While it’s true that we’re totally enthralled by Hollywood’s seeming glitz and glamour, as we so clearly see when our favorite actors grace the red carpet or appear in amazing films, many of us don’t realize that not all that glitters is gold. It may seem that way on the surface, but truth be told, it can get ugly underneath all that jazz. Tempers flaring due to creative differences. Backstabbing and rumor mongering. Egos being trampled on due to attitude problems. And it doesn’t only happen with the actors. Many of the bigger altercations happen between the bigwigs behind the cameras.
For this reason, many directors are wary of creating a film backed by the major Hollywood studios. There are advantages of course, the biggest one being the big studios provide a huge budget to work with. But the downside is that the executives tend to meddle with the creative process and insist that the film is done the studio’s way, much to the director’s chagrin. More often than not, the result is a disastrous film. Here are some movies that tanked, likely due to studio interference.
16. Superman 2
There have been dozens of versions of how Superman is depicted in both the big screen and the small screen, but perhaps the most popular Superman to date is the one played by the late Christopher Reeve. The first movie he starred in as the DC superhero was a resounding success, naturally prompting the studio to develop follow-up films. Shooting the sequel was not without its dramatics though. The original director Richard Donner was fired and replaced by Richard Lester, who was handpicked by studio bosses and he reshot many scenes. Luckily for Donner, he was allowed to release his own cut decades later in 2006.
15. Alien 3
It’s always a risk to make sequels to a highly successful movie because the sequels almost always don’t live up to their originals’ glory. Such was the case of the film Alien 3, which did well financially, but was panned by critics. Director David Fincher defied almost every studio executive’s directive and filmed scenes and the story his own way. It’s said that during the editing stage, the bosses locked Fincher out of the editing rooms so that they could have a hand in changing the film to the way they envisioned it to be.
When superhero movies became all the rage in the 2000s, Will Smith jumped on the bandwagon and starred as alcoholic, immortal superhero John Hancock in the 2008 film Hancock. The original screenplay had a darker and more serious tone to it, but the big bosses decided to make it a little more comedy and a little less broody. But despite the major alterations, the film was a financial triumph, which probably justified the executives’ decision to interfere.
Many might not be familiar with the 1985 film Brazil and that’s because it was a certified box office bomb, despite the fact that it starred Hollywood heavyweights Robert De Niro and Jonathan Pryce. It centers around a man named Sam Lowry (Pryce) living in a dystopian world and trying to find a woman he sees in his dreams. Universal Studios executives cut the film down to 90 minutes and added a happy ending, which was inconsistent with director Terry Gilliam’s vision. The director’s cut version that appeared years later helped Gilliam show his originally intended story.
12. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
It was only fitting that Wolverine, arguably the most popular character in the X-Men universe, was played by one of Hollywood’s most famous actors in the person of Hugh Jackman. As a result of both the character and the actor’s popularity, a spin-off of the X-Men movie franchise was created called X-Men Origins: Wolverine. While the film did well at the tills, it being an X-Men franchise after all, it was criticized by Marvel fanatics because the studio’s directive was to significantly tone down the villain Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds) just so he wouldn’t upstage Wolverine.
11. I Am Legend
The much-talked about film I Am Legend was yet another notch in a string of box office hits under Will Smith’s belt. But the general moviegoers may not be aware that there is actually an alternate ending that was originally intended to be the only ending by the director. But due to studio interference, we got the ending that was shown in movie theatres, showing Neville (Smith) killing himself and the mutants with a grenade in order to save the cure for the deadly disease. The alternate ending had Neville and his two companions bringing the cure to the survivors.
10. Blade Runner
The 1982 film Blade Runner starred a young Harrison Ford who played Rick Deckard, a reluctant Blade Runner who is tasked to take replicants down. The movie was a box office bomb at the time of its release but has since become a cult classic, one of the reasons probably being the original ending was replaced by the director’s cut, which now appears in the Blu-ray DVD. In the original cut, which Warner Bros. had insisted upon, Ford’s character was made to recode some dialogue to better explain the plot.
