The Ultimate Trainwreck: A Live-Action Anime Adaptation That Makes Dragonball: Evolution Look Like a Masterpiece

The Ultimate Trainwreck: A Live-Action Anime Adaptation That Makes Dragonball: Evolution Look Like a Masterpiece

Discover the disastrous failure that surpassed Dragonball: Evolution Unveiling the catastrophic downfall of Knights of the Zodiac, this article delves into the depths of its epic bombshell


Dragonball: Evolution had a disastrous performance at the box office and received overwhelmingly negative reviews, earning only $9.4 million domestically and a miserable 15% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film's negative reception and underwhelming financial success resulted in the cancellation of all intended sequels. This compelled creator Akira Toriyama to shift focus towards creating new animated movies for the franchise.

Knight of the Zodiac, a live-action interpretation of Saint Seiya, fared even worse than Dragonball: Evolution, earning a mere $6.9 million globally and garnering minimal attention from anime enthusiasts.

When it comes to box office failures, live-action adaptations of anime are often at the top. Hollywood has made numerous attempts to turn iconic anime into successful movies, but unfortunately, they have mostly fallen short. Examples such as Speed Racer, Ghost in the Shell, and MacGyver highlight Hollywood's unsuccessful endeavors in this realm.

Among these failures, Dragonball: Evolution is widely regarded as one of the worst attempts. This movie was so poorly received that it compelled creator Akira Toriyama to come out of retirement and create new animated films to ensure that the live-action adaptation wouldn't have the final say on the franchise. Surprisingly, however, Dragonball: Evolution is not the biggest box office bomb in the world of anime adaptations. In fact, there is a movie that fared even worse in many aspects, yet ironically remains relatively unknown to the general population. Let's take a quick trip down memory lane to explore this lesser-known film.

How Hard Did Dragonball: Evolution Bomb?

The Ultimate Trainwreck: A Live-Action Anime Adaptation That Makes Dragonball: Evolution Look Like a Masterpiece

Dragonball: Evolution was a major flop both at the box office and in terms of critical reception. The 2009 live-action adaptation of the beloved anime and manga series, Dragon Ball, failed to impress both critics and fans. With an estimated production cost of $30 million, the film only managed to earn around $9.4 million domestically in the United States. Although it performed slightly better internationally, raking in approximately $48 million worldwide, this was still not enough to cover its production and marketing expenses. Consequently, 20th Century Fox was left disappointed with the financial outcome. Moreover, the movie was heavily criticized for its departure from the source material, subpar acting, weak script, and unsatisfying action sequences, resulting in a dismal 15% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

What is Knights of the Zodiac?

Despite the poor reception and financial performance of Dragonball: Evolution, Toei Animation decided to abandon all planned sequels for the film. Instead, they revitalized the franchise by producing new animated movies and involving the creator, Akira Toriyama, in the development of a new anime series called Dragon Ball: Super. Even the film's writer, Ben Ramsey, acknowledged the disappointment and offered his apologies to fans for the subpar quality of the movie. However, Sony would soon experience an even greater failure in their attempt to adapt an anime: Knights of the Zodiac.

The Ultimate Trainwreck: A Live-Action Anime Adaptation That Makes Dragonball: Evolution Look Like a Masterpiece

Saint Seiya, a popular Japanese manga and anime series, was rebranded as Knights of the Zodiac for its English adaptation. Created by Masami Kurumada, the series was originally published in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1986 to 1990. DiC Entertainment, known for bringing Sailor Moon to America, made minor modifications to the franchise to better cater to the interests of American children.

How Hard Did Knights of the Zodiac Bomb?

Knights of the Zodiac, also known as Saint Seiya, revolves around the valiant Saints who devote themselves to protecting the Greek goddess Athena. Wearing mystical armors called "Cloths," each Saint represents a specific constellation. Seiya, the main character, embodies the noble Pegasus constellation. The series captivates viewers with its captivating blend of mythology, thrilling battles, and the eternal themes of camaraderie and unwavering determination. With its extensive assortment of sequels, spin-offs, anime adaptations, movies, and merchandise, Saint Seiya has become an influential franchise within the realm of anime and manga. Thus, it was inevitable that the series would eventually be considered for a live-action remake, taking aficionados by surprise in its unique manifestation.

The Ultimate Trainwreck: A Live-Action Anime Adaptation That Makes Dragonball: Evolution Look Like a Masterpiece

When Sony approved the production of a film adaptation of Saint Seiya, fans were perplexed by the decision to use the alternate English title of Knights of the Zodiac. This choice seemed questionable considering the franchise had gained popularity on Crunchyroll due to its numerous spin-offs and sequels. Reverting to a name that had not been well-received initially was likely a significant setback. However, there were further disappointments in store. With a budget of $60 million dollars, Knights of the Zodiac received almost double the funding of Dragonball: Evolution, and that did not even account for the marketing expenses.

The movie featured Mackenyu, a renowned Japanese actor recognized for his roles in various live-action anime adaptations like Rurouni Kenshin, Tokyo Ghoul S, and Netflix's upcoming One Piece adaptation. It also included popular American actors such as Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones) and Nick Stahle (Sin City, In the Bedroom). An estimated $100 million was invested in the production and promotion of the film. However, it performed poorly at the box office, grossing only $6.9 million worldwide. During its opening weekend in the US, it earned a meager $535,000, securing the 11th position and failing to enter the top ten. The film's financial disappointment led to theaters, like AMC, pulling showtimes due to lack of audience. Despite receiving a 22% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Knights of the Zodiac had a weaker performance in terms of profitability and duration in theaters, quickly fading from public attention. In comparison, Dragonball: Evolution, regardless of its quality, continues to be a topic of discussion even after many years.

Saint Seiya can be streamed on Crunchyroll.