8 Eagerly Awaited Films (Are Starting To Smell Like Failure)
Making a big-budget movie is never easy. People are regularly required to put up with insane hours, crazy weather, and Nicolas Cage. But that's all just part of the job. Sometimes, though, it's obvious that an upcoming film has been cursed by some pissed-off deity who's doing anything in its power to prevent it from being finished. There's no other possible explanation. Here are eight upcoming big-name movies that may never see the light of day -- and even if they do, everyone involved will probably wish they hadn't.
Gambit (Of The X-Men) Keeps Getting Shafted
Gambit, a 25-year veteran of the X-Men, has maybe five character traits. He throws explosive playing cards, smokes cigarettes, dresses in a questionable trench coat / pink bulletproof vest ensemble, speaks in a ludicrous Cajun accent normally reserved for talking alligators on off-brand hot sauce bottles, and spent decades pining for a Southern belle hardbody whose mutant power is "vampire skin."
"Unnnhhh, mes boules sont toujours bleues."
He's also in the same position Deadpool was in a couple of years ago: No one outside of hardcore comic fans gives much of a shit about him, but there's a famous actor who's been dying to play him in a feature film.
Yep, those are the only two things they have in common. There's absolutely nothing else.
That actor is Channing Tatum, who it seems was the one kid alive in the '90s who didn't want to punch the TV whenever Gambit opened his mouth in the X-Men cartoon. So, given how desperate the studio is for X-spinoffs, this movie has to happen at some point, right?
Nope. Even with Tatum fully onboard, the film has been turned down by at least four different directors, as if it had a contagious disease (which at least seems in-character for Gambit). When they finally scored the guy who directed Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Rupert Wyatt, the shooting date got pushed and Wyatt dropped out due to a scheduling conflict. Hell, they nearly lost Tatum himself over negotiations, and it doesn't help that the film is gonna cost way more than everyone initially thought -- a whopping $150 million, or 0.6 Dawn Of Justices. It's like Hollywood is a Rube Goldberg machine, except every part of it just kicks Gambit in the nuts.
But then, last year, all of the pieces suddenly fell in place. They had a script, a star, a director, and a large financial commitment from Fox, who wanted to make the Gambit character a cornerstone of their X-Men movies for the next several years. There was nothing stopping this movie, unless something completely unexpected came out of the blue to take Gambit's place ...
Remember how we mentioned him four paragraphs ago? That was foreshadowing.
Oh, right. The amazing success of Deadpool has led to a sequel being greenlit, and since there's only room for one wisecracking Marvel mutant, Gambit got yoinked from Fox's release schedule. But don't despair, Gambit fans (that is, Channing Tatum). Fox has to run out of other mutants eventually.
The Queen Movie Wants Freddie Mercury To Die Midway Through
Besides having a voice like a choir of angels caressing your taint, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was a perfect purveyor of the rock and roll lifestyle. Mercury's life was the kind of thing that would be perfect for a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred biopic -- which is why it's weird that Queen wants the movie to be a family-friendly flick in which he drops dead halfway through.
Please tell us the rest is about Freddie's ghost helping the others solve mysteries. Sexy mysteries.
Seriously. The band had Sacha Baron Cohen on board to play Mercury, which is a perfect fit if you want a movie about sex, drugs, and epic mustaches. Unfortunately, Cohen ended up leaving the film in 2013 when he found out that Queen wanted it to be a PG-rated movie that stripped out pretty much everything that would have made a Freddie Mercury biopic interesting. Not only that, but the band was apparently very excited about the events of the middle of the film, where Mercury would kick the bucket, leaving the entire second half to be about how Queen picked up and moved on from this horrible tragedy.
"The last half hour will be about our three-minute American Idol performance."
As Cohen so eloquently put it, "not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you see how the band carries on." He's technically incorrect, since at least three people would go see that, but still.
Now, after losing both their lead actor and their director, the band is bringing on the writer of The Theory Of Everything to rewrite the script again so it's more to their liking. Meanwhile, Queen guitarist Brian May told Rolling Stone that he was worried about Cohen's acting style overshadowing the character of Freddie Mercury. He won't have that problem with his new choice of "a motionless dummy in a coffin."
