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"Sam was spontaneously dishonest at every level; he was also splendid company for anyone who enjoys con men, as I do."
Gore Vidal on Sam Spiegel, Palimpsest

Some directors and film series seem to be magnets for troubled productions.


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    Alien film series 
There's a good case to be made for the Alien franchise being cursed, as nearly every film was subject to some form of production woes.

  • Alien and Prometheus are listed in Ridley Scott's folder while Aliens is covered in the James Cameron folder.
  • Alien³ had the most beleaguered production history out of the franchise, the details of which are the stuff of industry legend.
    • After the success of Aliens, 20th Century Fox was keen to get production of a third film moving immediately. William Gibson submitted a draft featuring Hicks and Bishop fighting biomechanical xenomorphs on a space station, but his draft was rejected and he declined further involvement. At this point, the studio didn't want Sigourney Weaver back, and scripts were written with this fact in mind. Eric Red was brought onboard and penned a new script that had a spaceship discover the remains of the Sulaco crew (who were killed by the xenomorphs), before moving the action to a small town in an Earth-like biodome. Producers Walter Hill and David Giler disliked the script, and Red was ousted, with tentative director Renny Harlin also leaving soon afterward. Next, David Twohy came onboard and wrote a new script centered around a prison planet. Hill and Giler liked the script, but this too was rejected.
    • By this point, nearly four years had passed since pre-production began. Vincent Ward was hired, and soon after, with Fox hiring Weaver back with a $4 million payday and a co-producer credit, Ward wrote a script with John Fasano where Ripley crashlands on a "wooden planet" filled with monks. At this point in production, 1/5 of the planned budget had already been spent, and Fox told Ward to rein in his plans (even prompting then-CEO Joe Roth to state "What the fuck is going on?" after hearing about Ward's plan to have Ripley be placed in a cryotube by "seven dwarves" in the finale). After butting heads with executives, Ward left the project.
    • A rotating series of writers came in to try and improve the script during this time. Greg Pruss was hired to rewrite Fasano's "wooden planet" script but left after butting heads with Ward. Fasano then returned to rewrite his script, but he too had a falling-out with Ward. Larry Ferguson was then brought in to rewrite the Fasano script, and Fox complained that the treatment was not favorable towards the Ripley character. Finally, producers Walter Hill and David Giler did an emergency rewrite that combined Twohy's prison script and Fasano's religious elements.
    • Assembling the cast had its own problems. The film is infamous for killing Newt and Hicks in the opening credits when the pods crash. Newt was something of a given, as the actress had aged too much to play her again and cryogenic suspension wouldn't give her the chance to age enough for a new actress. Hicks, however, was repeatedly shuffled between "main character" and "supporting" with each new draft before they decided to kill him off - Michael Biehn was so disgusted when he found it out that he demanded to be paid as much for his image being onscreen for a few seconds as he had for filming all of Aliens.
    • And the reason Hicks kept shuffling back and forth was because the writers were told to work the film around Ripley's absence, as Sigourney Weaver was proving to be problematic. Between the two films, she had become a spokeswoman for gun-control group Handgun Control and was offended by the amount of weaponry present in the script. Very shortly before filming, one of the producers managed to woo her back to the project. Amusingly, it was by telling her that Ripley would be bald.
    • David Fincher, who at that point only had a handful of music videos to his credit, was brought on board to helm the film. He was greeted with a long list of problems; a major set had already been constructed (a monastery set built before the setting was changed to a prison — but still kept, as a church inside the facility), the budget was running behind, the script was still incomplete and roles still hadn't been cast. After being informed by the executives that he had to include as many of the creative ideas the producers asked for, Fincher rushed into production to make up for lost time.
    • Cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth fell ill from Parkinson's disease a few days into filming, necessitating a replacement in Alex Thomson. The kicker here is that a line producer for the film had lost his own father to the same illness and feared that working on the film might kill Cronenweth in his condition, meaning he arranged for the replacement based on personal experience.
    • Somewhere along the line, Hill and Giler (the latter of whom referred to Fincher as a "shoe salesman" during a conference call with the studio) fought with Fincher for 2 months over the script, and he complained about their budgetary restrictions. They and screenwriter Rex Pickett (who was also hired to rewrite the second half of the duo's script) in turn abandoned Fincher and left him to finish the script himself. Fincher would end up rewriting lines and entire scenes on-the-fly during production, while trying to keep Fox (who were requesting daily updates from the set) at bay.
    • Fincher was stymied at every turn by executives who attempted to stop him from shooting important scenes (including Ripley confronting the xenomorph in Fury 161's sub-basement level), forcing the director to grab a camera and skeleton crew and film it himself.
    • Fox sent in a troubleshooter to investigate the spiraling production costs. A rough cut was screened for the crew, and reportedly made several audience members throw up due to a graphic autopsy scene. Hill and Giler were brought back onboard by the studio to give input, and it was deemed that the film had many issues that required significant reshoots (including a finale that was deemed too similar to Terminator 2: Judgment Day), and a pivotal sequence that had to be filmed (the death of the xenomorph!).
    • Fincher (depending on which source you believe) either spent the next year attempting to edit the film, or was locked out of the editing suite altogether by the studio. The reshoots reportedly pushed the budget to $65 million, and were done in Los Angeles with almost an entirely new crew. This was reportedly the last straw for Fincher, who walked away for good at the end of the reshoots. Because of the breakneck pace of the reshoots, composer Elliot Goldenthal only had a single night to create a new piece of music for the reshot finale. The finished film was released in May 1992 to a mixed critical response.
    • Even its post-production history was sordid. Fincher refused to come back and re-edit the film for the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set, as he was still bitter over the whole experience. Likewise, Fox executives severely cut down Charles Lauzirika's documentary on the film, "Wreckage and Rape", citing that it made the company look bad. It wasn't until 2010 that the uncut documentary (with the Censored Title of "Wreckage and Rage") was released on the Alien Anthology Blu-Ray set.
  • Alien: Resurrection was relatively sedate. There was only one major thing that went wrong during filming — Ron Perlman injuring himself and nearly drowning while filming one sequence, which required the shooting schedule to be slightly reshuffled to give him time to recover — and production and post-production otherwise flew by without a single problem. At most, there was that water chase sequence which proved an exhausting experience for all in the cast and crew. That's not to say things were entirely okay behind the scenes, though, as writer Joss Whedon had major differences of opinion with the producers and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet over the tone and design of the film, but was overruled on every occasion. Even then, he didn't kick up much of a stink, since he was too busy setting up Buffy the Vampire Slayer to get involved in any major disputes.
  • Most of the trouble with Alien vs. Predator was in actually getting the project to the point where they could film anything. The initial draft was written by Peter Briggs in 1991 and set to go into production once Alien³ had been released, but the rights holders for the two franchises spent the next few years battling out over the direction of the screenplay, resulting in several screenwriters coming and going and various new drafts being produced, but nothing of any real substance being accomplished. Eventually the project slipped into the background, and wasn't revived until 2002, when Paul W.S. Anderson approached the studio about producing the film. Anderson eventually got a workable screenplay by ditching everything bar a few story elements from the original Briggs draft and writing his own story from scratch. As with Alien: Resurrection, filming was pretty trouble-free, but the studio were convinced that an R-rated film would not be a box-office success and ordered Anderson to make the film PG-13 at most. There was also a spat over the writing credits, which the studio had recommended should go to Briggs and Anderson for the story, and Anderson and Shane Salerno for the screenplay, only for the Writer's Guild to inexplicably deny any form of credit to Briggs or Salerno and instead award co-story credit to Alien writers Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, who had never been anywhere near the project. The end product was a box-office success, though ironically made less money than the previous year's R-rated Freddy vs. Jason.
  • Production on Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem also wasn't too bad all things considered, but suffered from a low budget — most infamously resulting in an on-set clip of the film's cinematographer angrily bemoaning the near-nonexistent lighting budget he had, which went viral a couple of years later — and Executive Meddling that firstly demanded that the film take place in a modern-day urban setting, and secondly forced the Predalien to be hastily expanded into the main villain at a late stage in the writing process. The inexperience of directors Colin and Greg Strause, who had long careers as effects designers but had never actually directed a feature film, also didn't help much.
  • Alien 5 (which was supposed to go into production as Alien: Covenant was filming) got cancelled because of this and Executive Meddling. Despite James Cameron stating that the film's script was "gangbusters" and Sigourney Weaver's avid support for the film; Ridley Scott stated in an interview that the film had no script during its long development and Neill Blomkamp was unable to get one in time for production, and that Weaver and Michael Biehn hadn't even signed on yet. Fox also had no faith in the project and preferred Scott's Alien: Covenant so they canned it. It's also likely Fox wanted to avoid a repeat of Alien³. Blomkamp has since confirmed it's officially dead.

    Cameron, James 
James Cameron has directed some of the most financially successful films of all time... but not without cost in the form of consistently troubled productions.

  • In his film debut, James Cameron ended up directing Piranha Part Two: The Spawning after the original director abandoned the project. While filming in Rome, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica, Cameron had to struggle with a crew made up of Italians who didn't speak English and overbearing producer Ovidio Assonitis. At one point he reportedly broke into the Rome editing room to cut his own version of the film, but Assonitis re-cut it again. Still, the two good things were that he got the idea for The Terminator during production and reused some of the models for Aliens later.
  • The Terminator was not an easy film to get completed.
    • To begin with, the film had an extremely limited budget and couldn't even afford to obtain film permits. This forced James Cameron to shoot large parts of it "guerilla style" by himself with the bare minimum of cast and crew (the blue tinge the film has wasn't a stylistic choice, they couldn't afford lights and only shot in locations where the street lights were strong enough to act as a replacement). They were constantly on the lookout for cops and often had to lie about being film school students working on a class assignment and occasionally just had to make a run for it.
    • Linda Hamilton sprained her ankle at the beginning of the shoot and spent the rest of the movie in pain.
    • The Terminator endoskeleton ended up being heavy and hard for Stan Winston's team to carry (they found out the hard way that while building a prop robot out of metal is realistic, it's not practical).
    • Also, Cameron's Bad Boss tendencies started to show, leading to the first T-shirts printed with "You can't scare me, I work for James Cameron" among the crew.
    • During post-production, John Daly, the producer, tried to shorten the film by insisting it end when the truck the Terminator is driving blows up, eliminating the whole scene with the now-skeletal Terminator chasing Sarah and Reese through the factory. Cameron physically threw him out of the editing suite.
  • Aliens was one of Cameron's most contentious productions, and one of the few times when his Jerkass demeanour is kind of understandable. The English crew thought Cameron was a tyrannical and incompetent substitute for Ridley Scott, and Cameron's workaholism clashed with their regular tea breaks and relaxed attitude towards production. The crew insulted his wife Gale Anne Hurd, implying that she was only getting producer's credit because she was married to him, and he had to contend with a walkout after firing original cinematographer Dick Bush who wouldn't light the alien nest the way he wanted (Bush was a very old school DP, who lit the scenes to his content, while Cameron was a very visually involved director) and was then replaced by Adrian Biddle (who had never DP'ed a feature before). Michael Biehn ended up replacing James Remar as Hicks a short way into production.

    Unsurprisingly, production wound up behind schedule and the crew had to work at a breakneck pace to finish the film in time for its July 1986 release date. This fell particularly hard on James Horner, who had to write the score without access to the film (that was still being filmed and edited) and record it in four days in an outdated studio. In turn, Cameron and editor Ray Lovejoy (who himself had come within a hair's breadth of being fired and replaced by Mark Goldblatt until he impressed Cameron with his work on the final battle sequence) had to hack it in places to match the film without his input. Horner swore off working with Cameron for the next 11 years.
  • The Abyss had 40% of its live-action photography take place underwater. It was filmed in two specially constructed tanks in an abandoned nuclear plant near Gaffney, South Carolinanote , requiring experimental technology and equipment to allow the underwater scenes to be filmed right. Over six months of 6-day, 70-hour work weeks ensued, and the production had to be delayed when on the first day the main water tank sprung a leak, requiring dam-repair experts to fix it. And later, the crew were forced to film only at night after a lightning storm tore up the tarpaulin covering the main tank.

    It's significant that Cameron himself declared this the worst production he was ever involved in. It's the only production where he had to spend most of his time hanging upside down in decompression tanks from filming underwater — he even said he had to review the footage in this position. He also almost drowned Ed Harris through Enforced Method Acting, which resulted in the one and only time an actor has ever actually punched him. Cameron himself nearly drowned during production, too, when his diving suit malfunctioned while he was weighed down at the bottom of the giant water tank during filming.
  • True Lies appeared to be a relatively smooth production for him at the time, but suddenly was mired in controversy in 2018 when Eliza Dushku accused the film's stunt coordinator Joel Kramer of sexually abusing her after gaining the trust of the 12-year-old's family, being so brazen as to publicly nickname her "Jailbait" on the set. She also alleged that a stunt that went wrong and hospitalized her with broken ribs was actually a deliberate piece of sabotage by Kramer after an adult friend of Dushku's confronted him, as a threat to do even worse if she told anyone else. Cameron was quick to give his support to the accusations, saying he would have had "no mercy" for Kramer if he'd had any idea what was happening.
  • Titanic (1997), the film that cemented Cameron's reputation as Hollywood's biggest Jerkass, so much so that the crew claimed he had a psychotic alter ego named "Noremac Mij". Apart from terrorizing the film's two lead actors (Kate Winslet suffered bruises so impressive that the makeup artists took photos to use for reference later), driving it insanely over budget and schedule and having to deal with cast members who came down sick from a shitload of hours spent in cold water, Cameron and about 50 other guys fell victim to an almost Deadly Prank when a crew member put PCP in their soup, forcing them to spend a night in hospital. The movie stands as possibly his last completely Off the Rails production, as he's mellowed out quite a bit since. It helps that his next production was shot in a digital backlot, with fewer things that could go awry...
  • Thankfully averted during the production of Avatar, as the film was shot on a digital backlot and Cameron himself considerably mellowed out during the 12 years between Titanic and this. The worst thing reported was him keeping a nail gun handy on set to make an example of cellphones that went off during shooting.
    • Not that Cameron mellowed out entirely; he brought a crew member to tears over a modelling issue, when they were in fact an animator and not involved in modelling.

    Coppola, Francis Ford 
Many of the films that put Francis Ford Coppola on the map in The '70s were also among the most notoriously troublesome shoots in Hollywood history.

Even in 1991, The New York Times quoted an executive to this effect:

Francis Ford Coppola may be the one major filmmaker who invariably makes problem pictures. "Things are often out of control on his set," said the executive.

  • The Godfather, as described in this Daily Telegraph article. Everyone involved seemed surprised that the film was completed, let alone successful as it was.
    • To begin with, pretty much everybody involved was only in it for the money. Mario Puzo, the author of the original book, sold the film rights to Paramount for $12,500 (rising to $50,000 if it was filmed) having only written a hundred pages, chiefly because he was in debt to his bookie. Coppola, meanwhile, hated the book, and only took the job of directing the film because a) his production company American Zoetrope was out of money, and b) Paramount pushed hard for him on account of him being Italian (which it was hoped would assuage the concerns of Italian-American groups). Even then, Coppola was only brought in after several established directors like Costa-Gavras and Arthur Penn declined.
    • Speaking of Italian-Americans, those groups were outraged by the film, accusing it of promoting stereotypes and threatening to boycott it. You'll probably notice how the movie never uses the word "Mafia", as that was part of an agreement reached with said organizations. As for the actual Mafia? Well, you can ask producer Al Ruddy what they thought of it — he had his car windows shot out by gangsters trying to derail the film's production.
    • Coppola's relationship with the Paramount executives was chaotic — they hated the casting, the lighting, the writing, the music, the length, everything. For one, Paramount wanted to jettison the novel's period setting for modern-day New York. Equally controversial was the casting of Marlon Brando, which Coppola pushed hard for and Paramount pushed just as hard against due to his star having seriously fallen at the time, due to both a string of flops and his prima donna reputation. Coppola faked a heart attack in order to get the Paramount executives to relent. Al Pacino wasn't popular with the Paramount brass either, who preferred an established star like Robert Redford and were unimpressed by Pacino's screen test and early rushes. Pacino himself shared their doubts about his performance, planning to quit the film early in production until Coppola convinced him to stay.
    • Production wasn't that troubled on-set, apart from a delay due to Pacino twisting his ankle, but it's a miracle that no significant problems emerged. Coppola got no respect from the crew, many of whom thought that the movie was a piece of crap and that he didn't know what he was doing; several of his assistant directors openly complained to the studio brass. He expected to be fired at any point, and indeed, the executives were considering replacing him with Elia Kazan. He also got into an argument with cinematographer Gordon Willis.
    • All the way through post-production, Coppola feuded with producer Robert Evans over the film's style and pacing. One particular argument involved Evans demanding that Coppola include an intermission after Michael murders Solozzo and McCluskey. Later, Evans demanded that Coppola cut the film down to a 135-minute runtime. Coppola complied, only to be chewed out afterwards for "ruining" the film. Afterwards, he re-edited it to the original length without complaint. (Though in the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture Evans claims the opposite occurred, that Coppola delivered a fast two-hour film and Evans demanded a "saga".)
    • Despite the film's ultimate success, the experience left the entire cast and crew profoundly drained. Ruddy later said: "It was the most miserable film I can think of to make. Nobody enjoyed one day of it." Unsurprisingly, it proved increasingly difficult to reunite cast and crew for the sequels.
  • Part II was easier only by comparison. After the first film, Coppola joked that the only sequel he'd make is Abbott and Costello Meet the Godfather, and it took a lot of arm-twisting by Paramount to change his mind.
    • Coppola stated his terms up front: he would only return if Paramount would a) give him complete Auteur License, b) produce his pet project, The Conversation in return, c) ensure that Robert Evans have nothing to do with the movie. To Coppola's surprise, Paramount complied with his requests; their only concern was his decision to include Part II in the title. However, Al Ruddy (with whom Coppola had a good relationship with the first film) refused to return, leaving Coppola to produce it himself.
    • Shooting in the Dominican Republic (standing in for Cuba) proved the biggest problem: nonstop rainstorms delayed filming for weeks, while Al Pacino, Lee Strasberg, and several crew members came down with tropical illnesses. Pacino took three weeks to recover, and Strasberg was so debilitated his infirmity was written into his character. There were also concerns about the parallel storylines of Vito and Michael, especially after Coppola delivered a disastrous rough cut, forcing a last-minute re-edit.
    • The cast caused trouble as well. Pacino caused headaches throughout production, demanding a massive salary and heavy script rewrites. He frequently complained about Coppola's slow pace, yelling "Serpico only took nineteen days!" and threatening to quit. Richard S. Castellano (Clemenza) refused to return, leading to Michael V. Gazzo's eleventh-hour casting as Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Frank Pentangeli. Gazzo himself caused difficulties through heavy drinking; Coppola claims that Gazzo was drunk filming Pentangeli's Senate testimony. James Caan demanded the same salary as the first film for his brief cameo as Sonny; Marlon Brando backed out at the last minute. But all of that was chump change compared to Coppola's much-anticipated follow-up...
  • Apocalypse Now, a case so famous that it has its own documentary dedicated to it, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (pictured and quoted on this trope's main page). Coppola himself summed it up by saying "My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam," and famously explained that "We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane." Let's see, where do we start?
    • Like many projects here, Apocalypse Now was a modest idea subjected to development creep. John Milius and George Lucas conceived the film in 1969 as a low budget docudrama modeled on The Battle of Algiers. Gradually, Milius expanded his script into a surreal black comedy based on Heart of Darkness. As Lucas focused on other projects and Milius was reluctant to direct it himself, Coppola took over in the mid-'70s, toning down the story's humor while emphasizing its surreal qualities. Coppola, fresh off The Godfather Part II, convinced United Artists to back the project, and the tumultuous production began.
    • Filming in the Philippines went on for a year, going nine months behind schedule and $17-19 million over budget.note  Among other setting-related problems, Typhoon Olga in May 1976, combined with constant rainfall, destroyed most of the sets and totally ground production to a halt for six weeks. The United States military refused to lend Coppola any military equipment, due to the order to "Kill Colonel Kurtz" (Coppola refused to change it to a Deadly Euphemism). Coppola instead had to borrow local military equipment, and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos disrupted production by recalling the equipment he lent to Coppola to fight against the Communist insurgents in the South.
    • There were also many problems with the various cast members. Marlon Brando was cast as Colonel Kurtz, being his usual prima donna self. He showed up to the set morbidly obese rather than with the muscular physique that was called for, leading to the decision to film Kurtz solely from the shoulders up. Worse, when he arrived on set he had read neither the script nor Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness like he had been told to. The actors were disgruntled because Coppola forced them to sign term contracts with his production company. Unsurprisingly, many cast and crew members were drunk or stoned while filming; Dennis Hopper got a teenaged Laurence Fishburne addicted to heroin.
    • Meanwhile, Harvey Keitel, cast as main character Captain Willard, was fired a few weeks into filming because Coppola wasn't satisfied with his performance. Martin Sheen took over the part, soon becoming dangerously immersed in the role. Filming the hotel scene, he drunkenly cut his hand open shattering a mirror and, in an unrelated incident, later suffered a heart attack and had to struggle a quarter-mile to get help. The latter of these two meant that some of his scenes had to be filmed from the back, using his brother, Joe Estevez, as a body double.
    • The ending had to be re-written on the fly and the script was frequently discarded for improvisation. Most notably, the ending (in which Willard cuts an unresisting Kurtz to pieces, then emerges from the hut to find the natives revere him now) had to be changed from its action-heavy original due to neither Sheen nor Brando being in any sort of state to film it.
    • Even post-production was no walk in the park. For one thing, the Philippines had no professional film laboratories at the time, meaning the raw camera negatives had to be shipped to the US to be processed. Coppola never saw a shot on film until after returning to California. The entire movie was shot blind. For another thing, Coppola had to edit several miles of film to create the final cut. The set piece on the French plantation, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to film, was thrown out.note  On top of that, Sheen was unavailable to provide the voice-over narration, so, once again, Coppola had to turn to Joe Estevez. All told, post-production took two years.
    • To put the film's disastrous shoot in perspective, Laurence Fishburne lied about his age to get cast as a 17-year old in the movie when he was actually 14. By the time the movie was released, he actually was 17 years old. The film took the heaviest toll on Coppola himself; he lost 100 pounds, threatened suicide several times, and attempted it once. The film also severely strained his relationship with wife Eleanor, not least when Coppola had an indiscreet affair with a production assistant.
  • One from the Heart was initially meant to be a small $2 million movie for Coppola to chillax after the sheer hell of Apocalypse Now. It wound up ballooning to $25 million due to his insistence on shooting on sound stages exclusively, and failed so badly, only making $600,000, that it led him to declare bankruptcy (fitting the detractor nickname at the time, "One Through the Heart"), shut down his production company American Zoetrope, and spend the rest of The '80s and The '90s making movies just to recover the debts he incurred from this, such as The Godfather Part III and Jack.
  • Though numerous troubled productions have resulted in body counts, few are as infamous in this respect as The Cotton Club - and a gangland-style execution is just the tip of the iceberg of the shoot's problems.
    • Former Paramount studio chief Robert Evans (who, as mentioned earlier, was a nemesis of Coppola during filming of The Godfather) had the idea of producing and directing a film about the 1920s Harlem speakeasy in 1980, but struggled to spark interest among backers in Mario Puzo's script (early donors included Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, whose money Evans had to return after rejecting his suggested script changes). Through Miami drug dealer Lanie Jacobs, he was introduced to New York impresario Roy Radin, who offered to help raise the necessary funds. However, Jacobs expected a share of the profits and a production credit for her efforts, which Radin refused. In June 1983, Radin's bullet-riddled corpse was found in the desert outside Los Angeles, and Jacobs was later convicted of ordering his murder and sentenced to life without parole. Though suspicions also fell on Evans, his involvement was never proven. In his memoir The Kid Stays In the Picture, Evans says that experience made the early years of the '80s, in which he was arrested for trying to smuggle a large quantity of cocaine into the country and required to organize anti-drug events with the big stars he knew as community service, the "good half" of the 1980s for him.
    • Radin's murder alone would render The Cotton Club a troubled production, but as efforts to tweak the script continued to founder, Evans brought in his former foe Francis Ford Coppola to work on the script, and ultimately gave him the reins of director. Coppola, already reeling from the troubled productions and financial failures of Rumble Fish and One from the Heart, saw the film as an opportunity to get his career as a director back on track, just as Evans hoped to do the same for his career as a producer following the troubled productions of Popeye and Urban Cowboy. This inevitably set the stage for an epic battle of egos between the old enemies, who had drastically different creative visions for the story, characters, and visuals of the film.
    • Enticed by a script by Mario Puzo and the promise of funding from Las Vegas casino-owning brothers Edward and Fred Doumani, Paramount offered Evans the talents of Richard Gere as leading man and access to their studio facilities along with further production funds. However, determined to re-establish his reputation as a major player in Hollywood, Evans turned down the latter offer in favour of the services of Orion Pictures - who were in the business of marketing and distributing films rather than producing them, meaning that Evans would need to raise more production money and find a studio in which to shoot the film, causing further delays and adding to the already bloated budget.
    • Upon being appointed director, Coppola added to the budgetary woes by firing the film crew Evans had assembled en masse (in some cases requiring large payoffs) and hiring his own crew members, including a music arranger who commuted via Concorde between the shoot in New York and a regular engagement in Switzerland. His quasi-improvisational approach to directing the actors meant the script was in a constant state of flux, and actors would frequently spend all day on set without shooting a single frame of film. There were frequent clashes between Coppola and Gere, who insisted on showing off his (modest) skills on the cornet in the film, and seemed more concerned about possible damage to his reputation than about the film itself.
    • Filming finished in March 1984 with a final budget of $47 million (nearly three times initial estimates), and the battle between Evans and Coppola continued during post-production. A lawsuit filed by Evans against Coppola, the Doumani brothers, and Orion resulted in Evans being given a flat fee and a producer credit, but yielding complete creative control over the film to Coppola. The film was released in December 1984, and although Siskel & Ebert both named it one of the year's ten best films, most critics were more muted in their enthusiasm, and its final domestic gross was just $25.9 million. Although Evans and Coppola continued to produce and/or direct films, their careers as major players in Hollywood were over.
  • Coming full circle, The Godfather, Part III.
    • The project had been in Development Hell for over a decade, with numerous scripts written throughout the '70s and '80s and other directors attached. Coppola repeatedly refused the project until financial woes forced him to take it. After accepting, Paramount gave Coppola and Mario Puzo just six weeks to write the script, and a hard year to complete filming. Coppola and Puzo initially wanted to call it The Death of Michael Corleone, emphasizing it was a standalone "epilogue" rather than a direct sequel. In an ironic reversal of Part II, Paramount insisted on the numbered title.
    • Again, the biggest problems involved the cast, who weren't any more eager than Coppola to revisit the franchise. Al Pacino and Diane Keaton both demanded massive salary hikes: Pacino initially demanded such an exorbitant amount that Coppola threatened to open the movie with Michael's funeral. Robert Duvall refused to return over a pay dispute, while Joe Spinell died just before filming started, forcing Coppola and Puzzo to create replacement characters. Most notoriously, Winona Ryder dropped out of the part of Mary at the last minute, forcing Sofia Coppola to step in, never mind how she allegedly REALLY didn't want to do it. Actual filming was relatively smooth, but media coverage of its behind-the-scenes turmoil led to a massive backlash after its eventual release.

