When “Gigli” premiered, Ben Affleck had a résumé boasting an Academy Award win for writing “Good Will Hunting,” blockbusters like “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor,” and well-received roles in cult hits such as “Dazed and Confused,” “Chasing Amy,” and “Mallrats.” However, that same résumé also included a number of bombs, such as the critically panned movies “200 Cigarettes,” “Reindeer Games,” “Phantoms,” and “Forces of Nature” — all of which either lost money at the box office or made slim profits (via Rotten Tomatoes, The Numbers). For an actor Hollywood was building as a leading man, Affleck’s track record in film at the time was extremely inconsistent.
The situation seemed to improve with the 2002 release of “The Sum of All Fears.” While not a critical favorite — the film currently holds a 59% score on Rotten Tomatoes — “The Sum of All Fears” did well at the box office, earning $194 million against a budget of $68 million (via Box Office Mojo). “Daredevil,” released in 2003 just before “Gigli,” was also a big earner, with Box Office Mojo reporting a profit of over $100 million. But again, Affleck failed to win over critics.