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Trivia / The Phantom (1996)

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  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $45 million. Box office, $17,323,326. One of three period superhero films in the early-mid 90s to fade out at the box office. Its failure has been blamed on its Lost in Medias Res script but it developed a cult following once it hit home video.
  • California Doubling:
    • Thailand doubled as the location for Bengalla.
    • The Central Park Zoo scenes were shot at Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park.
    • Production of the film was based at the Village Roadshow Studios in Australia, with parts of Queensland including its capital city Brisbane doubling for various US locations.
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  • Creator Backlash: Producer Joe Dante disowned the final cut but turned down an offer by the studio to have his name taken off the final product (a move he ended up regretting).
  • Deleted Scene: More scenes were shot developing Kit's relationship with Diana, but cut to maintain a faster pace.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Billy Zane trained for over a year to be fit enough to play the Phantom. A Batman-like costume with fake muscles was reportedly made, but he had bulked up so much by the time filming began that he didn't need it. He also shaved his head to allow the cowl to fit as close as possible - meaning that all scenes of him out of costume had to be filmed first.
  • Follow the Leader: This movie came out in a wave of noir-esque pulpy superhero films following the success of Tim Burton's Batman (1989).
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  • Hey, It's That Place!: The Palmer mansion set is actually the real-life Playboy mansion.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: One TV spot showed a scene of the Phantom fighting a lion. This scene was never shown in the actual movie.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • Simon Wincer was a fan of The Phantom since childhood before directing the film.
    • Billy Zane is also a big fan, having been introduced to the comics while filming Dead Calm.
  • Saved from Development Hell: When the film was in development in the Eighties, Sergio Leone expressed in directing the film adaptation (in addition to directing a film adaptation of Mandrake The Magician). During this stage, Dolph Lundgren was considered to star.
    • In the 1970s, pre-production began on a low budget Phantom feature to be shot in Mexico, with Adam West in the title role. However, there were issues with the character rights and the film was scrapped.
  • Star-Derailing Role: After the box office failure of this film, Kristy Swanson found herself getting less work in films and turned to television instead.
  • Stillborn Franchise: This was planned to be the first of a trilogy. After the film bombed, the sequels were cancelled.
    • Around 2008, due to the strong performance of the movie on video sales, a sequel was planned to be produced with Billy Zane, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kristy Swanson reprising their roles. A reboot instead was planned with Sam Worthington in the lead role, but plans for this fell through as well.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Joe Dante was originally slated to direct, but left due to other commitments. Before this, Joel Schumacher was considered for the directing job.
    • Bruce Campbell was the one originally sought for the role, but studio execs felt he wasn't a big enough box office draw, so they chose Billy Zane instead.
    • Minnie Driver was originally cast as Sala but dropped out just before filming began. Jennifer Lopez and Jenny McCarthy auditioned for the role.
    • The film was going to be shot in Hawaii, but to keep the costs down, Simon Wincer proposed to film it in his native Australia, in addition to New York City and Thailand. The budget was consequently reduced by $12 million.


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