    Dante, Joe 
Cult filmmaker Joe Dante has had his fair share of difficult productions.

  • Piranha had some documented production problems, including last-minute cast changes, underwater cameras that kept breaking down, union woes, and unusable second unit footage. It still became one of New World Pictures' biggest hits.
  • Post-production of Gremlins was a nightmare due to the gremlin and Mogwai animatronics never working properly. On the DVD Commentary, Chris Walas (the creator of the animatronics) calls working on Gremlins the closest thing he's had to a complete mental breakdown.
  • The filming of Looney Tunes: Back in Action has been described by director Joe Dante as, to put it lightly, "the longest year-and-a-half of my life". But the troubles didn't really start there...
    • Development started when Space Jam was released, with the same crew in charge of a sequel (with Joe Pytka as director and Spike Brandt & Tony Cervone in charge of animation). However, Michael Jordan was too displeased with the film to do Space Jam 2 and it turned out the artists were being lied so they could do designs. The film evolved into a James Bond/Austin Powers parody (Spy Jam) with Jackie Chan, who quickly resigned as he frequently clashed with the upper-heads.
    • The film was then cancelled... until Dante was called. He alongside writer Larry Doyle and animation director Eric Goldberg took the film on a different direction, becoming a thinly-veiled Take That! against Space Jam and the studio itself. This didn't sit well with executives note , who refused to give the crew creative control other than keeping the characters' personalities, and the animated sequences differ greatly from Dante's plans.
    • Back in Action's release was also the subject of a big stroke of bad luck: it was supposed to premiere in July but was shelved after Finding Nemo became a smash. It was then postponed to November, the start of the holiday movie season. Unfortunately, the new release date was just after those of Brother Bear and Elf, just before those of The Cat in the Hat and The Return of the King, and during the week the Occupation of Iraq began. This and WB refusing to promote the film because of its chaotic production and overrun budget caused the film to tank, grossing just $22 million domestically and $68 million worldwide (out of an $80 million budget).

    DC Extended Universe 
  • Suicide Squad had a turbulent production to say the least. The Hollywood Reporter published a piece on the film after its premiere, laying out a number of behind-the-scenes problems.
    • The writing process for the film was very rushed, with writer-director David Ayer (Fury (2014), End of Watch) completing the screenplay in just six weeks.note  The backlash against Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice then rattled the executives at Warner Bros., who were now worried that Suicide Squad would meet with a similar response due to not reflecting the "fun and edgy" feel of the trailers. They hired Trailer Park, the company behind the teaser, to edit an alternate cut of the film. Warner Bros.' more lighthearted cut was screened for test audiences alongside Ayer's Darker and Edgier and more somber cut, which led to the studio deciding to do extensive and costly re-shoots to try and meet a middle ground between the two takes. It's believed that the decision to essentially merge the two conflicting versions of the film is to blame for the movie's Mood Whiplash, among other criticisms such as choppy editing and lack of character development for the titular squad. Rumor has it that the Joker/Harley relationship in particular was signifcantly made more sympathetic due to poor reactions from test screenings. Further elaborated on here.
    • Jared Leto's base-breaking portrayal of The Joker was controversial in many ways, being already rumored to be disruptive to the production before release,note  and split audience opinions after release. When Warner Bros. announced that a Joker origin was in the works, the announcement very noticeably said nothing about Leto's potential involvement and the rumor mill, instead, went into overdrive speculating that Leonardo DiCaprio would be cast in the title role (due to Martin Scorsese's involvement) and whether it would even be set on the same continuity. Ultimately Joaquin Phoenix was cast and the movie was officially announced to be its own thing.
  • Justice League:
    • In the wake of the mixed to negative reception to Batman v. Superman, Warner Bros. reorganized the DCEU production team in a major way, tightening their leash on Zack Snyder while bumping Ben Affleck up into an Executive Producer role on the film.
    • Right from the beginning, there were clashes over whether or not Snyder should stay on at all, as quite a few WB executives blamed him for Batman v. Superman's disappointing reception and feared that his directorial efforts would tarnish the DC brand. Greg Silverman was described as being "quite harsh on Zack", and was repeatedly approached by many within the company who wanted him to fire Snyder. This extended all the way to Time Warner, WB's parent company, who were frustrated at WB for continuing to employ Snyder even after the disastrous critical reaction to Batman v. Superman. The studio executives also disagreed with Snyder's decision to use Steppenwolf, a fairly low-tier villain, as the main antagonist of their landmark crossover film. Ultimately, WB higher-ups like Kevin Tsujihara overruled the dissenters and ultimately kept Snyder onboard, as they were worried that firing the director would be seen as a sign of weakness and send the message that the franchise was in trouble. Despite this, Snyder was kept on a much shorter leash this time, with WB apparently hoping increased oversight could curb his more questionable creative impulses and keep the budget manageable.
    • While the film was already intended to be lighter than its predecessor, the unexpected backlash against Batman v. Superman caused Snyder and WB to skew the movie even more lighthearted. The film was initially going to be a Movie Multipack with Justice League Part One dropping in 2017 and Part Two coming in 2019, but that idea was dropped (Snyder's wife, producer Deborah Snyder, suggested it was never supposed to be a multipack and was just there as a formality, but it's also said that audiences have been growing cold on the whole movie multipack idea). Thus, the planned two-part story was condensed into a single film. Additionally, as a result of the mandated tonal shift, the original script (which featured things like a Bad Future where Earth had been conquered by the forces of Apokolips and a scene of Darkseid murdering Lois Lane to break Superman's spirit) had to be completely thrown out and rewritten from scratch. As a further consequence of Batman v. Superman's poor reception, the studio decreed that Justice League had to be shorter than two hours in length, despite the large number of characters, as well as Snyder's previous DC movies being much longer.
    • Snyder eventually turned in an early cut of the film, and while the studio felt it was a step in the right direction, they ultimately thought it was still too dark and too similar to its predecessor. Joss Whedon, who'd previously found massive success balancing action, drama and comedy in a superhero team movie with The Avengers, was hired to write new scenes designed to bring a greater sense of fun and levity to Justice League.
    • Unexpectedly, Snyder's daughter committed suicide during post-production. He ultimately stepped away from Justice League, leaving Whedon to finish the movie.
    • As post-production work was underway, it was revealed that WB were spending at least $25 million on reshoots, which is unusually large as the average for a movie of this size is around $10-14 million. This was largely due to the large ensemble cast being in the midst of other projects (Ezra Miller for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Jason Momoa for Aquaman and Henry Cavill for Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Gal Gadot was pregnant until March and had to turn around and spend a month doing promo for Wonder Woman (2017) right after she had her baby), as well as a significant amount of Snyder's footage being cut. This, coupled with WB's continued demands, resulted in the film's budget ballooning to an estimated $300 million. With Fantastic Beasts filming at Leavesden studios, the reshoots had to be moved to another studio. WB owns Leavesden and therefore doesn't have to rent it so that also added to the budget.
    • Complicating matters was the fact that Cavill had grown a mustache for a role in Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Paramount prohibited him from shaving it off with threat of legal action. A proposal was made for Industrial Light and Magic to CGI a mustache into the Mission Impossible shots at no cost to Paramount, but they wouldn't budge. WB was therefore forced to spend even more money digitally removing Cavill's whiskers so that the old and new footage would match (not to mention stick with Superman's established character design). Unfortunately different effects houses were used for different sequences, and the digital cover-up for the opening of the movie was particularly obvious and left a bad first impression upon the film's release. The CGI-ed lip was additionally present in nearly every shot of Superman in the film, indicating that Whedon ended up doing much more extensive reshoots than previously thought. And to add insult to injury, production on Fallout was delayed when Tom Cruise broke his ankle doing a stunt, so that Cavill easily could have grown his mustache back in that time.
    • During reshoots, Gal Gadot was heavily pregnant and suffered from morning sickness. Not only did the post-production crew have to edit scenes to hide her pregnancy, but one person even had to stand by with a bucket just for her to puke in between takes.
    • Once the reshoots were finished, a major problem emerged when it came to combining the footage shot by Snyder with the new material written and shot by Whedon. The two filmmakers are known for drastically different, possibly conflicting styles, with Whedon's Marvel movies being known for their fun and crowd-pleasing nature, while Snyder's DC films have a reputation for being very grim and somber. Consequently, early cuts of the film suffered from Mood Whiplash, with test audiences claiming that the darker scenes did not mesh well with the more playful ones. It was very clear that much more work needed to be done to make the film work as a coherent whole and delaying the film's release in order to do so was considered. However, studio executives forced the film to stick with its original release date as they were allegedly only guaranteed hefty bonuses if the film was delivered before TimeWarner's pending merger with AT&T. After an extensive editing process, Whedon and the studio eventually came up with a cut that audiences allegedly felt struck the right balance between drama and fun.
    • The delays in getting a final cut put together meant that the rest of post-production was so rushed that Danny Elfman had to get to work just a day after being hired and hastily score to the film's storyboards instead of filmed footage. He didn't even have time to create music for certain scenes.
      Danny Elfman: "I had a lot of storyboards in place of action. There would be full scenes and then a five-minute sequence of storyboards. Honestly, it was like working on an animated film. I didn’t score any of the unused footage — the movie that came out is the movie I scored, it was just in very rough form."
    • Towards the film release date, many involved were dogged by accusations of sexism and sexual harassment. Whedon's ex-wife published a letter revealing that he cheated on her during their marriage, and a leaked copy of Whedon's original screenplay for Wonder Woman was pilloried for its supposed misogyny. Many involved in the film were dogged by sex scandals including star Ben Affleck (who was haunted by his ties to Harvey Weinstein, who was outed as sexual predator that year) and producer Brett Ratner (whose production company was involved in making the movie and was fired after his sexist behavior was revealed. Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins are rumored to have both said they wouldn't come back to Wonder Woman 1984 should he be involved). These allegations hampered enthusiasm for the film and made it more difficult for Warner Bros. to market the movie towards women and families.
    • Despite all the effort, the film ended up having the lowest opening weekend of the entire DCEU, with many analysts suggesting that the negative word of mouth about Batman v. Superman might have sullied the franchise's reputation. The studio's fears about Steppenwolf also proved to be correct, with critics and audiences roundly panning the character for his lack of depth and claiming he looked cheap and unconvincing. The oft-dodgy CGI used to erase Cavill's mustache was also met with widespread derision and mockery, and quickly became an Internet meme It's estimated the movie ended up losing about $50 million in its theatrical run. Aquaman ended up outgrossing Justice League worldwide within three weeks of release in its first market (China) which was its first weekend in the United States.
  • The Flash:
    • The project was initially announced as part of the first phase of the DCEU, with Phil Lord & Chris Miller hired to write and direct the movie, and Ezra Miller starring as the title character. When the duo were unable to direct due to commitments to Solo (another Troubled Production), the studio hired Seth Grahame-Smith to direct their script in 2015. However, by April of the following year, it was announced that Grahme-Smith had departed the film due to creative differences.
    • Following this, Dope director Rick Famuyiwa was announced to helm the project, and even appeared onstage at San Diego Comic-Con alongside other DCEU directors Patty Jenkins, James Wan, Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder (the latter two of whom would also exit the franchise not long after). A few months later, however, it was announced that Famuyiwa and WB had parted ways, with The Hollywood Reporter claiming that the studio had grown hesitant to pursue Famuyiwa's "edgy" vision for the movie (which reportedly featured a subplot dealing with Police Brutality) after the dismal response to Snyder's Batman v. Superman. This also called into question whether Kiersey Clemons, Famuyiwa's pick for Iris West, the movie's female lead, was still attached to the project, with the theatrical cut of Justice League eventually removing all of her scenes. Famuiywa later took a thinly veiled shot at the studio after Marvel's Black Panther wound up outgrossing Justice League in just 4 days.
    • In 2017, WB announced that the movie would now be called Flashpoint, and would seemingly adapt the massive crossover storyline of the same name. Variety reported that there were plans for Ben Affleck to reprise his role as Batman in the movie, while Jeff Snyder of The Wrap subsequently revealed that the studio had also been courting Affleck to direct. Affleck, who was already sending up red flags about wanting to leave the franchise (including several notorious interviews where he seemed very cagey about whether or not he was even still playing Batman), passed on both offers. WB also considered Robert Zemeckis, but could not nail anything down due to his busy schedule.
    • In 2018, the studio hired John Francis-Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, co-writers of the successful (and comparatively Lighter and Softer) Spider-Man: Homecoming to direct the movie. Despite this, the project stalled for a while, with no real updates until 2019. The plans to adapt Flashpoint also fell by the wayside, with rumors stating that the studio didn't see the point in it anymore after Ben Affleck declined to return as Batman.
    • In May 2019, it was reported that Ezra Miller was unhappy with the current direction of the project, as he wanted to maintain the grittier, edgier tone of the early incarnations, which clashed with the more lighthearted approach Daley and Goldstein had brought to the project from their experience with Homecoming. Miller pitched his own script to the studio execs, which was co-written with noted comic book author Grant Morrison. The studio ultimately rejected Miller's script for unknown reasons.
    • Then, in July 2019, it was announced that Francis-Daley and Goldstein had left the project, and that IT 2017 director Andy Muschietti had been hired to replace them. Additionally, after rejecting Miller's script, WB hired Bumblebee and Birds of Prey (2020) writer Christina Hodson to pen a new draft.
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    The Exorcist film series 
  • The Exorcist went over budget and schedule ($4.5 million and 105 days to $12 million and over 200 days plus 6 months of post-production!).
    • William Friedkin proved to be a Prima Donna Director who didn't care much for the cast and crew and intentionally made the set as hostile as possible in order to make the actors appear genuinely stressed on camera, even firing guns at random moments to make doubly sure that the actors were constantly on edge. During post-production, he disliked Lalo Schifrin's would-be score so much he literally took the tapes and threw them away in the studio parking lot, choosing instead to score the film to pre-existing music (most notably Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells").
    • Ellen Burstyn complained that for the scene Chris is telekinetically thrown against a wall, the stuntmen were pulling her too hard... and Friedkin's response was a take so strong Burstyn suffered permanent damage!
    • Massive air-conditioning units were brought in for the climactic exorcism, bringing the temperature on the set down close to freezing. Linda Blair had to spend the entire time dressed in nothing but a thin nightgown and developed a lifelong dislike of cold temperatures.
    • To make it worse, there were strange events (such as the interior sets of the MacNeil residence getting burned) that led people to consider the film cursed.
  • Exorcist II: The Heretic had it even worse:
    • Friedkin and writer William Peter Blatty were repeatedly asked for ideas for a sequel but turned the studio down on finding out that the producer assigned the project, Richard Lederer, wanted them to just make a quick-and-dirty sequel to exploit the first film's success. Instead, a screenplay was commissioned from William Goodhart, whose only other screenplay credit was the obscure 1969 film Generation; the exact contents of Goodhart's screenplay have never been made publicly known, but apparently mixed in the first film's themes with a lot of odd metaphysical symbolism.
    • The studio then hired John Boorman to direct the film — an odd choice when you consider that he actually disliked the first film, and was more interested in the metaphysical aspects of Goodhart's script than any of the actual Christian themes. Boorman and co-writer Rospo Pallenberg then pretty much scrubbed all the remaining Christian elements from the script, leaving it barely recognisable as an Exorcist sequel. They then had to perform further last-minute rewrites which swapped out Regan's mother Chris for Sharon, the nanny from the first film, after Ellen Burstyn refused to appear as Chris again.
    • Filming was where things really started to go wrong. The production was refused permission to film at just about every location they asked for (including the house from the first film), leading to them having to recreate everything on the studio backlot and inflating the $9,000,000 budget all the way up to $14,000,000. Linda Blair was already in the midst of her drug habits and constantly turned up late to shooting, to the point where she actually considered it an achievement that she was only 20 minutes late one day. Co-star Richard Burton had his own substance issues, as he was constantly drunk on-set and frequently lashed out at Boorman and his co-stars. Boorman was laid low by a serious lung infection for a month, resulting in Pallenberg — who had never directed a film before — taking over as director for many key sequences. The crew also had no idea how to realize the swarms of locusts that were required for the climax, resulting in them using a combination of styrofoam "packing peanuts" fired from an air cannon, and actual locusts with their legs clipped, with mixed results. On top of that, the locusts could only survive for a day or two in the American climes, resulting in them having to be constantly replaced at considerable cost.
    • When the film was finally released it was laughed off the screen during its premiere, leading to Boorman hastily producing a re-edited version, which was no better received. The studio had granted Boorman to do the final cut of the movie without any kind of studio oversight. The result was considered such a disaster that no major studio has allowed that since for any movie.
  • The Exorcist III had probably the smoothest production of the franchise, though even then there was a lot of friction between writer-director William Peter Blatty and the studio, who forced him to reshoot large sections of the film, scrapping all the footage showing Brad Dourif as Father Karras and recasting his original actor, Jason Miller in the role. However, most of the reshot footage was essentially the same script wise (with some segments and bits of dialogue not included such as the Gemini Killer psychologically toying with Kinderman, suggesting he might be the real deal or an accomplice who was never caught or possibly someone with psychic powers who can sense the killings (which ironically sounds similar to an episode of The X-Files Dourif was in) and the only major change being the changing of the set of the disturbed ward cell to look more like a modern one as opposed to the medieval torture chamber-esque look they went for in the initial shoot. Jason Miller was also suffering from alcoholism and wasn't able to remember his long lines of dialogue so they brought Dourif back in, switching between Father Karras (Miller) and the Gemini Killer (Dourif) giving the film even more of a Surreal Horror tone. They also added a completely new character called Father Morning, who is somewhat clumsily inserted into the film to show up in the climax to provide an actual exorcism since they obviously couldn't call it an exorcist movie without an exorcism and add some gore shots with horrific hellish visions. The ending was also changed, with the original ending being rather anti-climactic, with Lt. Kinderman simply shooting Karras after the attempt on his daughter's life, but the reshot version made it a much more horrific and disturbing, with the demonic force putting up much more of a fight and also adding a bit more to the end of Kinderman's character arc. The ending burial of Karras was used with a scene that was originally earlier in the film, where they excavated Karras' grave to discover the body within was not his own, and while the original cut has a scene that elaborates on who the body is, it's only briefly addressed in the final film. Blatty also didn't get along too well with star George C. Scott, though for the most part, they were able to put their differences aside and work together without too much trouble.
  • Exorcist: The Beginning may have had the most troubled production of the entire franchise:
    • The screenplay had a long and painful gestation process; Blatty refused to get involved, resulting in over a decade being spent trying to get a screenplay together, with the producers eventually settling on a draft by Caleb Carr, which incorporated elements from an earlier screenplay by William Wisher Jr.
    • John Frankenheimer was initially hired as director, but suddenly died just a few weeks before shooting was due to start. This led to Paul Schrader taking over the project, and significantly rewriting Carr's script, which he heavily disliked, leading to a public spat between the two, and Carr going so far as to endorse the eventual reshot version over Schrader's.
    • Filming was relatively smooth, though the studio pushed Schrader into adding more gore than he really wanted to. Matters came to a head after Schrader turned in his first edit, however — the studio promptly fired him, as they thought the finished product was too slow, too talky and still wasn't gory enough for their liking.
    • Renny Harlin was then brought in and asked to film a few new scenes and re-edit the movie to make it closer to what they wanted. Harlin told them that Schrader's version was complete crap and unsalvageable, and without any intention of actually signing onto the project, said that they'd be better off reshooting the project from scratch. Much to his shock, the producers agreed to this and offered Harlin an even bigger budget and paycheck than they had given Schrader. Harlin accepted the offer and rewrote the screenplay alongside new writer Alexi Hawley.
    • Immediately, Harlin ran into the problem of nearly the entire cast (barring only lead actor Stellan Skarsgård) either being unavailable for the reshoots or refusing to return out of loyalty to Schrader. Filming again went relatively smoothly, though this time there was a lot more press attention, leading to the studio having to step up security.
    • Eventually, Harlin's version was released in the summer of 2004... and got torn apart by critics and barely broke even at the box-office. This led to the studio eventually releasing Schrader's version (now called Dominion: Prequel To The Exorcist) the following year, without any real effort at marketing it, though it did at least get some positive reviews, in particular from Roger Ebert, and was even endorsed by William Peter Blatty himself.

