Sacha Baron Cohen, $137 million. Not exactly chump change, but the British comedian's Brüno was a huge flop compared to tonal prequel Borat. The highly publicized, widely distributed film about an Austrian fame-seeker pulled in a paltry $11,000 per theater in its U.S. opening weekend, compared to the nearly $32,000 per theater average of Borat. Mere days after it opened, Brüno sank to the No. 4 spot, never to be seen at the top again.
Cameron Diaz, $69 million. Her much-heralded change of pace as the battle-worn mother in My Sister's Keeper scraped together just over half the cash that director Nick Cassavetes' last tearjerker (The Notebook, $116 million) pulled in. Pass the Kleenex to Diaz.
Will Ferrell, $62 million. June's Land of the Lost was conceived as a vehicle for the star comedian, but it was one of the most gigantic flops of the summer. (By way of comparison, Ferrell's 2004 pic Anchorman made over $90 million). Universal gambled on Ferrell's brand cachet and little else to drive audiences, but perhaps they were skittish after the pic generated the summer's most poisonous reviews. Per Peter Keough of The Boston Phoenix, the movie was "a pot of ersatz dinosaur piss." Ouch!
Judd Apatow, $53 million. The director saw huge commercial success with Knocked Up ($219 million) and The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($177 million), but audiences failed to fall for his more sensitive, slow-paced and nuanced comedy, Funny People. Stacked with stars and critically defended though it was, the movie netted only two-thirds of its production budget.
Michelle Pfeiffer, $6 million. Her smoldering return to cinema as a corsetted Mrs. Robinson type couldn't charm the cash out of our wallets. Despite 2009 being The Summer of Stuff Blowing Up (G.I. Joe, Transformers 2, Angels & Demons, The Final Destination), Pfeiffer's turn in the arthouse-y Cheri didn't appeal as alternative fare.