“World War Z” will in all likelihood be looked back on as an important turning point in the narrative of bad buzz prematurely equating to a flop. It’s an interesting case study for studios trying to turn back the tide on troubled productions. These days, with transparency and information as available as it is, bad buzz can severely hurt a film. Look at “Gangster Squad” (delayed and then had its ending reshot), “Battleship” (delayed, looked like Michael Bay at sea) or “John Carter” (delayed, had a title changes, suffered from a terrible marketing campaign). These are three recent films that only reinforced the traditional narrative — these movies are troubled, therefore they’re going to suck.
But Brad Pitt’s intense, thinking man’s zombie movie proved to be a big hit this weekend, becoming the star’s biggest box-office opening to date and coming in second only after the four-quadrant friendly “Monsters University.” Yet, somehow, “World War Z,” with its whispers of director/actor fights, rewrites, reshoots and a generally cursed production, managed to outlive its snakebitten reputation. By following the conventional wisdom of the Hollywood narrative, “World War Z,” should have been, by all rights, a huge and expensive, colossal flop. Instead, it’s already over $100 million worldwide, looking like it will have strong legs and while it’s doubtful it will recoup, Paramount is already looking at potential sequels.
Part of the film’s rehabilitation was a canny transparency job. Letting in reporters like Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly was part of allowing the media in early, and this made for good, juicy copy and high awareness. Secondly, Paramount held early screenings for critics and pop-up screenings with Brad Pitt all over the country which started good word of mouth buzz. With the film defying the odds, we thought we’d look back at five movies that survived their bad buzz and another five that followed their trajectories right into the bottom of the box-office dumpster. Keep in mind, this isn’t simply movies that endured a difficult production, but rather those whose difficulties spilled over into the public and had to overcome the odds or simply pay the piper.
5 Troubled Film Productions That Overcame Bad Buzz
“Apocalypse Now” (1979)
How Did It Begin: Way back during Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Rain People,” George Lucas and Steven Spielberg encouraged their friend and filmmaker John Milius to write a Vietnam War film. This turned into an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Hearts of Darkness.” At one point called, “The Psychedelic Soldier” and a project Lucas toyed with directing, Milius actually approached the screenplay as a dark comedy. Lucas would go on to make his green lit “Star Wars” and Coppola was eventually bitten by the “Apocalypse Now” bug. A Coppola fresh off “The Godfather II,” could make anything he wanted and was determined to make the film.
What Went Wrong? Everything. Perhaps the granddaddy of cursed productions, “Apocalypse Now” went off the rails fast and its troubles are now legendary. A film ostensibly about madness, arguably the crew went down the same river into hell that the story did. “We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane,” Coppola said. First he had to recast his lead Harvey Keitel after just a few weeks of filming with Martin Sheen, essentially forcing him to start over. Several mistakes were made along the way, including heavily rewriting Milius’ script day-by-day during the production and keeping faith in the mercurial Marlon Brando, who was paid an exorbitant $3.5 million for a month’s work (and showed up shockingly overweight). More troubles came when hard-partying Sheen suffered a heart attack, and inclement weather and difficulties with the Philippine government, who took back the attack helicopters they loaned, mid-shoot, to go and fight an actual war. All this exacerbated an already bad situation. What was intended to be a 14-week shoot, spiralled on for months and on May 21, 1977, the film wrapped principal photography, five days short of a year after they started. Coppola who had invested several millions of his own funds was on the precipice of complete financial ruin, and contemplating suicide.
When The Press Got Hold Of It: Rumors of “Apocalypse Now” has spiraled into the press to the point that it was becoming a well-known public joke, with even cartoons in major U.S. papers mocking the film and asking, would it ever finish filming?
What Happened In The End? Despite the mountain of bad press and being the butt of all jokes, “Apocalypse Now” bounced off the ropes and rallied hard. A three-hour, work-in-progress screening at Cannes was the first salvo in helping salvage the film’s reputation and this was cemented when “Apocalypse Now” won the coveted Palme d’Or prize. Coppola’s film earned itself 8 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Robert Duvall) and Best Adapted Screenplay although it would only go on to win Best Cinematography (Vittorio Storaro) and Best Sound (Walter Murch). But history has more than validated the picture; while “Kramer Vs. Kramer” is a fine picture and took most of the major awards that year, “Apocalypse Now” is regarded as a defining masterpiece of the golden ‘70s of filmmaking, seen as an all-time classic of cinema up there with “Jaws,” “2001” and the likes. If you want whole down and dirty story, Eleanor Coppola’s “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” is a must watch documentary.