    Friday the 13th film series 
Given the rapid production of new Friday the 13th films almost every year during The '80s, problems were bound to crop up eventually, especially as the series wore on and started to fall into sequelitis.
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 ran into most of its problems before a single frame was shot. Sean S. Cunningham, the director of the first film, disagreed with Paramount's plan to build the sequel around Pamela Voorhees' son Jason taking up his mother's murderous legacy, on the grounds that it would be a massive, unexplained retcon of the first film's backstory; instead, he wanted to make Friday an anthology series. Victor Miller, the writer of the first film, supported Cunningham and followed him out the door, as did special effects artist Tom Savini. Ultimately, however, things went fairly smoothly once Steve Miner, a producer on the first film, stepped in to direct. The only problems during production came when the producers discovered that Marta Kober, the actress who played Sandra, was actually underage, forcing them to cut a full-frontal nude scene they'd shot with the actress, and when stuntman Steve Daskawicz accidentally cut his finger with a machete and needed thirteen stitches.
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was the first really troubled production in the series.
    • Director Joseph Zito, fresh off The Prowler, was asked to both write and direct this film. The problem: Zito was not a screenwriter, and only took the writing job due to the promise of seeing his salary for the film doubled. As a result, he used that extra pay to hire Barney Cohen to ghostwrite the film for him, a move that got everybody involved (Zito, Cohen, and producer Phil Scuderi) in trouble with the Writers Guild of America. Cohen would be credited as the sole screenwriter on the film (story credit went to Bruce Hidemi Sakow, who had written an early treatment that Zito was supposed to turn into a screenplay) as a result.
    • Once production started, Zito treated his actors like crap. Many of them had No Stunt Double and had to perform dangerous stunts themselves, leading to injuries; Judie Aronson developed hypothermia from shooting a scene where she had to remain submerged in a very cold lake and was not allowed to get out between takes, and Peter Barton was slammed into a shower wall for real. Hostility on the Set developed between Zito and Ted White, who played Jason Voorhees, over Zito's treatment of the cast, such that White had his name taken off the credits. Corey Feldman also hated Zito and acted like a brat on set out of frustration with him, such that, during the scene where Tommy Jarvis kills Jason, Feldman pretended that the off-screen sandbags he was hacking at with a machete were actually Zito. Feldman's behavior was also the motivation for White in the scenes where Jason attacks Tommy; he was so annoyed working with Feldman that he wanted to scare the kid for real, and proceeded to deliberately go off-cue in order to get a more authentic reaction out of him.
    • That's not to say that Zito was responsible for everything that went wrong. Lawrence Monoson's character Ted is smoking pot before he gets killed, so he decided to actually smoke pot in order to get into character for his death scene. This merely caused him to start freaking out on set, unable to concentrate due to drug-induced paranoia.
    • The film was supposed to premiere in October 1984, but producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. was so impressed by it that he decided to push the release up to April. Unfortunately, this left only six weeks for post-production, leading to one of the only times when Paramount actively assisted in production on a Friday film, renting a house in Malibu for Zito, Mancuso, and their editors to rush through the job of getting the film ready for theatrical release.
  • Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning had at least some troubles during filming, though exactly how many troubles, and who or what caused them, depends on who you ask.
    • According to director Danny Steinmann and co-stars Shavar Ross, Dominick Brascia, and Debi-Sue Voorhees, there were a few minor problems with lead actor John Shepherd being standoffish during the shoot, a malfunctioning rain machine that held up filming of the finale, and make-up effects having to be cut or worked around during editing after Paramount deemed them sub-par, but production otherwise wasn't too problematic.
    • On the other hand, Shepherd himself, lead actress Melanie Kinnaman, co-star Dick Wieand and stuntman Tom Morga have alleged that Steinmann spent most of the shoot binging on cocaine, and veered between being verbally abusive to most of the cast and so high off his ass that the cinematographer had to direct certain scenes, only cleaning up his act on days when Ross' mother was on-set. Steinmann also shot a couple of very graphic sex scenes, one of which was cut entirely, with the other being edited down to only about ten seconds. Wieand later theorized that Steinmann filmed the scenes so that the MPAA would insist on cutting them and let the gore go through uncensored, only for this plan to backfire when Paramount ended up cutting the gore and sex scenes out before ever submitting it to the MPAA.
    • Furthermore, A New Beginning was cast under a fake title, and none of the actors knew they were doing a Friday movie until they got the part. This especially irritated Shepherd, who had spent several months preparing for an audition for a movie he thought was about a man suffering from mental illness (he even volunteered at a mental hospital to prepare for the role), and feared being associated with a franchise known for sex and blood given that he was working as a church counselor at the time.
    • When it was released, the film did reasonably well financially, but the critical reaction was abysmal even by the standards of the series, and it ultimately marked the first of a successively lower-grossing chain of sequels.
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood was the most seriously troubled production in the series, and a sign of the Dork Age to come.
    • The production endured quite a bit of Development Hell, such that it would be the first Friday film since the fourth to not come out one year after the last one. It was made under the shadow of diminishing box-office returns for the franchise since A New Beginning, causing Paramount to push for a crossover with the more commercially successful A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. However, New Line Cinema wouldn't play ball, and so producer Barbara Sachs and writer Daryl Haney instead came up with a story similar to Jaws about a land developer trying to build condos on Crystal Lake (with Jason Voorhees serving as the shark). However, executive producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. hated the idea and gave it an Executive Veto, leading Haney to instead pitch the idea of Jason fighting a Final Girl with telekinetic powers similar to Carrie. Everybody involved loved it and signed off on that instead.
    • Just as he was in the process of finishing up the screenplay, a botched power play by Haney's agent saw him fired and replaced by an unidentified scab writer (the film was written during a Writers' Guild of America strike) who went under the credit of Manuel Fidello. After this, the screenplay was heavily rewritten to bring it more in line with the earlier entries in the series, taking particular inspiration from The Final Chapter, as well as cutting some of the more ambitious (and expensive) ideas that Haney had tried to incorporate.
    • That wouldn't be the end of it, however, as Sachs had enormous ambitions for the film, hoping to score a big-name director like Federico Fellini to helm it. The director they ultimately went with, John Carl Buechler, was a low-budget veteran of Full Moon Features, not the kind of filmmaker that Sachs was hoping for. Naturally, the two of them butted heads almost immediately, and Sachs frequently tried to override Buechler's decisions. Notably, Sachs didn't want to show Jason's face, forcing Buechler to wait until a day when she wasn't around to shoot those scenes. She also didn't like the makeup for Tina's dead father and instead opted to go with no makeup at all, meaning that, during the climatic scene where Tina revives her father to finish off Jason, the actor clearly does not look like a man who's spent a decade at the bottom of a lake.
    • Sachs and Buechler's sour relationship was only the start of the problems. There was Hostility on the Set between Lar Park-Lincoln (who played the female lead Tina) and the rest of the cast, especially Kevin Spirtas (who played the male lead Nick), such that Park-Lincoln and Buechler (who she did get along well with) had an inside joke about it, and Spirtas claims to have written an unused script for an eighth film in which Nick kills off Tina. The set outside Mobile, Alabama had to be guarded by a man with a shotgun to ward off alligators. The film was shot in the winter, and the set was so cold that the actors (whose characters were dressed for summer) sucked on ice cubes between takes to prevent their breath from showing up on camera.
    • Even post-production was troubled. The film had to be submitted to the MPAA and re-edited seven times in order to receive an R rating as opposed to an X, and as a result, most of the death scenes were cut to the point of being nearly incomprehensible. (The cut footage, in the form of workprints, would later be included on the special edition DVD released in 2012.) Buechler describes the MPAA as having "raped" his movie.
    • In the end, the film, which went from screenplay to premiere in six months, was a box-office disappointment, opening at #1 but suffering a steep drop-off.
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan suffered most of its damage in pre-production, but filming itself, while not as troubled as The New Blood, didn't go entirely smoothly either.
    • To start, it had to be heavily rewritten after Paramount halved the budget. Originally, it was planned to have the first act of the film take place on a cruise ship and the rest of the film to take place in New York, with scenes set at Madison Square Garden, the Brooklyn Bridge, a Broadway show, a Fifth Avenue department store, and the Statue of Liberty. By the time writer/director Rob Hedden was done rewriting the film to accommodate the reduced budget, the whole second act wound up set on the boat as well. They were ultimately only able to shoot in NYC for two days, one of which was spent filming footage for the trailer instead of the actual film.
    • Problems also cropped up on set. The actor originally cast to play the male lead, Sean, had to be recast during production because, according to the producers, he came off as gay in the dailies and had no romantic chemistry with the female lead, Rennie. Director Rob Hedden also unsuccessfully pressured Rennie's actress Jensen Daggett to do a nude scene; when that failed, he successfully got Sharlene Martin, who played the Rich Bitch Tamara, to do it. Unfortunately, his means of doing so was to completely strip down himself and get into the shower in order to show Martin how easy it was; furthermore, the cameras were rolling when this happened, leaving the producers very confused when they went over the dailies the next day.
    • The biggest problems, however, came with the boats they were filming on. Three days before filming started, production lost access to the cruise ship they were planning on using due to a scheduling mix-up, forcing them to use three different boats (each about half the size of the original one) in its place. One of them was owned by a businessman who neglected to tell the producers that he owed a massive debt to the wharf where the boat had previously been docked, and the owners of the wharf wound up severely limiting the hours at which they could shoot. Another boat was owned by a man in Washington state, which caused a problem as the production was shooting in British Columbia, Canada, and they couldn't legally bring the boat into Canada for filming purposes. Their solution was to load the boat with bags of potatoes and claim that its purpose was to import them to Canada.
    • The original poster for the film, a parody of New York's famous "I <Heart> NY" advertising slogan with Jason slashing through it, also had to be replaced after the New York City Tourism Committee filed a complaint with Paramount.
    • The film wound up a Franchise Killer, leading to New Line Cinema buying the rights to Friday from Paramount.
  • During production of Jason X, writer Todd Farmer and director Jim Isaac did not get along at all. The film saw constant, heavy rewrites during production that required Farmer to be on set at all times; by his account, the entire crew hated him. Of particular note was tension over the film's tone, with Farmer's version being more serious and Isaac's being a lot goofier. On the commentary track for the film, they barely try to hide their enmity for one another, the two frequently taking potshots at each other.
  • Not only was Freddy vs. Jason stuck in Development Hell for over a decade, but when production finally got underway, it wasn't exactly smooth sailing. The biggest problem that occurred on set was a fight between director Ronny Yu and actress Katharine Isabelle, who had signed onto the film on the promise that she would not have to do nude scenes; during the shoot, Yu went back on this promise and repeatedly tried to pressure her to get naked. (They eventually settled on using a body double.)
  • The franchise as a whole has been stuck in Development Hell for almost a decade now. The sequel to the remake never really got off the ground due to the down economy, and a dispute between New Line and Paramount. Then New Line lent its share of the rights (they own the Jason Voorhees character) to Paramount (they own the Friday the 13th title), and after numerous release date changes, finally greenlit Friday the 13th: Part 13 for an October 13, 2017 release date with filming slated to begin in March 2017 and Breck Eisner directing. Then Rings flopped at the box office in February, and Paramount canceled the film just weeks before filming was to begin. Then New Line got back its share of the rights. And then Victor Miller, the writer of the original film, sued Sean S. Cunningham (producer of the franchise) over the rights to the Jason Voorhees character, which has not only put any future films in jeopardy, it stopped Friday the 13th: The Game from creating any new content.

    Ghostbusters film series 
  • Ghostbusters became one of the biggest smash hits of The '80s, breaking box-office records and spawning a franchise that has continued for decades afterward. Yet, the journey from script to screen was fraught with production difficulties, cost overruns and a production team that was completely unprepared for a project of that size, as this Vanity Fair feature explains:
    • The script was a labor of love for Dan Aykroyd, who was inspired by his family's history conducting spirit channeling and seances in their northern Ontario home. The project was originally envisioned as a buddy comedy with Aykroyd and John Belushi, but things immediately hit a snag early on when Belushi died midway through the scripting process, throwing Aykroyd's original idea out the door. In response, Aykroyd asked fellow Saturday Night Live cast member Bill Murray to come onboard with the project. (It was also noted by sources that Murray refused to commit to the project officially until the 11th hour, a trend which would manifest itself later on down the line with the sequels.)
    • Soon after, Ivan Reitman came onboard to direct, while Harold Ramis agreed to not only act as the third member of the group, but also help Aykroyd rewrite the script. When the idea and production team were pitched to Columbia Pictures chairman Frank Price in 1983, Ivan threw out a pie-in-the-sky budget of $25 million — and Price agreed. Reitman came to realize immediately after that this would mean they would need to re-write, shoot and edit the film in roughly a year so it could hit its projected summer 1984 release date.
    • The script rewrites got underway immediately, with the group (sans Murray, who was filming The Razor's Edge) decamping to Martha's Vineyard and working around the clock to get the plot hammered out. Large chunks of the plot (which Reitman later admitted were too shocking) were chopped out. The team soon realized that they would need more than 200 effects shots to see their vision brought to the screen, and most of the other major effects houses with busy with tentpole films. In response, Reitman got visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund to create his own FX house, Boss Film Studios. The only problem was that by the time all the necessary arrangements were completed, the team was ten months out from a release date without a single frame of footage to show for it. Designers began creating creatures and ghosts for a script that hadn't been fully completed at that point.
    • Filming got underway in October 1983 and everything began to run smoothly, though the team soon hit a snag when they realized that the "Ghostbusters" trademark had been used by a similar property, Filmation's Ghostbusters. The team attempted to work around this by having different logos bearing the names Ghostbreakers and Ghoststoppers, though Columbia eventually negotiated the rights to the name. The rest of the shoot was trouble-free.
    • Shutting down the street outside the location of Dana’s building for the climax created a horrific chain reaction of traffic jams until about half of Manhattan was completely gridlocked. On the commentary Reitman recounts that none other than Isaac Asimov, who just happened to be at the location, berated him over the mess, with the first words spoken to him by one of the greatest science fiction writers in history being “Are you the ones responsible for this?”
    • Production hitches reared their head again once shooting was completed. Edlund's FX studio, which was already working around the clock with multiple effects teams, was ordered by Reitman to require an additional 100 FX shots (which prompted him to, as the featurette explains, "meet [Reitman] in the parking lot with my samurai sword"), though this number was eventually trimmed down. The first industry screening was an unmitigated disaster, with Price being met with long stares and regrets after he found himself laughing alone in a screening room. Several of the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man suits caught on-fire, and the FX takes were barely edited in to the final print just before it went to theaters.note  Yet the final film was a smash hit, grossing nearly $300 million worldwide and igniting a wave of Expanded Universe offerings including an action figure line and animated series.
  • Ghostbusters II was fraught with its own set of issues, and indirectly led to a series of stallouts and delays that led the film series to be put on ice for more than two decades.
    • At first, nearly all of the parties involved in the making of the first film had no interest in doing a sequel, as they thought the original should be considered a standalone work. After a meeting with CAA agent Michael Ovitz in Los Angeles, however, Reitman, Murray, Ramis and Aykroyd all realized they could do it. This was also the meeting in which a formative agreement, in which Aykroyd, Ramis and Murray all needed to be on the same page to greenlight any further sequels, was signed, which would come into play in later years.
    • Filming began in November 1988 in New York with a scant 67-day shooting schedule. While filming of the live-action material progressed, Industrial Light and Magic (the FX studio hired for the sequel) found itself running into significant problems with many of the effects. The design for the Scoleri Brothers had to be adapted several times when the concept changed. Vigo the Carpathian saw his design shift multple times over the course of production, with his final look being worked on right up until the last minute. Much like the first film, ILM had nine units working overtime to try to get their original shots done, and eventually gave up and admitted that they couldn't do any more, and several planned scenes (including one where ghosts pour out of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House) were scrapped.
    • While principal photography was completed on time, the production crew realized they needed to go back for additional reshoots after test audiences complained that several of the concepts in the film (including "good and bad slime", Vigo and some of the ghosts) needed better explanations. With only three months before the film was set to hit theatres, Reitman and the crew went back for additional location shooting. According to the Ghostbusters: The Complete Visual History book, the final confrontation with Vigo was changed, literally at the last minute - the Art Museum set had already been 3/4 struck, necessitating some very complex shooting around the gaps in the set.
    • Not helping matters was a release date change to June 16th, 1989 — a week before the hotly-anticipated Batman (1989) was set to premiere. The final film was a box-office success (netting $215 million against a $37 million budget), but was later criticized by various groups, including Murray and Ernie Hudson, complaining that the material had been watered down and taken over via Executive Meddling to force more special effects and kid-related humor into the product. The film franchise would then go into a state of Development Hell, with various attempts at getting the franchise off the ground stalling out until...
  • Ghostbusters (2016): In spades.
    • More than 20 years of false starts, rejected pitches and casting announcements went nowhere after the release of the second film, with attempts by Columbia (and later, Sony Pictures) to push development forward stalling out due to Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis having long-standing veto contracts, which were put in place during the meeting with Ovitz in Los Angeles in 1989. As chronicled by Midnight's Edge, Ramis' death caused the power balance between the original trio of himself, Reitman and Murray to shift completely, and as detailed in leaked emails from the Sony hack, studio chief Amy Pascal essentially pushed Reitman out of the production process by courting Paul Feig in secret. Feig gave Pascal a pitch focusing on an all-female Ghostbusters team in a world where ghosts aren't fully known to the public, and Pascal agreed to start development.
    • Pre-production was officially announced in October 2014, and Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon were announced as the main stars, alongside a production slate that was intended to jumpstart a cinematic universe called Ghost Corps, similar to what Marvel had done with their comic properties. It was revealed soon after that Tom Rothman (who took over from Amy Pascal in the wake of the Sony hack) had cut the film's budget by $15 million just before the start of production. Further e-mail leaks showed that the original film's surviving cast were being aggressively courted by Sony, to the point of threatening to sue Murray if he didn't appear in a cameo role.
    • Although the progress of production was seemingly peaceful for a few months and filming was held through the summer of 2015, a series of leaks followed that shed light on the frustrations of both the studio and its stars. In February 2016, an anonymous production assistant (posting on the Encyclopedia Dramatica forums) wrote a post alleging that there were significant production problems occurring behind the scenes. The poster alleged that McCarthy was getting into fights on-set with Feig, largely because she was a huge fan of the source material and wanted something that was in-line with The Real Ghostbusters animated series. In turn, one of the (unnamed) lead actresses was getting into arguments with McCarthy, and the production crew had to pacify them by giving them equal screentime and lines. The anonymous poster also alleged that the script was reportedly terrible, that the cast and crew were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements to avoid a repeat of the Fantastic Four (2015) situation, and that Wiig and Feig were lamenting the situation they found themselves in.
    • All of this was a prelude to the release of the first trailer, which didn't go over well, causing it to become the most downvoted movie trailer in YouTube's history. As a back-and-forth battle began in the press between representatives from the production and fans, Feig (who was prone to encouraging the cast members to ad-lib their lines) went back for reshoots. According to Aykroyd in an interview after the film's release, Feig didn't shoot connecting scenes that were suggested to him and was forced to go back and shoot these scenes once principal photography was complete, adding an additional $30-40 million in reshoots to the budget.
    • The resulting product was a Box Office Bomb, making $229 million worldwide against a $144 million budget. While the movie did make back its budget in the international box office, it struggled to recoup the money spent on advertising, resulting in a $70 million loss for Sony.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game, while not as fraught with development difficulties as the films, had to deal with a set of problems of its own, including struggles to handle the game's internal development engine, problems securing actors for roles and cost overruns resulting in Vivendi Studios slashing the project's budget anywhere from 25-40%. To note, the producers had to work around Bill Murray's infamous silence related to which projects he was confirmed to be working on by lobbying his brother, Brian-Doyle Murray, who they cast in the game as the Mayor of New York (replacing David Marguiles) and eventually asked him to tell Bill about the project. Additionally, just as the game was finishing production, it was left in developmental limbo as a result of the Activision/Vivendi merger, but was bought by Atari several months later. Despite that, the game was a critical success, and sold one million units by July 2009.

