Trivia / King Arthur

The myth:
  • Name's the Same: The Black Knight is a common epithet throughout fiction.

The film:
  • Box Office Bomb: King Arthur failed to make up its $120 million budget in North America, only gaining just under $52 million. It fared considerably better worldwide, though.
  • Creator Killer: This movie was one of several 2004 bombs that mixed together with Roy E. Disney's second Save Disney campaign and general turmoil at the Walt Disney Company to bring CEO Michael Eisner's 21-year long reign to an end. Eisner was forced out the year after this film's release in order to allow president Bob Iger to keep Pixar when they threatened to jump ship.
  • Dueling Movies: Came out within a year of three other historical battle epics that were following-up on the success of Gladiator. Its competitors being Troy, Alexander, and Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Executive Meddling: The film was originally envisioned and shot as an R-rated film with corresponding graphic violence. However, after the picture had been edited, Disney executives demanded it be changed to a PG-13, hence necessitating a lot of effects work to remove the blood from the battle scenes. Antoine Fuqua and Jerry Bruckheimer were not at all pleased with this decision and fought against it, but were ultimately overruled. They were both disappointed with the theatrical release and later released a much more violent Director's Cut on DVD. However, according to Fuqua's commentary track, even the Director's Cut version is considerably less violent than his ideal version. Ironically, when the film was released, one of the biggest criticisms was that the battles were mysteriously bloodless, hence undermining any sense of realism.
  • Follow the Leader: Made after Gladiator made Sword & Sandal films big again and the Lord of the Rings film trilogy popularized Medieval European Fantasy-style films. The film, set in 467 AD, straddles the two genres since it take place just a few years before the fall of Rome in 476 AD, which is usually considered the beginning of the Middle Ages. The connections with the first of those films extends to them even sharing a writer and the same composer.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original ending of the film was replaced after test audiences thought it was too depressing. Instead of Arthur and Guinevere getting married and the knights who died getting reincarnated as horses, it shows the graves of the knights and a boy trying to pull out the sword from one's grave like Arthur once did. Arthur tells him that his time will come.
    • Antoine Fuqa wanted Daniel Craig for the lead role, but he was vetoed by Jerry Bruckheimer, because he was convinced that Clive Owen would be the next James Bond. Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson and Hugh Jackman also passed on it.
    • Michael Bay was originally set to direct, but left the project due to budget concerns. Bay had developed the project for over 5 years.
    • In David Franzoni's original script, the love triangle so central to the original myth between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot was a major part of the plot, as it is in most filmic adaptations of the Arthurian legend. However, during his research for the film, Fuqua came to believe that there was no truth to the love triangle aspect of the story and had Franzoni rewrite the script without it.