The Sonic The Hedgehog Movie Will Probably Be A Mess
With Sega in some financial trouble and nowhere near the heights of success of their heyday (roughly three years in the early '90s), it looks like they're revving up a Sonic The Hedgehog movie to try to catapult their most famous mascot back into the spotlight. The only problem is: How the hell do you make a Sonic movie? Do you base it off the games, which have been diminishing in popularity for a number of years? Do you look for inspiration in fan work, which seems to be a mix of romantic fanfic and odd fetish art?
Or do you go after the more story-oriented world of the comics, where things get ... weird?
Presented without comment.
As we've covered before, the Sonic comics are an unholy mess of convoluted storylines, cute animal characters dying horribly, and everyone making out with everyone else. Perfect material for a movie about a talking hedgehog!
But seriously, what exactly are they doing with the film? A now-deleted Facebook conversation with the writer revealed that they were aiming for a PG-13 rating, which suggests that the crazy all-out bloodbaths of the comics might be a reality. Later on, the CEO of Sega officially confirmed that it will combine "live action and animation." So to recap, it's gonna be darker than the games, and at least partially set in the real world. Why does that sound so fami--
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Quit The Sandman Movie
Discerning comic book fans dodged a giant bullet in the '90s when a film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's beloved Sandman series got cancelled. As we recently told you, producer Jon Peters wanted to turn the complex, high-concept fantasy story into a vapid punch-fest. But then in 2013, it looked like the world was finally ready for a real Sandman movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, famous movie star and comic book nerd, teamed up with screenwriter David S. Goyer and Gaiman himself to weave a script that would do the character justice.
Then the film received a new writer, and Gordon-Levitt quit literally the next business day.
What exactly was the big deal with getting a new writer? Well, JGL was adamant that this be a different style of action film. In fact, both he and Gaiman were insistent that the main character never throw a punch. So you can see how he might be concerned when Eric Heisserer, the writer of Final Destination 5, was suddenly assigned to the film.
As it turns out, this is yet another thing you can indirectly blame on Zack Snyder. Not long ago, Warner Bros. moved all of the movie adaptations of DC's Vertigo Comics (the publisher of Sandman) to New Line Cinema, probably to avoid conflict with the creation of Batman V. Superman: We Still Can't Believe This Is The Actual Title. Part of this move included some staffing changes, which is how Heisserer came to be the film's writer. Gordon-Levitt would later say that he and New Line did not see "eye to eye" on the direction the film should go in, which we take to mean "the Sandman is now going to punch all of the things."
"I'm gonna punch the shit out of her face."
Pacific Rim 2 Kicked Out Guillermo Del Toro
It's hard to argue that Pacific Rim wasn't a Guillermo del Toro pet project, despite the fact that it acquired a major cult following for kicking all of the ass forever. Still, it managed to make double its budget back, so a sequel seemed possible, especially with the G-man pushing for it so hard. Unfortunately, it ended up being put on hold for years, as two of the studios involved basically went to war with the film caught in the middle, like two parents fighting for custody of a child, or some other less depressing metaphor.
OK, guess that will do.
Film studios Legendary and Universal had a partnership for a number of years, but it seems that Universal got jealous of Legendary seeing Warner Bros. on the side with films like Kong: Skull Island. Negotiations between the two meant that Pacific Rim 2 was the one major film that got caught in the crossfire, putting its future in jeopardy even as del Toro insisted that it was "still going." Finally, in February, it was announced that the film was getting made after all, and they only had to cut out one small part of the project: del Toro himself.
"TODAY, WE ARE CANCELING THE FAN INTEREST!"
Yes, in their infinite wisdom, the studios decided that the action-packed brainchild of a single visionary director didn't really need that director's vision to succeed. And they don't need his script, either; we're getting a new one from Jon Spaihts, the writer of Prometheus, which means it's probably guaranteed to be confusing as all hell. At the least, they're getting the producer of the Daredevil TV series (Steven DeKnight) to direct it, so we should be able to enjoy some quality kaiju face-punching, even if we don't know what's going on.
The Universe Doesn't Want A New Halloween Film
To give you an idea of how long Dimension Films has been trying to get a new Halloween movie off the ground: When it was first announced, it was called Halloween 3D, because people weren't completely sick of that format yet. In early 2015, it was reported that the film was finally in the writing stages -- and they said it wasn't a reboot, a remake, or a reimagining, instead opting to call it a "recalibration." Which is code for "We just want to make a goddamned Halloween movie, leave us alone." Also, they managed to grab some writers from the Saw series, so you could expect a lot more dismemberment.