    Gilliam, Terry 
Terry Gilliam comes close to being a Trope Codifier for the troubled production, thanks to everything from Hostile Weather, to severe Executive Meddling - as well as being a director of nearly limitless ambition and vision.

  • Brazil was subject to such severe Executive Meddling that it inspired a book, The Battle of Brazil, and Gilliam felt obliged to place a full-page ad in Variety begging producer Sid Sheinberg to reverse the changes he had made and released the film as originally intended.
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen went over budget, the plane that had the costumes and prop were stuck in an airport in another country due to a customs strike, a lot of the animals for the film died and had to be replaced, etc. Producer Thomas Schuhly acted like a prima donna, refusing to sign forms and refusing to get along with the English crew and the complex relationship between the UK crew and the Italian crew. And because Columbia Pictures was undergoing a regime change at the time and the new bigwigs didn't want to support a film this troubled, they didn't put much money into the marketing campaign or even give it a wide North American release, and it flopped. Eric Idle called it "A truly horrible experience and even remembering it is a bit of a nightmare."
    • Sarah Polley, who was nine years old at the time of filming, described it as a traumatic experience. "[I]t definitely left me with a few scars ... It was just so dangerous. There were so many explosions going off so close to me, which is traumatic for a kid whether it's dangerous or not. Being in freezing cold water for long periods of time and working endless hours. It was physically gruelling and unsafe."
    • As a harbinger of the film's series of unlucky incidents, the start of filming had to be postponed for a week due to Dante Ferretti's elaborate set not being ready in time. A crane collapsing into it didn't help matters, postponing the film's start by another week.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    • The film had loads of different directors replaced before deciding to hire Gilliam, executives wanting to update the book's setting to The '90s, and no firm budget when starting.
    • The writing process also took forever. Alex Cox and Tod Davies wrote a screenplay for the movie, only for it to be rejected by Hunter S. Thompson himself. Because of that, Gilliam had to write another one in just ten days (though he solved that problem by taking large chunks of the book and writing it in script format. Plus, he had the help of Tony Grisoni). Afterwards, there were problems with the Writers Guild of America after requesting to take Cox and Davies' names off due to their script being heavily rewritten. When Gilliam thought that he might lose the argument, he shot a scene explaining that "no matter what is said in the credits, no writers were involved in the making of the film" as a failsafe. When the decision came to credit him and Grisoni first and Cox and Davies second, Gilliam was mad about sharing credit, later burning his WGA card during a book signing.
    • Filming in a casino was hard thanks to having to film between two and six in the morning, not having many extras, and having the extras actually gamble.
  • Although its pre-production began in 1998, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote remained incomplete for nearly twenty years thanks to a maelstrom of difficulties including the logistics of filming near a NATO bombing range in Spain, the destruction of sets by a flash flood, the illness of the lead actor and the withdrawal of other stars due to other projects, to name just a few. Its problems are documented in the 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha. After many years of trying to get the film back in production, filming finally wrapped up in 2017. And then, just as it was ready for release in 2018, Gilliam was hit with a lawsuit by producer Paul Branco. Branco was originally supposed to produce the film through his company Alfalma Films, but couldn't secure funds in time. Fortunately, it still premiered as the closing film of the Cannes Film Festival and got released in France on the same day. Unfortunately, Amazon Studios, who funded much of the production, pulled out of distributing it in the US. It was later reported that Gilliam lost the court case with Branco and no longer controlled the film. It was later clarified that Gilliam still owned the rights as he did not shoot a frame under Branco's company, but he still had to pay a settlement as he did not terminate his deal properly.
  • The Brothers Grimm had Gilliam deal with interference from the Weinsteins, actors dropping out and his cinematographer being replaced.
  • Against all odds, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was completed despite the sudden death of its lead actor - and with a refreshing lack of Fake Shemp, thanks to a bit of Real Life Writes the Plot, to the extent that Heath Ledger was actually given a screenwriting credit.

    Godzilla film series 
  • Godzilla (1954): Haruo Nakajima, one of the actors inside the Godzilla suit, could barely move the first suit at all, as the latex materials used for its construction weighed over 200 pounds. When he was able to move it, he would collapse from heat exhaustion within minutes. A lighter suit was made, but both Nakajima and fellow Godzilla suit wearer Katsumi Tezuka continued to have problems with heat exhaustion and breathing difficulties, and they also got blisters from the costumes' rough interiors. Even putting air holes in the costumes did not solve the problem due to the low air quality in the studio. Despite these problems, Nakajima greatly enjoyed the role, and continued to perform inside the Godzilla suit until 1972's Godzilla vs. Gigan.
  • Godzilla vs. Gigan had a very long and complex production compared to most of the other films in the series, going through at least three distinct phases which each would have resulted in a totally different finished product. From the beginning, the Toho Company planned for the movie to be a return to form after the extremely experimental and disturbing Godzilla vs. Hedorah baffled moviegoers and got its director banned from the series. The initial script, labeled Godzilla vs. the Space Monsters: Earth Defense Directive, was going to be epic in scale, featuring three established monsters (Godzilla, Anguirus, and King Ghidorah) alongside three brand new monsters (Gigan, Megalon, and Majin Tuol). Likely for budgetary reasons (making three new suits would have been extremely expensive), the Space Monsters script was thrown out and the project underwent huge changes to become The Return of King Ghidorah. This second draft again featured six monsters: Godzilla, Rodan, Ghidorah, and Varan, who were all established, as well as Gigan and Mogu, who were new. However, there was no longer a usable Varan suit, so this would have also required three new suits. The script underwent another huge revision, becoming Godzilla vs. Gigan, which featured Godzilla, Anguirus, Ghidorah, and Gigan, meaning only one new suit needed to be made. The movie relied heavily on monster footage from previous films in order to pad out its climax, and in general, it features low production values that do not hint at how much Toho had initially had planned for it. Megalon later showed up in the following film, which was actually even worse, but none of the other new monsters planned ever made it to the screen.
  • Godzilla vs. Biollante: After The Return of Godzilla, Tomoyuki Tanaka wanted a direct sequel to be made. However, after King Kong Lives bombed at the box office, Tanaka was cautious on how the series would be handled. Kazuki Omori, who became director of the film, had a Teeth-Clenched Teamwork relationship with him (he blamed Tanaka for the quality of the series in the 70s, as Ishiro Honda did, but Honda was more respectful about it. Akira Ifukube on the other hand...). They both settled on making a contest with five entries, and Omori then decided to modify the screenplay (which took three years) until the film became what it is.
  • A recurring problem from throughout the series concerns the fact that working with the monster suit was never not difficult. This article by Daniel Dockery for Cracked, detailing various production quirks from throughout the series, notes that, during the shots where Godzilla rises out of the sea, the actor inside the Godzilla suit was always at risk of drowning if they pulled him out too slow (in which case he ran out of air) or too fast (in which case his breathing apparatus might've gotten pulled out of his mouth). The water also made the 200-pound suit that much heavier. Furthermore, the suits were frequently stolen; this is why Godzilla had to be redesigned after The Return of Godzilla, and another suit was stolen during production of Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth and remained missing for several weeks before turning up at the bottom of a lake; fortunately, it was able to be repaired in time for use in the film.
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    Hellraiser film series 
The original Hellraiser (adapted from the novella The Hellbound Heart) was a surprise smash hit at the box office and came to be seen as a classic of the horror genre, spawning a wave of sequels in the process. However, as time went on, Executive Meddling and a Money, Dear Boy mentality crept their way into the production cycle, leading the series to be sent straight-to-video for many years. Needless to say, many of the productions ran headlong into this trope.

  • The original film's problems were largely caused by the fact that the production had No Budget and series creator Clive Barker had to find creative methods of dealing with issues. Shooting in a house with only a single camera to spare, Barker was forced to rely on overhead and zoom shots due to shooting constraints and limited areas to move in. Several of the effects (including Larry's blood being sucked into the floor and Frank's rebirth) were either reshot due to looking unconvincing or required additional funding from New Line Cinema to complete because of cost overruns. Barker himself has said that the dodgy nature of the FX can be traced to him completing the majority of the work over a single weekend (while getting drunk with a Greek animator) after filming wrapped. The original soundtrack by industrial band Coil was also thrown out, with Barker commenting that it made "my bowels churn", and replaced with an orchestral score by Christopher Young. Barker also had to deal with the MPAA to get the rating down from an X to an R. Despite the hardships, the film was a major success, earning more than $14 million against a $1 million budget.
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II fared marginally better from a production standpoint, but still had to deal with initial funding boosts from New World Pictures drying up and their initial screenplay (which would have seen Frank return in a major role) thrown out after Andrew Robinson declined to reprise his role. Some minor incidents (including the actor who played the Chatterer being injured by one of the flying hooks during the climactic confrontation, and the MPAA once again forcing cuts) also occurred, but the film was once again a success, bringing in $12 million against a $3 million budget. New World's funding problems led the production to transfer to the Weinstein-owned Dimension Films, which led to...
  • Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth:
    • The film was stuck in Development Hell for several years, largely due to the underperformance of Barker's then-recent film Nightbreed, New World's financial problems, and the actress who played Julia (who was set up to be the franchise's Big Bad) deciding not to reprise her role. It took former New World executives establishing new production company Trans-Atlantic Pictures before a deal could be struck, and even then, the executives initially refused Barker's asking fee for the project, claiming that they wanted a "cheap and nasty" film.
    • While Hellbound director Tony Randel was originally intended to direct the film, he was replaced after his vision was deemed "too bleak" (it would have ended with lead character Terri making a Deal with the Devil to become Pinhead's bride in exchange for getting her "star reporter" dream). He was replaced with Anthony Hickox, who had to deal with a breakneck six-week shooting schedule, cast concerns (Doug Bradley has gone on-record as saying the makeup used on the film was irritating and his least favorite in the franchise, while actress Aimee Leigh complained about having to go topless in a sex scene, requiring the production team to work around it by having another character cup her breasts during shooting). Hickox also had to deal with the cast pushing back against the "Black Mass" scene, with them complaining that it was sacrilege due to being shot in North Carolina (which runs socially-conservative).
    • After filming wrapped, Miramax agreed to distribute the film in the U.S., but ran into problems during the editing process. Depending on which source is to be believed, Hickox either received rave reviews from Bob Weinstein and gave additional money for him to reshoot the ending, or Weinstein was swayed by Barker (who was approached to give his opinion on the film) to fix the film, via suggesting additional scenes like the extended gore shots in the nightclub massacre scene, and Terri's "bondage" during the finale. It was enough to get Barker an executive producer credit for the film. In a repeat of what happened with the original film, the first version of the soundtrack (which was heavily rock-influenced) was thrown out after test screenings and replaced with another orchestral score, which was hurriedly put together in just three weeks.
  • Described by Doug Bradley as "the shoot from Hell", Hellraiser: Bloodline's production was so fraught with difficulties that it became the last theatrically-released film in the series for over two decades:
    • Originally intended to be an anthology film that would be set in three time periods, the script was greenlit by Miramax (who were now firmly in charge of the franchise) without needing an online. Soon after, though, the company refused to provide a budget to help realize the scope of the film, which would have included more special effects and violent encounters between new character Angelique and Pinhead. Just about the only thing that was problem-free were the makeup and character design provided by Gary J. Tunnicliffe, who worked on the previous film and began to take a larger role in the production, helping streamline Bradley's makeup for easier use and creating the design for Angelique's appearance as a Cenobite.
    • Despite shooting being completed on-time and within budget, the production was fraught with issues, including key personnel either leaving or unable to work due to personal emergencies, sets being damaged by sprinkler malfunctions, several crew members falling sick and (according to Bradley) the camera crew and art department all being replaced within the first week. Director Kevin Yagher (who had success with films like Child's Play and the Tales from the Crypt' series) was called in to direct — according to Tunnicliffe, despite his love for the outline and vision for the film, he ran afoul of executives due to his behavior and shooting style.
    • According to a documentary produced by Youtube creator Midnight's Edge, tensions boiled over after filming wrapped, with Yagher refusing to show footage from the film to Bob Weinstein, citing Director's Guild of America guidelines over a clause that allowed him to take up to 12 weeks to edit the film before showing his work to the production company. This caused no end of strife, with Weinstein reportedly planning to can him and seemingly getting into at least one physical altercation over the disagreement (which was an open secret on-set).
    • Miramax executives asked for several script changes, including Pinhead being introduced earlier in the film and a Framing Device where third-act protagonist Paul Merchant narrates his ancestors' tales. Additional reshoots were scheduled, and Yagher walked away from the production, claiming he was burned out. In his stead, Joe Chapelle (of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers fame, which is also an example of this trope) was brought in to helm reshoots. In all, what was originally intended to be a six-week shoot ballooned to twice that amount, via three additional sets of two-week shoots that occurred over the next three months. Large swaths of the past and future segments of the film (including more focus on Angelique, a greater explanation of Paul Merchant's identity and philosophy and a different ending) were excised from the final cut. Incensed over the situation, Yagher removed his name from the film and an Alan Smithee credit was used in his place.
    • The film was Not Screened for Critics and only made $9 million against a $4 million budget (not counting reshoots). The experience led to the franchise going Direct-to-Video for many years and started the trend of the franchise's budgets being slashed for each film.
  • While Hellraiser: Inferno didn't have anywhere near the kind of contentious problems Bloodline had faced, it still faced funding problems that led Tunnicliffe (who had rejoined the prodution team after being asked) to forego payment for his services in favor of paying his staff members, after he learned that the project only had a scant $50,000 for special effects (leading to plenty of issues designing and implementing FX shots). While filming did run smoothly otherwise, Barker had a falling-out with director Scott Derrickson over the film's tone.

