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The live-action Neon Genesis Evangelion movie was originally announced in 2003 by ADV Films but nothing has come of it since then, apparently due to the insane costs of pulling the series off correctly in live-action compared to actual interest in such an endeavor. The collapse of ADV and the general decay of the American anime market didn't help it, either. Who's actually still involved remains up in the air, but the last time they said anything about it, the producer of Appleseed Ex Machina, John Woo, was a producer and they were looking for more. That was in 2008.
Apparently, the producers got so far as that they needed Studio Gainax to hand over the rights so they could finally get moving... and that's when things fell apart. When ADV went to buy the rights they had optioned, Gainax backed out, citing certain unfulfilled conditions. The producers lost their window with the studio (at least for the moment), and ADV is now suing Gainax over the rights. This happened Q3 2011, and no word has been heard since.
Battle Royale. In June 2006, producers Neil Mortiz and Roy Lee announced that they had the greenlight to go ahead with the movie, which would, indeed, retain the "high schoolers killing each other" theme, and that New Line Cinema had given a tentative release date of 2008. Aside from the Virginia Tech Massacre making New Line nervous about the themes, they still haven't acquired the rights to make the film in the first place and apparently don't wish to try. A television adaptation was planned for The CW, but was later scrapped.
The American live-action adaptation of Wicked City.
Hellsing. A while back, there was a trailer, but nothing more has been even whispered about it. Technically, it was a concept trailer, used to pitch the idea to studios to get them interested in the project. The girl playing Seras in the trailer was a hired model. However, the company developing the film pulled the trailer from their site and Youtube, indicating things may have not gone in favour of the project.
Due to rights issues between the American rights holders (they own the names) and the Japanese rights holders (they own the likenesses). This seems to have been settled and there were rumors that Paramount and Relativity would team up on an adaptation back in Spring 2011 but nothing has been heard since.
There is little news of the American adaptation of Death Note which was said to be released in 2011 (with a rumor around that the protagonist would be played by Zac Efron). A director had just been announced, so it might be a year or two before production starts.
In July 2014, the previously chosen director Shane Black left the project, citing Creative Differences (read: he wanted to stay more faithful to the manga; the studio wanted to change everything). The current director attached to the project is Gus Van Sant.
The live-action Cowboy Bebop film was announced sometime between 2005-2007, but nothing has come of it since. Keanu Reeves (who is supposed to playing the lead character, Spike Spiegel) has given conflicting statements about his involvement in it.
The AKIRA live-action film is quickly becoming this, with more and more prospective producers passing on the project. Pretty much every young actor in Hollywood has been considered for roles in the movie.
There was talk around 2008-9 of a live-action remake of Ghost in the Shell, possibly produced or directed by Steven Spielberg, but he seems to have passed on it in favour of other projects. In 2014 Rupert Sanders (director of ''Halo ODST live action adverts)was rumoured to be directing the adaptation.
A Battle Angel film with director James Cameron. On again off again with rumors as far back as the early 2000s including supposed casting calls for a lithe girl who could move like a cat ... then nothing. Then he said he was waiting for the technology to catch up to his vision. Then Avatar. Is he even working on it still? Who knows.
Word of God has stated that after he was done with Avatar he still did not believe the technology was ready yet. What is he waiting for? Holodecks?!
A Robotech live action film was announced in 2008 by Harmony Gold and Warner Bros. A certain Tobey Maguire was said to be producing it. Also heavily hyped was the announcement that Lawrence Kasdan (yes, the same one who wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Bodyguard) had written a script. Things were looking up until the fans were informed that Mr. Kasdan's script was handed over to Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (writers of Smallville and Herbie Fully Loaded) for a rewrite. The script was then handed to another writer named Tom Rob Smith for yet another rewrite. Just given the questionable sanity involved in not just going with a script by a lauded screenwriter (let alone entrusting it to a two mediocre writers and then one nobody to "rewrite") Robotech fans are no longer optimistic that this film will be worth seeing if it is ever made.
Star Blazers was originally licensed by Disney. Somehow the script was leaked over the internet and the feedback was universally negative. Their treatment would have included almost none of the the characters from the series and would have turned the Star Force into a ragtag band of misfits. The Yamato/Argo would have been renamed Arizona (allegedly after the WWII American ship sunk at Pearl Harbor) and constructed under Mount Rushmore. Given the location, this was not, unlike the anime, a spaceship built from the wreck of a sunken WWII ship. Thus, naming the ship after a sunken WWII ship was for no discernable reason in this case. Disney allowed the film license to expire. Christopher McQuarrie announced in 2011 that he was currently working on a script for Skydance Productions. It remains to be seen whether an American Star Blazers film even remains viable given the 2010 Japanese production of a live action theatrical Space Battleship Yamato (the source material for Star Blazers).
In a December 2012 interview, McQuarrie said that a script has been completed but no one can agree on what direction the film should go.
The rights for a live-action Hollywood Lupin III film were purchased back in 2003, and ads for the manga mentioned "soon to be a major motion picture!"...but nothing ever came of it.
In the late 90s, Disney was in talks to make a live action movie based on Sailor Moon featuring Geena Davis as Queen Beryl. At the time, Disney owned DiC, the then-US licensors of the Sailor Moon franchise. Since then, DiC has lost the series, were dropped by Disney, and were bought out by Cookie Jar Entertainment (who themselves were later bought out by DHX Media), so it's safe to say that any movie production from Disney is dead. The series is now licensed in the US by Viz Media (a Warner Bros. partner), and no live action film is known to be in development.
Comic book and comic strip adaptations
The film version of Preacher has been talked about for at least 10 years now. There was a rumor back in the day that it would resurface in 2008—as an HBO series. Nearly two years later, we still have nothing. Rumor has it HBO passed on this, saying it's too dark. Seriously.
Given that the comic revolves around a character going on a quest to kill God, it's understandable why people are hesitant to touch the property, it's likely too controversial for any major studio to helm.
November, 2013, AMC has been announced to be developing the series now. No debut date has been stated.
The Sandman. Considering that the people interested in filming it were Joel Schumacher and JonPeters, though, it may be fortunate that this film never got off the ground. One of the proposed scripts is available online. The script Roger Avary and the guys behind Pirates of the Caribbean worked on was a pretty sweet blending of the first two collections and the "Endless gather again for the first time" scene from Season of Mists. But then the script was sent in for rewrites under Jon Peters, and Neil Gaiman called the script not only the worst Sandman script he'd seen, but one of the worst scripts he'd ever seen.
The film adaptation of The Sandman spin-off Death: The High Cost Of Living has also been in development hell for several years. IMDB has a release date of 2013 (as of April 2011), but there's not even a production company attached yet.
As of December 2013, the film adaptation is going into production with Warner Bros. Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are producers and Jack Thorne was announced as scriptwriter in February 2014. It is strongly rumoured that Levitt may direct and star in the film as well.
There's a lot of Marvel films that appear to have stalled.
The Punisher sequel went through this for awhile, and was ultimately canceled, with a reboot produced instead. Once the reboot bombed Lions Gate gave up and let the rights revert back to Marvel, who is apparently planning another reboot.
Deadpool is somewhat stalled as its star Ryan Reynolds is tied up with other projects and producers are dead set on Reynolds being its star or the movie won't happen.
Positive internet reactions to some leaked test footage from the movie finally convinced Fox to enter production and give the movie a 2016 release date, though now it appears they've had to tone down the script from its previous hard R rating.
A Black Panther movie has been in various stages of development since the 90's, when Wesley Snipes was attached to the project. Still waiting...
