a writer really died. After he was kicked out of Marvel by irritated fans, DC hired Austen to write Superman but he was fired shortly afterward and blacklisted from comics after his short run had a Superman-Lana Lang-Lois Lane love triangle based on Austen's hatred of Lois Lane. That he openly insulted the decades-old beloved character to the media didn't help. He hasn't done anything worth mentioning since.
  • X-Men Forever destroyed Chris Claremont's once-legendary career in comics.
  • While Jeph Loeb's stories have always had detractors, Ultimatum is the series that truly hurt his career, due to all kinds of research failure, in addition to gratuitous violence and tons of death. While he sort of recovered with the decent Captain America: Fallen Son and Nova, the fact that he ruined the Ultimate line means he doesn't get much work writing comics anymore. Loeb is still in charge of the television and animation division of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, where he has had much better success.
  • Karl Bollers is most famous for his run on Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. Unfortunately, it wasn't well received, and is pretty much the reason why he hasn't done much else.
    • Likewise with Ken Penders, who eventually sued Archie for the rights to his characters. He was utterly blacklisted in the industry for this stunt and hasn't written anything major since.
  • Ardian Syaf was an up-and-coming artist who was chosen as one of three rotating artists for Marvel's X-Men: Gold. However, he was hit with massive controversy when X-Men: Gold #1 was released and it was revealed he snuck in various references to political and religious topics, which could actually be translated as Anti-Christian and Anti-Jewish. Both fans and other creators got angry over this, and Syaf himself proclaimed that his career was over. Marvel fired him the next day.
  • The controversial Lost Girls miniseries may not have damaged Alan Moore's career too badly, but it did bring an end to the career of his collaborator (and now wife) Melinda Gebbie. It didn't help that she relocated to England, where several of her works (including Lost Girls) were deemed obscene.
  • Archie Comics is effectively a shell of its former self. Once boasting one of the few long-running titles due to DC Comics and Marvel Comics doing reboots every time they turned around (Marvel more than DC), they now boast only one title with double digits with a handful of others with single digits that appear infrequently. What happened? First came the painful lawsuits involving Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, which saw the title being forced into a Continuity Reboot (though it didn't lose its numbering). Soon after was Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Unite, which Archie attempted to raise flagging sales on Mega Man and tried it by buying up rights to other SEGA and Capcom franchises — doing so cost millions and the story barely recouped the money. Then came "Riverdale Reborn", which saw all of the Archie titles being cancelled and given a Continuity Reboot of their own, forcing them into a failed Kickstarter attempt. Then, they focused on Riverdale, which proved good, but not the big hit Archie hoped for. Most of their titles are on "hiatuses" and the license to make Sonic comics is now in the hands of IDW Publishing.
  • Get Kraven brought an abrupt end to Ron Zimmerman's career as a comic-book writer, failing so badly that Marvel cancelled it before its final issue was released. He's since gone back to writing and producing for TV.

  • RCA's SelectaVision video system was intended to be a major competitor to VHS and Betamax. While the format did have some advantages (at the time, SelectaVision movies were significantly cheaper to buy than movies on videocassette or LaserDisc), it couldn't match LaserDisc for quality or offer the recording capability of VHS/Beta. The format failed to take off, resulting in RCA writing off the entire investment in the project, and its subsequent breakup and acquisition by General Electric.
  • During the '80s and '90s, The Sharper Image was a modestly popular electronics company specializing in appliances such as jogging watches. However, the company had its "big break" during the Turn of the Millennium, when they created an air purifier called the Ionic Breeze. The purifier became a huge success, thanks to its compact size and the fact that it didn't require frequent filter changes. However, what was believed to be the product that would make them into a household name instead turned out to be what killed them. In 2003, Consumer Reports published a negative review of the Ionic Breeze, saying that it essentially didn't work as advertised. This resulted in The Sharper Image suing them for unfair testing practices — a suit that was thrown out of court when they were to unable to actually demonstrate that CR's claims were in any way incorrect, damning the Ionic Breeze and vindicating CR's review. The Ionic Breeze's fate was sealed in 2005, when CR published an article declaring it a potential health hazard thanks to the large amounts of ozone it produced, causing sales to plummet. The Sharper Image quickly dissolved, eventually filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2008. Today, the company exists strictly as a minor subsidiary of several larger corporations.
  • Like The Sharper Image, LJN's "breakthrough" product ended up being their death knell instead. After impressive licensing deals that brought toys based off properties such as ThunderCats (1985) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, LJN used their new found fame to create a line of water guns called "Entertech". The toys were revolutionary on the fact that they could fire water like an automatic firearm, and even have its water supply come from detachable magazines. Add that to their almost completely realistic look to a real firearm, and it seemed that the brand would turn LJN into a major toy competitor to Hasbro and Mattel. That dream was never realized, however, as on the peak of Entertech's popularity, it became the center of massive media attention after several high-profile incidents of children playing with the water guns getting shot and killed by police officers who were unable to distinguish the toys with the real thing. Even more shocking were that the toy guns had been commonly used in robberies at banks and retailers. As a result of the controversy surrounding Entertech, LJN's then-parent company MCA sold the toy manufacturer in 1990 to Acclaim. Acclaim then shut down LJN's toy division in 1990 to focus more on its video game division (see the "Video Games" section for more).
  • In 2010, tech company Fusion Garage released their own PC tablet called the JooJoo, meant to compete with the new iPad. They had originally started this project with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington but eventually broke off and did the tablet themselves, incurring a lawsuit from Arrington in the process. When the tablet hit store shelves, its ungainly size and weight compared to the coming iPad, along with a battery-life issues and poor lag, ended up making the tablet a failure and unplugged Fusion Garage's business within two years, owing creditors $40 million.
  • The Sinclair brand of affordable consumer electronics, most famous for the ZX Spectrum, was felled as an independent entity by the combined failures of the Sinclair C5, an early attempt at an electric vehicle that underperformed against an ordinary bicycle; and the TV80, an expensive-to-build attempt at a portable television with an incredibly narrow viewing angle and a specialised CRT that would soon be obsoleted by LCD technology. Without the NEB to save them (as when the Sinclair Black Watch flopped just as miserably), Sinclair Research was forced to sell the Sinclair brand and the computer products that bore it to their rival Amstrad just to stay afloat. The company is still around today but exists primarily as a means through which founder Clive Sinclair markets his inventions.