    Huston, John 
John Huston made some very fine films over the course of a very long career. Not all of them were easy.
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre went over budget and took longer to film than expected. Reportedly, Humphrey Bogart got so impatient with the delays (largely due to wanting to participate in a boat race) that he griped and complained on set about it, to the point where Huston pulled his nose at dinner one night.
  • The African Queen was shot on location in Africa, a rarity in those days. The results weren't pretty: handling the heavy Technicolor cameras was hard, the cast and crew got sick (Katharine Hepburn had to keep a bucket beside her while filming the organ scene that opens the film so she could vomit between takes; only Huston and Humphrey Bogart escaped illness, due to consuming nothing but canned goods and whiskey) and had several close brushes with wild animals and poisonous snakes (especially because Huston chose the location wanting to hunt, and Bogart got interested in that as well - something which even became a Clint Eastwood movie), the title boat sunk and had to be raised twice, the ship's boiler nearly fell on Hepburn, army ants infested the set... Says something Hepburn's book recounting the shoot was named The Making of The African Queen: or How I Went To Africa With Bogie, Bacall, and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind.
  • In his autobiography, Huston called his 1956 adaptation of Moby-Dick, "The most difficult picture I ever made". Filming was delayed by cast injuries (Gregory Peck, who did not use a double, injured his kneecap, Richard Basehart broke his ankle while jumping into a longboat, and Leo Genn slipped a disk and caught pneumonia before shooting had finished) and bad weather which caused the budget to overrun. And then there was the white whale. A ninety-foot model was built for $30,000. A tug pulled it out into the Irish Sea and after two shots were completed, the towline snapped and the whale quickly sank. A second whale was built on a barge but a storm also sank it without a trace. Finally, a third whale was built and again the towline snapped. Huston had had enough. He climbed into the whale and shouted, "Lose this whale and you lose me!" He stayed aboard as two crew members swam under the whale, grabbed the line, and reconnected it.
  • The Roots of Heaven, a "save the African elephant" film from 1958 he made for 20th Century Fox, is a lesser known but brutal example of a troubled production.
    • William Holden was initially cast in the lead role, attracting a supporting cast that included Orson Welles, Errol Flynn, Paul Lukas, Herbert Lom, Eddie Albert, and Fox studio boss Darryl Zanuck's then-girlfriend Juliette Greco. However, with location shooting about to begin (on an inflexible schedule), Holden was informed that he was still under contract to Paramount, and in a desperate scramble to fill the role, Huston cast British character actor Trevor Howard. Howard's lack of marquee power prompted the promotion of Errol Flynn to the top of the bill, despite his character's secondary role.
    • Location shooting was done in Fort Lamy, French Equatorial Africa (now N'Djamena, Chad). As Darryl Zanuck (who was present for the shoot, perhaps out of concern at leaving Greco unsupervised on a shoot with noted womanisers Huston and Flynn) recalled when appearing as a mystery guest on What's My Line?, temperatures soared to over 130 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and only cooled to 95 degrees at night. The cast and crew had to shower four or five times a day to wash off the sweat, and their drinking water supply had to be flown in. On some days, the drive to the shooting location and back took four hours. Such was his frustration with the location shoot that Zanuck swore he would never again make a film in Africa.note 
    • Moreover, as had happened during the shooting of The African Queen, almost every person involved contracted amoebic dysentery and/or malaria except for Huston and Flynn, who had brought copious amounts of alcohol which kept the sickness at bay. Greco, in particular, was very seriously ill during the shoot, while Eddie Albert developed an almost fatal case of sunstroke. A total of 920 sick calls were made by the 130-person cast and crew during the six-month location shoot. During the lengthy delays, Huston would often disappear on big game hunts.
    • Things didn't improve when production moved to studios in Paris for the interior scenes. Greco suffered a recurrence of her illness and had to be hospitalised, while Flynn also had to be rushed to hospital after coming down with malaria. The production was at least able to save some money when Orson Welles waived the fee for his cameo as a gesture of gratitude to Zanuck for helping to finance his 1952 adaptation of Othello.
    • Errol Flynn's alcoholism had become a round-the-clock problem, and he was frequently at odds with John Huston (with whom he had brawled at a Hollywood party a decade earlier). At one point, he provoked Huston into a fight; while Flynn was a former amateur boxer, the years of fast living had taken a heavy toll on him, and Huston, himself a former professional boxer, flattened Flynn with a single punch. The film was Flynn's last major Hollywood project; he died the following year.note  Huston, meanwhile, cited the film, which was a hit with neither critics nor audiences, as an example of how some of the worst shoots can result in the worst films.
  • The Unforgiven:
    • The film's projected budget of $3 Million expanded to $5.5 million. The original screenwriter JP Miller was replaced by Ben Maddow, the original director Delbert Mann was replaced by Huston, and plans for Richard Burton in the role that eventually went to Audie Murphy were scrapped when Burton demanded equal billing with Burt Lancaster, with the latter refusing (as he was also producer on the picture).
    • Production was suspended for several months in 1959 after Audrey Hepburn broke her back when she fell off a horse while rehearsing a scene. Although she eventually recovered, the accident was blamed for a subsequent miscarriage she suffered. According to several published biographies of Hepburn, she blamed herself for the accident and subsequently all but disowned the film, although she did complete it when she was well enough to return to work. Hepburn took the next year off work in order to successfully have a child, and returned to the big screen with Breakfast at Tiffany's.
  • The Misfits, the last completed film for both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, was by all accounts an unhappy film to make:
    • Filming took place in Nevada in peak summer temperatures of over 100 degrees thanks to production of Monroe's previous film, Let's Make Love, lagging behind schedule due to a Screen Actor's Guild strike. Huston took advantage of the location to spend long nights drinking and gambling instead of sleeping, causing him to occasionally doze off on set, and forcing the production company to cover his gambling losses, contributing to the film going over budget. Gable was particularly annoyed by Huston's carousing, especially his penchant for bragging about his massive losses at the gambling tables. The film's ballooning budget caused United Artists to shut down production, and it took two weeks of meetings in New York and Los Angeles to get it re-opened.
    • Almost the entire cast were having severe personal problems, but none more so than Marilyn Monroe, whose marriage to the film's scriptwriter, Arthur Miller, was collapsing; she objected to how he had written her character and felt he had turned John Huston against her, and within weeks they were only speaking to each other through Monroe's acting coach, Paula Strasberg (wife of Method acting guru Lee Strasberg). In the early weeks of filming, she sought solace in the arms of her Let's Make Love co-star Yves Montand during weekend visits to her doctors in Los Angeles, trysts that stopped after gossip columnist Hedda Hopper printed a quote from Montand claiming that they were just his way of ensuring her romantic scenes in the film went smoothly (Monroe knew that he only said this to avoid hurting his wife, Simone Signoret, but she was still deeply stung by his words). Meanwhile, Miller began an affair with photographer Inge Morath, whom he later married after his divorce from Monroe became final.note  Miller was also constantly re-writing the script, regularly throwing Monroe into a panic over having new lines to remember at short notice.
    • As her marriage to Miller disintegrated, Monroe sank into a pit of depression and drug addiction so severe that there were many days when she showed up late and/or in no condition to work, if she showed up at all - this despite her daily calls being for 10am rather than the usual 9am, a concession to the fact that she would never be on time for a 9am call. Huston, who later said he was "absolutely certain that she was doomed" during shooting, put the film on hold for two weeks in August 1960 while she went to detox (also partly to cover his tracks as United Artists became concerned over the effect his gambling losses were having on the film's budget; fortunately, the film's insurance provider paid for her treatment). As she was noticeably hollowed out by the experience, most of her close-ups following her release were shot in soft focus.note 
    • Clark Gable was likewise in poor health when filming began, having been a heavy smoker since his mid-teens (leading to clearly audible damage to his voice) and a heavy drinker until not long before filming began, and he had twice had severe chest pains in the previous decade which may, with the benefit of hindsight, have actually been heart attacks that were never diagnosed. It took two attempts for him to pass a medical insurance physical before filming began, and only because he had spent the entire week before the second physical in bed without smoking or drinking. Bored with constantly waiting for Monroe to arrive on set, he asked Huston to help him pass the time by allowing him to do some of his own stunts, including being dragged across a dry lake bed by a truck at 30 mph. He was also flummoxed by the Method acting embraced by Monroe, Montgomery Clift, and Eli Wallach (all of whom had studied acting under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio), which he described as like an alien religion to him.note  When shooting wrapped, he quipped, "Christ, I'm glad this picture's finished. She damn near gave me a heart attack." The next day, he suffered a severe coronary thrombosis. He died in the hospital from a heart attack just ten days later. A devastated Monroe blamed herself for his death.note 
    • Among the other cast members, Clift had been struggling with drug problems ever since he had been seriously injured in a car accident in 1956, and he and Monroe required onset doctors. Monroe allegedly said of working with Clift, "It's good to meet someone who's in worse shape than I am."note  Thelma Ritter's health problems were much more minor, as she was rushed to hospital after suffering from exhaustion as the shoot shuddered to a close. Wallach had no health problems, but did receive a verbal jab from the cinematographer about him not having a career.
    • After Gable's funeral in November 1960, Huston, Miller, and producer Frank Taylor wanted to get the film into cinemas before the end of December to make Gable eligible for a posthumous Best Actor nomination at the following year's Oscars, but post-production had only just begun, and the film did not have a musical score - composer Alex North had not even seen a rough cut of the film, so he had no idea what he was writing for. By early December, it became apparent that the film would not be ready by the end of the year, and although North finished writing and recording the score in just three weeks, the film was released in February 1961, and Huston's hopes of securing Gable a posthumous Oscar nomination were dashed.note 
  • He was one of the directors of Casino Royale (1967), in addition to playing M. Casino Royale was the only Ian Fleming novel EON Productions failed to secure the rights to due to a bunch of legal issues, and it ended up with Charles Feldman. Unable to get EON on board and do a straight movie, he turned it into an insane, psychedelic parody of spy films with an All-Star Cast. There were multiple directors, none of them working with a finished script but all working independently, and there were also numerous screenwriters. Peter Sellers argued with Orson Welles, and the former was eventually fired despite playing the lead character. Many of the other actors were brought in to make up for this, many of whom assume the 007 moniker at some point. The editor seemed to be instructed to put the film together in the most disjointed, nonsensical fashion possible. And The Agony Booth has recapped it here.

    James Bond film series 
The James Bond films have had cases of this - in particular, every Bond's second movie gets hit badly by these. Some notable examples include:

  • From Russia with Love had to undergo a Ridiculously Fast Construction because the producers had already set a release date, and they had to face problems such as a boat full of cameras sinking into the Bosphorus, a helicopter falling into a lake (with the director inside!) while location scouting, and co-star Pedro Armendáriz being diagnosed with terminal cancer and then committing suicide during the shootnote .
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service had a few stuntmen accidents (including one guy losing a foot), and leading man George Lazenby had conflicts with the director and the producers. On top of that, the press had a field day with the production and created huge stories out of the most innocuous events; lead actress Diana Rigg's off-hand quip about eating garlic prior to a scene resulted in stories that the two leads could barely even stand to work together (which, to be fair, wasn't completely untrue), while the news that George Baker would be overdubbing some of Lazenby's lines — specifically the ones where Bond was impersonating Baker's character, Sir Hillary Bray — ended up being interpreted as Lazenby having proven to be such a terrible actor that the producers had been forced to have Baker overdub his entire performance. These stories naturally made the already-strained mood on the set even worse, and played a part in Lazenby's decision not to return to the role.
  • The Man with the Golden Gun saw initial plans to film in Iran abandoned after the Yom Kippur war, and writer Tom Mankiewicz was forced to leave "feeling really tapped out on Bond", bringing back recurring screenwriter Richard Maibaum.
  • The Spy Who Loved Me was fraught with problems, being developed and released in the midst of a falling-out between producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman,note  and EON Productions nearly going into liquidation. Spy was rushed into production after another producer, Kevin McClory, decided to create a rival Bond film (which would eventually become Never Say Never Again).
    • The original script treatment for Spy was rejected, and a new screenplay was commissioned that prominently featured Bond's archnemesis Blofeld. Unfortunately, McClory still held the rights to the Blofeld character, forcing the screenwriters to pop in a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in the form of Stromberg. Several writers, including Anthony Burgess, John Landis, and Gerry Anderson, worked on the script at different times.
    • When Ian Fleming originally gave EON Productions the film rights for the Bond books ten years earlier, he told the producers that where The Spy Who Loved Me was concerned, they could use his title but no other aspect of the novel since he wasn't very proud of it, the first time that happened in the series. For that, his name was moved down in the credits. However, this led to one of the few decisions that helped the film: the writers chose to write Bond more as Fleming had envisioned him (as they described it, "Very English, very smooth, good sense of humour") and less like the way Connery had been playing him. This helped Moore come into his own in the part.
    • The producers cast about for a director and settled on Steven Spielberg, who was still finishing Jaws (itself famously troubled) at that point; he decided to wait and see how that turned out for him instead. Guy Hamilton, who had directed the previous three Bonds, then got the job but left to direct Superman.note  So it ultimately fell to Lewis Gilbert, who had directed You Only Live Twice, of which the film is essentially a remake (both films involve the villain stealing military technology from both sides in the Cold War to bait them into going to war against each other, and both climax with an assault against a lair protected by steel shutters).
    • To accommodate the set for the interior of the supertanker, a completely new stage had to be built at Pinewood Studios outside London, along with a giant water tank. It was so huge that cinematographer Claude Renoir,note  who was losing his sight to begin with, couldn't figure out how to light it and had to secretly bring in Stanley Kubrick for help.
    • To film the opening stunt, the second unit travelled all the way to Mount Asgard near the northern tip of Canada's Baffin Island. The fall and parachute jump cost $500,000—the most expensive stunt at that time.note 
    • Shell offered to loan the production a tanker, but between the insurance costs and the very real safety risks it was too expensive to use and miniatures had to be built instead. Miniatures were also used for the scenes in Giza when the pyramids proved too large to light effectively.
    • During filming in Egypt, the cast and crew were upset with the poor quality of food being served to them. So, producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli was able to get a refrigerated truck to bring in food from England. Unfortunately, by the time the truck made it to Egypt, all the food was either spoiled or stolen. But Broccoli came through in the clutch. He sent assistants out to round up tomatoes, cheese, bread, and imported pasta from Cairo. Then Cubby (something of an amateur chef in his free time) cooked up a massive spaghetti feast for the cast and crew. In his honor, the mess hall at the studio was renamed "Trattoria Broccoli" and many involved remember the makeshift pasta night as one of the high points of filming.
    • Thankfully, the film was critically well-received, and is still considered one of the franchise's high points.
  • Filming of Moonraker wasn't too troublesome compared to its predecessor, but production had to be moved to France due to the crippling taxation being imposed on UK film productions at the time, with production designer Ken Adam being dismayed to find that the French studio workers' unions were even more militant than their UK counterparts. The eyesight of initial cinematographer Claude Renoir, which had already caused problems during production of the previous film, ended up failing completely only a few days of shooting, putting an unfortunate end to Renoir's career, and necessitating his replacement with Jean Tournier.
  • Octopussy had problems in the writing phase after initial writer George MacDonald Fraser's draft contained several scenes that were ludicrously unfeasible to film, in addition to generally lacking the feel of a Bond film, necessitating a rushed overhaul of the screenplay by veteran Bond writer Richard Maibaum and producer Michael G. Wilson. Casting the title character also proved difficult, with close to two dozen actresses being screen-tested — reportedly their original choice was Sybil Danning, but they decided against it after she gave a terrible performance in her screen test — before the producers finally threw their hands up and cast Maud Adams, who had previously been the secondary Bond Girl in The Man with the Golden Gun, while lifting some details from the original Ian Fleming story (the script having been an In Name Only adaptation until that point) to explain her non-Indian appearance. Then, during filming Roger Moore's stunt double was severely injured after an accident while filming the train sequence, which affected morale for the rest of the shoot. Filming also got held up for a few days when Moore collapsed on-set and was mistakenly diagnosed with a heart problem, before Adams brought in her boyfriend, a top cardiac surgeon, who found that Moore actually just had heatstroke.
  • Licence to Kill was hit by a writers' strike, tax issues making it too expensive to film in the UK, and severe heat while filming in Mexico.
  • According to an interview with Michael G. Wilson, Tomorrow Never Dies (like From Russia With Love) was given a release date with no pre-production work completed (and intended to coincide with the release of the company's public stock offering), and things went downhill from there. The script wasn't ready to shoot on the first day of filming, actors supposedly weren't speaking with each other, verbal sparring between director Roger Spottiswoode and writer Bruce Feirstein persisted and the entire production (from the first day of shooting to its release) took a scant six months. One British newspaper summed it up saying, "All the happiness and teamwork which is the hallmark of Bond has disappeared completely," and Pierce Brosnan said that making this film was like pulling teeth.
  • Quantum of Solace was stalled in pre-production by a writers' strike. Based on various accounts, screenwriter Paul Haggis was frantically finishing a first draft hours before the strike deadline and/or Daniel Craig and director Marc Forster rewrote script pages themselves during production. In addition, the fragmented nature of the production (due to the strike) led to a rushed and nearly incoherent plot.
  • The Sony Pictures leak in late 2014 revealed that Spectre suffered from a ballooning budget and serious production problems, which made it an infamous case of this before it came out.
    • The genesis of the film only came about after copyright issues were settled with Kevin McClory in November 2013 for the film rights to Thunderball. Although Sam Mendes had previously stated his intent not to return for the next film after the success of Skyfall, he and production designer Dennis Gassner stated their intent to helm the film just a few months prior. The cast and crew quickly ballooned to more than 1,000 people.
    • Though most people in the public eye assumed production was progressing normally, the November 2013 Sony hack revealed that there were significant production problems — namely, screenwriter John Logan's early script. According to leaked e-mails, the executives were having significant problems with the film's third act, which involved Bond and Madeleine being held in a desert prison by the villain, Heinrich Stockmann (a.k.a. Hans Oberhauer). Discussions over the third act's problems persisted for months (and well into filming), with Skyfall writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade still running into problems. The final script would include contributions from both men, along with Mendes and British playwright Jez Butterworth.
    • As a result of this, the film began to balloon over budget. Not helping matters was that a discussion about Product Placement (namely, a Sony Xperia phone) resulted in arguments between Mendes (who was resistant to the idea), co-owner Barbara Broccoli and Sony Pictures executives. This eventually culminated in Sony Japan CEO Kaz Hirai having to step in personally and order them to include the placement.
    • Filming began in earnest in December 2014, but several accidents occurred that caused slight delays on production. Daniel Craig suffered a knee sprain while shooting a fight sequence, while three crew members were injured by a filming vehicle (one seriously).
    • Going into 2015, filming continued to progress, but the crew faced difficulties from authorities and special interest groups in Rome when they attempted to film a car chase scene in the city, as well as reports from media outlets in Mexico that the script had to be altered to accommodate the needs of Mexican authorities (in order to portray the country in a positive light).
    • The final production budget was roughly $245 million (though some sources estimate it to be more than $300 million), making it the most expensive Bond film ever made and one of the most expensive motion pictures produced. However, the film did gross $880 million worldwide at the box office. In the publicity junket, Craig joked that he would rather slit his wrists than play 007 again (he later had to make clear that this was very much his exhaustion talking).
  • The upcoming, as-yet-untitled 25th Bond film — expected to be Daniel Craig's last appearance as Bond — has had a tumultuous pre-production, starting with Danny Boyle's abrupt departure from the project over reported Creative Differences with Craig. The film's release date was pushed back twice from October 2019 to April 2020, and the script was repeatedly being re-written by committee well into shooting in what one anonymous source described as a "well-polished shitshow." Furthermore, Craig injured his ankle during filming in Jamaica (after a reported argument with director and co-writer Cary Fukunaga), which led to the London shoot being delayed. Boyle has also stated the experience permanently soured him on the idea of directing a major franchise film and the Executive Meddling that comes with it, and he'll be sticking purely to his own projects from now on. Then, Grace Jones' planned cameo had to be nixed after she quit within minutes of arriving on set upon discovering how small her part was.

    Jaws film series 
  • Jaws. Richard Dreyfuss basically summed it up as follows: "We started the film without a script, without a cast and without a shark." The full model mechanical shark sank to the bottom of the ocean on its first day, forcing a team of divers to retrieve it, and all three models frequently malfunctioned due to exposure to salt water. Add to that the occasionally soaked cameras, ruined takes because unwanted sailboats drifted into frame, a cast that were often at each other's throats (particularly Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, who was at his irascible, competitive worst throughout filming) and that one time the ship began sinking with the actors aboard. While these disasters did force Steven Spielberg to be creative and contributed to the film's success (famously, he only hinted at the shark's presence for most of the film), Jaws still wound up $5 million over budget (that was a lot back in 1974) and behind schedule - what was initially meant to be a 55-day shoot ended up at 159 days. Spielberg even thought he would never work again because of how screwed the thing was!
  • Jaws 2 proved just as bad, if not worse. Besides further difficulties with weather and malfunctioning sharks, there was considerable behind-the-scenes turmoil. Original director John Hancock was fired early into the production for wanting to make a more somber, character-driven film than the producers desired; the studio then offered the job to John Frankenheimer, who disliked the script and had no interest in taking over another director's franchise.note  Then Universal asked Steven Spielberg to come back. Spielberg waffled, initially saying yes, then deciding to make Close Encounters of the Third Kind instead. After two other potential replacements were blocked by the Director's Guild of America,note  Jeannot Szwarc, a television director with little film experience, ultimately took over. Roy Scheider, meanwhile, reprised his role as Brody only to fulfill a contract obligation with Universal; he was reportedly chagrined at having to decline a role in The Deer Hunter to appear in this movie. He demanded a $500,000 base salary plus overtime pay, constantly feuding with Szwarc and threatening to walk off the set. The script was revised several times during filming. Protests by locals over unwelcome publicity forced the production to move from Martha's Vineyard to Navarre Beach, Florida. There, ironically, several actors were menaced by real sharks while filming the climactic boat scenes. It ended up costing $30,000,000, making it Universal's most expensive film up to then.
  • Jaws 3D proved less troublesome than its two prequels, but still had its share of problems. It started out life as a spoof film named Jaws 3: People 0, with John Hughes attached as writer and Joe Dante as director, but production was shut down at the insistence of Steven Spielberg, who considered the proposed film an insult to the memory of both prior films, before it was revived as a 3-D Movie a year or so later. The producers purchased an unrelated script involving a shark swimming upstream and getting trapped in a lake, and hiring Richard Matheson of all people to turn it into a Jaws film, only to largely ditch his script and have it rewritten by a bunch of uncredited script doctors. The actual shoot was comparatively trouble-free; they did have to ditch almost everything shot in the first few days of production due to being forced to make do with an outdated 3D camera system from the 1950s, but director Joe Alves had anticipated this and stuck to filming shots that could easily be redone with the newer system they now had access to. Post-production was another matter, however, as the initial effects company had tried creating all the 3D effects shots using video, but the atrociously poor results forced the producers to hire another company to hastily redo the effects in the then-traditional manner... only for the new shots to turn out hardly any better than the originals. By this point they had no choice but to release the film as it was, resulting in the film being heavily derided for its clunky 3D effects and general Special Effect Failure.
  • Surprisingly enough, Jaws: The Revenge almost managed to completely avert this trope: the shooting mostly went smoothly, the cast and crew had a friendly relationship and unlike its predecessors, it managed to come in within the budget...though not in the scheduled time-frame. The main issue that producer-director Joseph Sargent had was only being given ten months to write, film and edit the whole thing, resulting in a hastily thrown-together script, the effects team having to salvage and spruce-up the mechanical shark from the third film instead of creating an entirely new one, and production being briefly delayed by a tropical storm, causing filming to over-run and preventing Michael Caine from accepting the Oscar he won for Hannah and Her Sisters. The film was found to be over-long in editing, resulting in most of the backstory of Caine's character being cut, along with a subplot establishing that the shark was attacking the Brody family due to a voodoo curse; while the voodoo subplot didn't fit at all with the prior films, its removal very conspicuously left no explanation of how or why a shark was targeting the Brodys, and doing so by swimming from New England to the Bahamas in just a couple of days. On top of that, the studio disliked the original ending, and had it re-filmed to show the shark suddenly exploding for no reason after being impaled, and a character who had been mauled and dragged underwater by the shark somehow surviving with only minor injuries. The end result of all this was the film being a Box Office Bomb, the Creator Killer for Sargent, a Star-Derailing Role for lead actress Lorraine Gary and co-star Lance Guest, and causing temporary damage to the careers of Caine and supporting actor Mario Van Peebles.

    Lean, David 
Sir David Lean's later films are noted for their exotic locations, epic storylines... and intensely troubled productions.