Interestingly, The Avengers: Age of Ultron has done location filming in South Africa, with the suggestion that Wakanda will at least be featured in the film. In October 2014 Marvel confirmed the rumours and announced that Black Panther would form part of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with 42 actor Chadwick Boseman cast as T'Challa. The film is currently slated for the 2018 release.
Both the third Fantastic Four and a spin-off Silver Surfer movie were stuck here for about two years before Fox decided to reboot the series.
A similar situation occurred with the fourth Spider-Man film, before Columbia greenlit a reboot instead.
Micronauts: In 1998, Annex Entertainment, Gribouille and Kaleidoscope Media Group considered the Micronauts toys for an animated series. The original plan for an animated series would have been in association with Marvel. That series would have been based on the Marvel Comics. That project never got past a few conceptual illustrations. In 2012, J. J. Abrams announced that he was developing the Micronauts as a movie franchise for Paramount. However, Marvel is not involved with this movie, so fans are being warned that this will be a total reimagining as they are unable to use any of the characters, concepts, names, and situations created by Bill Mantlo.
The movie adaptation of Ant-Man. Edgar Wright then said that he'd start working on it once he was done with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. That movie came out in 2010 by the way, and still no word if he's working on the Ant-Man movie. It's currently scheduled for released in 2015, a few months after the Avengers sequel. Test footage was even included in the Marvel Phase One DVD box set. And in surprising terms of events, Edgar Wright has left the project, citing creative differences with Marvel, forcing the latter to scramble for a new director.
Doctor Strange: Disney has announced that Dr. Strange will be happening. As of January 2013, it's currently slated as part of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will begin in late 2015 with the aforementioned Ant-Man film.
Marvel had a script and had done some preliminary casting for a movie based on The Runaways back in 2010. It was ultimately shelved in favor of putting the studios' energies into The Avengers. In 2013 the writer of the script was told that for the time being the film wasn't moving forward, and reassigned to doctor the script for Iron Man 3 instead. Time will tell if Marvel ever gets around to making the film (or for that matter, if The Runaways will at least get their own comic again anytime soon).
In 2001, Joel Silver was the producer, asking Todd Alcott to write a script. After blowing through a series of screenwriters in the following years, the project stalled, but appeared to gain traction again in 2005 when Joss Whedon was placed in charge of directing and scripting the film. After nearly two years of no progress on a draft, Whedon left the project on bad terms and it stalled yet again. A spec script was purchased as Whedon departed to ensure the rights didn't revert back, but yet another script was commissioned in 2008.
David E. Kelley wrote a treatment for a Wonder Woman TV series. It was rejected by NBC, but after seeing the strong initial ratings for Kelley's Harry's Law show, they changed their mind. A pilot directed by McG was produced... and rejected by NBC in May 2011. After seeing the leaked scripts for the project, some Wonder Woman fans consider this a good thing.
With Man of Steel being a huge hit, it's looking more likely that there will finally be a Wonder Woman film.
In October 2014, DC officially confirmed that they would be using Dawn of Justice to springboard Wonder Woman into her own movie, set to debut in 2017. There was much rejoicing.
The Sin City sequels. After the box office success of the first movie in 2005, Robert Rodriguez announced plans to film the next two installments back-to-back the following year. Frank Miller was working on a screenplay based on "A Dame To Kill For", with production expected to begin in the summer of 2006. Instead, Rodriguez made Grindhouse with Quentin Tarantino (who collaborated with him on the first Sin City). Nothing more was said about the project until 2010, when Rodriguez announced that production would begin once he had completed work on Spy Kids 4-D.
Rodriguez announced at the 2011 ComicCon that Sin City 2 was officially back on the table, and that he was working on "refining the script". Not only was the script refined, it was also filmed - Sin City: A Dame To Kill For was released in 2014....to mixed reviews and tanked massively at the box office, meaning that the Sin City franchise may be put in Development Hell yet again.
Since Superman Returns was mentioned, everyone was signed to a sequel to that, but it got postponed over and over again (the middling box office returns helped Warner not prioritize its production), and was eventually cancelled and replaced with a reboot.
The Spawn movie sequel. Michael Jai White even expressed interest in reprising his role. As of 2012, plans for a sequel seem to have all but faded.
The sequel for The Incredible Hulk has fallen into this territory. While some actors are under contract or willing to return for the sequel, Norton himself is not, and since The Avengers recast Mark Ruffalo in the role, the chances of Norton returning are virtually nonexistent. Leterrier has gone back and forth on the decision, but has stated that he's open to directing the sequel. Although Kevin Feige doesn't sound too confident about it. That said, Ruffalo proved surprisingly popular in the role, to the extent that plans for a sequel have been restarted.
Feige's lack of confidence was AFTER the Avengers film.
IMDb is now listing a TV series slated for 2014 release. The page has no information other than a release date. Insert your personal doubts here.
The planned Justice League film (in a serious case of What Could Have Been) petered out after a year in development. In 2007, pre-production got underway, with many major names attached to star in the film (including Adam Brody as The Flash, Common as Green Lantern John Stewart, and Michael Gough as Alfred [reprising his role from the 90's Batman franchise]). Numerous problems happened during pre-production (the film's costume designer passed away, a Hollywood writer's strike derailed the script development and there were rumors that director George Miller [Mad Max] had been canned from the project). Finally, the film was delayed less than a month before it began shooting and has effectively become moribund.
A live-action adaptation of Batman Beyond was among the projects considered before Batman Begins was green-lit. Rumors keep surfacing that the film is still trying to enter development. How many of these rumors are started by hopeful fans is another matter entirely.
The new adaptation of The Crow. Nobody could agree on a script. Stephen Norrington eventually left the project. Then a lawsuit between Harvey Weinstein and Relativity Media threatened the project again. Relativity won the suit and F. Javier Gutiérrez was named as director in January 2012.
Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall. The film was intended to be ready in time for a 2012/2013 release but has been put on hold due director Matthew Vaughn being busy with other projects and star Aaron Johnson wanting to be closer to his family. It ended up being released in August 2013.
A live-action film of Transmetropolitan has been been in the early proposal/planning stages for over a decade now; spearheaded by long-time fan Patrick Stewart, who is the fan-favorite to play Spider Jerusalem. At one point, an animated version was proposed, with Stewart voicing Jerusalem. Ellis and Robertson have indicated that they would like Tim Roth to play the title role; but as of this time, no production has started on any adaptation.
Witchblade was in development not too long ago. It seems to have been scrapped in favor of a movie about The Darkness, with Witchblade making a guest appearance.
Although The Darkness seems to be in Development Hell now, too, with no news about it for several years.
The Hack Slash movie has been in development since the summer of 2006, and so far has nothing to show for it. Somewhat humorously, the Devil's Due ongoing featured "Slated to be a major motion picture by Rogue Studios!" prominently on the cover of its earliest issues; maybe don't advertise it until it's a done deal next time. It still seems to be in the works, with news surfacing as recently as February 2013.
A Darkchylde movie has apparently been in the works since August 2007, but IMDB lists its year of release as (???). Posters, trailers, and stills from the set were released, and John Carpenter was slated to direct, but there has been no news since 2010.
And, completing the oddly specific "movie adaptation of a horror-themed comic with a teenage female lead going nowhere" trifecta, there's been no news about the Dead@17 movie since a director was attached in 2010.
An animated adaptation of The Judas Contract was in the works at one point but nothing became of it. It's been in Development Hell for years and is largely considered canceled.
