12 Delayed Movies That Were Doomed to Fail (Or Not)
The Tom Cruise–Bryan Singer collaboration Valkyrie has been dumped a second time—from this summer to this fall to the cinematic graveyard of February 2009—placing it among these mistreated movies.
12. All the King’s Men
The journey taken by Sean Penn’s adaptation of the 1946 novel—a fictional story based on the life of infamous Louisiana governor Huey Long—was as long and drawn out as the film itself. It was completed in 2005, but took until nearly the end of 2006 to finally start hitting film festivals, and then, finally, your local multiplex.
The Result: A whopping $3.8 million opening weekend and a quick dismissal from the box office.
11. DOA: Dead or Alive
A crap video game adaptation that, surprisingly, Uwe Boll had nothing to do with. DOA was completed in 2005, and released to foreign markets in 2006. It didn’t come to America—normally, the first stop for cinematic bombs—until 2007, despite the presence of stars like Jaime Pressly and…Jaime Pressly.
The Result: By the time people realized it was in theaters, it was on DVD.
10. Snakes on a Plane
Here’s what you get for listening to Internet fan boys. Owing entirely to its ludicrous title, SOAP was a Web phenomenon a full year before hitting theaters. Despite wrapping in 2005, New Line shelved it in order to reshoot scenes, adding violence and nudity (catnip to geeks). It eventually flew into theaters in August of 2006.
The Result: It grossed about half what was expected ($15 million versus a hyped-fueled projection of $30 million), officially making it a “disappointment.”
9. Alpha Dog
Though it was done in time for Sundance 2006, Alpha Dog suffered four release dates in one year due to legal issues. Since the story is a thinly veiled account of an actual crime still being tried, the lawyer for Jesse James Hollywood (real-life counterpart of the film’s lead) held up its release. The film finally saw the light of day in January 2007.
The Result: For a small-scale film it did OK. It also garnered critical praise, especially for young stars Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, and, yes, even Justin Timberlake.
8. The Brothers Grimm
Terry Gilliam’s movies are like the New York Knicks—such complete shambles it’s a marvel they exist at all. Grimm wrapped in 2004, but bounced from release date to release date until 2005. Much of the delay involved hiccups in Miramax’s merger with Disney, but even Gilliam later admitted that Grimm‘s script was poop.
The Result: Have you seen it? OK, has anyone you know seen it? Exactly.
7. The Nanny Diaries
So confident that their lighthearted tale of indentured servitude would win over Oscar voters (who totally relate to nanny abuse), the makers of The Nanny Diaries sat on it for five months. When it came out, it took the world by storm. Which is to say that, like a storm, it passed quickly and annoyed everyone during its brief stay.
The Result: A place on a lot of critics’ “Worst Films” lists, and middling box office.
6. The Alamo
When production on this Texas epic began in January 2003 (after the original director and star—Ron Howard and Russell Crowe—bailed), a Christmas 2003 release date was set in stone. Then passed in stone. Needing time to do reshoots and edit, director John Lee Hancock didn’t get it into shape until April 2004.
The Result: Sadly, it opened against horror movie juggernaut The Passion of the Christ. That, combined with it being mediocre, sent it to an early cinematic grave.
5. Lucky You
This Eric Bana–Drew Barrymore dramedy was hoping to jump on the poker craze, but didn’t know when to walk away, nor when to run. It was first due in summer 2006, but finally laid its cards down in May 2007 (poker puns!). By then, everyone realized pro poker was populated less by glamorous cads and more by fat dudes, and moved on.
The Result: Its $2.7 million opening took a huge bite out of Spider-Man 3, which premiered the same weekend.
4. Rumor Has It…
First-time director Ted Griffin was allegedly canned by “star” Kevin Costner midway through shooting in 2004. According to reports, Costner and Griffin clashed repeatedly until the noob director was replaced by Rob Reiner. Production shut down briefly, then started again. The tortured production limped into theaters in December 2005.
The Result: In the same year, this movie tanked and Jennifer Aniston’s marriage to Brad Pitt was over. So…yeah…
3. Mr. Woodcock
This comedy about an abusive gym teacher who begins dating the mother of a boy he emotionally scarred sat flaccidly on the shelf for two years before it was finally hustled into theaters with all of the embarrassed quickness of a raincoat-wearing sex offender skulking into a peep show booth.
The Result: Despite constant retooling (test audiences haven’t laughed since), it knocked The Rocky Horror Picture Show off the top spot on Susan Sarandon’s “Movie Regrets” list.
2. Blonde Ambition
Jessica Simpson’s ill-fated attempt to remake Working Girl languished for ages while dad-ager Joe Simpson leered at the poster art and pondered its fate. It was first due in August 2007, but the film then seemed destined for a straight-to-DVD mercy killing. Instead, Papa Joe had the brilliant idea to tap into Jessica’s rabid Texas following and released Blonde in eight theaters in their home state.
The Result: A box office record—just not the one they hoped for. The flick took in less than $2,000 (Not $2 MILLION, two THOUSAND), making it the lowest-grossing movie of all time. The three people who saw it consisted of a recently divorced man avoiding creditors, a homeless men looking for a quiet place to nap and Henry Hill.
1. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
The adventures of San Dimas’ favorite sons were poised to rock theaters in 1987. Then the movie’s distributor looked deep into its wallet and found it completely empty. Bill & Ted had to then wait until 1989 before securing its release. References to “1987” in the movie were even redubbed “1988” so it would seem more…timely (?).
The Result: Take heart, Valkyrie,Bill & Ted went on to be huge. It was a slow burn at the box office (eventually earning $40 million in ’80s dollars) but, more importantly, had a heavy cultural influence, inspiring slang, clothing, an animated series, a breakfast cereal, and the career prospects of Keanu Reeves.