The film industry is a fickle old thing. One minute you’re being celebrated, the next minute you’re being lampooned. However, it’s not just actors and actresses that come under this kind of scrutiny but movies as a whole. Yes, while some reach great heights of success, others simply fall to the bottom of the heap. Even worse than that though is the thought of a movie not even seeing the light of day. All the time, effort and thought that go into making a motion picture is tossed in the garbage. Sometimes though, they bring it upon themselves. This list features canceled movies that had the rug pulled out from under them due to stupid errors, ultimately making them forever doomed to a fate of complete obscurity…
1. Mike Myers realized Sprockets wasn’t working
Fans of Saturday Night Live were buzzing when it was announced that Mike Myers was set to bring his hilarious character Dieter to the big screen in Sprockets. The movie adaptation of the sketch was to feature the likes of Will Ferrell, Jack Black and David Hasselhoff. But it was called off by Myers himself because he wasn’t happy with how filming was going. The result? Myers was sued by Universal Studios for more than $30 million in costs and damages. Ouch!
2. College didn’t like the script
There was certainly demand for a reboot of the popular ’80s movie series Revenge of the Nerds. However, it didn’t really go to plan. Filming for the remake was halted after the college in which it was being made in finally took time to read over the script. Probably put off by the adult-orientated elements of the film, the college decided to pull out. The movie was completely scrapped soon after.
3. Warner Bros. wanted something that wasn’t as dark
A more mature version of the Catwoman movie was close to getting the green light ten years before the Halle Berry-fronted one was made. With Tim Burton allegedly at the helm, this Michelle Pfeiffer-led movie was to be a much darker affair. Sadly, the success of the more family-friendly Batman Forever swayed Warner Brothers away from the moodier version of Catwoman.
4. Clive Barker ignored the project
Any horror movie fan worth their salt will tell you that the first Hellraiser was brilliant, while its sequels were far from it. However, a terrifying trailer released in 2013 for a return to the franchise seemed to reignite fan interest. Sadly, it never materialized. The problem was that the originator of the franchise Clive Barker announced his own version, ultimately killing the Mike Le Han feature that looked so tantalizing from the outset. Adding insult to injury, we got to see neither of these movies, but rather a direct-to-video release entitled Hellraiser: Judgment. Yay…
5. Director wouldn’t tell a fib to get funding
Think the premise of exploring the Antarctic in search of superbeings sounds cool? Well try telling that to Universal Studios because it’s responsible for bringing At the Mountains of Madness to a screeching halt. It refused to give the awe-inspiring director Guillermo del Toro $150 million to make the motion picture, mainly because it was afraid of how the film would perform with an R rating. In hindsight, the director regrets not fibbing about the content, telling Collider earlier this year: “I’m too much of a Boy Scout. I should have lied, but I didn’t.”
6. Sony Pictures fired the mastermind responsible for the idea
Sony Pictures made a huge mistake on the now defunct Popeye movie. Despite being awestruck by the 3D CGI proposal made by seasoned animator Genndy Tartakovsky, Sony decided to fire the mastermind behind the idea. After no one stepped forward to take the project on after his dismissal, interest in the initially promising Popeye petered out.
7. South Park geniuses didn’t know where to go with it
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are best known for their work on the hit television show South Park. But they could’ve added a notch to their motion picture belt if they had made something out of this missed opportunity. The duo were given $1.5 million in 1998 by New Line Cinema to make Dumb and Dumber 2. But for some reason, they couldn’t fashion anything out of it. The sequel would eventually go on to be made in 2014 without the help of Parker and Stone.
8. Director ignored a good kicking
If Arnold Schwarzenegger kicks you, chances are you’re going to shut up. Unless you’re director Paul Verhoeven. The belligerent filmmaker wanted a large budget for his controversial ’90s piece Crusade – a movie said to have been based on the wars against the Arabs and the Jews. However, after some tough negotiating between director, actor and studio regarding the budget, Verhoeven flew off the handle when he couldn’t guarantee that he wouldn’t go over the $100 million budget – despite Arnie’s shin-kicking attempts under the table to get him to calm down.
9. Filming was just disastrous
The constant cancelation of China’s answer to Avatar has become something of a cinema legend in recent years. Despite filming starting way back in 2010, this picture has suffered some of the most chopped and changed parts of any movie in recent memory. It’s had four people in the director’s chair, numerous changes to the cast and some apparently awful test screenings. This means that in 2017, Empires of the Deep is no closer to seeing the light of day than it was seven years ago.
10. Dreamworks didn’t think it was going well
Tim Minchin is mostly known for his stand-up comedy. But in 2013, it looked like he was going to get his very own motion picture commissioned by Dreamworks. Entitled Larrikins, the animated musical would focus on a bilby who is trying to find his way in the world, featuring a cast of stars including Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, among others. Sadly though, four years later it was scrapped by the studio. Sources told Deadline at the start of this year, “Creatively it just wasn’t working out well.”