Eloise in Paris — A live-action adaptation of the Eloise book of the same name has been in development since late 2007-2008, and was to star Australian child actress Jordana Beatty for the title role alongside Uma Thurman. A few years later and yet little, if any, development was announced, and Beatty would obviously be too old to play the title character.
Invisible Monsters, based off of a book penned by Chuck Palahniuk (of Fight Club fame), has been in development for forever and a half.
Fahrenheit 451. It had a French version note Made by Universal's French division in English successfully released in 1966, but those guys over at Hollywood are still stuck on this.
Justified as nobody can figure out a way to resolve the problem that you can now store entire libraries on a single MicroSD Card.
Terry Pratchett has joked that the road to film for Good Omens has become so long and complicated that even he has stopped paying attention. He relies on fans at conventions and signings to keep him posted on the latest news/rumors. One such rumour was that Robin Williams will play the angel.
Lo and behold! there is a four part TV series in the works by now. 
Dreamworks was going to make a Bromeliad movie. Where'd that go?
And a couple of years ago the big news was that Sam Raimi was directing The Wee Free Men from a script by Pamela Pettler (who wrote Tim Burton's Corpse Bride). Since the initial announcement, nothing. Pratchett apparently vetoed a script that "had all the hallmarks of something that had been good, and then the studio had got involved", and now thinks "it probably won't happen." (As of 2013, the latest news on that one is that the rights reverted at around the same time Sir Terry was setting up his own production company, and Rhianna Pratchett is now writing a script.)
Terry Gilliam was also going to direct an adaptation of Good Omens. A script was completed in 2002, but the project has essentially been in Development Hell ever since. note It has made it to radio without incident, though.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote by Terry Gilliam had this coupled with a Troubled Production. Gilliam eventually released a documentary about making the film (appropriately titled Lost in La Mancha), but the film itself was never completed. Pre-production resumed in 2009, but as of late 2010, the project appeared to be shelved again due to a collapse of funding.
Just about every Gilliam film experiences Development Hell one way or another. Says Eric Idle on Terry Gilliam productions, "Go and see them by all means — but to be in them, fucking madness!"
As of 2014, Gilliam's seventh attempt at production is underway, this time with John Hurt as Quixote and Jack O'Connell as Toby Grisoni, whose character travels back in time and replaces Sancho Panza. Filming is set to begin in January 2015, with the film being released in May 2016.
The film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars series probably holds the record for the longest time a property has been in Development Hell before being released. Originally conceived as an animated film by Bob Clampett in 1931 (which would have made it the first ever animated feature film), it was finally released as the live-action/CG film John Carter in 2012 - 81 years later. The film was a box office bomb, however, suggesting that perhaps its time in Hell was warranted.
There are rumors of a live-action adaptation of The Last Unicorn, which has reputedly been in Development Hell for many years now. According to Peter S. Beagle at SDCC '06, the makers of this alleged adaptation had a cast list and production art on their site for years before they finally admitted that they hadn't actually contacted the agents of any of the actors on the list. And admitted they may not legally have the rights to do a film anyway.
Steve Alten's Meg, which was supposed to have arrived in 2005. And any other film based on his books, most notably The Loch.
The ongoing tale of the film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces. First of all, the book was only published years after its author's suicide when his mother found a handwritten manuscript. Attempts were made to make a movie starring John Belushi in 1983, but then Belushi died. Then there was going to be one with John Candy in 1994, but then Candy also died. And then one with Chris Farley in 1997, but then... well... yeah. Yet another attempt with Will Ferrell seemed to be going well, and had even accrued other big names like Lily Tomlin and Mos Def. Then Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the film's setting.
At one point, John Waters was being considered to direct an adaptation. Waters himself wrote that it was the one and only time he seriously considered making a film not based on one of his own scripts. Oh, what might have been...
Speaking about Waters, he had planned to direct a family-oriented Christmas comedy called Fruitcake about a gay teenager finding acceptance during the holidays for a 2007 release. The film never got made due to financial troubles at production company Capitol Films (unlike Waters' newer projects, this did not have studio backing) and seems to have been locked up due to that company's bankruptcy. Waters hasn't directed since then (but has done many acting roles and live appearances).
The Dragonriders of Pern has been in development hell since probably the 80's. At one time there was a TV series that was in production, but it was basically In Name Only so it never went forward (most people see this as a good thing). A movie was supposed to be released last year (2009), but the date has been pushed back to 2011.
Warner Brothers optioned all 22 volumes of the series for a film adaptation in summer of 2014.
The Elfstones of Shannara and Magic Kingdom for Sale -- SOLD! movies. Yes, there are plans. One version of the proposed script for the latter would have given Ben a son and daughter, but Terry Brooks nixed that because their characters weren't developed enough.
Diane Duane wrote a screenplay for the first book of the Young Wizards series and reported that it was in very early development stages on the Young Wizards website back in 2007. As of 2010, there has been no progress whatsoever towards a finished movie.
There's been talk going around about filming the first installment of The Wheel of Time, The Eye Of The World since the turn of the century, but absolutely nothing has come of it. Probably because nobody likes the implications of filming the first in a series of 14.
A few years ago, Tom Hanks expressed interest in making and starring in film adaptations of Arthur C. Clarke's 2061 and 3001, although nothing has been heard of this since.
An adaptation of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath has been in the works since at least 2010, if not earlier. It's been pushed back repeatedly and IMDB has very little information that hasn't changed much in all this time. The only screen adaptation of the novel that's been released was back in the 1970s and the few people who've actually seen it will usually tell you that it's terrible, so maybe it's a good thing this will probably never be released.
The movie version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was here for a long time. Rumor has it, in part due to Douglas Adams himself not working well with Hollywood movie production. Not problems getting along with them, but problems accomplishing anything. His untimely death substantially unstuck a lot of the problems, and the film was eventually made (and didn't do very well, so no sequel).
An adaptation of the Maximum Ride books was announced by Summit Entertainment in 2010 with Catherine Hardwicke (director of the first Twilight movie) set to direct. Cut to 2012 and it looks like that the project has been quietly canceled (due to Lions Gate buying Summit, Alex Cross (from the same author) flopping at the box office and Lionsgate/Summit choosing to adapt the Divergent series instead).
Actually, it hasn't been cancelled yet — but the screenwriter for the movie died March 2013, so this troper's starting to get worried if it's ever getting out of this trope.
The jacket for one of the books implored customers to read it before it became a movie. Readers have a huge lead time now.
In 2011, Sony and MGM had plans to remake the sequels to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and were going to shoot them back-to-back. But despite hiring Steven Zallian to write the screenplays, the disappointing box office (Sony had expected the first film to be their successor to The Da Vinci Code and spent millions marketing it) combined with David Fincher's refusal to direct and the decline of the book series' popularity have shelved these sequels for the time being.
A live-action adaptation of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series was once hinted at by Disney around a decade ago, but with nothing to back it up.
An adaptation of the young adult horror novel Killer Pizza was announced by MGM in 2011 with Adam Green set to write and direct. Very little has been heard about the project since.
An Artemis Fowl adaptation has been talked about and rumored since at least 2001. A script has even been written and a director even signed on to do the film but it has never come through. It seems though the film might be back on track with Walt Disney Pictures.
R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books made a successful '90s TV series, but there have been numerous attempts to adapt them into a feature film. As far back as 1998, Tim Burton was tapped to produce a big-screen adaptation which never materialized. In 2008, Columbia Pictures announced a Goosebumps movie, but the movie's been in development hell ever since, with various producers and writers attached at different times. As of fall 2013, it's rumored that Jack Black is attached to star as an Author Avatar of Stine. Principal photography officially began in April 2014 and completed in July 2014; the film is set for release in August 2015.