    Films — Combination of creators/companies 
  • Heaven's Gate destroyed the career of Michael Cimino (the director of The Deer Hunter), contributed to the collapse of the United Artists studio, and ended the "New Hollywood" post-studio-system era in which director/auteurs were given carte blanche to do pretty much whatever they wanted. Thus, it not only destroyed the careers of the people who created it but ended an era that produced many of the best films in history.
    • Cimino's directing career didn't immediately end after that, but all of his post-Heaven's Gate outings were commercial failures. He had a chance of recovery, however, as not long after Heaven's Gate Cimino was offered a chance to direct (of all things) Footloose, under the condition that he won't exceed the budget and schedule by a single day or dollar. However, his primadonna behavior started again during pre-production, and when weeks before the shooting was scheduled to begin he demanded to delay it until he rewrites the script (and to get $250.000 for it), Paramount quickly booted him. After 1996's Sunchaser failed to get a wide theatrical release due to poor test screenings, it was curtains for Cimino.
    • The career of the film's lead actor, Kris Kristofferson, also never recovered. Throughout the '70s, he had been a major star of both films and music, balancing a successful career as a country and folk singer-songwriter with an acting career that saw him take leading roles in critically acclaimed hit films like A Star Is Born and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. After Heaven's Gate, he never had a lead role in a hit film again, finding work only in supporting or bit roles in genre films. He had neglected his music career during his most of his time in Hollywood and his post-Heaven's Gate solo albums received middling reviews and sales. His only major hits afterward came as part of the country supergroup The Highwaymen. Interestingly, Kristofferson loves Heaven's Gate, and cited it as one of his favorite of his films long before the 2012 re-release of its director's cut brought critics around to the film.
  • Disney's notorious Box Office Bomb, The Black Cauldron, took a few studio heads down with it:
    • The failure to get the film out in any reasonable amount of time helped bring down Ron Miller's regime at Disney, and its financial failure ensured that he would never work in Hollywood again.
    • Co-directors Ted Berman and Richard Rich and producer Joe Hale were also fired from Disney in the wake of the film's release; Berman and Hale never worked in animation again, while Rich ended up having to start his own studio in order to continue his career, which never saw the heights it could've had.
    • Inverted with Jeffrey Katzenberg, who ended up becoming more influential within Disney as a result of this film's failure; he was able to utilize his "I told you this would flop" position on the movie over the older executives who had believed in it, painting their tastes as out of touch with what current moviegoers wanted to see.
    • It was very nearly the death of Disney itself. Thankfully, its spectacular and humiliating failure, as well as the growing amount of competition, convinced them to finally get their act together and make better movies.
  • The failure of Titan A.E. brought down Don Bluth's career, shut down Fox Animation Studios, and helped end the post-Golden Age era known as The Renaissance Age of Animation where the animation medium re-surged in popularity thanks to increasing challenges by animators against the Animation Age Ghetto. Thus, not only did it bring down the career of a celebrated animator, but also helped end an era that brought out some of the greatest animated media in history. A handful of other 2D animated film flops from Bluth's rivals at Disney and DreamWorks Animation piled on to Titan A.E. and ended cinematic 2D animation until the end of the 2000s, and even then, no plans for another traditionally animated film are in the pipeline.
  • Cutthroat Island, one of the biggest box office flops of all time, was the final straw for Carolco Pictures, which went bankrupt a month prior to the film's release due to its lavish overspending on other projects. It also destroyed former Oscar winner Geena Davis' career, her then-husband Renny Harlin's respectability as a director (their marriage wouldn't last too much longer), and the careers of pretty much everyone else involved (only the film's composer and the studio that distributed it came out relatively unscathed; co-writer Robert King later had a hit with The Good Wife on TV). The flop of this film (as well as that of The Long Kiss Goodnight, also starring Davis and directed by Harlin) is widely credited with destroying their marriage, as Harlin had pushed for Davis, then known for comedic roles, to headline the two action-heavy blockbusters. It also killed off the pirate movie genre until Pirates of the Caribbean came along, and even now there are no successful pirate movies outside of that franchise.
  • The failure of Raise the Titanic! is often credited with bringing down the film career of Lew Grade, at the time one of the most respected television producers in the United Kingdom, and perhaps the world. Grade quipped that "It would have been cheaper to Lower The Atlantic." It also disgusted the original book's author, Clive Cussler, so much that he refused to sell film rights to his books for 25 years.
    • The subsequent failure of The Legend of the Lone Ranger in 1981 (a failure perhaps ensured by the producers suing the original Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, and forcing him to relinquish his mask) might have been the last straw for ITC Entertainment, the company Grade founded. Grade lost control of ITC in 1982 (though he returned under PolyGram management and remained there until his death in 1998), and the only thing keeping the company profitable for the final years of its existence was its library of previous accomplishments.
  • The massive critical failure of Old Dogs looks to have taken down the career of director Walt Becker, as Disney went on to cancel his next project (a project with Robin Williams titled Wedding Banned) and he has done very little since (outside of being one of the producers of Zookeeper and helming Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, which was the lowest-grossing film in the series). The film also managed to be a factor in Disney getting out of films made with adult audiences in mind; as a further consequence, it also effectively ended the Touchstone label except to distribute DreamWorks projects, foreign films, and films the company doesn't really care about (the last in-house productions released by Touchstone were You Again and Step Up 3D, both released in 2010).
    • The critical and commercial flop of Strange Magic was enough justification on Disney's part to give Touchstone Pictures the ax as the studio severed ties with DreamWorks later that year; that studio went to mend fences with Universal Pictures (which they had dumped for Disney years earlier, after the studio was spun off from Paramount) and shift distribution of DW movies to them. The company bowed down with the release of The Light Between Oceans, which was also a Box Office Bomb that was released in September. The failure might also mark the end for George Lucas's mainstream ventures as he has no further projects lined up for the foreseeable future.
  • Film producer Dino De Laurentiis' career never fully recovered after opening his own studio in the early/mid-1980s, which he then proceeded to run into the ground within less than five years. The films De Laurentiis produced at his studio were not box office hits (even Blue Velvet and the first Hannibal Lecter movie, Manhunter, ended up as Acclaimed Flops). Ironically, it didn't end up living long enough to see one of its projects, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, become a hit. His second company had a mixed track record, with films like Army of Darkness doing well enough to make back their budget, but not much after that. Although De Laurentiis kept producing until his death in 2010, he never had any success outside of the Hannibal movies (he apparently regretted selling the film rights to The Silence of the Lambs)—and adding insult to injury, the last theatrically-released film he produced, the 2007 film adaptation of the book Hannibal Rising, was a critical and financial flop that ended that franchise (not helped by the fact that the only reason both the book and the film existed was because De Laurentiis wanted to make a prequel Hannibal film).
    • To show how desperate his studio was for a hit, in 1987 De Laurentiis teamed up with Glad to release the gimmicky comedy Million Dollar Mystery. Since the movie centered on trying to recover $4 million, they had a contest where if one of the audience members could accurately guess the whereabouts of a hidden million dollars based on clues sprinkled in and on specially marked Glad-Lock bags, he or she would get that amount of money!note  The film was a million dollar misery at the box-office, thus it not only poured salt on De Laurentiis' studio's wound, but it also marked the end for veteran director Richard Fletcher.
  • In what was possibly the most egregious vanity project of the independent scene, mortgagee Daniel Sadek conceived Redline as a starring vehicle for his girlfriend Nadia Björlin and his valuable cars. Along with producing and co-writing this flick, Sadek sunk in $55 million for the production and distribution both through his own companies, Quick Loan Funding (which was a subprime mortgage service) and Chicago Pictures respectably. While critics couldn’t tear it to shreds in advance, that embargo didn’t stop Redline from bombing hard at the box office. The disaster was so great, it not only spelled death for Chicago Pictures and fry Quick Loan, but it also took a huge financial toil on Sadek himself. He ended up bankrupt with the dubious distinction of being “Predator Zero in the subprime-mortgage game”.
  • Richard Williams' studio and career were both destroyed following his removal from his long awaited film, The Thief and the Cobbler, which bombed with critics and audiences alike following several major re-edits from the producers. Other than the release of two new films in 2010 and 2015 respectively, he largely focuses on writing animation tutorials and teaching aspiring animators around the world.