9. The Hunger Games
To cater to a broader audience, the studio bigwigs who produced The Hunger Games film franchise apparently watered down the movie to make it less brutal than the book it was based on. This proved to be quite a challenge because how exactly do you cushion the harshness of children set to murder and destroy each other and allow 13-year-olds to watch this kind of violence? By cutting several bloody but crucial seconds from an important part of the film apparently.
8. Kingdom of Heaven
Epic films are usually called epic, not just because of their grand, big budget productions, but also because of how long they usually run. In the case of the period drama Kingdom of Heaven, the film was originally supposed to run for a good three hours. But director Ridley Scott was overridden by studio executives, who promptly cut it to a little over two hours and as a result, plot points and characters were sacrificed. One character, King Baldwin V, was phased out completely and only appears in the director’s cut.
7. Spiderman 3
Marvel’s answer to DC’s Superman in terms of popularity and hype is probably Spiderman. Just like the man of steel, Spiderman has been front and center to dozens of media material. Before Andrew Garfield took on the mantle, Spiderman was played by Toby Maguire for three film instalments. While the first two films got excellent reviews, the third one was panned by critics and comic book fanatics. Many believe it’s because producers forced director Sam Raimi to include the villain Venom into the story even though Raimi didn’t like the character.
6. Fantastic Four (2015)
Even though there were already two highly successful Fantastic Four movies just a decade ago, 20th Century Fox insisted on doing a reboot when the studio bought the rights to the Marvel franchise. Many deemed it a mistake because the previous two movies starring Jessica Alba and Chris Evans would be a tough act to follow. Turned out, the public was right. The film’s director Josh Tank was quite vocal about how the finished product didn’t come out the way he visualized it. It was reported that many key scenes were re-shot against Tank’s wishes. The result was a box office and critical disaster of a film.
5. All The Pretty Horses
To say that the film All The Pretty Horses was a flop is an understatement. It only raked in $18 million at the tills against an already small budget of $57 million. Despite the fact that it involved some big names such as Billy Bob Thornton as director, and Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz in starring roles, many critics actually called the movie “unfilmable.” Producer Harvey Weinstein forced Thornton to cut the film to a little under two hours and Damon publicly defended Thornton’s creative vision, saying the film didn’t come out the way it was supposed to.
4. Killing Them Softly
You’d think that any film connected to such a big name as Brad Pitt would be a guaranteed success. But moviegoers and critics are of fickle tastes. The 2012 neo-noire crime film Killing Them Softly certainly didn’t sit well with its targeted audience. Directed by Andrew Dominik, the original movie ran for two and a half hours, but the studio compelled him to scale it down by a whole hour, therefore cutting out many essential scenes. The end product was an unsuccessful movie, both in the box office and by the critics.
3. Batman Forever
When Warner Brothers tapped Tim Burton to direct the 1989 film Batman, the producers knew they were practically guaranteed a box office hit. With Burton’s eccentrically creative magic working its way around Michael Keaton and the very much revered Jack Nicholson, the end result was a movie that was a resounding success. Burton was asked to direct the sequel Batman Returns and though it was still quite profitable, it didn’t rake in as much as the first. Apparently, this disappointed the studio, hence the decision to hire Joel Schumacher for the third movie to make it more family-friendly. The result? A “freak show” bashed by critics mercilessly.
2. Iron Man 2
Because of the massive success of the first Iron Man movie, which also served as the springboard for Robert Downey Jr’s comeback career, Marvel Studios was eager to ride on the coat tails of the movie’s success and produce a sequel posthaste. While Iron Man 2 also reaped in a profit, it was largely considered a rushed job with the way all elements of the story seemed to be forcibly squeezed in. Mickey Rourke’s character Ivan Danko was likewise diminished, reducing him to a caricature-type fixture in the movie.
1. 2 Fast 2 Furious
The Fast and the Furious film franchise is considered one of the most successful ones in its genre, largely because of its two main characters: Brian O’ Conner (played by the late Paul Walker) and Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). But Diesel decided to sit the second film out because he wasn’t satisfied with the way his character was written. But the studio refused to revise the script, instead, creating a whole new one to make provisions for Diesel’s anticipated departure from the films. Turns out, his absence was greatly felt because 2 Fast 2 Furious was one of the weakest films in the entire franchise.
Sources: heyuguys.com, screenrant.com
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