Every film production comes across it’s fair share of problems. From rebellious actors to technical issues, problems have a way of rearing their ugly head in the most unexpected ways. However, some films seemed cursed with an over abundance of issues and problems. Here we look at 4 films that had Nightmare Productions.
Like the films title, Wes Craven’s werewolf thriller seemed cursed from early on. Production and script issues resulted in the film being postponed for over a year, before the cameras finally started to film. But now they had to recast, as several key actors schedules conflicts with other films. Unable to film two films at once, they had to drop out, leaving Cursed with out a cast.
With Christina Ricci , Joshua Jackson and Jesse Eisenberg onboard, finally the film was shot and the edit started. However, test screenings left Dimension Films worried, and extra reshoots were ordered. The film was delayed another year, as script rewrites and reshoots took place. However, many of the actors involved could not make the reshoot dates, and so drastic cuts saw many characters completely cut from the movie. Skeet Ulrich, Mandy Moore, Omar Epps, Illeana Douglas, Heather Langenkamp, Scott Foley, Robert Forster, and Corey Feldman all found their scenes completely removed from the final film. For all intents and purpose, the were shooting a completely different film now. The original shooting script was altered dramatically to counter the missing actors. Despite the film still being subpar, the studio hoped to rake back a little of the money they had pumped into the troubled production. The film was released in February 25 2005. It was a complete flop and only made around $29 million of its $35 million budget.
We all know it as the a classic piece of cinema, but the thrilling creature features was a nightmare production, for all involved. Right from the very get go, Jaws was in trouble. Steven Spielberg’s found himself with a looming start date but no actors. Nine days before filming began, Spielberg still hadn’t found actors to play Quint or Hooper. Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw both turned down the roles, only to change their minds after persuasion form Spielberg, his wife and his secretary. Yep, Spielberg got so desperate that he had his own family and staff to badger the actors until the agreed! But this was only the first bump in the road. Drayfuss and Shaw heated each other, and constantly came to logger heads off set, as the Principal photography stretched from 55 days, to 159 days.
If it was not the cast causing trouble, it was the star of the show. Bruce the shark, the name given to the reluctant movie star, kept breaking down. There were four sharks made for the film, each one worked fine until you dumped gallons of salty water on top of it. It was at this point that Bruce would get stage fright and freeze. In fact, the shark broke down so much, that Spielberg resorted to shooting point of view shots to fill the gaps in his shoot.
With an original budget of $3.5 million, Jaws Rocky production saw it’s budget triple to a massive $9 million, but still was not the end. With the money gone and crew disbanded, Spielberg had to resorted to filming extra scenes in his back gardens pool, just to get the film finished. Al the pain and effort ultimately paid off as the film took more than $430 million worldwide and millions of people the world over suddenly found a reason to fear the deep blue sea!
Director Mark Romanek was originally attached to direct the Gothic horror film Wolfman, but creative disagreements between the studio forced him to depart from the project. Even without a director, the studio blindly steamed forward with no director, the planned filming schedule looming ever closer. With only Four weeks till filming began, Universal hired Joe Johnston to take the helm. At the time the films budget was $85 million, but it would soon spiral out of control and become of the most expensive horror films ever made.
With little time and rewrites of the script coming thick and fast, the shoot failed to capture everything needed to complete the film. CGI was used to finish off missing shots of the wolfman, including the transformation scenes, which was planned to be achieved through makeup effects.
Even with the new scenes, the film failed to impress Universal Pictures bigwigs, who were throwing more and more money at the project each month. The original release date was set for February 2009, but the it was pushed back to November 2009 and then finally February 2010, as re-shoots and re-edits were done to salvage the film.
The film was now a lot shorter, and Danny Elfman‘s dark and moody score was rejected by the studio, as it now did not fit, however Elfman was now working on Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland and could not re-score. Rather than rework what they already had, the studio took a huge gamble and had the entire score replaced. Paul Haslinger stepped in with an electronic contemporary incarnation, which the studio felt was too modern. So with their tail between their legs, and thousands of dollars wasted, they went back to Elfman’s piece and hired additional music composers to finish the job.
The film was finally released to a lukewarm reception and the film lost around $10million of its final $150 Million budget.
World War Z (2013)
Released in 2006, Max Brooks highly acclaimed Zombie novel World War Z was released. With copies flying off the shelves, a huge bidding war started on filming rights, most notably between Leonardo DiCaprio‘s production company Appian Way, Brad Pitt‘s Plan B Entertainment, who won the rights and begun production on a difficult roller-coaster ride.
If you’ve read the book, you’ll know just how drastically different the film is. This is thanks to director Marc Foster , who thought that the original 2008 screenplay, which remained faithful to the book, was too intellectual, and had the script rewritten. Apparently we are too stupid to understand intense, graphic action orientated, political satire! We are only happy if there are big explosions and lots of people (and zombies) running around.
It took another two years of rewrites until Foster had a script he was happy with. With the amount of time he had, you’d have expected a highly polished piece of literature, but it’s lack luster story and lame dialogue had financial backers Paramount worried and refused to move forward without a co-financier to share the load. Skydance Productions was drafted in to save the film, in what was described as an eleventh-hour effort.
The worldwide shoot was going well, until almost all of the films prop machine guns, rifles and pistols were confiscated by counter-terrorism customs officers in Budapest. The props were to be used in scenes shot in Hungary, but with the guns confiscated, things were looking rocky. The entire Budapest shoot had to be postponed whilst the Budapest government conducted criminal investigations into why the “props” were actually fully functional weapons. Four months later, the charges were dropped, as the investigators were unable to identify exactly who exactly was responsible for the weapons.
With the Budapest shoot in the can, the film’s edit went underway, but drastic rewrites and re-shoots of the films 3rd act was ordered, after poor test screenings. In August 2010, one month before re-shoots were due to take place, it became apparent that they just were not ready and drastic action needed. Screenwriter Damon Lindelof convinced the studio to shoot around 40 minutes of additional footage in order to make a coherent ending.
A huge change to the edit saw one of the films key effects shots dropped, 12 minutes of footage, which had Pitt’s character fighting through a huge army of zombies. instead, it was replaced with a last minute re-write/re-shoot that saw Pit discover a “cure” of sorts.
Despite a mixed reaction, the film made $540 million at the box office. A sequel is currently in the works.
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