The vast majority of the films made by Hollywood aren’t good or bad, they’re just boring! However, at least some of the boring movies made by Hollywood have the good taste to entertain people through their backstory. Here are movies whose production stories are better than the actual film.
1. Treasure Planet
In the late 1980’s, directors Ron Murker and Jon Clements pitched two films to Disney’s studio head: an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “ The Little Mermaid” that removed any of the story’s darker elements and Christian themes and an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island with an outer space setting (presumably an attempt to fill the vacuum created by Star Wars).
Disney’s head, Jeffrey Katzenberg, liked the idea of “The Little Mermaid” better because it was closer to the studio’s older hits like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella. After Musker and Clements made that film, they wanted to make Treasure Island in Space, but Katzenberg convinced them to make Aladdin instead to try to hinder the success of another film on his list, The Thief and The Cobbler, which was also inspired by One Thousand and One Nights.
Then, Musker and Clements wanted to make Treasure Island in Space after Aladdin, but the studio would only allow them to if thy first made Hercules which Katzenberg felt was more marketable. Finally, after a decade of begging, Musker and Clements were allowed to make their dream project (now called Treasure Planet) with all the funds in the world at their disposal and it became the biggest bomb in Disney history.
2. Suicide Squad
There was a time, however brief, when the idea of Jared Leto playing the Joker was an intriguing possibility. One of the major disappointments of Suicide Squad was that Leto didn’t make the role his own; he just did a mediocre impression of Jack Nicholson’s Joker for the whole movie. Leto’s lazy performance is baffling in light of his behavior on the film’s set, which goes beyond the realm of method acting into the realm of severely antisocial behavior.
In an attempt to be a psychotic as the Clown Prince of Crime himself, Leto sent his co-stars a dead pig, a live rat and a box of bullets. He would also taunt his co-stars about their various childhood traumas and then blame his actions on the Joker. If Suicide Squad was a triumph, people would have seen a method to Leto’s madness. As the film has few fans, his actions were just madness.
3. Solo: A Star Wars Story
A Han Solo prequel should have been a license to print money except that it was one movie for the price of two. Solo was originally envisioned as a comedy from the directors of The Lego Movie but halfway through production, Disney became dissatisfied with its direction and hired Ron Howard to reshoot much of the film and radically re-configure its tone after it was mostly completed and the studio had spent hundreds of millions of dollar on it
The end result was that Disney essentially paid for two movies at a whopping price of $300 million, making Solo one of the most expensive films ever made despite not looking or being anymore grandiose than any other 2010s franchise film.
Disney needed Solo to become one of the greatest box office successes ever just to break even which would be no small feat given the widespread fan backlash to the previous Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. Add to that the persistent rumors that the film’s star Alden Ehrenreich had to be given acting lessons while the film was in production and the film should have been a compelling disaster but instead it just became dangerously safe and conventional.
4. Battlefield Earth
L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, published his magnum opus, Battlefield Earth. He sent a free copy to the most famous of his disciples, John Travolta, in the hope that Travolta would soon star in a film adaptation of the novel.
It took nearly two decades for him to get a studio interested in the project and the studio that was interested in making this film wasn’t interested in putting up a tremendous amount of money for it, so Travolta was left trying (and failing) to make an epic science fiction spectacle with about half the money he needed to pull it off.
Since so much time had passed since Battlefield Earth was first published, Travolta was too old to play the book’s hero, Johnny Goodboy Tyler so he instead played the villain, Terl. Travolta had no real experience playing villains and played Terl in a manner so over the top as to make Nic Cage, Tim Curry, and Vincent Price seem like masters of restraint by comparison. This vanity project did so poorly that it caused the studio that financed it to go under showing that theatres must have targeted it.
5. The Black Cauldron
The Black Cauldron was intended as a return to the glory days of Walt Disney Animation after a lackluster thirty years for the company, with its classy animation which was far above the cheap scratchy designs Disney favored for most of the 1980’s and a darker tone which might attract a new crowd. Test screenings proved it was all for naught.
The film’s sequence in which a horde of skeletal zombies attack the heroes caused numerous children in the test audience to start crying and screaming. Jeffery Katzenberg knew that this cut of the film would bomb so he angrily took the film’s negative and started editing down its scary sequences. Animation negatives aren’t supposed to be cut the way that normal film negatives are, but that didn’t stop Katzenberg, one of the most ruthless men in Hollywood.
Even Katzenberg’s efforts weren’t enough to stop the film from being a box office catastrophe and reeking in less money than the far less expensive Care Bears Movie. Disney was so embarrassed by the film’s failure that they wouldn’t release the film on VHS for years until they acquiesced to a fan campaign. Afterwards, morbid curiosity led The Black Cauldron to garner a (completely undeserved) fan following.