Sergio Leone's gangster epic Once Upon a Time in America (1984). Leone read Harry Grey's novel The Hoods in 1967, and wanted to adapt it as a follow-up to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It took Leone 17 years of planning, arm-twisting, fund-procuring and numerous screenplays to bring The Hoods to the big screen - during which time he directed two other films and produced several others.
The adaptation of Sister Souljah's urban fiction novel The Coldest Winter Ever. The adaptation was rumored as far back as 01 or 02. But nothing ever came of it. Then in 05 Jada Pinkett-Smith tried to get it off the ground as a producer but it fell through.
Atuk based on a book by Canadian author, Mordecai Richler was never filmed and is linked to a curse in which the actors who signed onto to star in it all met with untimely ends.
Directors have been offering to make a film adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye since its release. When author J.D. Salinger was asked permission, he said no.
Every few years, there's a rumored adaptation of George Macdonald Fraser's Flashman books. In 1970, actor/producer Stanley Baker optioned rights to the first book, for a project that never materialized. In 2007 Celtic Films announced a made-for-TV adaptation of Flashman at the Charge with Colin Firth. This was apparently derailed by Fraser's death. Most recently, in 2011 rumors surfaced of a film featuring Michael Fassbender - rumors Fraser's estate denied. Besides the difficulties of adapting the novels, from the period setting to their politically incorrect tone, that the one extant Flashman film, 1975's Royal Flash, flopped at the box office likely weighs heavily in studios' minds.
The doomed Red Dwarf movie has a complicated history, mostly revolving around budget problems. It came very close to entering production in 2001, to the point where shooting schedules had been worked out and costume tests were being done, but a last-minute yanking of the budget brought the project to a standstill. Several restarts would be attempted over the course of 7 or 8 years, but ultimately nothing would come of it; when the television series (which had ended due to Doug Naylor's desire to focus on making the film) restarted an early draft of the original script was recycled for the final episode of Series X, however.
There were plans for Babylon 5 made-for-cinema movie. There was a project to produce one in 2004, but it was aborted in 2005. It would have been called "The Memory of Shadows" and involved Galen and an Earth Force intelligence officer tracking down an intergalactic conspiracy that used Shadow technology.
Netflix ended up reviving the series before the movie could get anywhere. It's still planned, however.
The rumors about a Xena: Warrior Princess movie have been circling around since the series ended in 2001. It has been discussed many times by series creator Rob Tapert, who kept saying it was stuck because of legal issues at Universal. Looks like it will never get made, though.
This is the current and probably permanent location of the proposed film of the television series Blake's 7 since Paul Darrow (the actor who played Avon) resigned from the project due to "artistic differences".
Same goes for the third Stargate SG-1 movie, Stargate: Revolution, which would have featured the SGC going public.
The Skins movie. It was supposed to be released in summer 2011, but as of the last report they were having difficulty even just figuring out which characters were going to be in it. While it was originally supposed to focus just on tying up Generation 2's loose ends, they also were trying to shoehorn in a few characters from Generation 1, and then with the additional third generation things became even more complicated. Especially with some fan speculation that the show's sixth series in 2012 may be its last, and the film may be intended as a wrap-up to the whole franchise. As it turned out, said fan speculation was true, and the film ended up shelved to instead make way for three extra-long episodes focusing on Cassie, Cook and Effy years later, concluding the whole show.
The second The X-Files movie I Want to Believe fell victim to this concept. The show ended in 2002, but the script for the movie ended up in Development Hell for six years. What was supposed to be a continuation of the Myth Arc ended up being a drawn-out Monster of the Week episode featuring a psychic. The fans were not pleased. It didn't do well. Now fans are hoping a third movie will wrap up loose threads of the plot. Chris Carter stated that he would make a third X-Files movie featuring the 2012 invasion promised by the series finale and was to be released in the summer of 2012, if the second X-Files movie did well. 2012 is here, and no mention has ever been made about a third film.
Doctor Who has been propositioned for a film several times since the last time he was on the big screen (starring Peter Cushing). The 1996 TV movie doesn't count as it was still considerably low budget. Most attempts were stalled due to the uncertainty of the franchise, especially considering any theatrical movie would have been a total reimagining. One proposal had the Doctor and Master as brothers with Borusa as their father. Another would have reimagined the Daleks as bipedal Terminator style machines. And yet another, more recent proposal wanted to cast Johnny Depp as the Doctor. Currently, David Yates, has propositioned a Doctor Who film despite the lack of official cast or crew on board. There is also the strong apprehension of Who fans against a non-Whoniverse Doctor Who film. Interestingly, the Doctor's status in the current series as being "Last of the Time Lords." is borrowed from the working sub-title for the late 80s movie proposal.
A movie based on the short-lived Comedy Central show That's My Bush! entitled Secret of the Glass Tiger was proposed some time after its cancellation, although nothing more was heard afterward.
After the success of his Austin Powers films in the late 90s, Mike Myers was in talks do a film based on his old SNL character, Dieter, the German talk show host. Lawsuits and studio problems killed it before it could happen
Video game adaptations
In 2011, an film adaptation of the game Alan Wake was announced with former New Line head Robert Shaye (who has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. ) set to produce. Nothing has been heard about it since.
American McGee's Alice. There were even rumors of Tim Burton directing, probably just because the game appears heavily inspired by his works. A Burton-directed Alice movie has been eventually released for real, but it has nothing to do with the videogame.
Army of Two was set to have a movie adaptation, announced in 2008 and to be released in 2011. Since it's 2013 as of this writing without so much as a word of update on its status, it's safe to say the film is either in Development Hell or cancelled outright.
The BioShock movie project has taken this road because of budgetary concerns, still unresolved as of summer 2010, also due to Gore Verbinski not wanting to compromise the atmosphere for a lighter rating. This also led to the higher ups deciding to film the movie overseas, forcing Verbinski to step down as director due to his attachment to other projects at home. While he may remain as a producer, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) will replace him as director. In an early 2011 interview, Verbinski implied that the project was dead, in part due to difficulty finding anyone willing to finance it as an R-rated picture (and Verbinski's lack of interest in watering down the material for a PG-13). Fresnadillo has since left the project.
Castlevania might actually be one of the rare cases in which Development Hell is good thing. Originally, the script was referred to as a sort of "Dracula Begins" and did away completely with the Vampire Killer. Instead, Simon had a BFS and everything that makes Castlevania what it is in favor of basically a retelling of Dracula. The current director signed onto the project because of the Vampire Killer and how the hero can be just as "dangerous and sexy" as the villain. The movie poster revealed in 2009 shows Simon holding a katana as well as the Vampire Killer looking upon Dracula's castle in a similar picture to what is usually used as box art for the games.
This may be underway now, with James Wan attached as director. But it looks like it won't be anytime soon as he's has other projects in the forefront.
Paul W.S. Anderson is still attached to it somehow, as he was asked about the movie during the promotion of Resident Evil: Retribution. He claimed that there's issues over how to properly adapt it, and apparently some rights issues.
The long rumored Dead Space film seems to have faded away. The last mention of it was in 2011 when attached director D.J. Caruso announced it would be a prequel, and that he was looking over a script treatment. Since then, Visceral Games have indicated that they don't want to rush into a "cash grab adaptation", which is the likely reason for the holdup. Since then John Carpenter (yes THAT john Carpenter) expressed great interest in directing the film.