    Films — Home video companies/divisions 
  • Intervision Video, one of the two pioneers of the British home video market (the other being VCL), looked to be heading for glory when they made a deal with United Artists to distribute 20 UA films on Betamax, VHS, and Video 2000 for rental in the fall of 1980. Then, in December 1981, Warner Bros. entered an "exclusive, long-term agreement" to distribute 500 UA films on Betamax, VHS, and Video 2000 (about twice as big as Magnetic Video's home video deal with UA for 250 of its films on the other side of the pond)... including Intervision's 20. Either Warner was oblivious to the earlier deal, or they knew about it and decided it would not be in their best interests to respect that deal. Either way, more people ended up renting Warner's UA tapes than Intervision's UA tapes, and Intervision faded into obscurity quickly, eventually closing up shop in the mid-'80s.
  • Media Home Entertainment, one of the four "mini-majors" in the home video industry covering a large library of VHS releases in many diverse genres (alongside sub-labels Hi-Tops Video releasing childrens' titles and Fox Hills Video releasing more special interest oriented videos), collapsed in 1990 when Gerald Ronson, the leader of its parent company Heron Communications, was convicted of securities fraud due to his role in the Guinness share trading fraud in the UK, eventually closing shop in 1993. Most assets of Media Home Entertainment were transferred to 20th Century Fox.
  • Simitar Entertainment, a media company that specialized in special interest VHS tapes covering a wide range of genres and compilation albums (as well as the first independent company to release DVDs), met an untimely demise in 1999 when Titan Sports, owner of the WWF, filed a lawsuit against them for infringing copyright from WWF: The Music, Volume Three (which was, as the title suggests, a music album). Simitar lost the case and wound up bankrupt by the end of the year. Afterward, they were forced to sell their assets to Brentwood Communications, which was later bought by Navarre Corporation.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Allan Carr, the producer and party-giver whose biggest hit was the movie adaptation of Grease, was tapped to produce the 1989 Academy Awards telecast. He promised "the most beautiful Academy Awards of all time"; he delivered a show that opened with a production number infamous for Snow White and Rob Lowe performing a duet of "Proud Mary". Reviews were horrible, he was accused of disgracing Hollywood's good name (and, by Disney, of copyright infringement), and he never got another producing job in Hollywood again. This opening show is in the book What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events In Television History.
  • Game Show creator and producer Chuck Barris was riding high in The '70s with The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game, Treasure Hunt, and The Gong Show, the last of which he also hosted. But in 1979, he started the show 3's a Crowd, a lurid show that asked questions of a male contestant, then of his wife and secretary, to see which of the two knew him better. The show drew outrage from Moral Guardians and the fallout caused it to go off the air along with Newlywed, Dating, and Gong (Treasure Hunt had left the air in 1977; Crowd is in What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History). A Barris-produced revival of the 1960s game show Camouflage replaced Crowd at midseason, and went on to be a dud. For the next decade, Barris generally only mounted either syndicated revivals of Newlywed, Dating, and Gong, or shows that didn't make it past the pilot stage. (Notably, there was Bamboozled in 1986, which got hit by a lawsuit from Mark Goodson over its resemblance to To Tell the Truth and got it canned after the pilot stage.) He moved to France at the end of the decade and Sony acquired the rights to his catalog.
  • In 1994, Arsenio Hall booked Louis Farrakhan, from the Nation of Islam, for an interview. The backlash it got, coupled with the already-slipping ratings (due to CBS re-entering the late night game with Letterman), killed him off.


  • At the end of its fifth season, Saturday Night Live aired what was clearly intended as its final episode. NBC, however, refused to let their cash cow die, replacing the cast and writers entirely, and hiring the show's talent coordinator Jean Doumanian to replace Lorne Michaels as executive producer (snubbing Al Franken after network head Fred Silverman took personal offense to Franken's "Limo for the Lame-O" piece and Harry Shearer, who didn't like how Lorne Michaels was running SNL and wanted to do it his way with more experienced comic actorsnote ). While Doumanian did have a knack for getting good musical guests and treating the talent right, she was out of her depth for running a comedy show.

    Though Doumanian claims that she was sabotaged because the mostly male higher-ups at NBC did not feel comfortable having a woman run the show, the TV special Lost and Found: SNL in the 1980s places the blame of the show's horrid sixth season squarely on Jean Doumanian's head because of her incompetence and inexperience. She passed up a lot of potentially funny cast membersnote , tried to make the sketches more dramatic, had no idea how to make the humor edgy (and when she did try, it ended up being dour, flat, and obvious in an intelligence-insulting way), brought on cast members who weren't seasoned in comedy at allnote , and did nothing to improve the show's quality when the reviews tore her season apart and began to praise ABC's Fridays as the new sharp, satirical sketch show (until ABC screwed the show over).