  • The Bridge on the River Kwai famously climaxes with a train wreck on a collapsing bridge. Fittingly, the production of the film was itself a train wreck almost from the start.
    • The script was initially adapted by Carl Foreman from the book by French author Pierre Boulle. After Lean was chosen to direct, producer Sam Spiegel brought him and Foreman together to work on the script, and was delighted to see the men take an almost instant dislike to each other, feeling that many great films were born from such animosity. Unfortunately, they hated each other so much that Foreman eventually resigned and was replaced by Michael Wilson. Since both Foreman and Wilson were on the Hollywood blacklist, the screenwriting credit (and Oscar) went to Boulle, who did not even speak English.note  When Columbia executives read the script, they objected to the lack of any romantic subplots, and Lean was forced to shoehorn in an affair between Commander Shears and a British nurse at the military hospital.
    • Lean and Spiegel differed widely over Kwai's focus. Lean was more interested in the prison camp rivalry between Colonel Nicholson and Saito; Spiegel felt the novel's action-adventure elements (namely the commando storyline, a subplot in the book) deserved more focus. Early scripts featured elaborate action scenes like an elephant stampede, an army ant attack, and even a submarine battle, which Lean adamantly vetoed. The finished film is a compromise, making the commando story more prominent without diminishing Nicholson and Saito's plot. Concerned about American box office, Spiegel changed Shears (a British character in the book) into an American POW who escapes from the camp, then is dragooned into helping destroy the bridge.
    • The role of Nicholson was offered to several actors, including Spencer Tracy (who declined as he felt the role had to be played by an English actor), Charles Laughton (who balked at the prospect of a location shoot in the tropical heat), and Laurence Olivier (who chose instead to direct The Prince and the Showgirl), before Alec Guinness was cast after a "summit meeting" with Spiegel and Lean. Guinness, at the time known more as a comic actor, was dismayed by the dull characterisation of Nicholson in the script and wanted to play the role as more light-hearted and sympathetic, while Lean insisted that he play Nicholson as written; the two men fought constantly over how the character should be portrayed. In the scene in which Nicholson reflects on his military career, Guinness felt that his face should be shot in closeup, and when he asked Lean why he decided instead to film Nicholson from behind, Lean exploded in anger.note 
    • Location scouts found that the actual River Kwai was a mere trickle, so, at Jack Hawkins' suggestion, production was set up near Kitulgala in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The remote location required a special construction of a bungalow complex to house the cast and crew. Though Lean was right at home in the tropical climate, most of the other personnel suffered in the intense heat and humidity. They were frequently forced to call in sick, and had to share the area with snakes, leeches,note  and other wildlife. The slow pace of filming resulting from Lean's rampant perfectionism did not help. Furthermore, Spiegel did not allocate money for extras, so the British soldiers were mostly played by crew members and Ceylon natives wearing Caucasian makeup.
    • Although the river posing as the Kwai in the film may have made for a more photogenic location, the strong currents nearly claimed several lives. During the shooting of a scene in which a Japanese soldier falls from the bridge, stuntman Frankie Howard was swept away by the strong current, as was prop technician Tommy Early when he dove in after Howard. Though both men were rescued, Howard contracted a stomach illness during the shoot and had to be flown to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London; sadly, he did not recover. Lean himself was also nearly swept away by a current when he went for a swim in the river during a break in filming; he had to be rescued by actor Geoffrey Horne (who played Lieutenant Joyce).
    • The spectacle of the construction and destruction of the bridge itself provided some of the film's most memorable images, as well as some of the production's most troublesome moments. In the film, the bridge is built in two months; the actual construction took eight months and required 500 men and 35 elephants. The elephants would take breaks every four hours to lie in the water, whatever the wishes of the construction crew. When the cameras were set up to film the bridge's destruction - with an audience including the Prime Minister of Ceylon - a cameraman was unable to get out of the way of the intended path of the explosion in time, and Lean halted filming. The train crossed the bridge safely, but crashed into a generator on the far side. The cameras were set up again the following day for the take that went into the finished film...
    • ... but it very nearly didn't make it into the film at all. Filming took place during the Suez Crisis in 1956, so equipment that would normally have been transported by sea instead had to be transported by air.note  The film of the bridge's destruction failed to arrive in London as scheduled, and a worldwide search was undertaken. To the crew's horror, the cans of film were eventually found in Cairo, where they had been sitting on the airport tarmac in the hot sun for a week. The prints should have been ruined, leaving the film without its climactic scene, but somehow they had survived undamaged.
    • Finally, Spiegel was determined to release the film before the end of 1957 to make it eligible for the year's Academy Awards. However, because of the chaotic production, by early December 1957, the film still had no music score - no-one had even been hired to compose it. The composer ultimately hired by Spiegel, Malcolm Arnold, had to write and record the score in just ten days.note 
  • Lean's next film after The Bridge on the River Kwai was Lawrence of Arabia. Somehow it managed to be a worse experience than Kwai.
    • First, it's worth noting that filmmakers had been trying to make a Lawrence movie since the mid-'20s. Two of the better known examples were an Alexander Korda epic in the '30s with Laurence Olivier as Lawrence, and a '50s Rank Organisation picture starring Dirk Bogarde. Both films fell apart due to political pressure: the former because of fear of alienating Turkey in the run-up to World War II; the latter because of a coup d'état in Iraq, where the film was set to shoot. Lean and Spiegel narrowly beat a competing project, an adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play Ross, to the screen.
    • Spiegel originally planned an All-Star Cast. At a press conference he announced Marlon Brando as Lawrence, Horst Buchholz as Sherif Ali, Laurence Olivier as Feisal, Kirk Douglas as the journalist Bentley and Cary Grant as General Allenby. Unfortunately for Spiegel, every single one of them declined.note  Omar Sharif and Jack Hawkins, originally cast in minor roles,note  were re-cast as Ali and Allenby, respectively, after Buchholz and Grant declined. Still angry over Kwai, Lean resisted casting Alec Guinness as Feisal but Spiegel insisted. One oft-repeated anecdote claims that Spiegel feigned a heart attack to trick Lean into changing his mind.
    • After Brando bowed out, Lean and Spiegel settled on Albert Finney as Lawrence. They were impressed enough with Finney, a relative unknown, that they filmed an elaborate screen test. Finney declined the role, however, after Spiegel demanded that he sign a multi-picture contract. note  At this point, Katharine Hepburn, who'd worked with Lean on Summertime, suggested a young Irish stage actor struggling to break into films: Peter O'Toole. Thus the film had its leading man despite adamant objections from Spiegel, who had been irritated by O'Toole's flippant ad libbing when he auditioned for the film adaptation of Suddenly, Last Summer (which Spiegel had produced).
    • Casting was complete, but the screenplay was not. Michael Wilson worked on the screenplay for over a year, then was summarily dismissed by Lean for unsatisfactory work. Unfortunately the cast and crew were already in Jordan and waited for weeks before a new writer was hired. Robert Bolt's tenure as screenwriter got off to a rocky start when he was arrested for taking part in a CND demonstration in London, forcing Sam Spiegel to bail him out of jail. Bolt then showed his gratitude by granting a press interview where he slammed Spiegel and Lean as egomaniacs. Eventually Spiegel invited Bolt to live on his private yacht in Aqaba, mostly to keep an eye on him.
    • Logistics filming in Jordan were a nightmare. For a start, gaining rights to film there required intense negotiation: Spiegel brought in Anthony Nutting, a former British Foreign Office official, to secure King Hussein's approval.note  The crew commandeered tanker trucks full of fresh water from Aqaba and airlifted frozen food to the location every day. Lean and crew had to meticulously sweep the desert sands free of footprints and tire tracks between takes. Outbreaks of illness laid many crew members low. O'Toole's on-set drinking caused tension with Arab extras. The Jordanian government initially cooperated with the production but proved leery about filming in cities like Aqaba and Maan.
    • Lean and Spiegel's already testy relationship soon reached the breaking point. Spiegel rarely visited the set, but constantly complained long-distance about Lean's "wasting" money and allegedly poor footage. On one visit he showed up with William Wyler in tow, threatening to replace Lean if he didn't work faster. Lean eventually got back at Spiegel by sneaking into the dailies a shot of him flipping Spiegel off... in 70mm. Unsurprisingly, Lawrence marked their last collaboration.
    • Eventually shooting in Jordan got so expensive that the production moved to Spain. More difficulties arose: production designer John Box had to build the Aqaba set from scratch. The crew had difficulty finding camels and camel riders. O'Toole nearly died filming a battle scene when he fell off his camel, and injured himself on another occasion. Edmond O'Brien (playing Bentley) had an onset heart attack and Arthur Kennedy was flown direct from New York to replace him. Flash floods in Almeria delayed filming. Lean and his actors grew increasingly tense; Lean once exploded at Jack Hawkins for trying to lighten the mood on-set. Finally, Lean couldn't find suitable locations for the climactic battle and there was a final move to...
    • Morocco. The crew took up residence at an old Foreign Legion encampment in Ouarzazate, with no air conditioning in 100-plus degree F temperatures. Lean argued with his second unit directors on how to film the battle, firing one (Andre de Toth). note  More diseases broke out among crew members. Procuring camels again proved a problem. The main difficulty however came with the extras. Soldiers from the Moroccan army were employed without pay, which they understandably resented. During off hours they actually took potshots at cast and crew, Lean included. Others deserted between takes and never came back.
    • Having survived an arduous production, Lawrence encountered several PR disasters up to its release. Professor A.W. Lawrence, the title character's brother, threatened to sue the filmmakers, then tried to discredit the movie through interviews and editorials. An ugly scandal arose when Spiegel again refused to credit Wilson. A Writers' Guild arbitration found in Wilson's favor, but Bolt still received sole credit.note  O'Toole attended press interviews drunk, drawing more bad attention. Finally, Lawrence received its American premiere during a newspaper strike in New York, and the few critics who saw it gave overwhelmingly negative reviews note . For all that Lawrence became a smash hit, and eventually an all-time classic, with ten nominations and seven wins at the 1962 Oscars,note  but it overcame a lot getting there.
  • Lean followed his jungle and desert epics with a winter epic in Doctor Zhivago, and its production provided more of the same chaos as the previous two films.
    • Producer Carlo Ponti won a bidding war for the film rights to Boris Pasternak's novel, and wanted it to be a spectacle on the same scale as Lawrence of Arabia, so he hired many of the same crew members, including David Lean, script writer Robert Bolt, composer Maurice Jarre, and production designer John Box. He wanted location shooting to take place in the Soviet Union, but was refused permission by the government due to the content of the novel. Scandinavia was deemed too cold for a lengthy film shoot, while Yugoslavia was ruled out for both the cold weather and the obstructive bureaucracy; the location shooting was mostly done in Spain. Construction of the Moscow set in a suburb of Madrid took nearly eighteen months, while filming itself fell behind schedule as Lean hoped to shoot scenes during each of the various seasons as depicted in the novel. Unfortunately, the winter scenes did not go as planned due to the unusually mild winter, and they were instead mostly filmed in summer in temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with marble dust and plastic snow standing in for actual snow and the actors' profuse sweating requiring frequent makeup touchups.note 
    • Lean originally offered the title role to Peter O'Toole, but O'Toole turned it down, not wanting to repeat the miserable experience he had had working on Lawrence; Lean never forgave him for the slight. O'Toole's Lawrence co-star Omar Sharif, a big fan of the novel, initially auditioned for the role of Pasha and was surprised to be cast as Yuri Zhivago. However, as an Egyptian playing a Russian, he had to undergo a strenuous make-up process each day, involving shaving his hairline by 2-3 inches (which then had to be waxed every three days as it grew back), straightening his remaining hair, and taping his eyes back.
    • Part of Ponti's motivation for buying the rights to the novel was the prospect of seeing his wife, Sophia Loren, cast as Lara, but Lean dismissed her as "too tall". Jane Fonda turned down the role, not wanting to face a nine-month shoot in Spain, so Lean ultimately cast Julie Christie after seeing her in Billy Liar.note  Relations between the two were difficult at first, as Christie struggled to give Lean the performance he wanted and initially refused to wear the red dress that so captivates Zhivago's attention; as Lean was essentially incapable of buttering up his actors, he had to ask Box to persuade her for him. When shooting returned to Spain from Finland, Christie was so overwhelmed by Lean's demanding direction that she collapsed from exhaustion. They did eventually develop a good working relationship that became a lifelong friendship, but they never made another film together.
    • The relationship between Lean and Alec Guinness had become certifiably toxic; Lean frequently insulted not only Guinness's performance as Yevgraf Zhivago but also Guinness personally. Guinness recalled Lean mocking him as too old for the character and saying his "face was too fat onscreen," a criticism Guinness neither understood nor appreciated. This treatment generated a rift between the two men that would last nearly twenty years.note 
    • The original director of photography was Nicolas Roeg, but he resigned after creative differences with Lean led to a major falling out between the two. Freddie Young, the director of photography from Lawrence of Arabia, was offered the job, and though he was reluctant to work with Lean again after the exhausting experience of shooting Lawrence, he eventually agreed, but needed two weeks to re-shoot the scenes that Roeg had shot before his resignation.
    • The political climate in Spain (under far-right authoritarian leader Francisco Franco) made it a risky country in which to shoot a film about the Russian Revolution. The scene in which the crowd chants the Marxist anthem, "The Internationale", was filmed at 3am; the police, thinking an actual Marxist revolution was taking place, descended on the shoot and insisted on staying until the scene had been filmed. The mostly Spanish extras, fearful that the police would arrest them as Communist subversives, had to pretend not to know the words to "The Internationale".
    • During shooting of a scene in which Zhivago pulls a young mother onto a train after first pulling her baby onto the train, the actress playing the young mother, Lili Murati, panicked when Sharif grabbed her hand; a miscommunication between the two ultimately resulted in Murati falling under the train's wheels. Fortunately, she had bunched up and thus avoided having her limbs severed, while her thick clothing also protected her from serious injury.
    • Like Lawrence before it, the film continued to stumble in its first weeks in cinemas. Critics thought the film too long, the love affair between Zhivago and Lara too soap operatic, and the depiction of historical events too facile. Jarre's score, especially "Lara's Theme", was widely dismissed as "syrupy". Lean later said that during the first few weeks, "you could hurl boulders in the theatre and not hit anyone." However, the film and especially "Lara's Theme" eventually caught on with audiences, netting five awards from ten nominations at the 1965 Oscarsnote  and having one of the ten highest box office takes in cinema history (adjusted for inflation).note 
  • Lean simply couldn't escape this trope after the mid-1950s; the Irish love story Ryan's Daughter should have been a breather film after the more ambitious trio of The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago, but it still managed to turn into a severely troubled production.
    • A location scouting expedition led Lean to declare Ireland's Dingle Peninsula the perfect place to shoot the film, which he expected to take three months and be on a similar scale to Brief Encounter.note  Instead, it took over a year and was on a similar scale to Zhivago, complete with a budget overrun of £4 million. Lean wanted most of the love scenes on the beach to be filmed in sunny weather, forgetting that south-west Ireland is known more for mist and gale force winds than sunshine; the weather was so uncooperative that the sunlit beach scenes were instead filmed at Noordhoek near Cape Town in South Africa.note  Ironically, Lean had to wait for a year for a suitably dramatic storm to strike the Irish coast for a pivotal scene in which the villagers wade into the sea to retrieve a shipment of weapons intended for the IRA. Leo McKern, who played publican Thomas Ryan, nearly drowned and nearly lost his glass eye to the rough seas, and was so frustrated by the slow pace of filming that he swore he would never act again (his "retirement" ultimately only lasted a few years). Production was also delayed by accidents, such as two vehicles sinking in a local peat bog. Nor did Ryan's long gestation endear Lean to MGM, who soon regretted giving the director carte blanche after Zhivago. At one point, MGM President James Aubrey arrived in Ireland to demand that Lean pick up the pace. Lean responded by shutting down production until Aubrey left the country.
    • Lean also had trouble casting most of the film's major roles (with two exceptions: Sarah Miles, then on her first of two marriages to the film's scriptwriter Robert Bolt, was cast as Rosy Ryan,note  while Lean's former frequent collaborator John Mills was cast as mute village idiot Michael, though he expressed reservations about being typecast). He initially offered the role of Catholic priest Father Collins to Alec Guinness, but Guinness, himself a devout Catholic, sent the script back with a long list of objections to the character's portrayal (Guinness was also still angry at Lean for how he had been treated during filming of Doctor Zhivago). Lean thanked him for his suggestions and gave the role instead to Trevor Howard, who was undergoing marital difficulties during filming. When Howard's wife, Helen Cherry, paid a visit to Ireland but stormed out of a party after an argument with him, she was nearly killed in a car accident on the treacherous narrow, winding roads. Howard's experience on set was similarly accident-plagued; he was rushed to hospital after falling off a horse, and he and Mills nearly drowned when a fishing boat scene went badly wrong, forcing them to be rescued by frogmen.
    • The role of Rosy's husband, schoolteacher Charles Shaughnessy, was intended for Paul Scofield, but he was in the middle of a theatre contract. Producer Anthony Havelock-Allan suggested Gregory Peck, who expressed interest in the role, but Lean ultimately cast Robert Mitchum, believing that casting against type always had interesting results. Mitchum almost turned down the role, as he was undergoing a personal crisis at the time (he told Lean that he was seriously contemplating suicide when he was cast; when Bolt heard of this, he told Mitchum that as long as he finished "working on this wretched little film" first, he would pay for his burial), and he described working with Lean as "like constructing the Taj Mahal out of toothpicks". Havelock-Allan later recalled that the awkwardness of co-ordinating the dates when Mitchum and Miles were both available put such a strain on pre-production that filming began without a proper shooting script. Eventually, relations between Mitchum and Lean became so strained that they only communicated with each other through Miles. Mitchum also planted marijuana trees behind the hotel accommodating the cast, giving many cast and crew members (and locals) their first experience of the drug.note 
    • But the most troublesome role proved to be that of Rosy's lover, Shell-Shocked Veteran Major Randolph Doryan. The role was originally offered to Marlon Brando, but he was forced to drop out when production of Burn! lagged behind schedule. Lean finally cast American actor Christopher Jones on the strength of his performance in The Looking-Glass War without bothering to meet him first... only learning after production began that the film had been shot to hide Jones' diminutive stature and that his high-pitched voice had been dubbed. Jones and Lean clashed frequently, with Lean finding Jones' voice and performance so unsuited to the square-jawed soldier he had envisioned that he had Doryan rewritten as traumatised into near silence by his trench experiences, with his aide-de-camp, Captain Smith (Gerald Sim), given the extra lines. Jones' voice was ultimately dubbed by Julian Holloway (which Jones only discovered when he saw the finished film), but his performance was one of the most harshly criticised aspects of the film.note 
    • Jones and Miles also grew to dislike each other, making filming of their love scenes awkward for all involved. Not only was Jones in mourning for his close friend (and possibly ex-girlfriend) Sharon Tate, who was murdered by the Manson family during production, but he was also engaged to Olivia Hussey,note  and was simply not attracted to Miles. This particularly frustrated Lean, who was looking forward to taking advantage of more relaxed film censorship and showing love scenes on camera instead of cutting away to something symbolic; instead, he had to fall back on the old techniques. Miles admitted in her autobiography that at one point, she conspired with Mitchum to drug Jones' breakfast to make him get over his disgust at filming the scene where Rosy and Doryan have a tryst in the forest, but Mitchum overdid the dosage, rendering Jones near catatonic for filming of the scene and leading him to believe he was having a nervous breakdown. Not long afterward, he had a similar brush with death to Helen Cherry when he crashed his sports car on the local roads. A combination of grief over Tate's death and his negative experience working on the film prompted Jones to retire from acting; he only made one other film.note 
    • Then came its release. MGM was expecting Ryan's Daughter to repeat the huge success of Zhivago, and unveiled it with a suitably lavish publicity campaign and roadshow release. Unfortunately, the movie was roundly savaged by critics, who typically complained it was too grand in scale for a modest love story. Lean took this criticism extremely personally; at a meeting of New York film critics he was confronted by Pauline Kael, Richard Schickel and others who seemingly took delight in insulting Ryan.note  This time, critical scorn matched audience indifference, and Ryan's box office take proved mediocre. It earned four nominations at the 1970 Oscarsnote  and eventually turned a profit, but fell short of MGM's hopes for a massive blockbuster. Lean wouldn't make another film for fourteen years, which was...
  • A Passage to India (1984). Compared to the others, Lean's final film was a breeze, with even the Indian location shooting going smoothly. Except that Lean, his stars, and his crew were constantly at each others' throats.
    • Alec Guinness testified in his diaries to the toxic atmosphere on set, resulting in cast and crew insulting Lean behind his back, and occasionally to his face. Judy Davis told Lean "You can't fucking well direct," and claimed he didn't understand women. Victor Banerjee argued with Lean over Aziz's accent, calling him "obnoxious" and a hack compared to Satyajit Ray, with whom he'd previously worked on Pikoo. Peggy Ashcroft disliked Lean's altering the novel and "lack of respect" for her co-stars. James Fox also suffered near-constant, unmotivated insults from Lean over his performance, but unlike his costars mostly shrugged them off. Finally, of course, was Guinness himself: playing the Indian mystic Godbole, he spent weeks learning an intricate Hindu dance, only to have Lean cut the entire scene in post-production.
    • It wasn't just the cast who grew tired of Lean's prima donna behavior. Santha Rama Rau, who had previously written a 1960 stage adaptation of India, was originally contracted to write the screenplay. Though Lean rejected her script as unsatisfactory, Rau discovered that Lean incorporated much of her dialogue into the finished film anyway; ultimately, she received a screen credit after threatening a lawsuit. Lean also disliked his cinematographer Ernest Day, eventually "promoting" him to assistant director and sending Day to film superfluous landscape and crowd scenes that didn't make it into the final movie.

    Marvel Cinematic Universe 
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, for the most part, a smooth operation, it still experiences a few troubles from time to time.