How Did It Begin: Having already directed “The Terminator” parts 1 and 2, “Aliens,” “The Abyss” and “True Lies,” James Cameron’s films were becoming bigger and bigger and a challenge was something the hubristic director could never live down. Seeing the “Titanic” story as the Mount Everest of shipwrecks, Cameron was soon hooked, writing a screenplay and making this romance disaster his next project.
What Went Wrong? Cameron’s always been the proto-Michael Bay of directors, loud and demanding. And while directing the epic scope of “Titanic,” Cameron lost his cool more than once. While effects were important, massive sets were built (one costing $40 million) with thousands of extras making for an extremely big operation to manage. But Cameron even had to film the infamous Kate Winslet nude scene first because many of these massive sets weren’t ready when filming began. Water played a huge and dangerous part as well, with actors fearing for their lives during the long and labored sequences when the Titanic sank. Cameron ran an “militaresque” operation to keep the movie on schedule and production, but the film’s budget still ballooned to over $200 million — the most expensive film ever made at that time (this was also minus the marketing and promotion). While Cameron was unapologetic about his demanding style, his tactics backfired and one evening an angry crew member put PCP into the soup that Cameron and several other crewmembers ate, sending several people to the hospital.
When The Press Got Hold Of It: With a release pushed from July to December, it didn’t take long for the press to get ahold of the disaster-in-the-making production of Titanic. Entertainment Weekly did a cover story on its various woes in November of 1997 and much of Hollywood was seemingly just waiting for the film to fail. Cameron battled with Fox over the spiraling budgets and running time and struggled to get it down to a manageable 3 hours (3 hrs 14 minutes was the final cut). Even the press in 1997 knew the film had to be a megahit just to break even. Cameron threatened to quit if Fox changed a hair on the film’s head and then said they’d have to kill him if they wanted to see that happen. Rumor had it there was a razor blade taped to the editing suite with a note attached that read, “only use if film sucks.” “There’s no other way to look at it. It’s a great battle. A battle between Business and Aesthetics,” Cameron told EW.
What Happened In The End? Defying the odds and then some, the David and Goliath story of Cameron vs. the studio vs. the skeptical media world couldn’t have been written any bigger and better. “Titanic” went on to become the highest grossing film of all time and it held that record for 12 years until it was finally bested by Cameron’s next epic, “Avatar.” “Titanic” would sweep the Oscars the following year, earning 14 nominations, winning 11 including Best Picture and Best Director. Cameron’s unwavering vision had been validated to the hilt, but it he would wait almost 10 years before he began working on “Avatar” in earnest.
How Did It Begin: After years of deep-sea diving, and directing undersea exploratory documentaries like “Aliens of the Deep,” and “Ghosts of the Abyss,” “Avatar” was announced in 2005, then known as “Project 880” — and Cameron was envisioning a trilogy almost from the beginning. Melding his love for science fiction, environmentalism and technology, Cameron saw “Avatar” as a digital revolutionary step forward, but delayed the film for several years so technology would catch up.
What Went Wrong? Not that much, as the press or public wasn’t really concerned other than the fact that “Avatar” shot in 2007 and wouldn’t arrive in theaters until the end of December 2009. Buy even so the press and even the public were largely kept in the dark, and there was nary a set photo or any indication of how the film’s production was going until very late in the game. And this perhaps was by design after Cameron’s “Titanic” experience.
When The Press Got Hold Of It: Similarly delayed (due in the summer, eventually released at Christmas), as the media is wont to do whispers began with the impatient speculation of “what could be wrong here?” “Avatar” was held under lock and key for months, but when the first trailer arrived — concurrent with a 15 minute sizzle reel at a specially ticketed event on giant Imax screens around the planet to build buzz — much of the press was dismayed, asking, “We waited two years for this?” The New York Times wrote an article about the mixed press reception and even quoted The Playlist, with our post saying: “This is supposed to be the game changer this year? Maybe it does look astonishing in 3D and on the big screen, but it practically looks comical in this Internet-trailer form.” Various movie websites likened it to disasters like “Delgo” and “Dungeons & Dragons” and the bad buzz began, even spawning Hitler’s infamous reaction to the “bad trailer” news.