    After Charles Rocket's "f-word" debacle on the Charlene Tilton-hosted episode, Doumanian was fired (along with most of her cast, except for cast members Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Denny Dillon, Gail Matthius - though Dillon and Matthius would be fired later - and writer Brian Doyle-Murray). The season lives on as one of the lowest points in the show's peak-and-valley history (seasons 11note  and 20note  are the only other seasons that have spelled doom for SNLnote , but those seasons have been Vindicated by History, as most modern viewers will claim that the Weekend Update segments, done by Dennis Miller and Norm MacDonald respectively, are Actually Pretty Funny). It earned an (dis)honorable mention in What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History and was one of the last straws for NBC regarding Fred Silverman, who was fired for nearly killing the network shortly afterward.
    • Doumanian did resurface in The '90s as the producer of a number of critically acclaimed and moderately successful Woody Allen films. Two of them (Bullets Over Broadway and Mighty Aphrodite) even won Best Supporting Actress Oscars. Then she screwed that up too, when, in 2000, she suddenly backed out of a movie, leaving Woody stranded, eventually resulting in both of them filing lawsuits against each other.
    • The denouement of that season may have literally killed Charles Rocket. Before that season he was seen as an up-and-comer whose "Rocket Report" newscast segments made him seem like a natural successor to Chevy Chase. But after the series and his dismissal, he got only supporting roles in films like Dumb and Dumber and failed TV pilots. It was enough to pay the bills, but he never became the big star he could have been, and in 2005 he was found dead in a field near his home with his throat cut, apparently a suicide.
  • Supertrain: The final destruction of NBC was barely averted with the flop of a series the struggling network was resting its future upon. This hour-long comedy-drama series was essentially a clone of The Love Boat (trips, all-star guest casts, intertwining storylines with one a comedy, one more serious and a romantic story; etc.), except it was set aboard a train. Fans tuned in the first week and found unfunny situations and a series that all-around paled in comparison to the vastly superior Love Boat, and a hasty attempt to rework the series failed. Supertrain often finds its way onto "biggest TV flops of all time" lists. Adding to the problem was the highly-expensive model train at one point jumped the tracks and crashed on the studio floor, requiring another equally expensive replacement to be built. This earned a spot on What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, and got boss Fred Silverman, who was struggling right out of the gate, in real trouble.
  • Cliffhangers: Another series that NBC truly and earnestly believed in, so much so that it nearly canceled several legitimate hits – most notably Little House on the Prairie – to put on a poorly written and produced program featuring three serial cliffhanger dramas. Each drama was 20-minutes long and ended with a cliffhanger, but only one of them reached its proper conclusion before NBC gave up.
  • The 1980 Summer Olympics: By default, thanks to President Jimmy Carter's announcement that the United States would be boycotting the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow due to the Soviets' invasion of Afghanistan the previous year. The boycott cost NBC millions in desperately needed advertising revenue ... and it, along with the failure of Supertrain, would nearly undo the United States' oldest television network and ended Silverman's career with the firm.
  • Another factor in Silverman's departure from NBC was The David Letterman Show. This was his attempt to usher a new blend of comedy/talk in a daytime environment dominated by soap operas, game shows, and sitcom reruns. It didn't go over well as the piss-poor ratings proved that daytime television was not yet ready for that sort of thing. Still, Silverman pressed on with it, cutting its run time from 90 minutes to 60 after a few weeks before it was mercifully canned after four months on the air. Silverman originally axed three modestly performing game shows to make room: Chain Reaction, High Rollers and The Hollywood Squares (Wheel of Fortune narrowly avoided this fate as well; it escaped cancellation twice during this span and Another World had its run time cut back to make room for the spin-off soap Texas). All things considered, Silverman openly hated game shows, feeling that they were a waste of time and not as entertaining as scripted programming. Never mind that game shows are generally cheaper to produce than scripted programming and might have helped NBC while Silverman nearly ran the network dry (case in point, Squares still pulled in successful ratings at the time of its cancellation). Averted for Letterman himself, who would move onto a successful career in late night television in 1982.


  • Eldorado was a memetically disastrous attempt by The BBC to create an American-style "decadent rich people" Soap Opera set in a community of ex-pats in southern Spain. It destroyed the careers of Julia Smith and Tony Holland, who had previously had a huge success with Eastenders, a much more traditional British-style kitchen-sink soap, to the point that Smith announced her retirement immediately on its cancellation. It also did non-lethal but permanent damage to the career of Verity Lambert.

Yahoo! Screen

  • Yahoo! attempted to get into the streaming content game by creating Yahoo! Screen, a proprietary content provider. It made headlines by picking up Community after its cancellation by NBC and also developed original content like Other Space and Sin City Saints. None of these shows brought in desired audience numbers, however, because Yahoo! didn't do much advertising beyond its own properties and people who did try to watch were frustrated by the buggy proprietary media player that didn't work on some platforms. In the end, Yahoo! Screen posted a loss of $42 million and was shut down after one year.

