Development Hell

nicholas-cage-superman-lives

Few franchises have crashed and burned as spectacularly as the Superman films, which reached their nadir with 1987’s fourth installment, The Quest for Peace, which grossed barely a tenth the box office of Richard Donner’s classic origin story a decade earlier. SUPERMAN’S DIMINISHING RETURNS Superman (1978) $134M Superman II (1980) $108M Superman III (1983) $60M Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) $15M With Tim Burton’s dark, gritty Batman demolishing box office records in 1989, Warner Bros. had no reason to think audiences would respond to the brighter, more colorful Man of Steel mythos – at least, not until 1992, when DC Comics’ bestselling “The Death and Return of Superman” cycle put The Daily Planet’s most famous reporter back on the front page. In the comics (later turned into a 2007 animated film, Superman: Doomsday), Superman is killed by a creature called Doomsday, before being resurrected after a three-month publishing hiatus which became a publicity magnet. Deciding that the death-and-rebirth story merited a movie, Warner placed a full-page ad in the trade press announcing a working-titled Superman: The New Movie, with Batman producer Jon Peters at the wheel, and screenwriter Jonathan Lemkin (Lethal Weapon 4, Devil’s Advocate, Demolition Man), at the typewriter.

read more...

The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back? When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned. Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).

read more...

Wish you could watch the Frank Darabont-scripted Indiana Jones 4? Dying to see Terry Gilliam’s Watchmen? Curious as to how a ton of great scripts got passed over before Tim Burton made his remake of Planet of the Apes? “Tales From Development Hell” author David Hughes joins us to dissect why we’re fascinated with stories of flicks that were never made, explains why At The Mountains of Madness got canned and explains how the big damned system of tentpole studio production works. Download Episode #125

read more...

Every bit of movie news has to be taken with a fistful of salt. With so many moving parts, even the biggest players in the game sometimes see their work fall into the tall grass of development hell. That’s the bad news. The good news is that all of those times you shake your fist at a new project (be it remake or reboot) are warranted, but they don’t always get made. Sometimes, the stuff we’re dreading goes down in flames too. So it’s with that bittersweet spirit that we look back on a few announced projects that still haven’t been made. And might never be.

read more...

Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series of novels is like a nerd dream come true. There are so many books, so many characters, and so much story that you could spend countless hours getting lost in them. But what makes them such a beloved set of novels also makes them a hugely daunting task for a film adaptation. Despite the popularity of the series, and the name brand value of Stephen King going back for decades, in order to present the “Dark Tower” series in any sort of respectable light it would take countless millions of dollars and who knows how much screen time. When Universal green lit the series for production and announced that it would become not just a trilogy of films, but instead a trilogy of films with two television series sandwiched in between their releases, it seemed too good to be true. Never before had we seen that level of commitment to a source material or that amount of ambition put into a project. But now there are rumblings that this whole scheme might not come to pass after all. You see, that plan was made back before there was a bunch of big corporate shakeups in the world of NBCUniversal and Steve Burke was named the new CEO of the company. Such is life when the biggest movie studios are one and the same with the biggest corporations. Now everything that costs big bucks is being looked over with a new set of eyes and a […]

read more...

A lot of the details have already come to light about Luhrmann’s upcoming film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic “The Great Gatsby”. Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire are said to be in the cast as well. It has an August shooting date in Australia. It is going to be filmed in 3D. But when Vulture ran into Luhrmann at a dinner party and tried to get him to comment on the film, he kind of said it wasn’t happening. Luhrmann initially says, “I’m not doing Gatsby right now … despite what might be out there, I have made no comment about anything. So until I say it, it’s not said, you know.” In the beginning there was the word. So I guess none of the pretty concrete stuff people have been reporting about this project is true. Luhrmann has not said that he is making The Great Gatsby. Oh, but wait… the next thing he says in the interview is, “No, I’m making The Great Gatsby.” To quote Rick James, “I wouldn’t go grinding my feet on somebody’s couch like it’s something to do, I have a little more sense than that, yeah I remember grinding my feet on Eddie’s couch.”

read more...

Moon director Duncan Jones’ sophomore effort Source Code hasn’t even hit theaters yet, but he’s already talking about what he wants to do for his third film. Before he even began Source Code, Jones was trying to get producers to sign off on a script he had written called Mute. It was described as a sci-fi influenced noir with a sprawling, futuristic version of Berlin serving as the backdrop. Unfortunately, times are tough, and Jones hasn’t been able to find funding for such an off the beaten path project. He’s moving on to another pitch instead, but this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Mute. Jones told Gordon and the Whale that he is going to take the Darren Aronofsky doing The Fountain approach and produce the script as a graphic novel, “I’ve been talking to my producer today and we have decided that we’re going to release Mute as a graphic novel. Because we’ve had so many problems trying to get this film made, you know? The people who are involved with financing films have just been…shy…shy of making the script. So what we decided to do is we’re going to make a graphic novel of it, prove it…prove it to an audience that this works and maybe in the future get the chance to come back and make it.”

read more...