What Happened In The End? “Avatar” went on to become the highest grossing film of all time. $2.8 billion and counting and it doesn’t look like that record’s going to be eclipsed any time soon, though Cameron is working on two sequels simultaneously. Nominated for 9 Academy Awards (including Picture and Director), the narrative shifted to Cameron and his ex wife Kathryn Bigelow‘s awards season film, “The Hurt Locker.” Suffice to say that little Iraq war indie took the big prizes and “Avatar” had to be satisfied with three technical awards.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003)
How Did It Begin: Disney begins developing a script based on their Pirates theme park ride, despite the fact that the box office failure of “The Country Bears” makes CEO Michael Eisner deeply skeptical of all Disney films based on theme park rides. Jerry Bruckheimer originally rejects the script in the early aughts, but brings screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio on board who institute a supernatural element that gets him and everyone else excited.
What Went Wrong? Disney worred and second guessed almost every aspect of the film, and the subtitle “The Curse of the Black Pearl” was only added at the the eleventh hour, because Disney finally grew to have confidence in the movie and that it would spawn a series of successful sequels. Though some say they only added the title to distance the project from the theme park ride it was based upon. As recounted in James B. Stewart’s “Disney War,” Disney head Michael Eisner was unhappy with the project from the beginning, and his doubts didn’t cease once superstar producer Jerry Bruckheimer and talented director Gore Verbinski became attached, insisting that the budget be slashed and references to the ride be toned down or removed altogether. Moreover, Johnny Depp was an untested box-office star and his fey, feral and overly adorned take on Captain Jack Sparrow infamously made Disney very nervous (the star to his credit said, “This is my take on the character, if you don’t like it, fire me” and the studio let him have his way). The project was also one of Disney’s first PG-13 films in many years and this also made the conservative studio anxious.
When The Press Got Hold Of It: Based off a theme park ride and a genre that had not been successful in forever (1995’s “Cutthroat Island” was a huge flop at the time), the press didn’t need to hear of production troubles and were skeptical about the film from the get-go.
What Happened In The End? ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’ became a huge hit with even critics unexpectedly liking the film and it became the 4th highest grossing film of 2003, spawned even successful sequels and with a fifth coming in 2015, the ‘Pirates’ series has grossed $3.7 billion worldwide. It also turned Johnny Depp from oddball character actor into bonafide international A-list star.
“The Bourne Identity” (2002)
How Did It Begin: Movie studios had been trying to make “The Bourne” series into a franchise for decades (one version with Burt Reynolds almost happened in the ‘80s) and indeed a Richard Chamberlain-lead TV version happened in the late ’80s (watch it here). This version started as a passion project for “Swingers” director Doug Liman who spent two years securing rights from Warner Bros. In fact, he was so impassioned, that when he was tipped off about the rights about to lapse, Liman optioned them from Ludlum himself, flying to the author’s home in Montana to secure them just days after he had earned his aviation license.
What Went Wrong? Everything.
‘Identity’ was a textbook example of a production gone haywire. “Oh man, nobody
was more surprised than me,” screenwriter Tony Gilroy told us about the troubled production last year.
“It really was a very dire situation, the key participants in the film were the
people who were most shocked at its success.” So what happened exactly? Liman
fighting with Universal every step of the way, going rogue several time and
shooting extra scenes he was told he had no budget for.
“Universal hated me,” Liman said. “I had an
archenemy in the studio. They were trying to shut me down. The producers were
bad guys.” Hampered with daily rewrites that Gilroy had to fax into an
indecisive Liman, the project was doubly hurt by the fallout of 9/11. Delayed
nine months (the film was originally due September 7, 2011), the nature of political spy movies with
action changed after that fateful day and the producers decided one of the
major explosion sequences in the ending had to be dropped. This meant more
extensive reshoots and rewrites and rumors that Liman had been fired and Frank
Marshall took over the reshoots (all of the movie’s troubles are much more deeply detailed in this 10th Anniversary piece we did last year).
When The Press Got Hold Of It: Almost all of the above was well
known to the press as this 2002 Wall Street Journal review attests.
What Happened In The End? It became a massive worldwide hit
and spawned three sequels with more in the works. “The word on Bourne was that it
was supposed to be a turkey,” Damon said in a
GQ interview a few years ago. “It’s very rare that a movie comes out a year
late, has four rounds of reshoots, and it’s good.”