  • Some players believe that Flipper Football — an attempt to realistically portray soccer in a pinball game — was the straw that broke the back of Capcom Pinball. Other observers, though, believe the division was already on such shaky ground with Capcom management that nothing could've saved it.
  • Many pinball enthusiasts argue that ex-Williams designer John Popadiuk — renowned for games such as Tales of the Arabian Nights and World Cup Soccer — crashed and burned along with his independent company, Zidware. He made ambitious plans to release several highly-expensive pinball machines for collectors: Magic Girl, Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland, and Alice in Wonderland. However, Popadiuk revealed that, despite the millions of pre-order money he received, he had run out of money and couldn't continue the projects any further. Since then, Popadiuk's reputation has snowballed, and many fans (mainly those who are on the notorious Pinside Forums) refer to him as "Jflop" or "Jpoop" and are pursuing legal action against him.
  • After Kevin Kulek — the leader of the boutique pinball manufacturer Skit- B Pinball — confessed that he really had no license from Fox to produce a series of highly-anticipated Predator games, backlash erupted, and he quickly became a persona non grata among pinball fans, companies and unfortunate pre-orderers of the game. Since then, customers have been fighting to sue Kulek en masse, and the company itself has adopted such names like "Shit-B".
  • Unofficial gossip is that pinball artist Python Anghelo's career ended with the unfinished "Zingy Bingy" project. According to secondhand sources, "Zingy Bingy" was a pornographic-themed pinball game; players would use penis-shaped flippers to shoot the pinball into vagina-shaped saucers, while breast bumpers knocked the ball around.
  • Subverted in the case of Williams Electronics, who exited arcade gaming after releasing the first two games in their new "Pinball 2000" platform (Revenge from Mars and Star Wars Episode I). While many blamed the games for being a Creator Killer, the truth was that the games did moderately well, but simply fell short of being blockbusters. In actuality, Williams' shareholders had been planning to switch to the more lucrative field of casino gambling for some time and used the "Pinball 2000" titles as an excuse to do so.
    • However, the damage was most likely done a few years earlier, with 1994's Popeye Saves the Earth. At that point, operators were locked into a contract in which they would buy pinball machines from Williams as they arrived. This wasn't a problem for operators, as they consistently turned a profit—until Popeye, whose confusing layout, even more confusing rules, bizarre use of the theme (in which Popeye would rescue endangered species, drawn realistically, from Bluto in a Captain Planet kind of way), and an upper playfield which blocked half of the view of the normal playfield, caused the game to become an immediate flop. The faith operators had in pinball evaporated practically overnight when they put their Popeye machines on location, and Williams became a shell of its former self, never again bringing in the huge sales games it did prior. Pinball 2000 was more of a final straw.
  • Gottlieb was the leader of the business from post-World War II to the 1980s, upon which it quickly descended into a Dork Age that would eventually kill the company. The early 80s had solid state computer technology become small enough and inexpensive enough to be put into pinball machines—whereas Gottlieb's competitors used solid state systems to create pre-recorded audio, switched from scoring reels to digital displays, hold more complex save data, design more complex rules and playfields, and greatly expand settings and options for the operators, Gottlieb continued to make machines in the pre-solid state style and fall behind. Though Gottlieb's designers eventually incorporated these new elements into their games, the company remained three to four years behind their competitors in technology and game design: For every new standard borne of advancements in technology Gottlieb adopted, the other companies had already created a few more. Without a good reason for operators to buy their machines rather than some other company's, Gottlieb went out of business in 1995.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The infamous "Fingerpoke Of Doom" event during a 1999 episode of WCW Monday Nitro is often cited as the beginning of the end for WCW,note  but the event that truly sent the promotion to the point of no return was when all WCW programming was canceled by order of parent company Turner Broadcasting's then-chairman-and-CEO Jamie Kellner, who was seeking to sell the promotion off after Turner's parent, Time Warner, merged with AOL and wanted to rid the conglomerate of assets costing them millions. Vince McMahon, the head of WCW's rival World Wrestling Federation, bought the promotion's remaining assets and programming library for $3 million (bear in mind that WCW was worth over $500 million at one time) just so that AOL Time Warner can desperately rid their portfolio of professional wrestling. An extreme example of an entire company being Screwed by the Network.
  • ECW's show on TNN was supposed to be the thing that would take the company out of "cult following" status and into mainstream success. Instead, the financial and logistical pressures of producing the weekly program, as well as the network's forcing the promotion to tone down the blood-and-guts style that made them famous, and then failing to promote or back them in any way (even going so far as to negotiate to bring the WWF to the network while ECW was still airing), ended up killing the promotion. By the end, ECW was in open Writer Revolt, trying desperately to get their show canceled so they could shop it around to other networks before the money ran out. It didn't work, and like WCW their assets were sold off to rival WWE (who had just changed their name from WWF following a trademark lawsuit from the World Wide Fund for Nature) two years after they declared bankruptcy. WWE briefly revived the ECW name for a show on Syfy in 2006, then permanently retired the name in 2010.

    Tabletop Games 
  • While not a creator, distributor Upper Deck Entertainment got hit hard during the latter part of the GX era of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG due to their own Executive Meddling; a series of unpopular reshuffling of set cards (including the dismantling of two highly anticipated structure decks to release their new cards as difficult-to-get Secret Rares in the main sets), creation of poorly-received TCG-only cards, and ultimately the publishing of fake cards for third-party distribution ultimately forced Konami to pull their contract with UDE and wrangle the game away from them through a legal shitstorm. Even more damning, this incident has apparently caused Blizzard to pull their contract with UDE for the distribution of the World of Warcraft TCG, going so far as to make an entirely new branch specifically for distributing it themselves. No word yet on how this will impact UDE's baseball and hockey card sales, but it's likely that that's going to be the only thing that'll save them from bankruptcy. To make things even more troubling, there's a corporate family civil war brewing as a direct result of the aforementioned Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG scandal.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Gav Thorpe is largely blamed for the weaknesses of the 4th-5th edition Chaos Space Marine codex for Warhammer 40,000 by taking the "less is more" approach a bit too far. His biggest offense was the removal of numerous unit options and items that were in previous Chaos Marine books, which largely homogenized what was once a diverse and varied army and prevented players from being able to run themed lists based off the current Chaos Legions. Fan response to the Chaos Marine codex was so negative that Thorpe was removed as a codex writer and transferred to GW's novel writing division. Even then Thorpe has not released any GW-related content at all.
    • The Grey Knights codex didn't quite kill Matt Ward's career, despite the hopes of large chunks of 4chan, but it led to Ward receiving vastly greater oversight while writing the Necron codex, and since the release of the sixth edition in 2012, his sole publishing credit has been for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Meaning it may not have stopped him writing, but despite the prevalence of rumors putting him in charge of any army whose author hasn't already been confirmed, he doesn't seem to be writing 40K anymore.
      • Warhammer Fantasy Battles fans remember Ward rather differently, as he was sent to 40k from WFB after writing the Chaos Demons codex for 7th edition... which was so incredibly broken that it forced the immediate development and release of an entirely new edition of the game in response.
    • Robin Cruddace was widely praised for his handling of the 5th edition Imperial Guard book, which saw a once joke-level army being turned into one of the strongest forces on the tabletop, until he got his hands on the Tyranids... and promptly got labeled as a treadhead. It's widely considered by the fandom that Cruddace excels at balancing vehicle-based armies, but when given the Tyranids, the only army in the entire game to not use vehicles in any way or form, his only reaction was to make them bland and passable while ensuring that any real threats to vehicles in the codex were eliminated (the sole exception being the Hive Guards) by raising their prices or reducing their effectiveness. Combined with Matt Ward's "accomplishments" above, this has resulted in GW instead not naming any specific writer on any of their codexes since the 6th edition release of the Tyranids due to the internet backlash that ensues. Remember that Games Workshop is a firm that doesn't read internet feedback, which should give you an idea of how serious this is.
    • Tom Kirby, a former CEO of the company during the 5th-late 7th edition era of 40k and the last two editions of Warhammer Fantasy and the onset of Age of Sigmar, was right up there with Ward and Cruddace in terms of hatred. He infamously declared that he did not care about competitive balance and that Warhammer was suppose to be a casual game, which many took to meaning he simply did not care about rules-writing at all. It didn't help that this was the era where the rules balance took a nose dive (including the infamous "build your army as you like" unbound approach), actually following through with a bunch of legal lawsuits, price hikes, and near-draconian "laws" on the sales of their own miniatures (to this day GW is still the only manufacturer that actually ban third party retailers from advertising their own products online). How bad did it get? The fallout from this managed to cause GW to suffer a 5% annual loss for several years in a row. It got so bad that he eventually had to step down as CEO, with Kevin Rountree replacing him. Coincidentally this change also marked a moment where very well received products (discount sets, the return of specialist games, and the re-introduction of a lot of fan favorites and the online community) came out, so it's unclear whether Rountree managed to undo much of Kirby's mistakes, or if Kirby had implemented them but was oust before they came to light.
  • TSR, original owner and publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, was already doing poorly in the early 90s from a variety of factors, and suddenly found themselves steamrolled by the success of newcomer Wizards of the Coast and their game Magic: The Gathering. A self-serving focus on the Buck Rogers franchise (to which the CEO's family owned rights), flopped attempts to get in on the "collectible gaming" market with products like Dragon Dice, as well as a massive loss on a pile of unsold novels hit TSR with a trifecta of Creator Killers, forcing them to sell off to upstart rival Wizards.
  • Pretty much all of Decipher's card games came to end after the release of the final set of the Mega Man card game, which featured a deck so overpowered that it brought the company down with it.