Rumors of a Devil May Cry movie being in production/already existing have been floating around since the release of the third game. Fan movies exist, but that seems to be where the trail ends.
There were rumors that there would be a Fatal Frame movie, but it seems we're in for a long wait.
The Gears of War film has hit many road blocks. New Line slashed the film's budget and apparently trimmed back the epic plot elements, requiring a new script to be written. Also, Len Wiseman decided not to direct the film. As of 2011, no one had any idea if the film would come out at all.
As of may 2013 the film found a new producer in Scott Stuber. So while still in hell it's not really dead yet.
Halo — the movie, at least. Mostly due to creative control and budgetary constraints/disputes. The resulting collapse of the initial project turned into District 9. Microsoft has currently stated the project is on hold.
A 90 minute 5 part web series titled Forward Unto Dawn was released to promote the release of Video Game/Halo4''. A big budget movie is still planned.
This Wired article provides an in-depth view of the drama, and points out that the film's failure to materialize is likely due to Microsoft's inexperience in dealing with Hollywood politics, plus the problems that would be involved with it - minimizing the amount of Conspicuous CGI would be prohibitively expensive, and Hollywood has never done well with more-or-less silent protagonists.
Hunter: The Reckoning. Rumor has it the project entered Development Hell because Uwe Boll bought the film rights to the video game; when White Wolf found out just who was going to be adapting one of their properties for cinema, they basically told him, "Don't you fucking dare."
The film adaptation of Mass Effect has been stuck in limbo for a long time. After being announced as a project by Legendary Pictures in 2008, nothing moved forward for two years until it was announced that Mark Protosevich (Thor) would be writing the screenplay. In 2011, Protosevich talked about the film, their plans for the script...and then nothing for another year. Protosevich left the project in early 2012, and Morgan Davis Foehl was brought on to revise the screenplay nine months later. Since then, little information has been heard besides vague references to the film being "fresh and new". Rumors abound that there are conflicts over how the game's narrative should be adapted to a film.
In 2006, Hideo Kojima announced a film adaptation of Metal Gear Solid was in development. However, aside from the usual reasons for this trope (budget concerns, who to give the rights to), the fact that Kojima (understandably) was very picky about who should direct the movie caused more than a few hurdles. For a while it seemed like the movie was being scrapped, until Avi Arad (former CEO of Marvel Studios and producer of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) came on board in 2013, reviving the project. Still, as of 2014, they still haven't quite gotten a director or a lead starring actor on board (though the rumor mill is still churning). Time will only tell...
The rights to make a Metroid movie were sold to two unnamed producers in 2003, who then sold them to John Woo in 2005, with a 2006 release date. Since then, not a word on so much as possible casting has been released, and no one's sure if John Woo even still has the rights or not. Nintendo has stated that they killed the project and the rights likely reverted to them.
Mortal Kombat: Devastation, derailed by Hurricane Katrina. The studio had been set up in New Orleans.
Onimusha, due to the death of Heath Ledger, who was to have played Roberto Frois from Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams.
Perfect Dark was announced in 2001 (later changed to a TV series, but still no word).
An adaptation of Rainbow Six (based off the third installment, Lockdown) with John Woo as director was announced way back in 2004. Nothing has been heard since.
50 Cent wanted to make a Saints Row movie around 2009. Nothing has happened since.
A Spy Hunter movie was advertised in the manual of the 2001 remake. The game Spy Hunter: Nowhere To Run was supposed to tie-in to this movie, but the film itself is still forthcoming.
The Suffering was slated for a 2012 release, but nothing has ever appeared hinting that the project even began. Given that the only available info on the project is from 2005-7, it doesn't seem likely.
The Tomb Raider reboot film. The film was originally stated to be released in 2013, but has yet to enter any kind of production. In June 2013, Marti Noxon was tapped to write the script, but when production will begin (if it does) is anyone's guess.
The planned World of Warcraft film adaptation has been mired in development problems for years. The rights to the franchise were acquired by Legendary in 2006, and Blizzard brought on Sam Raimi to direct. According to interviews, the first script (which was written by Blizzard's in-house writers) didn't go over well with Raimi, and a second script (written by Raimi and screenwriter Robert Rodat) wasn't accepted by Blizzard, who wanted the story to go a different way. After months of back-and-forth, Raimi walked from the project, blaming mismanagement on Blizzard's part. As of early 2013, Legendary announced that Duncan Jones (Moon) was attached to direct, but whether the project moves forward is anyone's guess.
The film has a set release date - December 18, 2015. Filming is scheduled to begin in January 2014 and Colin Farrell is in talks for the lead role.
Miscellaneous sequels, remakes and reboots
The third James Bond film starring Timothy Dalton, eventually titled The Property of a Lady — MGM was going through many turmoils, and eventually Dalton's contract expired. Then Pierce Brosnan was finally hired (the producers wanted him for the role since the mid-80's but he was tied to Remington Steele due to contractual obligations), and the rest is history (the 6-year gap between Licence to Kill and Golden Eye remains the largest of the series).
National Treasure 3 is becoming this, as IMDB lists a release date of ???? which is usually given to films in Development Hell. Whether it will happen remains to be seen. As of a statement made in 2014, they're still working on the script.
Ghostbusters 3. The story behind the proposed third film is as strange as it gets. Rumors of multiple scripts and new Ghostbuster cast members have floated around the internet for years. To give you some perspective as to how long this has been going on, Chris Farley was being considered as a supporting character back in the '90s. Dan Aykroyd has reportedly written several scripts over the years, all of which failed to ignite enough interest to start pre-production. At one point, there was apparently a script written where the original team journeyed to a hellish Alternate UniverseNew York City called "ManHellton" (which, in turn, prompted the Russian video game studio ZootFly to produce a Gears of War-esque tech demo based on this proposed script in the late '00s). This, in turn, spurred the development and eventual release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which (according to Aykroyd) may as well be the canonical third film.
Yet, script and cast rumors still continue to float around — Ben Stiller, Bill Hader and Eliza Dushku have all been rumored to be potential replacement candidates. In January 2010, Ivan Reitman announced he was directing the film, and Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (The Office (US)) reportedly wrote a script with Aykroyd and co-creator/co-star Harold Ramis, that all were very happy with. Yet, there's been no word for years on the status of development. A major part of the delay seems to involve Bill Murray — as of early 2011, it appeared the production was only waiting on Murray to approve the script before they moved forward with pre-production. The film was slated to start production in 2012, but that year came and went with no news other than the report that new writers were hired to craft yet another script, as well as more back-and-forth on whether Murray would return. Then Reitman began talking about the possibility of a remake for a while, before Aykroyd shifted attention back to the third film in March 2013, in an interview on Canadian television (for a charity project he was doing), saying they have a script (penned by Etan Cohen), they are planning to begin production in fall 2013, and Bill Murray will not be a part of it at all... more or less, what he's been saying for the past three years. Fall 2013 came and went with very little new news from Aykroyd — the script is being rewritten again, and this time actors Jonah Hill and Emma Stone are being considered as part of the "new" team of Ghostbusters being brought in alongside the older generation (minus Murray). Then Harold Ramis died in February 2014. Whether any third film will finally materialize is anyone's guess.
Late July 2014 Aykroyd was on The Today Show and again claimed that production would begin in Spring 2015, though he was cryptic about it and said it was uncertain who would be involved with it. So, doubt still remains when the development hell will end.
Then, it was reported that director Paul Feig is currently in talks to direct a Continuity Reboot, with women playing the Busters themselves. Whether or not this will be released instead of Ghostbusters 3 remains to be seen.
A remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon has been in on-and-off development since at least the early 1980s, when John Landis tried to launch a production helmed by the director of the original movie, Jack Arnold. In 1995, Peter Jackson was given a choice between helming a new Creature movie or doing King Kong. This fan site shows a stream of news and rumors about a remake going back over ten years. Stephen Sommers, Guillermodel Toro, Brett Rattner, and a crossover with Hellboy, of all things, have all been mentioned at one time or another (plus Gary Ross, who wrote a script as his father co-wrote the original). The latest would-be director is Breck Eisner (director of The Crazies and son of Michael Eisner), but who knows when or if a remake will actually materialize?
Universal announced a new Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe in July 2014, with Dracula Untold as the first installment. Other movies will include new versions of The Mummy (currently slated to be #2 in the series), The Wolf Man (currently set as #3), Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and yes, Creature from the Black Lagoon. A Van Helsing reboot set in the same universe has also been mentioned.
Get Smart 2 was announced in 2008 after the release of the first Get Smart film set for a release in the summer of 2010. Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Alan Arkin all claimed they would return, but Carell stated several times later that he wasn't pleased with a script, and rewrites were in place.
The Dam Busters, a remake of the 1955 classic. Mel Gibson bought the rights in the late 1990s but never made much progress past rumors of filming in west England. Peter Jackson obtained the rights a few years ago and rumor has it that filming had begun in 2009. Then Jackson decided to scrap the film and restart in 3-D.
Guy Gibson's interestingly named dog played a small but significant part that can't be edited out of the film. note The dog's name was the code-word radioed back to report a successful breach of a German dam. It will be interesting to observe how any remake gets round this.
Halloween 9 seemed to have stalled. Once producer Mustapha Akkad died, the 9th film appeared to have died with him. Ironically, the remake of the first film got fast-tracked once he died. That means the fate of John Tate and Molly Cartwell (Michelle Williams), who were Put on a Bus at the end of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later ("Drive down to the Beckers") will probably never be resolved.
A bit of trivia. There was actually a contest sponsored by Dimension Films at one point that would award one lucky fan with a bit of screen time in this movie. Needless to say, a winner was apparently announced. Said winner was shown on the 30th anniversary documentary, including showing the announcement of her winning. She was an extra in the remake.
Speaking of the remake, that film's third installment is stalling. In May 2014, the creators announced they were still going forward with it.
Hey Paul Reubens, when are you going to make those new Pee-wee Herman movies? At last report, two sequels were being written back-to-back but Herman's stage show has stalled production of said movies.
He stated in 2013 that a new TV show, and a new film, could happen in 2014. No word has been heard since.
Announced for release on December 20, 2014, with further films coming, in March 2014. It hasn't happened.
Phantasm series, yet another horror franchise with a sequel stuck in Development Hell. The fifth (and supposedly final) film was announced as having been completed in March 2014, but no release date was given at the time.
The IMAX special Godzilla: 3D to the Max resided in development hell mostly because the people behind the film couldn't garner any money to actually produce it. It has later been officially canceled, and, with Legendary Pictures acquiring the license, reworked into Godzilla (2014).
A remake of A Clockwork Orange was originally announced in development, but due to the death of Heath Ledger (who had expressed great interest in playing Alex before the project was announced), it is unlikely that production will continue.
The remake of Hellraiser. Mostly due to the fact that the Weinsteins keep rejecting the ideas of every writer and director that has ever been attached to the project.
A sequel for Eastern Promises was supposed to happen, with Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel reprising their roles, but in the spring of 2012, director David Cronenberg announced that the project had fallen apart.
The Brazilian Job, sequel to the 2003 remake of The Italian Job has been in the works since 2004 but was never finished due to the inability for the studio to agree on a finalized script. There have been rumors that a script was being considered in 2009, but nothing final. The project is currently still listed as being in development, but there's not even a projected year of release, so don't expect it anytime soon.
There's also rumors that one of the scripts for this film ended up becoming Fast Five, which is plausible, given that the plot for The Brazilian Job sounds almost identical to that film.
As of 2010, Word of God confirmed that the project is officially dead.
Jurassic Park IV was originally rumored to be in pre-production as far back as 2002, starring (a rumored) David Boreanaz as an ex-military operative who goes back to the original island to stop an industrialist from creating a new race of genetically-engineered "smart" dinosaurs. Most of the cast from the first film were set to appear, but ended up changing their decisions as time went on. After a few script reviews, and reports that Spielberg was unhappy with the different drafts that had been written, the project dropped off the face of the Earth. In 2011, Joe Johnston expressed interest in doing the film after Captain America: The First Avenger. Whether JP4 happens or not is anyone's guess.
The project was a go and was slated to be released on June 13, 2014 and directed by Colin Trevorrow. However, Universal then put the breaks to production, leading the release date to be TBA, and the film having a big question mark over its head.
A third Fletch movie has been in the works since 1997, with Kevin Smith once attached to direct and Ben Affleck and even Zach Braff for the title role. ThisEntertainment Weekly article has all the sordid details.
Tongue of Fury, the sequel to Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist, was announced since the end of the first film in 2002. However, no word of it has ever surfaced. Word of God states that Steve Oedekerk is still sifting through a huge library of Hong Kong martial arts films to find the right scenes to lift. There were also rumors of a possible 2010 release.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension has two of these: The sequel film Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League, which stalled out despite enthusiastic responses from the original cast; and an animated spinoff TV series on Fox, Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries. At this point, they can both be considered dead. The DVD release of the original move was this for about a decade, due to a complicated rights issue that was not resolved until the death of the license holder.
Even after the under performance of the first Reign of Fire film, actors from the film still indicated that their still might be a sequel in the works.
The third Alien vs. Predator film.
A fifth Indiana Jones movie is much rumored by Spielberg, Lucas, Ford and LaBeouf. Considering that the fourth film was in Development Hell for nineteen years, and that LucasFilm will soon be occupied with the long-awaited Episodes VII-IX of Star Wars, it's hard to say if anything will come of the fifth film.
With the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, the Star Wars sequel trilogy is apparently out of here (with Disney hot to produce some new films, and the merchandising that goes with them), and they have been talking about more films after those three, at a steady clip (every 2-3 years) into the indefinite future. This likely has killed any more Indy films for good, as rival Paramount owns the distribution rights.
A fifth film can be made if Disney and Paramount come to terms as stated in the contract when Disney bought Lucasfilm, but at this point with Harrison Ford's age and the poor fan reception to the fourth film it seems unlikely.
The Red Dawn (2012) remake was stalled during post-production for a long time because of MGM's financial issues, after the company's restructuring, the film was finally completed and Film District acquired the distribution rights with a release date set for November 21st 2012.
The remake of The Wiz, which was rumored to star Aaliyah and R&B singer Ginuwine. This was back in 1999-2000. But the idea seemed to stall even before Aaliyah's untimely death.
The remake of Barbarella has been stuck here for a while. Back in 2008, Universal was gearing it up with Robert Rodriguez as the director. Rose McGowan was to take the role of Barbarella, but Universal freaked out over the high budget and they didn't think McGowan was right for the role. Rodriguez was not willing to make any changes, so he shopped the remake to other studios. Further problems came when his backers wanted Barbarella to be aimed for the German audience. Rodriguez didn't like that plan, so he finally gave up in May of 2009. Recently, it was announced that Robert Luketic was to take over the director's chair, but production didn't really get off the ground. Now that the film's proposed producer, Dino De Laurentiis, has died, the remake now seems really unlikely.
Though now there are currently rumors that Anne Hathaway is attached to the remake.
