Geena Davis in 'Cutthroat Island,' 1995. // Cutthroat Island and Carolco Pictures (MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection.)

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Geena Davis in 'Cutthroat Island,' 1995.

What we thought then: In 1995, it made sense to stick Geena Davis in the starring role of a major movie. After all, the actress had "Thelma & Louise" and "A League of Their Own" under her belt, and her previous film, "Speechless," had been nominated for a Golden Globe. And so Carolco Pictures, the studio responsible for such hits as "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and the Rambo movies, featured Davis in Cutthroat Island, the story of a female pirate in search of lost treasure.

What we know now: Looking back, "Cutthroat Island" was a disaster at every turn. Aside from Davis' inability to carry an adventure movie, the film's bloated budget (an inflation-adjusted $164 million) was literally a deal breaker for Carolco. After box office returns of just $10 million, "Cutthroat Island" eventually cost the production company nearly $150 million, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest movie flop of all-time. The "Cutthroat" catastrophe, and the paltry returns by the studio's next release, "Showgirls," forced once-proud Carolco Pictures into bankruptcy.

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