  • While Cirque du Soleil's Dralion (1999) was critically well-received, it flopped badly in its original North American tour and did extensive financial damage to the company, ensuring that director Guy Caron would never get a directing job with any theater company for a long time. It took two years for Cirque to scare up enough money to put Varekai into production. Dralion eventually became a Long Runner, but only because Varekai pulled in record-breaking numbers when it launched.
    • David Shriner's career also tanked when, fresh off the heels of the hit Kooza, he wrote and directed the highly-hyped Banana Shpeel — which was intended as Cirque's first permanent show in New York City. The show was a critical and commercial disaster, annoyed audiences to no end, and caused Cirque's reputation as a whole to nosedive. This show and other weaker Cirque efforts produced over 2008-10 (Criss Angel BeLIEve, ZAIA, and Viva Elvis) were revamped and/or closed down, the next few tours (TOTEM, Michael Jackson THEIMMORTAL World Tour, and Amaluna) pulled in breathtaking numbers, and the company remains prolific.
  • Irving Caesar, veteran Broadway songwriter and comedy writer, never wrote for the stage again after his self-produced "revusical" My Dear Public, which closed out of town in 1942, restarted production the next year, finally reached New York and bombed. At least he lived more than long enough to witness the triumphant 1971 revival of No, No, Nanette, whose hit songs he wrote lyrics for.
  • Kelly (1965) became notorious as the first Broadway musical since 1930 to close on its opening night. Its failure brought an end to the career of composer Mark "Moose" Charlap, whose career after Peter Pan had been a series of flops.
  • Robert Bolt began his career with several successes: Flowering Cherry, The Tiger and the Horse and especially A Man for All Seasons were all major critical and commercial hits. His next play, Gentle Jack, was a notorious flop which convinced Bolt to focus on screenwriting. While he wrote two modestly successful plays afterward (The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew and Vivat! Vivat Regina!) and proved a successful screenwriter with flicks like Lawrence of Arabia, nothing Bolt wrote for the stage matched his earlier plays in popularity or (arguably) quality.
  • The 1967 Broadway musical How Now, Dow Jones, "based on an idea by Carolyn Leigh," ensured that no further musicals with Leigh as lyricist would ever reach Broadway, though her earlier lyrics for Peter Pan and Little Me were highly regarded. (How Now, Dow Jones did pick up a bunch of Tony nominations, but 1967 was an unusually bad year.)
  • Chicago-based theater company Redmoon, well-known in the area for putting on Mind Screwy shows produced in-house by them, shuttered in late 2015 after losing a ton of money on their Halloween shows two years in a row. The 2014 show, in particular, was a humiliation for them, as it centered around an enormous, spectacular fire display... and it just happened to be raining that particular Halloween, leading to the display fizzling in both the literal and figurative sense.
  • Antonio Salieri's operatic career, already in decline following his departure from Austria's imperial music department in 1792 following the death of Emperor Joseph II (to the point where he had only two real contemporary successes since), was finished off in 1804 by a melodramatic Singspiel set in colonial Virginia titled Die Neger, which flopped right off the bat and, along with the changing politics in Europe at the time, convinced him he no longer had the drive to continue to write operas.