5 Troubled Film Productions That Didn’t Overcome
Their Bad Buzz
“Heaven’s Gate” (1980)
How Did It Begin: Given the critical and commercial
success of “The Deer Hunter” — five Academy Awards, including Best Picture,
Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Walken — Michael
basically given a blank check for his next ambitious project.
What Went Wrong? Giving a hubris-filled,
feeling-infallible director carte blanche and letting him run wild with it.
We’ve detailed a lot of the production problems on “Heaven’s Gate” here, but the short version is that it essentially boils down to a toxic combination of ego and cockiness. Cimino
amounts of money on the dumbest kind of expenditures like rebuilding massive, entire sets, costing thousands and thousands of dollars, simply because he didn’t like the way
two houses were built next to each other. (Yes that really happened).
Endless retakes trying to make everything thusly perfect, also helped the cost balloon way
over budget, as did an extensive post-production and editing process.
When The Press Got Hold Of It: Cimino previewed a work print for
executives at United Artists that reportedly ran a staggering five hours and
twenty-five minutes, and word of its overages were already beginning
to trickle out. The 1980 premiere in November was by all accounts a flat out
failure. New York Times critic Vincent
Canby panned the
film, calling it “an unqualified disaster,” comparing it to “a forced four-hour walking
tour of one’s own living room.” Suffice to say its idyllic pace and long,
take-its-time sprawl wasn’t really widely appreciated.
What Happened In The End? One of the biggest and most notorious box–office bombs of all time, “Heaven’s Gate” became the poster child for film
productions run amok and is seen as being part of the downfall of the short
lived ‘70s American New Wave (by the time the ‘80s hit, all these young
directors were having major flops, some like Cimino, Bogdanovich, et al, never
recovered). Those disastrous previews effectively shut down the film fast and
while a “director’s cut” was screened a year later it too was panned with Roger Ebert calling it, a “scandalous
cinematic waste.” The movie was also notoriously responsible for the downfall
of United Artists
movie studio and it spawned “Final Cut,” the ironically titled book by Steven Bach, VP in charge of production of UA
at the time, wherein he lamented the film’s problems and giving his director
free reign. That said, a recent restoration that screened at the Venice Film Festival and was issued on the Criterion Collection has helped boost its critical standing, though it still remains a commercial trainwreck.
“Terminator Salvation” (2009)
How Did It Begin: Someone with the ill-conceived
idea of a sort of quasi future prequel of the “Terminator” franchise as directed by McG.
What Went Wrong? Mostly everything, though
convincing both Christian Bale to star (or co-star? part of the movie’s problem) and
Jonathan Nolan to
rewrite the film on set were admittedly valiant attempts to make some smart
When The Press Got Hold Of It: There were lawsuits in pre-production that didn’t bode
well, but nothing could prepare the press or public for the very nasty and
expletive-filled outburst that was surreptitiously recorded, and then
subsequently leaked, of Christian Bale ripping into cinematographer Shane Hurlbut for walking on set during a take
(admittedly, this is total greenhorne move). McG tried to take the blame for
it, saying he had overworked and exhausted Bale that day, but the damage seemed
to be done.
What Happened In The End? ‘Salvation’ happened. The truth is Bale and Hurlbut squashed their beef quickly
and shot for a month afterwards, but perhaps it was an overall indication of
Bale’s frustration of working on a movie that obviously didn’t seem to be
clicking at any point of the production. The proof of that panned out in the
movie: a mostly humorless, drab, unfun spin on the “Terminator” franchise that
somehow didn’t kill the series entirely (a fifth iteration is in the works with
producers Megan and David Ellison and Arnold Schwarzenegger back on board).
How Did It Begin: A script by David Twohy was
conceived as a kind of waterlogged version of “The Road Warrior,” with an earth consumed by
water and Kevin Costner and his “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” director Kevin Reynolds teamed up to bring the script to
What Went Wrong? Literally everything. Movies shot
on water are notoriously difficult and “Waterworld” was no exception:
it almost instantly got behind schedule and stayed there. Costner nearly
drowned on at least one occasion and his stunt double was nearly lost at sea.
