10 Movies That Got Canceled in the Middle of Production
These flicks will never see the light of day.
It’s not unusual for a film to go through numerous changes over the course of its creation. From script revisions to recastings, there’s a lot that can happen between the time a movie is pitched to when it finally hits theaters. But on some rare occasions, those changes are so drastic that it can bring a film to a screeching halt in the middle of its production.
Although it’s never ideal to shut down a movie once the cameras are rolling, sometimes the on-set issues are so extreme, that things couldn’t possibly move forward. From major budgeting issues to location challenges, films like “Superman Lives,” and, more recently, “Batgirl,” have gotten the ax long after production began. While it’s surely disheartening to everyone behind the scenes, it’s also disappointing to fans who will never get to see the flick on the big screen.
Find out which films got canceled in the middle of production…
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“Batgirl” was nearly completed when Warner Bros. Discovery recently pulled the plug on the film. While fans were shocked by the news, the company explained that the decision “reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” noting that the cancellation had nothing to do with star Leslie Grace.
“I am proud of the love, hard work and intention all of our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film over 7 months in Scotland. I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process! To every Batgirl fan – THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, ‘my own damn hero!'” Leslie wrote on Instagram.
2. “Superman Lives”
In the late 90s, Nicolas Cage was set to star in the next “Superman” movie, which was set to be directed by Tim Burton and written by Kevin Smith. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. dropped the film while it was reportedly in the middle of pre-production — and by that time, some scenes with Nicolas had reportedly already been shot. While it’s not completely clear what exactly led to the film’s demise, there was said to be a behind-the-scenes clash about the creative control of the film. After years of rewrites and redesigns, Warner Bros. chose to ditch the film completely.
“They hired Tim per my request, and then they shut the whole thing down. That’s always been both a positive and a negative to me. It’s a positive in that it left the character, and what Tim and I might have gotten up to, in the realm of imagination — which is always more powerful than that is concrete. And a negative in that I think it would have been special,” Nicolas said.
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3. “Broadway Brawler”
“Broadway Brawler” was 20 days into filming when it was shut down by Disney. The romantic sports comedy was set to star Bruce Willis as a past-his-prime hockey player but unfortunately, the actor reportedly did not get along with director Lee Grant. When tensions rose between Bruce and Lee, the director, along with much of the rest of the crew, were fired. Bruce, who was also serving as a producer on the project, attempted to bring in director Dennis Dugan, but he didn’t last long on the set. Despite millions having been spent, the entire production was eventually shut down.
4. “Spider-Man 4”
There was originally supposed to be one more “Spider-Man” movie starring Tobey Maguire but it never made it to theaters. The film was fully written and cast but when director Sam Raimi backed out of the project because he felt he couldn’t make its summer release date, things took a turn. Instead of moving forward with the film, Sony opted to create a reboot, and “The Amazing Spider-Man” was eventually made.
“I am so proud of what we accomplished with the Spider-Man franchise over the last decade. Beyond the films themselves I have formed some deep and lasting friendships. I am excited to see the next chapter unfold in this incredible story,” Tobey told Deadline at the time.
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5. “Revenge Of The Nerds”
After the initial success of “Revenge Of The Nerds” and its sequels, the franchise was set to get a reboot in the early 2000s. Director Kyle Newman signed on to helm the film which had cast Adam Brody, Katie Cassidy, and Jenna Dewan to star — but it never got completed. After just two weeks of shooting, the college where a third of the movie was going to be filmed dropped out, reportedly due to the “raunchy nature of the project.” After attempting to shoot at other nearby colleges, the decision was made to call it quits and figure out a new plan. However, when much of the cast was unable to rearrange their schedule, the film was shut down permanently.
6. “My Best Friend’s Birthday”
Quentin Tarantino’s very first film never made it to the big screen. Back in the 80s, Quentin directed, co-wrote, co-produced and starred in “My Best Friend’s Birthday,” which followed a young man who gets dumped on his birthday. The low-budget flick was shot in pieces over the course of a few years but things all went wrong in the editing room. After several rolls of film were accidentally destroyed, Quentin decided that he was disappointed with the overall quality of the movie and decided not to finish it. He edited together roughly half of what he had shot into a collection of scenes he did like and chose to scrap the rest.
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7. “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”
“The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” may have hit theaters in 2018 but prior to the film being released, there was actually an original version that got scrapped. The project was first announced in 1998, and was set to star Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort. Unfortunately, things began going wrong as soon as filming began. On the first day of shooting, jets at a nearby air base caused sound problems, rendering the audio unusable. Then, the next day, a storm flooded the set, ruining equipment and reshaping the landscape. While the set eventually dried up, Jean was hospitalized with a back injury. When it became clear that he was going to be unable to return, the production was canceled.
8. “Something’s Got To Give”
In the 1960s, Marilyn Monroe was set to star in the comedy “Something’s Got To Give” but production got off to a rocky start. The script was reportedly constantly being re-written mid-shoot amid clashes between Marilyn and director George Cukor. The actress, who was in ill health, was eventually fired from the film until her co-star Dean Martin demanded that she remain a part of the cast. While she was reinstated, things took another turn when Marilyn passed away, causing production to be permanently shut down.
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9. ”Midnight Rider”
The Gregg Allman biopic ”Midnight Rider” was just one day into shooting when a tragic accident left one crew member dead and several others injured. The accident occurred while the crew was filming on an operating railroad and a train struck the set while traveling at over 90 mph. Filming was put on hold and a criminal investigation was opened against director Randal Miller, producer Jody Savin, executive producer Jay Sedrish, and first assistant director Hillary Schwartz. They were found guilty and charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass, although charges against Jody were later dropped. The movie never resumed filming.
Gary Oldman’s first foray into the film industry didn’t quite work out. In 1982, he was cast in “Gossip” but before the movie could make it to the big screen, it got shut down. The project’s financial backers, the Martini Foundation, were reportedly unable to provide the money they had promised to director Don Boyd’s production company and things could not move forward.
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