For whatever reason, when married couples (or even just couples who are known for being together) make a movie, it rarely works. Who knows why? In some cases, it's public backlash against the couple. Sometimes the couple's Real Life chemistry just doesn't show up on-screen (or it does, and it becomes somewhat unsettling when you realize you're watching an actual couple during a love scene). Sometimes, it's just a Vanity Project with no real direction. Sometimes, it's a Non-Actor Vehicle for one half (or maybe both halves) of the couple (such as the Directors Girlfriend), and it shows. In any case, even though Couple Bombs have a track record of not succeeding, they somehow still get made anyway.
Subtrope of Real-Life Relative. Might be related to Creator Couple if the Love Makes You Uncreative trope is factored in. Could also be a result of Yoko Oh No. Should not be confused with Battle Couple.
- Gigli is probably the most notorious example. Even though Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck weren't married at the time, they were the hot couple, and the movie was significantly rewritten during production to capitalize on their relationship. In a twist which surprised no one, Bennifer called it quits shortly after the movie bombed. In a twist that did surprise many, they got back together and married nineteen years later.
- Rumors abound that Kevin Smith chopped most of Lopez's scenes out of Jersey Girl to avoid the same fate. It didn't work.
- Back in the 20s, Hollywood power couple Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks starred in their only film together - an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. True to the trope's form, it was made while their marriage was falling apart and it was a financial bomb that led to Pickford retiring from acting completely.
- Overboard (Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn) - though the film has been Vindicated by Cable, mainly from the consensus that Russell and Hawn have strong on-screen chemistry. And unlike virtually every played-straight example of this trope, they've happily been life-partners for nearly forty years.
- Swept Away, sort of. It starred Madonna and was directed by Guy Ritchie, and was almost universally panned as being terrible, and led to Madonna's declaration that she would never act again.
- Shanghai Surprise starred Madonna and then-hubby Sean Penn. The original script probably didn't set the world on fire, but the decision to include the couple was a fatal one, on multiple levels. Shooting began in Hong Kong and problems soon arose: the exposure produced by such a hot tabloid couple served as catnip to Chinese gangsters, who sabotaged equipment and even extorted money from Madonna and Penn before they'd allow them back on set. Penn, like clockwork, went berserk every time a paparazzo snapped a picture of him, culminating in an assault charge. Eventually, Penn and Madonna stopped cooperating altogether, causing the budget to balloon as directors and actors were replaced on Penn's decree, and the couple was labeled as poison.
- Dirty Love, written by and starring Jenny McCarthy and directed by her then-husband John Mallory Asher. They divorced shortly before it went down in flames.
- In 1959, Audrey Hepburn starred in Green Mansions, directed by her then-husband Mel Ferrer. It was one of the least successful movies of her career.
- Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had a string of flops starting with the notorious Cleopatra (1963) and continuing on with The Sandpiper (1965), The Comedians (1967), Doctor Faustus (1967), Boom! (1968), and Hammersmith Is Out! (1972). Their turn in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? shines even brighter by comparison.
- The Marrying Man and The Getaway for Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.
- Peter Sellers had couple bombs with his second and fourth wives: The Bobo with Britt Ekland (they also did After the Fox together but in that film, they play siblings, not lovers) and The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) with Lynne Frederick.
- A father-son variant happened with After Earth. Will Smith basically approached M. Night Shyamalan to write and direct a movie featuring him and his son, Jaden Smith. The movie bombed spectacularly and was reviled by pretty much every critic except Matt Zoller Seitz.
- Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson with Paradise and the remake of Born Yesterday.
- By the Sea, a 2015 film written and directed by Angelina Jolie and starring herself and Brad Pitt as a couple in a dying marriage. The film was a critical and commercial failure and soon became Harsher in Hindsight when Jolie filed for divorce in the next year.
- Cutthroat Island, starring Geena Davis and directed by her husband Renny Harlin, underwent a severely Troubled Production and became one of the biggest box office bombs in film history. The two released The Long Kiss Goodnight the next year, which was also unsuccessful, if not as spectacularly so, and then divorced a few years after that.
- The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc was the first film Luc Besson and Milla Jovovich made as husband and wife (they had worked together on The Fifth Element but only started dating afterwards) — and it underperformed at the Box Office. Luc Besson especially was criticized for casting his wife as the lead, in a role it was agreed she was not up to playing.
- The film Shelter, where Paul Bettany directed his wife Jennifer Connelly, wasn't received well by critics and quickly faded from public consciousness. They had fared a little better when they starred together in Creation but still only at 46% on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter got together while making Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It was a bomb that led to the former mostly sticking to Shakespeare adaptations until Thor came along.
- Zigzagged with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, since she starred in many of his films. Corpse Bride, Big Fish and Sweeney Todd were hits. Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made money but had a divisive reception. And Dark Shadows tanked domestically while not faring well with reviewers.
- Darling Lili was Blake Edwards' and Julie Andrews' first collaboration together. They fell in love while filming but the result was a Box Office Bomb that cost Paramount millions. They did have aversions though.
- Super Mario Bros. (1993), helmed by husband-and-wife directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel. They'd recently had two smash hits with Max Headroom and a remake of the 1949 movie D.O.A., but the third time proved not to be the charm with Mario (not helped by how they made the whole thing miserable for the cast and crew).
- In The X-Files, Mulder had a one-night stand with David Duchovny's then-partner. The crew later noted that it was to the detriment of the love scene because there was just no tension between them.
- Discussed Trope on Friends. Chandler is worried that his actress girlfriend Kathy is cheating on him with her co-star after seeing their steamy sex scene, but Joey assures him that actors that are actually together have no chemistry with their co-star.
Joey: Look, you guys have seen me in a lot of plays. Have I ever had chemistry on stage?
- Stephen Mangan starred in the short-lived Houdini & Doyle where his wife Louise Delamere played his wife in the show. He commented on how weird it was to film love scenes with his real wife.
"It's what I imagine dogging feels like..."
- Discussed on Mystery Science Theater 3000, in the episode "The Loves of Hercules". The movie that week is the second (of four) that Jayne Mansfield made with her then-husband Mickey Hargitay, and the riffers note how little on-screen chemistry the couple has.
Servo: So, these two are married in real life, and this is how they kiss?
Crow: She's laying eggs inside of him right now.
- Cher and Gregg Allman released an album together in 1977, Two the Hard Way. It was a spectacular critical and commercial failure, and the tour itself went so badly that Allman fell back into his alcoholism, which Cher cited was the final straw that broke their marriage.
- Former Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney took plenty of flack for the work they recorded with Yoko and Linda respectively. Yoko's avant-garde stylings and notoriously weird vocals didn't play well with the mainstream Beatles crowd, while Linda wasn't a musician or a singer and by Paul's own admission was in Wings so that they could tour together and have a good time as a couple. With that said, much of this material has been Vindicated by History in one way or another.