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Trivia / Sorcerer

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For the Sorcerer movie:

  • Box Office Bomb: Budget: $21-22 million. Box-Office: $5.9 million (domestic). $9 million (worldwide).
  • Creator Killer: William Friedkin lost his Auteur License with that movie, and had an irregular career afterwards.
  • Deleted Scene: A deleted scene shows Nilo, driving the truck when the truck suddenly comes to a very steep and bumpy road down a large hill. Scanlon quickly jumps to Nilo's side to help him steer as the truck descends the hill too fast while shaking violently. This scene was cut from the film but a clip of it still remains in the sequence towards the end where Scanlon has his emotional breakdown while driving and begins having flashbacks.
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  • Executive Meddling: The film's European distributor released a radically altered cut called Wages of Fear to remind audiences about the source material. It was roughly a half-hour shorter than Friedkin's cut and rearranged the prologue to appear as flashbacks within the main story. Friedkin was not amused.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The film was unavailable on VHS until 1990, the first DVD issue was a very rare item, and repertory theaters had a hard time booking this movie, all because there was a rights issue with the film. Paramount and Universal sold their rights to the film to their foreign distribution joint venture, CIC, which disbanded and their records became missing. Freidkin sued both studios in 2012 to determine those rights. The lawsuit was resolved and Sorcerer was re-released in 2013.
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  • Referenced by...: When an episode of MacGyver was using the Nitro Express plot, it picked Sorcerer, rather than The Wages of Fear, since leaking nitro, hard terrain and old, run-down truck provided an excellent ground for MacGyvering.
  • Release Date Change: The movie was originally scheduled to be done by late 1976 and released soon after. Due to the Troubled Production, it hit cinemas the same time as A New Hope.
  • Star-Making Role: While the movie tanked and killed Friedkin's career, it still put Tangerine Dream on the map for film industry, making them one of the most popular composers for the movies in The '80s.
  • Troubled Production: It was supposed to be a "little 2.5 million in-between movie" by William Friedkin, particularly as he had just went through Hell with The Exorcist. But it turned out to be a $22 million antipode experience to Apocalypse Now (as it was primarily shot in Latin America, across the world from Coppola's Southeast Asia misadventures), with actors refusing the movie even when they liked the script due to having to travel to Ecuador and Dominican Republic, sick crewmembers (including Friedkin himself), difficult stunts and effects, and Friedkin's Prima Donna Director tendencies leading to plenty of dismissals. And then it did not perform well upon release - reviews were mixed, and audiences that weren't alienated by the Non-Indicative Title and the subtitles were more interested in Star Wars.
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  • What Could Have Been: Friedkin originally wanted Steve McQueen, Marcello Mastroianni, and Lino Ventura. Actors such as Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Nick Nolte and Jean-Paul Belmondo were also invited, but shooting in Latin America made them decline.

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