Sometimes it’s the script and sometimes it can be the budget. Or maybe even a falling out between the studio and director. There are many reasons why a film may not get made. Here are nine sci-fi movies that almost never hit the screen.
1. Alien 3 (1992)
This direct sequel to Aliens almost never happened. In fact, it’s a miracle that it got made at all. First off, it took three attempts to get the script right. The studio discounted William Gibson’s script first, followed by Eric Red’s in 1987. Both screenwriters have stated that interference all around and a feeling of rushing led to their demise. The studio finally settled on David Twohy’s script. There was also uncertainty about whether Sigourney Weaver would return, but a $5 million dollar salary secured it. There were also financial worries due to the special effects. So much so that Fox almost pulled the plug. Although it made a modest sum at the box office, the critics disliked it. Director David Fincher still disowns it to this day.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The original Mad Max films are classics. This new addition to the franchise from 2015 was fraught with problems from the off. Production for the film initially started way back in 2009. There were problems with the location and various reshoots needed to happen. Heavy rainfall also affected filming, which ended up moving production from Australia to Namibia.
There were also claims by the media that they had damaged the ecosystems in Namibia, although this was denied by authorities. These problems exacerbated fractious relationships between director George Miller and the cast. It all worked out in the end though, as the film won five Oscars. It’s also considered one of the best films in the franchise.
3. Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is often touted as one of the greatest and most influential sci-fi movies of all time. And with good reason. Its story (an adaption of Phillip K Dick’s novella) is superb, as are the ground-breaking special effects. Director Ridley Scott has said he’s never been happy with the final product. In fact, he’s recut it at least three times and the script had multiple rewrites.
During production, there was interference from the studio who wasn’t happy with how it was going. Scott’s methods on set also caused problems with the cast. The director and lead actor Harrison Ford have previously stated how hard they found working with each other. Although they both state their relationship is good now. All that tension and stress created something trailblazing though, as it still looks fantastic to this day.
4. Star Wars (1977)
Probably one of the most well-known sci-fi films of all time, Stars Wars almost didn’t get made. The production in Tunisia was fraught with all sorts of problems, notably the weather. It’s interesting to note that various studios initially turned the project down before Fox reluctantly took it on. Budgets then overran and George Lucas almost made himself ill through stress. If that wasn’t enough, the cast members have been very vocal regarding the poor script. Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness have both gone on record pulling apart the awful dialogue.
Lucas himself was also convinced the film would flop as he missed its premiere, instead of going on holiday with Steven Spielberg. It all worked out in the end though, as Star Wars is one of the biggest film franchises on the planet and George Lucas is a billionaire.
5. Waterworld (1995)
At the time, Waterworld was one of the most expensive films ever made with a budget of over $100 million. As the title suggests, there was a lot of water involved. So much so that production even built its own island in Hawaii. You can imagine the logistical nightmare of transporting the cast and crew (along with extras) to a man-made island. Add in that lead actor Kevin Costner was almost wiped away in a storm and two stuntmen were severely injured, patience soon ran thin. So much so that director Kevin Reynolds left the film leaving Costner to finish it. It also went $75 million over its already huge budget. The film was still a success, but nowhere as much as it should have been considering the monumental effort that went into it.
6. Gremlins (1984)
Ah, the 1980s. A time before CGI when creatures had to be made and worked by real people. Although this 80s classic was a success and spawned sequels, it almost never got finished. Director Joe Dante has spoken about the immense frustration on set with having to use puppeteers. Under each set was an army of them who controlled Gizmo and the Gremlins whilst watching themselves on screens. According to Dante, the entire final three months of the shoot was purely for the Gremlins effects. He was also critical of the studio, who he called particularly unsupportive. Thankfully, it all turned out well in the end as the film was a success. And as the technology advanced, so did the quality of the sequels.
7. World War Z (2013)
By the time 2013 came along, there had already been a slew of zombie films. But Paramount thought the world could do with another, so World War Z was given the green light. This was a monster movie. Pardon the pun. To create the huge swathe of zombies, production recruited over 900 extras. This took the number of crew on set to over 1500. They also filmed in various locations across the globe, getting themselves in hot water with the Hungarian authorities. This was because hundreds of undocumented weapons arrived in the country for filming. They were supposed to be duds but were fully functional. Oops.
The ending of the final section of the film was also changed, which added $20 million. The overall final budget almost hit $200 million, which gave the head of Paramount a squeaky bum. The film was a financial success, but critics were split on whether it was a decent movie.
8. Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future is one of the greatest films from the 1980s. It was also the highest-grossing film of 1985. But it almost didn’t get off the ground. First off, the original script was rejected by every major studio. Disney even called the script ‘dirty’. Not quite sure what they meant by that, but hey-ho. It was eventually picked up by Universal and production began in 1984.
Michael J Fox was initially wanted for the role of Marty McFly, but producers for his show Family Ties wouldn’t show him the script. This meant that quite a chunk of the movie had already been filmed with Eric Stoltz in the lead role. He was eventually sacked with Fox being brought in to replace him. This ended up costing an extra $4 million as over a month’s worth of filming had to be redone. It all worked out in the end though.
9. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
This iconic film was plagued with mishaps and problems. Firstly, it went through four producers and three directors before it was even released to the public. Then there were the costumes. Looking back, they were impressive for a movie from 1939. But they ended up causing a lot of problems for the actors. Original tin man actor Buddy Epsen ended up with a severe reaction from the suit before he was replaced by Jack Haley. Scarecrow Ray Bolger ended up with permanent scars after the repeated removal of his makeup. Wicked Witch actress Margaret Hamilton also ended up with severe burns after an accident on set.
Added to these problems was the cost of the practical effects that themselves proved troublesome and added to the budget. Health and safety nowadays would have prevented a lot of those problems on set, but it still proved popular and made a healthy profit. It’s also one of the most iconic films of all time.
That’s our list of nine sci-fi movies that were almost never made, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our article about sci-fi movies that should’ve won Best Picture at the Academy Awards HERE.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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