The script was constantly going through overhauls, with “Buffy the
writer Joss Whedon
being brought out to the Hawaii location, an experience he later described as “seven weeks of
hell.” The relationship between Costner and Reynolds frayed to the point
that Reynolds stormed off the movie more than two weeks before principle
photography was scheduled to wrap (rumor has it Costner directed those two
weeks). The budget ballooned to $175 million, which made it the most expensive
movie of all time (at the time). People began referring to it as “Kevin’s
Gate” or “Fishtar,” in reference to those other infamous
When The Press Got Hold Of It: In September 1994 a damning
portrait of the production was issued in the Los Angeles Times that described the cost overages
and organizational turmoil that had swallowed “Waterworld.” From then on out it was the
butt of many Hollywood jokes and the basis for endless conjecture and rumor. At
the time the piece ran, the film was “around $135 million and is already
two weeks behind schedule.” Sources for the piece described the production as
“a runaway train under water.” Things didn’t get better, with every
new revelation spoken about in hushed, can-you-believe-it? tones.
What Happened In The End? While “Waterworld” was
by no means a smash it did end up making its money back after you factor in
things like home video and the merchandising drummed up by the long running
“Waterworld” stunt show at Universal Studios. Some critics (including
even expressed a begrudging appreciation and the film has become something of a
cult favorite in later years. There’s even plans for some kind of Syfy Channel
remake. Bafflingly, Costner followed up “Waterworld” with another
dreary post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie called “The Postman” (which he also directed),
which fared much worse than “Waterworld,” and eventually he and
Reynolds made amends and then crafted last year’s great cable miniseries “Hatfields
“The Brothers Grimm” (2005)
How Did It Begin: Terry Gilliam coming off the
critical admiration but box-office failure of “Fear & Loathing In Las
Vegas” picks his next project.
What Went Wrong? Maybe problems began when Terry
Gilliam decided to direct a script by Ehren Kruger (“Transformers: Revenge
of the Fallen,”
and “Reindeer Games” not exactly being the best movies or screenplays of all time to
put it mildly). But really, once things got moving on set, the problems started. Dimension/Miramax
Films took over
the movie from MGM when production was already on location in Prague and the meddling
started immediately. “Usually
my battles are when I finish a film, but this one got off to some very bad
beginnings,” Gilliam told the New York Times of the notoriously hands on
Harvey Weinstein who made him recast Samantha Morton with Lena Headey. Miramax tinkered and fucked with
Gilliam’s cut to the point that the movie was delayed 10 months — it began production in 2003 and didn’t arrive in theaters until 2005 — and Harvey Scissorhands was on full display. “He just had a different view
of the film,” Gilliam told the Times. And by the time the
movie was completed, “the division was so extreme we’re talking about two
When The Press Got Hold Of It: The problem was ‘Grimm’ was
delayed for so long, Gilliam’s aforementioned quotes came out when he was
discussing his next movie, the indie “Tideland” that arrived in U.S. theaters only a few months after
Grimm. So the majority of
the world knew that a compromised effort was waiting in the wings, unfortunately. “I’m used to riding roughshod over studio executives,”
Gilliam explained to Time Magazine, “but the
Weinsteins rode roughshod over me.” Other outrageous Weinstein moves: they fired Gilliam’s
longtime DP Nicola Pecorini after six weeks, they nixed a funny nose Damon was
supposed to wear and things got so heated that production shut down for 2 weeks
midway through shooting. “I’ve never been in a situation like that,” Damon said in 2005. “Terry was spitting rage at
the system, at the Weinsteins. You can’t try and impose big compromises on a
visionary director like him. If you try to force him to do what you want
creatively, he’ll go nuclear.”
What Happened In The End? The Weinsteins’ botched and
compromised effort was released in August 2005 to little fanfare. The movie was
met with mixed reviews at best and only grossed $37 million in the U.S. off a $80 million
dollar budget. But you know, it grossed just over $100 million globally and
thus is Gilliam’s biggest box-office film to date.
“Last Action Hero” (1993)
How Did It Begin: At the time, Arnold
known for his hyper-violent blockbusters like “Terminator 2: Judgment
Day,” was looking
to enter the more family-friendly arena. Along with his “Predator” director John McTiernan, they
decided to create a sweetly family-friendly, Capra-esque action comedy (Arnold
called it the “ultimate kid’s fantasy” in the press notes) that was
based off a spoofy spec script called “Extremely Violent.”