A sequel to New Jack City has been in development since 1991, when it was announced to begin filming for a Christmas 1992 release. Since then, the project has been off-and-on in development. Most recently, there were plans to make it straight-to-DVD but not much is known yet.
The remake of Revenge of the Nerds. Fanboys director Kyle Newman was given the greenlight to direct a remake back in 2007. Unfortunately, the studio kept cutting the budget, and the only college in Georgia that would let them film was an all girls school, as the other colleges had previously had bad experiences with film crews. The studios also kept on making demands for things as trivial as the main characters wardrobe, then after the all girls school found out that the film was more "risque" then the crew had let on, they were kicked out and had no money left to finish the movie, so the studio pulled the plug on the remake and nothing has been heard ever since.
Around 2003, Robert Zemeckis was planning to remake the William Castle film Macabre for Dark Castle Entertainment (a company he co-founded with Joel Silver) at some point in between the productions of The Polar Express and Beowulf. After Zemeckis got heavily into motion capture, he abandoned the project and eventually left Dark Castle to start Imagemovers Digital. Nothing has been heard about the project since.
The Clue remake, first announced in 2006. At first it was announced as a straight remake of the 1985 comedy, then it wasn't, then Gore Verbinski joined the project, then it was a straight remake again, then it wasn't again. The Wikipedia page for the 1985 film currently lists a release date of 2013.
Jumanji 2, which would have involved the Jumanji board, after being spotted in the ocean, uncovered by two girls from France, building on a scene at the end of the film. It was scrapped when Chris Van Allsburg wrote Zathura as a sequel to the book that inspired the movie, with the intent of making The Movie based on the book (which ironically is more of a Spiritual Successor).
David Lean spent most of the late '70s trying to get his two-part Mutiny on the Bounty remake off the ground. He scouted locations in Tahiti, built a replica ship and commissioned Robert Bolt to write the screenplay. The main problem? Money. At various points Dino De Laurentiis, Joseph E. Levine and even Lean's old sparring mate Sam Spiegel were tapped to produce. But Lean's refusal to rein in the budget or scale back the script scared all of them away from the project. (That Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate was concurrently being made didn't help either.) Robert Bolt's stroke in 1979 finally convinced Lean to abandon the project.
Eventually the project morphed into The Bounty (1984), directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. This film was much smaller in both scope and budget than what Lean originally envisioned.
While it's chronic with Terminator movies (particularly the ones after the second), T5 is suffering the most.
Terminator 5 is now on track for a July 1, 2015 release. Whether it can make that date remains to be seen.
In the late 2000's, Disney had been planning sequels to surprise hits Wild Hogs and The Proposal but canceled both after the box office failure of Old Dogs. While the former had gone through some development (even having a plot be revealed), the latter seems to have never gotten past talks nor was it known what it would have been about.
Development of the third Sherlock Holmes film seems to have stalled due to producer Joel Silver jumping ship to Universal and the second film not being as successful as Warner Bros. had hoped for (Silver and the studio also had a spat over the second film's marketing campaign, which was one of the things that led to Silver's departure).
In 2010, Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro announced rival production labels (Raimi at Lionsgate, del Toro at Disney) that would produce horror films for younger audiences. Raimi's label even announced its first project (a remake of the 2007 Swedish sci-fi film The Substitute) but neither label got past talks due to Raimi's busy schedule and Disney cutting its production slate.
Apparently someone wanted to remake the odd sci-fi/comedy/satire Big Man Japan, a very unusual choice since it's firmly rooted in Japanese culture (and also contains some kind of jab at the USA in the end).
Around 2005 a modern-day remake of Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch was announced, to be directed by David Ayer. Years passed without further developments. Then in early 2013 news outlets reported a similar project featuring Will Smith in production.
As of October of 2013 it's the sequel to the Evil Dead remake. Fede Alvarez, and co-writer Rodo Sayagues Have Walked Away from the project alleging that it was dead. Which is weird cause a few months ago they claim work was already started on the sequel, only to completely do a 180. Was they lying or what?
A few years ago a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show was announced but it never happened to to protests from the movie's cult followers who detested the idea that MTV/Disney Channel teen idols would be cast in the lead roles.
Right after The Mask was released and become a huge success it was announced that Jim Carrey would be returning for a sequel called Mask II. years later a film called Son of the Mask was released with no involvement from Carrey.
Famously, Nintendo Power ran a competition in the magazine to celebrate the release of The Mask, with the prize being a Contest Winner Cameo in Mask II. They apologized to the competition's winner in the final issue.
In 2000, director Mike Nichols announced he was remaking the British comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring Robin Williams (replacing Alec Guinness as the D'Ascoyne family) and Will Smith (in the Dennis Price role as the murderous heir). The project bounced around for several years, but a suitable script was never completed, while the director and stars worked on other projects instead.
The long-mooted My Fair Lady remake. When first announced in 2008, Columbia Pictures attached Danny Boyle to direct and Emma Thompson write the screenplay, with Daniel Day-Lewis as Henry Higgins and Keira Knightley as Eliza Doolittle. By 2009, Boyle had dropped out of the project, followed by Day-Lewis and Knightley. Then John Madden was announced as director, with Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan starring. Then Madden left the project after Columbia demanded Madden castHugh Grant as Higgins instead of Firth. Then, after Firth won Best Actor for The King's Speech in 2011 he was reattached to star... by which time Mulligan was tied up shooting Shame and The Great Gatsby. Finally, in 2012 CBS Films threatened to sue Columbia over rights to Lerner and Loewe's musical. As of fall 2014 the movie still hasn't been made, and it doesn't seem likely anytime soon.
There was a Chopping Mall remake announced years ago. But so far nothing has come of it. IMDB says it's still "In Development".
The Story of Bonnie and Clyde has been delayed for several years. After Hilary Duff, who was cast as Bonnie, became pregnant, the producers quickly replaced both leads fearing that the film would be delayed further if they waited for Duff to be available. As of September 2013, 18 months after Duff gave birth, the film has yet to enter production.
And given the December 2013 release of the A&E miniseries, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Holliday Grainger and Emile Hirsch (which may or may not have ever been connected to the Hillary Duff remake), a feature film remake seems unlikely anytime soon.
The unfinished 1938 production of I, Claudius was waylaid by an accident involving its lead actress and by the difficulty that Charles Laughton had in getting into Claudius's role. Only a few scenes from the film were ever publicly released in the 1960s. (The DVD release of the TV version of I, Claudius includes a documentary which features this footage.)
He was also planning an adaptation of Domu: A Child's Dream, by Katsuhiro Otomo (better known for AKIRA), which has apparently been called off due to rights issues.
Tulia is about an attorney who works on behalf of a group of local black men who are wrongly convicted of their involvement in a drug ring. Likely the politically-charged nature of the story, based on an actual event, has derailed this project.
Similarly, Pinkville, which is about the My Lai Massacre.
A few years ago there were competing development projects about Hannibal Barca. One with Denzel Washington, another with Vin Diesel. Either one could have been interesting. But so far, nothing.
The Sky Is Falling has a reputation as one of the greatest screenplays never filmed. Drew McWeeney wrote about this script from The Nineties in an August 2013 Hitfix.com article about films that never made it: Two priests Go Mad from the Revelation of God's nonexistence and become Ax-Crazy, and now the challenge for the authorities is to both stop their rampage and keep the physical proof of this revelation from becoming known to the rest of the world, lest further mayhem ensue.