    Western Animation 
  • Fleischer Studios (of Betty Boop and Popeye fame) was for a time one of the most popular animation studios in the U.S. and Disney's biggest competitor throughout the 1930s, but its attempts to follow Disney into the feature animated film market with Gulliver's Travels and Mr. Bug Goes to Town in the late 1930s/early 1940s (coupled with a move to Miami from New York around the same time) drove the studio into serious debt. After a fairly public spat between brothers Max and Dave Fleischer ended up sending the studio into disarray, their distributor Paramount responded by purchasing the studio in 1942 and firing the brothers, reorganizing and renaming it Famous Studios. Although they had some success with Casper the Friendly Ghost and the Superman Theatrical Cartoons in the 1940s, Paramount could never recreate the pre-Gulliver's Travels level of success that the studio had in the 1930s, and it was ultimately shut down in 1967 after Paramount itself was purchased by Gulf+Western.
  • After the abrupt cancellation of the Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon", it is unlikely John Kricfalusi will be able to sell another show (not that it's stopped him from trying). Several of his smaller animation projects have enjoyed fairly high-profile success, such as a Couch Gag for The Simpsons in which the family is shown in John K.'s bizarre style, as well as artwork for Miley Cyrus' 2013-14 Bangerz tour.
    • Relatedly, the one-two-three punch of Adult Party Cartoon, Gary the Rat, and Stripperella resulted in Spike TV giving up on any semblance of an animation block less than a year into its existence. (Stripperella was brought down mainly due to a lawsuit filed against a stripper who claimed that Stan Lee stole the show's idea from her; unlike the other two shows, it was fairly well-received by critics and fans, and became enough of a Cult Classic to warrant a DVD release.)
  • The Boston Bomb Scare, when some Boston police thought that guerilla marketing LEDs for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie were bombs, led to then-current Cartoon Network head Jim Samples being forced to step down. Observers have pointed at this incident as arguably the cause of the Network Decay of Cartoon Network and another entry into the Permanent Red Link Club, considering that his replacement Stuart Snyder was the main champion of the increase of live-action sitcoms and reality shows on the channel. It is worth noting that Cartoon Network has since been trying to Win Back the Crowd by phasing out the live-action shows on Cartoon Network (the kids' show side of it, anyway; the [adult swim] side still has live-action shows) and bringing back reruns of their classic cartoons (Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry shorts as well as Cartoon Cartoon shorts on Cartoon Planet); namely due to fan protests and the failure of CN Real and similar live-action shows the channel has since tried to introduce onto the network every now and then.
  • Rich Animation Studios got hit with this twice. After their first feature film The Swan Princess flopped, the animation studio disappeared from cinema for a few years and then tried their hand at feature film again with The King and I animated adaptation. The critical and commercial failure of that film (which came complete with a "no animated versions of our works" mandate from The King And I copyright holder Rodgers & Hammerstein estates) caused the company to be acquired by Crest Animation Studios. The newly-formed RichCrest Animation Studios then released their animated adaptation of The Trumpet of the Swan, which failed to secure a wide release and was also a critical and commercial disappointment. Not until 2010 did the company (as Crest Animation Studios) return to cinemas with Alpha and Omega, which despite negative reviews was a commercial success and today is a Cult Classic among young animation fans.
  • The failure of Astro Boy at the box office resulted in Imagi Animation Studios going dormant, including the production of a Science Ninja Team Gatchaman film in the works, as well as an Astro Boy sequel.
  • The failure of Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain and, to a lesser extent, Histeria! and Road Rovers ended the Steven Spielberg presents series of cartoons and also caused many of the writers and producers (like Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, and Paul Rugg) to not get any work for at least a few years, with Rugg later focusing exclusively on voice acting.
  • Semi-example with Warner Bros. Animation. Though the animation division itself is still around today, the box-office failure of Looney Tunes: Back in Action led to WBA's feature film department, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, being shut down. Though admittedly, Back In Action was more of a final straw than anything else - the majority of WBA's feature films were critical and commercial flops, and the ones that did find some sort of success only managed to achieve it in one field (Space Jam at the box office; The Iron Giant and Batman: Mask of the Phantasmnote  with the critics). It has since been succeeded by Warner Animation Group who released their first film —The LEGO Movie— in February 2014 to smashing critical and commercial praise.
  • Though John A. Davis and Keith Alcorn's DNA Productions (who produced Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and its subsequent television series as well as Olive the Other Reindeer) did suffer from The Ant Bully becoming a box office disappointment, it was actually a lawsuit filed by Steve Oedekerk's O Entertainment/Omation Animaton Studios (who co-produced Jimmy Neutron with them) that was the direct cause of the company's closure.
  • Nickelodeon's derailment of the company's flagship Rugrats series due to a contractual dispute with Klasky-Csupo, and the box office flop of Rugrats Go Wild! pushed many K-C employees out of work and up until 2012, nothing was heard from the company, as Gabor Csupo wanted to pursue other projects. While the company is up and running again, they're a shell of what they used to be.
  • While both films were well-received and maintain a strong cult following, the financial failures of both Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Penguins of Madagascar were instrumental in ending DreamWorks Animation's reign as an independent, pioneering animation studio after more than a decade. It took several job losses and a mediocre restructuring over the next two years to get to that point:
    • The poor performance of both films led to DreamWorks losing a combined $106 million in box office gross ($57 million for Peabody, $49 million for Penguins). After the failure of the latter film, Pacific Data Images, who helped produce both films and the studio's famed Shrek series, was shut down as part of a restructuring of the company.
    • Said restructuring also ended the long run of chief creative officer Bill Damaschke, who had been with the studio since 1995, and the short run of COO and longtime Disney executive Mark Zoradi, who had been with DWA since earlier that summer (Zoradi would take over the Cinemark theater chain months later).
    • And finally, the box office failures were the beginning of the end for founder and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg himself, with his ambitions against Disney finally getting the better of him. His studio's next two films were financial successes, but not on high enough of a level to please shareholders. This, combined with increasing pressure from said shareholders, eventually led to Katzenberg agreeing to sell the studio to NBCUniversal after just thirteen days of talks (after scrapping a plan to take the company private with PAG Asia Capital) and divest his involvement with DWA on a heavy basis.
  • Canadian animation studio Cinar went out of business in 2004 after a financial scandal and a plagiarism lawsuit. The company later resurfaced as Cookie Jar Entertainment and killed itself again with the massive hatedoms towards Caillou and Johnny Test. Once Test finished its run, Cookie Jar was absorbed into DHX Media, with only Arthur escaping from DHX's clutch.
  • Bruce W. Smith's Jambalaya Studio company hasn't produced another animated series since the failure of Da Boom Crew. After The Proud Family completed its run with a Big Damn Movie, the company seems to have gone defunct.
  • Wolf Tracer Studios only made two movies-The Rapsittie Street Kids Believe In Santa and Wolf Tracer's Dinosaur Island. However, despite coming first, The Rapsittie Street Kids Believe In Santa pretty much killed any chance of the studio producing another major project. When it was in production, the special was planned to have a sequel and a soundtrack with songs by Whitney Houston. It also attracted a high-profile voice cast, including Mark Hamill, Nancy Cartwright, Jodi Benson, and Paige O'Hara, and got the privilege on airing on The WB network. However, after receiving dismal ratings and being criticized for its animation quality and story, the sequel was never produced and the soundtrack was never made. The special has never re-aired on television after 2002 and hasn't been released on home video; resulting in the special being impossible to find for the next 13 years. The next —and final— project did not have any major release, with a returning Mark Hamill being the only high profile actor the studio was able to obtain.
  • Warner Bros. animator Earl Duvall's career came to a halt after his alcoholism resulted in an argument with Leon Schlesinger over Duvall's request to have his salary raised.
  • ABS-CBN Animation's first TV series, The Nutshack proved to be their only one as the show's critical/ratings failure has left them dormant ever since.
    • The same goes for the cast and crew, as none of them have done anything noteworthy following its cancellationnote . In fact a few of them ended up quitting the TV industry to pursue other careers.
  • Following the season one wrap-up of Clarence, the show's creator and lead voice actor Skyler Page suffered from a major mental breakdown note ; during which he became aggressive and unresponsive, and was nearly arrested for groping a staff member's chest. While Skyler didn't face any jail time, he was fired and banned from setting foot on Cartoon Network's lot ever again, leaving him relegated to posting art on his Instagram page before going off the radar completely.
  • After finishing the successful animated series Back at the Barnyard, Steve Oedekerk's Omation Animation Studios' next animated series was the Jimmy Neutron spin-off Planet Sheen, which got extremely negative reviews from critics and fans who called it nonsensical, stupid, and very loosely connected to its parent show. As such, it only lasted for one season with a total of 26 episodes. Since then, Omation and its parent company have remained dormant.
  • Despite The Real Ghostbusters' success, DIC Entertainment felt the need to hire a child psychologists group called Q5 to help oversee the production of season 2. It was during this time when DIC realized the group had absolutely no evidence to back their research as their changes for the show were either hypocritical, nonsensical, or downright seen as bigoted by crew members. Needless to say, The Real Ghostbusters was canceled afterwards and Q5 was reportedly never hired again by any studio. note 
  • While not quite a big name in the animation industry, Chris Savino had a loyal following for his creation of The Loud House along with his work for other popular shows. However his career came to a quick end after he was suspended and eventually fired from Nickelodeon after several female artists note  outed Chris for his behind-the-scenes antics which included sexual harassment and threats of blackmail, with some of these accusations dating as far back as 2004. Chris has since deleted his Instagram page and it's likely he'll never work in the industry again.
  • Finding Nemo managed to be this to Michael Eisner. In an unusual case, the film was a critical and commercial success. In fact, its success actually caused this in the first place. This is because Eisner predicted it would be Pixar's first Box Office Bomb, saying it would "take them down a notch." When the film instead surpassed The Lion King in theaters and became the best selling DVD of all time, Eisner was in trouble for a few reasons; this happened right when the contract with Pixar was nearing its expiration date, and then-Pixar owner Steve Jobs loathed Eisner. The success of the film also meant that once the contract was fufilled, competing studios would want Pixar on their team. It was the beginning of the end of Eisner's time at Disney, and eventually, he was kicked out of the studio to ensure Pixar wouldn't go to a competing studio.