What Went Wrong? Basically, everything that could
go wrong, did go wrong. The script went through a platoon of highly paid screenwriters (among them: Shane Black and William Goldman) with different opinions on what the
story should be and how it should be told, with each iteration violently
clashing with the version that came before it. The studio set an unreasonable
release date of less than a year after production formally got underway, which
was unheard of at the time given the complex visual effects involved (not to
mention the constantly-evolving screenplay). Schwarzenegger was given complete control over every aspect of the film, at
one point sending back the film’s poster to be redone because he wanted his
hair to be “flowing.” By all accounts the shoot was absolute misery
and a reported test screening ranked so low that the test cards were destroyed
instead of reported to the studio (last minute reshoots only made things
messier.) When the movie was finally released, a number of dumb-ass marketing
ploys (including an ad that would be part of a NASA rocket launch) failed to
garner attention, despite a number of lucrative tie-ins and an incredibly
catchy AC/DC song on the soundtrack. Oh, and it didn’t help that “Last
Action Hero” opened shortly after some little movie called “Jurassic
When The Press Got Hold Of It: The press was there almost from
the movie’s inception, with Claudia Eller reporting in her “Dish”
column in Variety in August 1992 that the movie was having script issues and
Arnold and McTiernan were pleading directly to William Goldman to come onboard.
Since the movie’s inception, every mishap was lovingly chronicled. At one point
then a freelancer working for the Los Angeles Times, was threatened by Columbia after he reported about a disastrous test screening
of the movie. (It turned out that Wells was reporting on a screening of “Rising
Whoops.) The bad buzz became so deafening that the studio was forced to issue a
press release stating that the movie would make its intended release date of
June 18th. If you have to issue a press release just to make sure
people know your movie is going to come out on time, it’s pretty bad.
What Happened In The End? It tanked. Big time. It was a colossal critical bomb (a line from Vincent Canby’s incredibly bitchy New York Times review: “That’s if you’re dying to
find out what a two-hour “Saturday Night Live” sketch might look like given,
reportedly, a $60 million budget, some of Hollywood’s best special-effects
people and an Arnold Schwarzenegger who wants desperately to please”) and
commercial flop that got eaten up by the “Jurassic Park” phenomena.
The final budget was never revealed but even with lucrative corporate
sponsorship and tie-ins Columbia announced a nearly $30 million write-off
(this was back in 1993). Schwarzenegger was supposedly heartbroken by his
failure to crossover (he would attempt it a few more times with things like
“Jingle All the Way“)
and then went back to the violent action movies that gave him his fame. John
McTiernan went to his Wyoming ranch for a year and when he returned did so in
the most surefire way possible: with a sequel to the film that made him, “Die
Hard with a Vengeance.”
There’s loads more examples, like “Ishtar,” obviously. The writing was on the wall
for “The Island Of Dr. Moreau” and it turned out to be a huge fiasco flop. Ditto “Battleship,” “John Carter,” the latter being probably the
tentpole to suffer from the worst bad buzz in the last five years save for
maybe “World War Z” and paying for it in spades. Even Pixar’s “Up”: remember that ridiculous New York Times article before it came out about how poorly
it was going to do commercially? Yeah, that didn’t happen. As the New York Times detailed quite well Steven
“All The King’s Men”
starring Sean Penn had its bad buzz written on the wall over a year in
advance of its release, though admittedly, it was more of an inside baseball
knowledge (was anyone clamoring for this film?). Word got out on the 2004
fiasco “The Alamo”
pretty early on and it went on to become one of the biggest box-office flops of
all time. “Green Lantern”
is sort of a
similar case, though it was mostly audiences who thought it looked terrible and
they were right. Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” went through a lot of public
problems (a version with Brad Pitt completely fell apart before filming began), but it’s
second version was something entirely different and wasn’t scrutinized as hard and is maybe a bit of a different beast. A lot of skepticism followed Mel Gibson’s ambitious, all Yucatec Maya
but the film turned out to be decent and neither flop or mega hit. Both “The
Wizard Of Oz” and
troubled productions, and while the press were aware, “bad buzz” meant
something completely different in those non-information ages. More on target is
something like 2010’s “The Wolfman” which suffered from delays and one director (Mark
Romanek) spending a year
working on the movie before he eventually left. Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret” was delayed for over five years
due to legal battles and while uneven in the eyes of many, a cult following has
formed around that indie drama.There’s obviously many more. Your thoughts or
particular “favorite”? – Rodrigo Perez and Drew Taylor