Since at least the early 1990s, Roger Daltrey of The Who has been attempting to put a biopic of his late bandmate Keith Moon on the big screen. Robert Downey Jr. was once considered for the lead role before, in Daltrey's words, he read the script and did everything in it. Currently, IMDB lists the film as "Untitled Keith Moon Project", with Mike Myers once attached to the title role.
In 1994 there were talks of a film adaptation of the musical Into the Woods, where Robin Williams would have played The Baker. Sadly, it never came to pass.
The project eventually got underway, with Rob Marshall directing. Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp will be playing the Witch and the Wolf, respectively. It's currently in post-production and slated for Christmas, 2014 release.
The Dionaea House, a story told virally over the internet from 2004 to 2006, abruptly stops on several cliffhangers at different points in time, apparently because Warner Bros. purchased rights for a film adaptation. According to eBay's film listing, it was supposed to come out in 2007. IMDB once had a listing for a 2010 release (under the name The Residents for some reason), but even that has fallen down the Memory Hole.
According to the creator it's dead for now. Whether or not the door is still open for it to be made remains to be seen.
Something called Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and written by Tina Fey, was supposed to come out around 2007 or 2008. It's still listed as an upcoming project on both Cohen and Fey's IMDb pages.
The Rifts movie. Jerry Bruckheimer picked up the right in 2004, and has been renewing the option every year, but doesn't seem to have done anything with it yet. Though, considering how other Rifts spin-offs (like the CCG and the N-Gage video game) went, this may not be a bad thing.
The Snoop Dogg movie Black Ice has been on and off in development for the latter part of the decade. Snoop said in a recent interview that scheduling and communication issues have caused the delays, but insists that it'll see the light of day.
A biopic about Baron Gustaf Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland during World War II, was announced in 2000, with Finnish director Renny Harlin attached. The filming has been postponed many times due to budgetary issues. Harlin finally pulled out in May 2011, but it is unclear whether the project will go on without him.
There has also been a lot of talk about the very popular musical version ofWicked being made into a movie. It appears to be just that: talk. Oh sure, it's said to be officially confirmed, but only recently have they began looking for a cast, at least three years after the confirmation of it...
The fact it's been ten years since Wicked made its debut on stage and there has yet to be a movie of it is especially odd considering that the musical itself was actually produced by Universal, which logically should streamline the movie-making process.
There was also a storyboard of "Defying Gravity" created by a Disney animator floating around for a while, but it seems to have disappeared. No indication that it was intended to be part of a movie, either.
That was an animator who hoped Disney, or at least some animation studio, would pick up the film. Related, a different person who does character designing for Disney also made his own concept arts for what he thought Wicked might look like coming out of Disney. Sadly, considering the musical is property of Universal Studios, the chances of Disney getting ahold of such a project is dubious.
Other things that have been said about making a film are that "they're waiting for the musical ticket sales to taper off", and also that based on the success of the Les Misérables film, a Wicked movie "will be made sooner than later".
As of March 2014, we've once again received confirmation that a Wicked movie really is in the works. Except there still is no official staff attached to it.
It has been so long, that some fans are claiming that Disney's Frozen is the closest they will get to a film adaptation.
The Brazilian movie Chatô started filming in 1998. It spent a lot of money, led his director to get sued, but no one even knows if it will ever come out!
The Minds of Billy Milligan, the story of a (actual) man with multiple personalities, was adapted into a screenplay called The Crowded Room by Todd Graff in something like the late 1970s. Dozens of actors, producers and directors including James Cameron (who wrote a second screenplay) and Steven Soderburgh have signed onto the project and quit.
The Julia Roberts / Ryan Reynolds film Fireflies in the Garden has been mired in post-production hell since being finished in early 2008 due to mixed early word, the film's original distributor (the same one as the aforementioned All the Boys Love Mandy Lane) going under, and legal issues involving the film rights. It's also notable that Roberts was even doing the talk show rounds promoting the film's forthcoming release...in 2008. It has been released internationally though.
The film adaptation of Green Day's rock opera American Idiot has been in development since 2005. Several scripts have been written, and Tom Hanks has expressed interest in producing the film, but nothing definitive has yet been announced. When asked if the movie was truth, lie, or mystery, drummer Tre Cool responded that it was "a true mystery".
This ESPN the Magazine article gives an inside account of the process of getting stuck in Development Hell. David Fleming's tried for years to get his novel Breaker Boys, about an early NFL team whose championship was revoked after bitter lobbying by richer rival team owners, onto the big screen. Fleming sees this as a larger failure than most — because the movie isn't getting made, the NFL won't be forced to admit its mistake and restore the stolen championship.
Ultimately, the project was sunk by the failure of Leatherheads, which studios believed signified there was no money to be made in a movie about football in the 1920s. As the article mentions, Leatherheads was itself stuck in development hell until George Clooney stepped into the picture. Fleming's ESPN colleague Rick Reilly wrote the original screenplay in 1991... and it hit theaters in 2008. It's a point of contention between Fleming and Reilly as to who got the worse deal.
At one point Paul Greengrass was gonna make a biopic about Martin Luther King's march to Selma, Alabama. But so far nothing. Although rumor has it the project might be back on tract.
The Wesley Snipes western Gallowwalker was shot in 2006, with reshoots done in 2009, but remained unreleased for several years (partially due to Snipes's legal issues, which previously led to delays in the reshoots) though it finally premiered in October 2012 with plans for a DVD release to follow.
Jackson's estate was shopping around a Biopic in late 2011, but nothing's been heard of it since. Given that his rise to superstardom was already covered (if sugarcoated) by the Jacksons-sanctioned (and since ran into the ground by VH-1) 1992 Made-for-TV MovieJacksons: An American Dream, and that his estate apparently doesn't want to bring up the mistakes and misfortunes that dominated his later years, there haven't been any takers.
A feature-length version of the short film Pixels was in the works by Sony for a May 2013 release and had Adam Sandler attached to star but Sony ended up halting the project due to rival project Wreck-It Ralph opening six months earlier and attached director Seth Gordon choosing to direct Film/Identity Thief instead. At this point, the project is looking very unlikely unless a total overhaul was done to avoid being accused of copying Disney's film.
Pixels appears to have been Saved from Development Hell as as of June 2014, principle photography has begun in Toronto and the film has a scheduled release date of May 2015. Seth Gordon has been replaced as director by Chris Columbus though and the script has been modified from the original short film slightly, likely to remove any large parallels between it and Wreck-It Ralph.
The Eddie Murphy comedy film A Thousand Words was filmed in 2008, but got shelved because the troubled relations between companies Dreamworks and Paramount finally unraveled. The companies eventually reached an agreement and released it...four years later, one of the longest hiatuses for a comedy film.
20th Century Fox optioned William Monahan's script Tripoli in 2001, depicting the Barbary Pirate Wars. After Monahan's 2006 Oscar win for The Departed its production was announced, putatively directed by Ridley Scott and featuring Russell Crowe, Keanu Reeves and Ben Kingsley. Despite periodic claims of future release dates, it still hasn't been made.
In 2007, a film version of The Mayor of Castro Street, a biography of Harvey Milk, was announced. This was derailed by the successful release of Milk the following year.
In 2006 it was announced that Martin Scorsese would direct an adaptation of Edmund Morris's biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, written by Nicholas Meyer and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Roosevelt. Ever since it's been on hiatus, with little evidence that the project ever developed beyond the idea stage. Scorsese put Rise on hold for other projects, before ultimately dropping out as director.
A live-action film based on the Monster High franchise was announced around 2010 and was allegedly going to come out in 2012. Given it's now 2014 and no information about the movie has been released, it is most likely cancelled.