IAM Entertainment has reportedly signed a deal for the rights to make a movie based on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. They haven’t purchased a script that happens to be set at the parade. They aren’t making a documentary about the history of the parade. They’ve just got the rights to the parade; and now comes to busy work of finding a story to shoe-horn into it and a director to put it all together. As IAM Entertainment producer Scott Glassgold says, “We’re aiming to make a four-quadrant, family-friendly film somewhere in that Night at the Museum, Elf sweet spot.” Sounds like this Glassgold is a real artistic type. I can see why he would have wanted to get into movie making.

read more...

Earlier in the day, I typed a news post while standing up because I’d jumped out of my chair for joy. At the Mountains of Madness was finally set to go into production this summer. The record is now being corrected, and it turns out that it was false joy and pipe dreams put forth by producer Don Murphy trying to pressure an answer from Universal. That answer is no. It’s unclear why, and I’m checking with Universal for their side of the story, but the assumption seems to be that the R-rating and cost were a bit too much for them to handle. Instead, Guillermo Del Toro might move on to deliver a PG-13 big-budget piece of work called Pacific Rim that was written by Clash of the Titans writer Travis Beacham and deals with the world defending itself from alien monsters in the future. Del Toro and monsters is a good fit, and it’s set up at Legendary, but its high concept sounds eerily familiar. Like, say, Battleship. Or Battle: Los Angeles. That’s a shallow assessment, but that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect.

read more...

There’s a lot of talk about so-called “geek properties” and their appeal. Depending on who you believe, anything the nerdy class is into has a pass directly through Hollywood. With that said, Dune is struggling to make it off the ground. Paramount loses the rights to the Frank Herbert classic in Spring of 2011, and they find themselves without a director at the moment. It was all set with Pierre Morel, but apparently the Taken director has taken his talent elsewhere. All in all, it’s starting to look more and more like development of the 1980s version. It just needs to swing through three or four more directors before settling down to a nightmarish shoot. Look for news of its definitive death or complete resurrection soon. This is only one victim of the tangled dance of rights holders and studios, and you owe it to yourself to grumble in frustration/sigh from relief about this situation, and then read the great piece over at Deadline on the subject.

read more...

Fans hoping that Terry Gilliam might have finally gotten The Man Who Killed Don Quixote off the ground can hang their heads in disbelief today. The director announced to Variety that financing fell through a month and a half ago. He’s still got Robert Duvall and Ewan McGregor on board, is dreaming the impossible dream, and he’s looking for more financing, so if you have a few spare bucks… If not, at least go watch Lost in La Mancha in mourning.

read more...

Gears of War Movie

According to the LA times, New Line’s Gears of War adaptation has stalled and is set to be re-jiggered with a lower budget and new director.

read more...

trickrtreat-header

Trick ‘r Treat is a film of various, entwined Halloween-related vignettes that unfold into one small town’s ultimate nightmare. This is the story of its trailer.

read more...

Watchmen Banner!!!

In 1986, “Watchmen” was published as a limited series comic book. Twenty-three years later, it’s finally being released as a film. Here’s a look at what it took to get here.

read more...

Samarkand

An adaptation of Craig Murray’s “Murder in Samarkand” with Michael Winterbottom at the helm and Steve Coogan in the starring role is sadly stalled indefinitely.

read more...

Johnny Depp is Paul Kemp in Rum Diary

Get your two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, and salt shaker half-full of cocaine ready. Depp is going Gonzo again soon.

read more...

narnia_header1

Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media have confirmed that for budgetary and logistical reasons the Burbank-based studio is not exercising its option to co-produce and co-finance The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with Walden.

read more...

The Justice League of America

In a recent appearance on a morning talk show in Sidney, Australia, director George Miller revealed that he is no longer involved in the Warner Bros. production known as Justice League: Mortal.

read more...

Over the years I did manage to sneak a peek at several of these illustrated books, and one series in particular caught my eye. That series was Preacher, and between the bright, breathing art of Steve Dillon and the sharp and hilarious writing of Garth Ennis.

read more...

The Justice League of America

While director George Miller and actor Jay Baruchel continue to talk about this mysterious cluster known as the Justice League movie, we explore why we think Warner Bros. should just ditch it and go another direction.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3