"This time, he'll wear William Shatner's actual face."
The plot would supposedly follow Michael Myers' 18-year-old kid sneaking into prison to watch daddy's execution, but then something goes wrong and Myers ends up slashing junior's (presumably sexy) friends. When the movie failed to materialize last October, the producer admitted it had been delayed, but at least it had a new title: Halloween Returns. Ignoring the fact that this is true every single year, that's a good sign of progress, and it seemed to spark the imagination of Halloween fans with Photoshop:
Michael is getting chubby from gobbling up all those pumpkins.
So we'll be enjoying high-quality stabbings in no time, right? Well, there's only one little hiccup: Dimension Films lost the rights to the franchise. That's kind of a big deal. It looks like Halloween won't be returning after all; might as well buy a bunch of candy and eat it now. At this point, we'll probably get A Madea Halloween before we get another installment of the Michael Myers saga.
Kidding. We'll definitely get A Madea Halloween first.
Nice of them to include our reaction in the movie's title.
The Crow Reboot Has Gone Through Four Directors (And Probably Hundreds Of Lawyers)
There's really no other way to put it -- the entire Crow franchise is cursed. The original book was written when the writer's fiancee was killed by a drunk driver, and then the star of the first film, Brandon Lee, was famously killed on-set by a defective gun blank (as predicted by his dad's final film). Now that Hollywood is trying to resurrect the franchise, they have unleashed the evil of The Crow unto the world once more, and the curse is working its dark magic in more annoying and bureaucratic ways.
More evidence of the curse: Heath Ledger would have been perfect for the reboot.
First off, the studio behind the film, Relativity Media, was sued by The Weinstein Company several years back in a battle over worldwide distribution rights. Relativity ended up declaring bankruptcy, which caused most of The Crow's production staff to walk off the set. They also managed to lose two different lead actors during this period alone, at which point they should have burned the script and walked away, lest they release any more of the Old Gods.
Once production was underway, things somehow got worse, with the film burning through four different directors. It took the Bond franchise six movies to get to that point.
We'd like to suggest Director Number Five.
Eventually, creative control of Relativity Media shifted to a new figure, Dana Brunetti, who looks like he's going to dump all the work done so far and start over from scratch. And all the while, producer Ed Pressman is in a legal battle with the company over the (increasingly unlikely) prequels and sequels to The Crow, because sometimes life really needs to drive a point home.
By now, making a movie about the making of The Crow movies might be both easier and more appealing to horror fans.
Star Trek: Beyond Is The Most Rushed Movie In The World
OK, we're like 90 percent sure this movie is coming out, but it still deserves a spot in this list. If you saw the trailer for Star Trek: Beyond, you probably had one of the following thoughts:
And, "Is 'Sabotage' the only Beastie Boys song that survives in the future?"
If so, you're not alone. The heavy action focus of the trailer came as quite a surprise to Simon Pegg, who wrote the damn movie in the first place. We probably should have expected it from the director of four of the Fast & Furious movies, but this is just one misstep in the production of this film, which is the cinematic equivalent of a school paper written 15 minutes before class.
The first sign of trouble was when the movie's budget got slashed (and not in the Kirk/Spock sense). Then writers Pegg and Doug Jung had to cut down the 180-page script by 45 pages and hand in the first draft only four weeks before filming was scheduled to start. That trim is at least understandable, since the only people who would watch a three-hour Star Trek movie are ... Star Trek fans, probably. Speaking of which, the studio allegedly wanted this Star Trek movie to be less "Star Trek-y," and more something-that-makes-shitloads-of-money-y.
"Can we replace the ship with dinosaurs? And all of the rest with Chris Pratt?"
Their constant demands for rewrites caused Pegg to quit the film multiple times, with only the soothing voice of J. J. Abrams bringing him back. They didn't even figure out the film's third act until they arrived in Dubai to start shooting. And now that the trailer has dropped, they are, incredibly, still doing reshoots.
Despite the obvious lack of readiness, the studio is still holding onto its July release date. Listen, J. J.: Everyone already loves The Force Awakens. You didn't have to mastermind this whole plan to make it seem even more awesome in comparison.
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