11. Disney feared it was too much like Rio
Disney has been churning out movies in recent years like they were going out of fashion. However, for the cutesy animation Newt, its collaborators Pixar broke tradition by making it the first ever movie it canceled. The reason? It was allegedly concerned that people would think of it as a rip-off of the 2011 film Rio – which had just been released shortly before Newt was slated to drop.
12. Either Evan Rachel Wood backed out or the studio didn’t have the money to finish it
As a guy, I’d like to be able to say I hated the 1999 romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, but I’d be lying. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed when filming for the sequel went awry, resulting in its cancelation. Depending on whom you believe, 10 Things I Hate About Life was derailed midway through filming either because lead actress Evan Rachel Wood backed out at the end, or the studio didn’t have the money to finish it. For now, the real reason is not quite clear.
13. Cast and crew didn’t know that it was never supposed to be released
You may not be aware that 2005’s blockbuster movie Fantastic Four wasn’t actually the first movie incarnation of the popular comic book. No, in fact it was done over a decade earlier – rather nefariously it has to be said. The 1994 flick was never released despite being wrapped up, something many have speculated was intentional on the part of executive producer Bernd Eichinger. They claim that he wanted the rights to the characters, and he never intended to put the movie out. Of course, Eichinger denies those claims. The real kicker to this, though, is that the cast and crew weren’t in on it if it was Eichinger’s plan all along never to release it. Luckily, you can still find bootleg copies of the ill-fated production.
14. One of the camera assistants was hit by a train
This one’s more tragic than anything else, but it’s still a stupid mistake by those involved in the William Hurt-led biopic about musician Gregg Allman. Despite being told that they couldn’t film on train tracks, the crew of Midnight Rider decided they would anyway – leading to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. The scene in question involved a bed on the railway. As a train came roaring down the tracks, the cast and crew had no choice but to run for it. Sadly, Jones was struck by pieces of the bed, ultimately resulting in her death. The director was jailed for two years, and the movie was shut down.
15. The production company tried to sell the rights for a hefty price of $70 million
Boy, what a bad movie Terminator: Salvation was. However, it didn’t stop talks of a sequel from surfacing. Unfortunately for the production company behind it though, it went bankrupt. Yes, The Halcyon Company was forced to sell its assets, and among them was Terminator. However, its price was so ridiculously high that bidders were few and far between – a whopping $70 million. It rejected bids it deemed too low, before agreeing to sell it for just over $29 million to Pacificor – the hedge fund that was basically responsible for Halcyon’s monetary demise in the first place.
16. Doomed by the uproar after The Interview
The Interview was awful in many respects, but perhaps the worst thing about it was the impact it had on the success of other movies – most notably the Gore Verbinksi-directed Pyongyang. Based on the novel of the same name, the movie would focus on the living conditions of North Korea’s inhabitants. Sadly, after all of the hullabaloo surrounding comedy movie The Interview, the interesting picture was canceled by its studio. So there you have it – another reason to hate the Seth Rogen feature film.
17. Fell through after an executive insisted it be made PG-13
Legendary radio shock jock Howard Stern was quite the hot property in Hollywood after the success of his biographical exposé Private Parts. The self-proclaimed “King of All Media” also had a humorous character in his repertoire by the name of Fartman – a play on Batman. The alter ego proved to be so popular that New Line Cinema planned a motion picture based on the flatulent persona. However, one mistake you don’t make with Stern is to try and censor him – something the morning DJ fought against throughout much of his career. An executive from the studio insisted that he make it PG-13 rather than R-rated. But the iconic radio host lambasted the idea, ultimately putting a nail in the film’s coffin.
18. The Beatles insisted on Kubrick
You’d probably be quite taken aback if we told you that legendary pop outfit The Beatles were going to put out a Lord of the Rings movie in the ’60s. However, that’s exactly what almost transpired. Yes, The Fab Four were ready to make the film after J.R.R. Tolkien sold the rights to it to United Artists – sparking quite a tantalizing prospect in hindsight. Unfortunately, the whole project unraveled when they requested Stanley Kubrick make the movie. Kubrick refused, stating that any movie adaptations of Tolkien books were “unmakeable.” Looking back, it seems Mr. Kubrick was definitely wrong.
19. All the actors left the project once their contracts ran out
Justice League: Mortal came up against many challenges during its troubled development, not least time itself. Yes, after some extensive tax problems, as well as delays in shooting, the movie was then greatly affected by the strike of the Writers Guild of America in 2007-2008 – meaning the script was nowhere near ready. What the director and producers didn’t foresee, though, was the expiring contracts of their own stars. Presumably tired of waiting around, the cast got up and left when their contracts had run out– ultimately making this a huge blunder on the part of the production team.
20. Disney wouldn’t invest in more expensive animation techniques
The children’s novel Where the Wild Things was eventually made into a movie in 2009, but the idea had been proposed much earlier. Now famed Pixar animator John Lasseter was behind the 1983 project, hoping to merge 2D characters with 3D environments – a revolutionary attempt at the time. Sadly, Disney wasn’t prepared to invest in more expensive techniques at the time, however, the animation test is still out there for all to see. It’s just a shame that they didn’t jump at the opportunity to make a full-blown feature film in this unique art style.