    Web Original 
  • One of the first YouTube gaming channels, Gamelife, came crashing down on April 17th, 2007 when their frontman, Andrew Rosenblum, was arrested for threatening to shoot up his ex-girlfriend's school the day after the Virginia Tech Massacre. Sponsors quickly withdrew any connection to the channel, and even a prospective gaming show on television was cancelled, leading to a quick death of Gamelife.
  • New media company Gawker Media, in its current state, was brought down in 2016 after getting into a disastrous tangle with Hulk Hogan and Silicon Valley tech guru Peter Thiel. After Gawker gained and posted clips of a sex tape featuring Hogan and refused to take them down, the wrestler sued the company for damages caused by the release of the clips, which included getting scrubbed from the WWE's records. Thiel, who had long despised Gawker for outing him as gay, eagerly supported Hogan's lawsuit, using his vast financial resources to pay for Hogan's legal team. Instead of trying to defend the clips as newsworthy, Gawker's legal defense was quite flippant, believing that their breach of Hogan's privacy was protected under the First Amendment. Instead, they were successfully sued for more money than they were worth (and even more than Hogan was originally asking for), resulting in the company filing for bankruptcy three weeks later. Gawker's founder, Nick Denton, later filed for bankruptcy himself after a judge ruled that Hogan could start seizing their assets after it was found that Denton lied about their stock value. The company's bankruptcy culminated in its sale to Univision, ending its era of independence, and while Univision announced that the other sites under the former Gawker Media umbrella (Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, and Lifehacker) would survive, the company's former flagship, itself, would be shut down as a functioning news organization. As of this writing, it exists solely as an archive, its fate up in the air.
  • Blind Ferret Entertainment worked on the first season of Ctrl Alt Delete, which proved to be a total bomb. Since then, the only thing they have made was a pilot for an Animated Adaptation of Least I Could Do.

    Web Comics 
  • Andrew Dobson, also known as Tom Preston, has always been a highly controversial artist for a large number of reasons, but for the most part of his career, had a significant fanbase along with a significant hatedom. Many times, he dealt with this by mocking his critics within his work. However, this did not work out for the better when he released the comic strip named BINGO, where he went into further detail about things that his haters loved to bring up. The reason this backfired horribly at him was because he brought up things that the vast majority of his fanbase was never aware of, leading to them going outside of DeviantArt for answers or to have the many critics, trolls and detractors provide the info for them. This eventually kickstarted a series of events that made Dobson lose a massive chunk of his fanbase, have dozens of parodies made against him to this day, lose a great amount of respect amongst his peers and being seen in a light comparable to that of Christian Weston Chandler according to many people. As a result, he departed from his DeviantArt site (though not deactivating it) and moving on to other stuff in 2015, though his hatedom still continues to this day.


  • The Danish publisher Westermann produced a deluxe two-volume set of Vore gamle tropekolonier (Our old tropical colonies), a historical work on Danish colonial history, in 1952-53. The edition was absolutely top-notch quality, but unfortunately, it was so expensive that sales were extremely disappointing, ultimately causing the publisher to go under.
  • The British publisher Dorling Kindersley became massively successful in the nineties with their distinctive style of heavily-illustrated but genuinely informative popular non-fiction works. Unfortunately, in 1999 they massively over-estimated the demand for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Universe Compendium works. Thousands of unsold books were returned by major bookstores and clogged discount remainder outlets for months, and the company was taken over by Pearson.
  • Weinstein Books, a book publisher owned by The Weinstein Company and Hachette Book Group, was shut down in October 2017, with all its authors and books distributed transferred to the company's main division. Hachette stated that this had everything to do with the sexual allegations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein that cropped up that month.

Retail Companies
  • Can an entire company be killed off by a commercial? If so, Just for Feet certainly fits the bill. In 1999, the fast-growing shoe retailer produced an ad for the Super Bowl, which depicted "hunters" driving a Humvee in the desert...who turn out to be targeting a barefoot Kenyan runner. The hunters give the runner a cup of drugged water and then put on him a pair of shoes while he's unconscious. It made their name more noticed, alright; the company was massively criticized for the ad's racist undertones, and its failure put a giant fork in the road. The next year, the company filed for bankruptcy before subsequently collapsing.

Sound Systems
  • Hook caused the downfall of Cinema Digital Sound during post-production. Steven Spielberg was initially enthusiastic about the system, but a series of failures on the test reels encoded for him caused him to change his mind, and hearing such a prominent voice in the industry disown CDS prompted everyone else to stay away in droves, ultimately dooming the first ever digital sound system before the second one, Dolby Stereo Digital, even made it to the big screen.

Video Duplication
  • The financial troubles underwent by The Rank Group caused the company to divest itself of anything not related to gaming; as a consequence, Deluxe Media Services, up until 2005 one of the premiere video duplication service providers, was forced to exit that business, shutting down its plants in Wayne, MI, and North Little Rock, AR, and selling a third in Pleasant Prairie, WI, to Sonopress, which effectively became its Spiritual Successor.
  • In 2010, Warner Home Video left Cinram, which had handled its videodisc replication business for nearly seven years since purchasing Warner's videodisc replication facilities, in favor of a more lucrative deal with Technicolor. Within five years, Cinram was bought out by, coincidentally enough, Technicolor. It's been said that the Warner exit did a lot of damage to Cinram not even renewed deals with 20th Century Fox and Warner Music Group could repair.

  • The switch to a new layout is genuinely agreed to be what killed [adult swim]'s forums in November 2016. It was derided as being a much worse clone of Reddit that also caused over twelve years' worth of content to fall by the wayside. Users and curious visitors left the site in droves, and the switch caused its shutdown in less than a year.
    • Some people think that this was an intentional move to destroy the forums, since it had long been regarded as a cesspool of Internet hatred, with angry anime fans going after people who liked [as]' live-action programming, and home to a bunch of trolls in general. They changed the layout into something awful so the diehard users would leave, and eventually, there would be nobody left to care about it.