  • Ant-Man became a critical and commercial success upon its release in 2015, but it spent many years facing ridicule and production problems from a studio that wasn't sure what to do with the property. It may have the most interesting production tale of all the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • The idea of an Ant-Man film was being kicked around since The '80s, with Stan Lee trying unsuccessfully to lobby Marvel to make a movie based on it because it was one of his favorite properties. New World Entertainment (Marvel's parent company) flirted with the idea of doing a film during this time, but the project was canned after briefly going into pre-production and nothing occurred with the property for years.
    • In 2000, Artisan Entertainment signed a deal to develop a number of properties based on Marvel licenses (in a way similar to what the Marvel Cinematic Universe eventually morphed into), but production once again stalled and the deal never went anywhere. A year later, Edgar Wright wrote a script treatment for an Ant-Man film that was heavily influenced by the crime genre, but Artisan rejected it on the grounds that it wasn't appealing to children.
    • Nothing occurred until 2004, when Wright met Kevin Feige and told him about the rejected treatment. Together, they presented the same pitch to Marvel studio head Avi Arad, who loved it and commissioned them to go ahead with the project. It was during this time that the seeds for the cinematic universe were put into place, as Marvel soon after announced its plans to self-finance films based on a stable of different characters.
    • The film was officially announced at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con, where Wright did interviews detailing proposed script elements, some of which were in the final product (like a prologue scene with Hank Pym and a flashback to one of his adventures). Work began on the script, and the first draft featured similar story beats to the finished film, including a villain named Greydon Clark who wore a version of the Ant-Man suit called the "NanoWarrior" (which would later become Yellowjacket).
    • The script spent years stuck in revisions and redrafts. Wright initially told Empire Magazine that he had revised the script in 2008 and made it a lot lighter, but news from the production went silent for two years, after which Wright claimed that the script wasn't a "priority" property like Iron Man and not fitting the chronology of what would eventually become The Avengers.
    • Several more years passed, and Feige eventually became president of Marvel Studios. Wright stated in July 2010 that even though he had spoken with Feige multiple times about the project, the studio still hadn't figured out what they wanted to do with the property. A year later, screenwriter Joe Cornish (who had been working on rewrites with Wright) announced that they had written a second draft and delivered it to Marvel. It took another year (and another script rewrite), along with some unfinished test footage filmed by Wright showing lead character Scott Lang beating up enemies in his miniature form, before Marvel officially announced the project in October of 2012.
    • The next year was spent on pre-production, with Wright and Cornish reportedly turning in several more rewrites and drafts. The release date was moved up from November 2015 to July of the same year, but filming was set back when a plan to shoot the film in the U.K. was scuttled after a dispute over shooting locations, and production was moved back to the States. Not helping matters was that Marvel was forced to hold production so that Wright (who was working on The World's End) had to deal with a producer who was diagnosed with cancer.
    • Production went off the rails just before filming began (and with sets already being built), with Feige and Wright getting into arguments and the latter being reportedly infuriated when revisions were ordered without his consent or involvement. As a result, Wright announced that he was leaving the project, and Marvel announced soon after that they had parted ways with the director. For his part, Feige admitted that the earlier drafts just weren't working the way he had wanted, and that the collaborative process on the films in the MCU was likely more than Wright was willing to handle. Wright's departure caused a stir with other Marvel directors and actors, including Joss Whedon (who wrote a post on Twitter indicating that he was taking Wright's side - and foreshadowing his own issues on Avengers: Age of Ultron), and cast member Patrick Wilson (who tweeted that he was confused and unsure of the film's future).
    • As rumors flew about the project, lead actor Paul Rudd approached his friend, director Adam McKay, to direct the project, but the latter turned it down even after an official offer from Marvel.
    • Even as Marvel hired a new director (Peyton Reed) to helm the project, more bad news hit. Cinematographer Bill Pope, composer Stephen Price and actors Wilson, Kevin Weisman and Matt Gerald had exited the film.note  Despite this, Feige assured people during press interviews that the film would still honor Wright's original pitch, and that McKay would be contributing to the script. More cast members were officially announced, including Evangeline Lilly, who stated during the 2014 Comic-Con that she hadn't even received a script yet.
    • Filming finally began in August 2014 and went exceptionally smoothly, despite internet outrage over an interview with Michael Douglas stating that the character of Janet Van Dyne (who was the original Wasp) died prior to the movie's events.note  The film was eventually released for its July 2015 opening and proved to be one of Marvel's biggest solo superhero successes, grossing more than $500 million worldwide at the box office.
    • Not only that, it turned out that Feige was Misblamed for the Executive Meddling rewrites that resulted in Wright's departure, but in fact Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter and the Creative Committee (Joe Quesada, Alan Fine, Dan Buckley and Brian Michael Bendis). This along with Whedon's disillusionment after Age of Ultron led Feige to have Marvel Studios switch from Marvel Entertainment to Walt Disney Studios after the film's release.
  • Captain America: Civil War faced some ugly pre-production problems. While the production itself seems to have gotten by without much issue beyond the movie going over budget, and they were able to fit Spider-Man snugly into the plot just as it seemed as though it was too late to include the recently re-acquired character into the film, the story was different behind the scenes at Marvel corporate boards. The tension between MCU Producer Kevin Feige and Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, who had been on bad terms with one another for a long time, finally came to a boiling point. Perlmutter threatened to fire Robert Downey Jr. when he was officially signed-on to take part in the movie, due to the actor's high salary demands. Feige, having none of that, objected and got the Disney executives involved. He went to Alan Horn (the head of Disney's live-action projects) and threatened to quit then and there if he didn't get out from under Perlmutter. The end result is that the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Creative Committee — a group that Perlmutter was involved with that a history of being an Obstructive Bureaucracy — was removed from working on further movies and that Feige was given an Auteur License by Disney, separating Marvel Studios from Marvel Entertainment. Spider-Man: Homecoming was the first movie to be produced under the new arrangement.
  • Thanks to Alt-Right trolls instigating a politically-motivated attack on James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was doomed to endure a rough pre-production process. Production was set to start in 2018, but after said trolls unearthed several of Gunn's offensive tweets he made a decade prior (and had sincerely apologized since), Disney executive Alan Horn impulsively fired director James Gunn. Problem is that Horn made his snap decision without first consulting anyone else, throwing the MCU's post-Avengers: Endgame cosmic plans into disarray since Gunn was supposed to oversee those storylines. Furthermore, as Gunn was dismissed during Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney couldn't immediately rehire Gunn despite the outcry from fans and the cast, lest such an action would be seen as sign of weakness. Although Disney kept Gunn's script as damage control, they couldn't find anyone else to direct the film as nobody wants to be dragged into the controversy, leading to the film's production being put on hold indefinitely. Although Gunn was rehired in March 2019 when Disney finished its acquisition of Fox, by then Gunn had signed on with DC Films to write and direct a new Suicide Squad film. Subsequently, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could be delayed for up to two years thanks to Horn reacting to Gunn's tweets to protect Disney's image.

    A Nightmare On Elm Street film series 
The A Nightmare on Elm Street films are famous for Robert Englund's master class performance as its lead villain Freddy Krueger... and also having some pretty troubled production histories, at the time being an actual nightmare to experience.

  • During production of the first film, a major investor pulled out two days before filming began, and Robert Shaye had to raise the money elsewhere. Two weeks into production, they had no money to pay anyone - and the Line Producer had to use his credit card. Eventually, Robert Shaye cut a deal with the original investor to supply about $200,000. What's more, is that the processing lab wasn't paid and threatened to keep the film until they were.
  • Freddy's Revenge, the second film in the franchise, had it even worse.
    • It started with the fact that the movie was greenlit the very weekend the first Nightmare came out. This may seem like standard procedure for sequel greenlighting nowadays, but back then, it was virtually unheard of, especially if this was an R-rated horror film.
    • Then there was neither Heather Langenkamp or Wes Craven wanting to return - the latter feeling a sequel with her would contradict the Gainax Ending of the first movie, and Craven admitting to never wanting to direct a sequel. Craven did at least agree to consider directing the second film, but eventually backed out after hating the script that had been written without his involvement; he was replaced by Jack Sholder, who had acted as the de facto second unit director on the first film.
    • Not making matters better was that Robert Englund wasn't even asked to return as Freddy - a random extra was hired... only for him to back out because he felt wrong taking it from Englund. Englund admitted that he disliked the experience of working on the sequel because he thought it went against the "bible" of the first film - he hated the idea of Freddy possessing someone to make them kill, and admitted he struggled with playing Freddy because of it.
    • Actual filming went smoothly for the most part, although Mark Patton had large objections to the infamous "Touch Me" dance scene. Even despite being openly gay since before the film started production, he even thought the scene was too gay for him. He did his own choreography, which was far less campy than originally planned. Additionally, the climactic pool party massacre had actors not knowing when explosions were to go off - nobody was acting in that scene, their scared reactions were absolutely real.
    • Fortunately, the film was a box office success, but wasn't anywhere near as well received as the first, and did make less money, with fans claiming the film broke a lot of what was set as rules in the first, namely that Freddy spent too much time in the outside world and that Freddy using others to kill for him went against the idea of his character. Fortunately, this forced Wes Craven to return for the next film, albeit as a writer.
  • Dream Warriors was much smoother but still wasn't completely trouble-free. The film began as a satirical meta-film about Freddy haunting the lives of people who worked on the film, but the studio didn't like it (Ironically, this ended up being the basis for New Nightmare). Wes Craven was hesitant to return as a writer, as he vowed never to do sequels. Additionally, people weren't fond of the newer cast in the previous film, requiring Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon to return in side roles. Fortunately, when it came to finalizing the script and shooting, things went well for the most part. The only real issue was that Robert Englund was still finishing filming on a TV series he had a commitment to, so he often showed up to set exhausted, and this even led to a hilarious incident about how one day he fell asleep in his green room after a long day of filming, only to wake up and have a terrible scare when he looked in the mirror... because he fell asleep with his Freddy makeup still on. Producer Robert Shaye also found it hard to supervise filming, due to New Line having expanded into a bona fide studio by this point, eventually forcing him to acknowledge that he was being too much of a control freak and hand most of his producer's duties over to production manager Rachel Talalay. The film thankfully did well at the box office, keeping the franchise running strong and was even seen as the second best of the series. Patricia Arquette became a star thanks to the film.
  • The Dream Master wasn't quite as angsty as the first movie or Freddy's Revenge, but getting it made still wasn't an easy feat.
    • For unspecified reasons, Patricia Arquette decided not to return. To this day, nobody knows why. This led to Tuesday Knight being cast in her role. Problem was, nobody knew who she was, and weren't fans of her acting style. This is why when Kirsten, Kincade, and Joey all reunite in the film's opening nightmare scene, the emotion isn't quite as palpable as it should be (and even Dull Surprise reactions can be seen from the actors).
    • Renny Harlin, then an unknown director from Finland, was incredibly enthusiastic about directing and wanted the job so badly - mainly because he was so impoverished and had a hard time adjusting to life in the US, but also because he was a huge fan of the series. Bob Shaye, on the other hand, didn't want him directing, and was also iffy about a Finnish director getting the job. This may seem like petty xenophobia, but when you consider the first movie was banned in Finland for a number of years, this was more reasonable than one would think.
    • This led to a war of the minds between Shaye and Harlin. Harlin was so passionate that he absolutely refused to take no for an answer. He went so far as to show up to New Line's office every day and chill with a number of employees just to annoy him into letting him direct. This worked, but considering Shaye had a number of people he wanted to direct the film over Harlin, he let him begrudgingly.
    • Getting a screenplay proved a big challenge for various reasons. William Kotzwinkle was the first writer to try his hand, but only managed to turn in a rough story outline before being forced to bow out for personal reasons, resulting in Shaye turning instead to future Oscar-winning screenwriter Brian Helgeland, who had a very short deadline to avoid an impending writer's strike. Against all odds, the inexperienced Helgeland managed to get a completed script submitted the day before the strike began... and then Shaye and Harlin found themselves in the nightmare scenario of having a script that, while workable story-wise, would have been far too expensive to produce on the budget typically afforded to the series. Because the writer's strike effectively precluded them from hiring any professional writers, Shaye, Harlin, co-producer Rachel Talalay and damn near everyone else at New Line had a part in throwing the script together, with the end product being credited to Helgeland and the fictitious "Scott Pierce".
    • Shooting was mostly smooth, but the tensions between the two did complicate things. Shaye was more heavily involved in shooting than he was on previous films in the series. He would show up to set every day to make sure Harlin wasn't fucking the movie up too much. Harlin was extremely stressed because of this - he showed up to set every day basically "expecting to get fired at any given moment". When it came time to film Shaye's obligatory Creator Cameo, the two were barely even speaking to each other, thus making a small few seconds of film extremely difficult to shoot.
    • Fortunately, things did get easier during post-production. Shaye liked what he saw during editing and relented his control over the final product. Additionally, when he saw the final product, he liked it enough to admit he was wrong. The two have since made up and are on good terms. The film itself did very well at the box office and helped launch Harlin's career in the US, even earning him the job of directing Die Hard 2.
  • The Dream Child, on the other hand, was just as stressful to make as Freddy's Revenge, if maybe even worse.
    • With Harlin being gone due to having to work on Die Hard 2, Robert Shaye and co had less than a year to make the film. The title was the first thing thought up for the film, as was the poster. Nobody had any idea what the fuck a "dream child" was, or why the poster had Freddy levitating a crystal ball with a foetus inside - this was because the story hadn't fully taken shape yet.
    • The idea of Freddy using someone's to-be-born child to get into the real world was an idea that was considered for the first film. Two writers, John Skipp and Craig Spector were brought in to write a story that had Alice and Dan's unborn child being taken over by Freddy. Producer Rachel Talalay hated their script and brought another writer, Leslie Bohem in, who ended up rewriting almost all of it. The only thing from Skipp's and Spector's script that made it into the final version was Freddy's infamous line "It's a booooooy!!!". The two have since come to regret wasting their time.
    • It then turned out that Bohem's screenplay wasn't entirely to Shaye's liking either, and with the writer unavailable for rewrites, William Wisher Jr. came along and did a further draft, which Shaye also didn't like. Yet another writer, David J. Schow was hired and managed to create a screenplay that most of the key players were happy with, though a few further last-minute revisions were done by co-producer Michael de Luca due to Schow having been assigned to work on the screenplay that would eventually become Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.note 
    • The character of Greta was originally to be played by , but like the character herself, she was bulimic, and was horrified by how tasteless her death was, and left.
    • The infamous scene where Freddy's amputated arm turns into a number of red and green tarantulas was a literal nightmare to shoot, so much that the next bit of text will be spoiler marked for arachnophobes: The tarantulas were painted red and green, and trained to move in certain ways. Problem was, only one take was filmed because the tarantulas were angry and aggressive. It doesn't help that nobody knows what happened to the spiders after because they soon disappeared - some even believe they disappeared into the studio office. Yikes. Let's hope there were no arachnophobes in the film's crew...
    • Hell, shooting itself was a stressful mess. Director Stephen Hopkins had only four weeks to film, and a further four weeks to edit, with only two stages to do it on. Although he did get everything done on time, the experience left him so stressed and burnt out that he almost said no to directing Predator 2, despite the higher pay and more relaxed shooting schedule.
    • During post-production, test screenings had scenes that were considered so disgusting that they had large chunks of them left on the cutting room floor. The Freddy Bike scene had even more shots of Dan's skin being ripped away graphically, and the infamous scene where Freddy force feeds Greta tons of disgusting food made of her innards had a shot that panned down to reveal Freddy ripping her insides out as she ate. The scenes still haven't shown up on Blu-ray or DVD today. Heavy cutting was needed to keep the film from receiving the then-new NC-17 rating.
    • When the film was released, though getting bad reviews from critics was basically expected, fans on the other hand criticized the film heavily for being needlessly mean-spirited and downright cruel in an attempt to be Darker and Edgier - to emphasize, the movie begins with Amanda Kruger, Freddy's mom, being gang-raped in the asylum she worked at, and at 25 minutes into the movie, Dan got killed off in a graphic and cruel fashion - which wouldn't have mattered as much had he not been the father of Alice's unborn child, Freddy turns someone literally into paper and it's shown in its graphic detail, and Freddy kills a bulimic girl by force-feeding her her own innards. Others, on the other hand, found it boring and not nearly as fun as the other films. The film, as a result, was a box office failure - it opened at #3 and disappeared soon after. Despite this, the film still performed better than the other two slasher film instalments that came out that year, but it still was bad enough to make the producers decide to kill Freddy for good in the next one.
  • Downplayed, almost to the point of complete aversion, by Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. Once again they had trouble with the screenplay; a young Peter Jackson was sounded out about writing the film, but disagreements between him and New Line caused him to back out in favor of writing and directing BrainDead. Michael Almereyda wrote the first actual screenplay, but it was rejected almost immediately — Robert Shaye later claimed to have thrown the script in his trash can after reading the first thirty pages — due to its fan fiction-esque storyline, effects sequences that were far beyond the scope of the budget, and the fact that they'd have needed to track down the entire cast of the third through fifth films, most of whom would just have gotten small cameos. Eventually, Michael de Luca, who had done a last minute rewrite on the previous film, stepped in at short notice and created a screenplay everyone was happy with, causing Shaye to admit to de Luca that they should have just hired him from the get-go. After that, production flew by largely without any problems thanks to long-standing producer Rachel Talalay — who knew from personal experience all the things that could go wrong in a shoot — stepping up to direct, with the only major problem coming up near the end of filming when she was taken ill with pneumonia, forcing co-producer Aron Warner to step in for the final day or so of filming.

    Peckinpah, Sam 
"Bloody" Sam Peckinpah was known for his rebellious, uncompromising attitude to filmmaking. Even his closest friends confessed that he could be a pain to work with.
  • This trend began with Peckinpah's very first film, The Deadly Companions...in this case, not of his own making. Here the problem was star Maureen O'Hara, who along with producer Charles FitzSimmons (O'Hara's brother) micromanaged the production, constantly overruled the freshman director and demanded rewrites and re-shoots on the fly to recenter the film from Brian Keith's character to O'Hara's. Many key scenes were re-shot or cut in post-production; Peckinpah was particularly chagrined that FitzSimmons re-edited the climactic scene where Keith shot Chill Wills' villain in the back into something more conventionally heroic. Peckinpah, not having the clout to push back against O'Hara or FitzSimmons, went along with it, though it's probable that the experience informed Peckinpah's later problems with obnoxious producers and domineering stars.
  • Major Dundee:
    • Things first began to fall apart when Columbia kept changing things — the shooting schedule, the budget, the film's final running time — much to Peckinpah's chagrin. To accommodate the changes, the script, which had been rewritten already by Peckinpah from Harry Julian Fink's script of a basic Western adventure story to a Moby-Dick-esque study of the title character, a US Cavalry officer who would do anything for glory, was again rewritten, this time by Oscar Saul; it was still being reworked throughout filming, which accounts in part for the finished film's choppiness. One of the more egregious additions was the romance plot with Senta Berger's Teresa. (Some idea of what Fink and Peckinpah's original script looked like can be gleaned from a novelization published in 1965, which adds several scenes and whole subplots while changing the fates of several characters. The romance is completely absent.)
    • So Peckinpah started drinking. Heavily, even by his standards. And then showing up this way on set. He began firing people for the most insignificant things, and threatening everyone else to the point that the film's star and Peckinpah's friend Charlton Heston frequently had to pull his costume's cavalry sabre on the director repeatedly. Peckinpah fell for actress Begoña Palacios, who played a minor character in the film,note  and spent much of his time courting her rather than directing.
    • It didn't help either that Heston and costar Richard Harris hated each other. They'd worked together previously, on The Wreck of the Mary Deare, and their antipathy carried over into Dundee: Heston called Harris a "professional Irishman" while Harris labelled Heston a "holy Joe." Senta Berger recounted the two engaging in macho posturing, like Harris hiking his boots up to seem taller than Heston. Heston was so annoyed by Harris's general behavior (he frequently showed up late on set, and argued with Peckinpah and his costars) that he lodged a formal complaint with producer Jerry Bresler.
    • Word of this got back to the studio, which aggravated matters by moving the wrap date up a full month. They were reportedly going to fire Peckinpah as well until Heston saved his friend's job by making the ultimate sacrifice—he said he would forego his salary and do the whole film for free. Even so, Peckinpah's drinking got even worse. This time he often wandered away from the set, and Heston reportedly directed much of the later scenes.
    • When principal photography was finally over, Columbia broke its contract with Peckinpah and hired editors itself to put the film together. The film was cut from a reported 155 minute run time to 121 minutes, with a poorly-matched musical score by Daniele Amfitheatrof (featuring a title march by Mitch Miller and his Sing-Along Gang) added. Critics regarded the finished film as an interesting failure; however, stories of Peckinpah's difficult behavior percolated throughout Hollywood. He was fired from his next film, The Cincinnati Kid, and spent several years blackballed by Hollywood studios.
    • Peckinpah eventually recouped his reputation with a TV production of Noon Wine, then made The Wild Bunch, which is sort of a semi-remake of this film. For years there was a debate as to how much the released version represented what Peckinpah had really wanted to do, and only in 2005, two decades after his death, was a version released that tried to be true to his original vision. This version runs 138 minutes, 17 minutes longer than the original studio cut, and adds a new sound mix and a completely new score by Christopher Caliendo.
  • Ironically, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, a film shot on desert locations was plagued by constant rain. With shooting delayed, the cast and crew spent most of the time drinking. Peckinpah, as usual when his alcoholism flared up, became irascible, and fired dozens of crew members over the course of production. The film went over schedule and over budget, and Warner Bros. wasn't willing to give the film much support on release, despite its scoring exceptionally well with test audiences.
  • Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid was filmed almost entirely on location in Durango, Mexico. Dust storms, hot weather and defective cameras delayed shooting from the start. Much of the cast and crew came down with influenza. Peckinpah's severe alcohol problems created tensions with coworkers. In this case, though, Executive Meddling proved the most persistent issue: penny-pinching MGM honcho James Aubrey repeatedly slashed the budget and refused to sanction re-shoots for several key scenes, after which the movie was cut from 124 minutes to 106 minutes, smuggled quietly into theaters and flopped. The film sunk into ignominy (aside from its Bob Dylan soundtrack) until the preview cut resurfaced in the '90s.
  • Convoy destroyed Peckinpah's career despite becoming his highest-grossing film.
    • The film was an attempt to cash in on the trucking and CB radio fad of the late '70s, using C.W. McCall's "Convoy" as a hook. B.W.L. Norton wrote the original script as a lighthearted action comedy similar to Smokey and the Bandit. He pitched the project to EMI, who offered it to Peckinpah, then finishing post-production on Cross of Iron. Though dubious about the project's potential, Peckinpah agreed on condition that he had complete control over the film. The studio agreed, and trouble promptly began.
    • Peckinpah immediately started rewriting Norton's script, re-envisioning it as a modern-day Western with truckers fighting against crooked lawmen and unfair interstate regulations, while also adding heavy-handed political satire. Unable to give these ideas much weight on their own, Peckinpah encouraged his stars (Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw and Ernest Borgnine among them) to write their own dialogue. James Coburn, working as Peckinpah's assistant director, admitted that "There was no conflict. They didn't know what the fuck was going on."
    • Production began in May 1977 and almost immediately spiraled out of control; within two weeks, Peckinpah was already behind schedule. Peckinpah refused to deal with producer Bob Sherman, enlisting his actors and crew members to run interference when Sherman visited the set. The budget exploded as Peckinpah spent absurd amounts of time on individual scenes. One major set piece, a barroom brawl, took ten days to shoot. Entire action scenes were re-structured around accidental wrecks and botched stunts which Peckinpah left in the finished film. Then, production halted for several weeks when Kris Kristofferson left the shoot for a concert tour. This did have one beneficial side-effect however, as MacGraw, who had been suffering from long-standing drink and drug problems, checked herself into rehab and cleaned herself up in time for shooting to resume.
    • But Convoy's biggest bugbear remained Peckinpah, whose substance abuse spiraled out of control. He was taking heavy amounts of cocaine, Quaaludes and vitamin shots that left him both irritable and irrational. At one point, Peckinpah called his nephew David from the set, ranting that Steve McQueen — who had forced MacGraw to retire from acting when the two married earlier in the decade, promptly served her with divorce papers when she decided to come out of retirement for Convoy, and in fairness to Peckinpah, did allegedly send him a threatening note or two early in filming — and the Executive Car Leasing Company were conspiring to kill him. On the day the climactic funeral scene was set to film, with the cast, crew and 3,000 extras assembled, Peckinpah locked himself in the trailer for twelve hours, refusing to communicate with anyone. He also fired several crew members and assistants as filming dragged on. With their director incapacitated, Coburn and the other assistant directors essentially finished directing Convoy themselves.
    • Filming finally wrapped in early September 1977, two months behind schedule and $3,000,000 over-budget. A month later, however, Peckinpah was assigned to re-shoot several scenes, which he did without incident. After several months of editing, Peckinpah delivered a rough cut that was nearly four hours long... without bothering to include the final half-hour of the movie. EMI finally lost patience with Peckinpah, booted him off the project, and brought in two other editors to recut the film essentially from scratch; yet again, Peckinpah was barred from finishing his own movie.
    • Amazingly, Convoy became a box office hit when it was finally released in the summer of 1978. However, Peckinpah's meltdown convinced Hollywood studios that he was unemployable. It would be five years before Peckinpah made his next (and last) film, The Osterman Weekend, where he was given little control over the finished product.

    Scott, Ridley 
Like fellow Alien franchise director James Cameron, Sir Ridley Scott has run into a fair amount of clunky productions himself.

  • The original Alien had a smoother production than most of its sequels, but not an entirely trouble-free one. Most of the problems that did occur were in pre-production, firstly when the producers were having trouble finding a studio to back the film, and then when looking for a director. They were initially keen to hire Robert Aldrich, but when they actually met him, they were dismayed to find that he didn't give a shit at all about their vision and was just looking for a quick paycheck. Several more directors passed on the project, and producer Walter Hill considered directing it himself before a sample of Ridley Scott's work just happened to pass his desk.

    Production itself was relatively smooth, but it had some problems. Jon Finch, originally cast as Kane, had to drop out by the second day of shooting when he became severely ill due to his diabetes, and John Hurt (the producers' first choice) was cast instead. There was also friction between the producers and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, who didn't like that Hill had rewritten the screenplay to have more gritty and realistic dialogue. The visual effects team was also sorely under-funded and under-equipped, which resulted in cinematographer Derek Vanlint having to gather up all his lighting equipment and lend it to the VFX team at the end of each day. Additionally, Jerry Goldsmith composed a substantial amount of music for the film, only for Scott to throw most of it out and have the finished product largely unscored while replacing some of the music with a Howard Hanson composition and tracking in Goldsmith's music from Freud, enraging Goldsmith and resulting in the two not working together again until Legend (1985) (where the music was also screwed with).
  • Blade Runner's creation was a difficult process:
    • The original screenwriter, Hampton Fancher, was eventually distanced from his script for being too protective, and David Peoples created the script that eventually was filmed.
    • A critical financier went bankrupt at the eleventh hour, leading to some desperate deals shortly before production began.
    • Harrison Ford often veered between impatient and bored during production.
    • Sean Young was cast by Scott for her Ava Gardner-esque looks, although many preferred another actress, Nina Axelrod. Young was unknown and also inexperienced, which seemed at times to annoy Ford.
    • Scott and Ford frequently argued over whether or not Deckard was a replicant.
    • Towards the end of principal photography an incident occurred which has become known as the T-shirt war. The majority of the crew didn't enjoy working on the film, and didn't like working for Scott, who they considered to be cold and distant. In an article in the British press, Scott commented that he preferred working with English crews because when he asked for something they would say, "Yes guvnor" and go get it, but things weren't that simple with American crews. Makeup supervisor Marvin G. Westmore saw the article and was disgusted. In retaliation, he had t-shirts printed with "Yes guvnor my ass!" on the front, and either "Will Rogers never met Ridley Scott" or "You soar with eagles when you fly with turkeys" on the back. In retaliation, Scott and several of his closer collaborators had t-shirts made with "Xenophobia sucks" on them.
    • The Director of Photography, Jordan Cronenwith, suffered from Parkinson's disease and during the shoot was very weak and in a great deal of pain. By the final month of shooting, he was working from a wheelchair.
    • Scott took multiple takes for seemingly innocuous scenes, leading one to wonder if he was really looking for the right look, or just infuriating his producers. It got to the point where the exasperated crew nicknamed the film Blood Runner.
    • The final scene was shot literally hours before the studio was going to step in and remove Scott from the project.
    • Test screenings were sharply divided over the tone of the film. The producers themselves called the voiceovers "dull", and Ford himself was not a fan of them. Ford admitted later to trying to make them dull in the hope they would be removed. In the initial theatrical release, they stayed in (but were removed in the Director's Cut and Final Cut).
  • Legend (1985) took three years to complete, to the point Mia Sara started production at 15 but had already come of age by its 1985 release. Production was halted twice, once when a whole soundstage burned down (though thankfully with no one inside), and again when Tom Cruise's father died. The extensive make-up that everyone but the two stars had to go through wasn't easy - Tim Curry suffered so much with his claustrophobic demon full body make-up that he eventually injured himself removing it too fast. Also, during post-production Scott ended up cutting the film profusely and changing its soundtrack from Jerry Goldsmith's orchestra to Tangerine Dream's electronica (both were restored in the director's cut).
  • Gladiator went through constant on-set rewrites, to the point where Richard Harris stopped paying attention. Russell Crowe allegedly questioned every aspect of the evolving script and strode off the set when he did not get answers. But that was nothing compared to the biggest problem the film faced - Oliver Reed, cast in what was supposed to be his Career Resurrection, died of a heart attack during filming in Malta before all of his scenes had been shot. Not only did this necessitate having the effects company spend $3 million creating a CGI body double, but it also caused story alterations (his character was supposed to make it through the end of the film, as opposed to dying near the climax).
  • Hannibal had a troubled pre-production:
    • The controversy of the novel resulted in key players from The Silence of the Lambs (Johnathan Demme, Ted Tally and Jodie Foster) withdrawing from the project, which initially cast doubt on whether or not the film would even get made. Some executives were wary of proceeding without Demme's budget-conscious involvement, and feared the price tag might spiral out of control with the notoriously temperamental Dino De Laurentiis in control. Media scrutiny was intense.
    • Also complicating things were convoluted legal matters regarding rights to the material and characters, which resulted in a lawsuit between producer De Laurentiis and Universal Pictures (which ultimately was settled, with both parties remaining involved). However, MGM had to be brought into the mix due to their ownership of Clarice Starling, which they obtained after acquiring the assets of Orion Pictures. Further negotiation resulted in MGM acquiring U.S. distribution rights, while Universal would distribute the film internationally.
    • Once Scott was selected as director, the process turned to the screenplay. David Mamet wrote the original draft but was not available for rewrites, causing Steven Zaillian to be brought on. Adapting the novel was a long and arduous process, and Scott was heavily involved. Thomas Harris' ending for the novel was deemed far too controversial and implausible to put on film, so concepts for new endings had to be discussed.
    • After the film was finally on track and Julianne Moore chosen as the new Clarice, De Laurentiis added more fuel to the fire by making unflattering comments about Jodie Foster - mainly his opinions about her lack of sex appeal compared to Moore.
  • Kingdom of Heaven got its fair share of production problems:
    • The project originally began as a Russell Crowe vehicle called Tripoli. Screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed) had a script written, Scott signed on to direct, 20th Century Fox greenlit it, sets and art assets were being made, and then things went nowhere. After two tries of getting it off the ground, Monahan began writing Heaven after Tripoli fell apart, as Scott had always wanted to do a movie about the Crusades.
    • The film was hit with Executive Meddling from the start, with the execs being very uncomfortable with the length of the script and the subplot of Eva Green's Princess Sibylla and her son Baldwin V, who briefly rules Jerusalem after King Baldwin IV (Edward Norton) dies. In Scott's words on the 4 disc DVD set and the Ultimate Edition Blu Ray, he mentioned that studio heads said that the plot "went off on a tangent". The studio demanded Monahan write two different versions of the script: one with and one without the kid. Scott and co. shot the former.
    • Filming was actually pretty smooth, save for an incident in which Orlando Bloom came down with the flu and suffered some hand injuries. Jeremy Irons' character's name was also changed from Raymond to Tiberius to avoid confusion with Brendan Gleeson's Reynauld, which may not have been a bad thing.
    • When filming wrapped up, Fox was bothered by the length of the cut that Scott had presented them (around 186 minutes) and forced him to cut the film down to a measly 145 running time, excising the plot about Sibylla's son, among many other scenes. Their reasoning was that audiences couldn't handle a three-hour film, disregarding successful long movies such as the studio's own Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings. They also mismarketed the film, making it seem more like Gladiator set in the Crusades, rather than the drama that was made. This backfired, resulting in poor box office returns and mediocre reviews (though it did fare better in international markets).
    • Luckily, the film found new life on video in the form of the Director's Cut, which restored the original running time and as a result, received much better reviews than its theatrical version. On top of that, the Director's Cut is also considered an example of how editing can radically change the quality of a film.
  • As noted in this interview, the script for Robin Hood (2010) got hit with extensive re-writes, turning it from a Sympathetic P.O.V. story of the Sheriff of Nottingham, to a Fight Club-esque story, to the origin story of the title character. Also, regular collaborators Russell Crowe and Scott weren't getting along well on set, which eventually soured their relationship. In addition to that, the film's budget ballooned from $155 million to around $200 million, according to some sources, and around 16 minutes were cut before its theatrical release (which were later reinserted into the home video release).
  • Like previous installments in the Alien franchise, Prometheus ran into a lot of this:
    • The film was originally envisioned to be a straight-up prequel to Alien, via a script written by Jon Spaihts (who was in-demand at the time due to his previous script being on the unofficial Hollywood "black list" of best screenplays) called "Alien: Engineers". Ridley Scott then contacted Damon Lindelof for advice on the script, and was told to rein in many of the parts that made it an identifiable Alien film (including the fact that it was originally set on LV-426, the location of the derelict ship from the first two films) and make it an original creation. This, coupled with Spaihts supposedly constraining Scott's vision, led to Lindelof being hired to rewrite the screenplay. It took another four drafts (and more than a year of pre-production time) to get the script to a point where everyone was happy with it, and even then the cast and crew (as evidenced by their remarks in the Blu-Ray extras) seemed convinced that they were shooting a prequel that led into the original film.
    • The character of Elizabeth Shaw was originally named Elizabeth Watts, but was renamed due to fear of confusion for Fox's President of Production, Emma Watts. It took the CEO of the company, Tom Rothman, to name the film Prometheus because the filmmakers couldn't decide on what title to use (with their previous suggestion being "Paradise").
    • Following this, the film ran into trouble in the editing room, with a behind-the-scenes tug-of-war between Scott and Fox executives over various aspects of the film. There was much confusion on set and in public forums over whether the film was intended to be PG-13 or R-rated, with Scott stoking the fires for months by apparently submitting to FOX's demand to make a PG-13 cut for theatrical release. The main hangup was Noomi Rapace's "surgery scene", where she removes an alien embryo from her own body via self-surgery. Although the film was eventually released in an R-rated cut, chunks of the plot were taken out in the editing room - notably, a much longer final confrontation between Shaw and the Engineer, and an entirely different Fifield attack sequence that took place just as Weyland and the Mercenaries were leaving for the Engineer ship.
    • Charlize Theron had significant trouble running in the Icelandic shooting location, during the sequence where she and Rapace run from the rolling Engineer ship.
  • Even The Counselor wasn't completely safe from this. Scott took up the project after trying to get Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian away from Development Hell (a script was written but they execs wouldn't greenlight it due to the book's grim content). About halfway during filming, Scott's brother Tony committed suicide; the tragedy halted production for a week. After production finished up, some of the higher-ups demanded changes, such as trimming down the film's running time (which was reinserted back into the film on video) and redubbing the lines of Cameron Diaz's character Malkina. When the film came out, it was widely panned by most critics, but over the years has become something of a cult classic among fans of Scott and McCarthy.
  • Shockingly averted with Alien: Covenant, which might well be the first Alien film that didn't have production problems. The film was filmed in just 74 days, without going over-budget and was finished on time.
  • All the Money in the World had the misfortune of being Kevin Spacey's next film immediately after a wave of allegations of molesting young men for a long time became public. Just seven weeks before its release date, Christopher Plummer was brought in to take over his role, requiring bringing back all the cast and crew members involved in every one of his scenes under severe time constraints. Thankfully, the reshoots were finished in just 8 days, managing to make its December 22nd release date. However, controversies surrounding the film didn't end there when the outrageous pay gap between Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams ($1.5 million for Wahlberg as opposed to $800 in per diems for Williams) for the reshoots were publicized. Williams later made a comment that she wasn't really bothered by this,note  while Wahlberg later donated his pay to the Me Too movement. But the damage was done at this point, and Scott was reportedly furious by Wahlberg's actions.

    Scream film series 
Every film in the Scream franchise had some sort of problems making it to the big screen.

  • The original Scream had a smoother production compared to its two sequels, though that's not to say it was entirely rosy.
    • Wes Craven was often at odds with the Weinsteins and the MPAA. Among other things, Bob Weinstein felt that the Ghostface mask wasn't scary, and that Drew Barrymore's wig in the opening looked terrible. At various points, the Weinsteins considered replacing Craven, forcing him and editor Patrick Lussier to assemble a workprint version of the opening scene to prove that they were on the right track. After seeing the footage, the Weinsteins came around.
    • Speaking of the Ghostface mask, it was a lucky break that it was used at all. On top of Bob Weinstein not liking it, there were initially legal questions concerning whether it could be used in the film, as it was a mass-produced Halloween mask and the producers were having trouble tracing the mask's origins. In order to avoid a licensing dispute, Craven had KNB Effects create their own, slightly modified version. He didn't like the look of it, but it wound up being used in a few scenes before the producers finally found the company that had made the original mask and secured the rights.
    • Craven was adamant about filming in the US, as he wanted the setting to look like an all-American, suburban small town. Locations in North Carolina were initially considered, but rejected due to the fact that the sites that looked promising would've required costly modification and repairs to be usable for a film production.
    • They eventually settled on the Wine Country in northern California, but even there, unforeseen problems cropped up. Plans to film the school scenes in Santa Rosa High School provoked a firestorm of controversy in Santa Rosa, as the nearby town of Petaluma had been the site of the Polly Klaas murder just three years prior, with the killer's trial slated to begin while Scream was in production. A fierce, three-hour town hall debate, scheduled for the day after filming was to begin, ended with the production being denied permission to film in the high school, forcing them to shoot the school scenes at the nearby Sonoma Community Center instead. Knowing that there would likely be delays due to the controversy, Craven began production by filming scenes at locations outside Santa Rosa. The credits to the film contain a Take That! towards the Santa Rosa school board as a result, though Craven later regretted putting it in once he came to realize just how touchy a subject it was in the town.
    • At one point during the filming of the opening scene, somebody forgot to unplug the phone that Casey used to try and call the cops. This resulted in real, puzzled 911 operators hearing Drew Barrymore screaming for her life on the other end.
    • The third act of the film (known as Scene 118) was difficult to film since it took place entirely at night, and the hours were limited. Furthermore, it all took place at a single location, yet featured the stories and deaths of nearly all the main characters. It took 21 days to film. It was so exhausting, the production crew was given T-shirts that read "I Survived Scene 118!"
    • Mark Irwin, the director of photography, was fired a week before shooting was to end. Craven, upon reviewing the dailies, found that the footage was out of focus and unusable, and Irwin was ordered to fire and replace his camera crew. When Irwin responded that they'd have to fire him too, they did just that.
  • Scream 2 ran into issues after one of the extras leaked its script to the internet (one of the first major film leaks in the digital age). As a result, the film's script was almost entirely rewritten, with pages often being completed the day they were to be filmed. Security was tightened, with everyone required to sign non-disclosure agreements, and the film underwent many reshoots.
  • Scream 3 had it the worst of the original trilogy:
    • The Columbine High School massacre had recently occurred, and the producers were pressured into toning down its violence.
    • Series creator Kevin Williamson was unavailable to return to writing duties, but he did write an outline for the film. Ehren Kruger (his replacement) all but ignored the outline, and his script was written mostly on the fly, with pages usually completed the day they were to be filmed. The characters bore so little resemblance to their appearances in the prior films that director Wes Craven himself did rewrites.
    • The actual filming was difficult since Neve Campbell (who played lead character Sidney Prescott) was only available for a handful of days, resulting in her role being greatly reduced and more emphasis put on the supporting characters. Nobody was sure about the direction some scenes were to take, and a few were shot several times to allow for multiple possibilities later in the editing room.
    • The film once again ran into issues with the MPAA, and it almost resulted in Wes Craven leaving the horror genre. The resulting film had a tepid reception and only decent box office (in contrast to the critical acclaim and massive commercial success of the previous two films).
  • Scream 4 was stuck in Development Hell for a long time, and Williamson had repeated clashes with the Weinsteins, resulting in them once again hiring Kruger and Craven for rewrites, and the script varied heavily from the original drafts. Also, Cathy Konrad (who produced the first three films) sued the Weinsteins over not approaching her for the film. Filming itself went relatively smoothly, though it ran on a couple of weeks longer than planned, and there was tension on set between David Arquette and Courteney Cox, whose real-life relationship (which had ironically started as a Romance on the Set of the first two films) was falling apart (and subsequently ended in divorce). The film was released to mixed reception and disappointing box office, putting Williamson's plans for a new trilogy on hold and leading to the franchise being rebooted as a television series on MTV.

    Smith, Kevin 
Kevin Smith has faced several obstacles during his cinematic career, but there have been times when such hurdles became so overwhelming they nearly derailed his movies.

  • Smith's first film Clerks was a very on-the-cheap affair which naturally led to quite a few issues. Most notably, the film's financing was a real life Absurdly High-Stakes Game for Smith, with him cashing out his life savings and maxing all his credit cards, potentially leaving himself broke and hopelessly in debt if he couldn't actually finish the film and then get it released to any kind of profit. On top of that, filming was done in the real convenience store he worked in at the time, all done late at night, which is the reason for the whole bit with the gum in the locks preventing the window shutters from being raised. And he had to reach deep into his group of friends to populate the film, with one guy in particular playing four roles over the course of the film (Smith calls him their Lon Chaney in the commentary). Luckily, it worked out very well and he's been able to move on to a successful career.
  • Coming off of the box office splash of Clerks, producer James Jacks lured Smith and partner Scott Mosier to make their next film at Universal. Unfortunately, Mallrats was set up at the Universal/PolyGram joint venture Gramercy Pictures, which served as the former's low-budget/art-house division, and Smith later said that Gramercy "couldn't market their way out of a paper bag". As such, there was Executive Meddling galore!
    • During casting, the studio did not want Jason Mewes reprising his role as Jay and pushed for either Seth Green or Breckin Meyer to replace him. The only way Smith could avoid this mandate was to have Mewes re-audition for the character. Even then, the execs refused to pay for Mewes' travel fees or hotel costs and were even prepared to fire him on the first day of shooting if they felt he wasn't good enough. Smith let Mewes know about this, prompting him to prove him to give a better performance, and the studio finally caved.
    • However, studio executives got their way regarding aspects of Smith's raunchy humor. In addition to forbidding the use of "penis" or any explicit reference to it and any words meaning "fuck" that isn't "fuck", they also refused to allow Smith to make a joke regarding a woman getting semen in her hair. On the flip side, they pushed for full frontal nudity, including a brief moment with Joey Lauren Adams.
    • Multiple scenes ended up cut from the film. Most prominently, Smith shot a prologue where TS and Brandi attend the Governor's Ball hosted by Mr. Svenning, only for TS to accidentally shoot at the Governor when the musket of his colonial costume gets stuck in Brandi's hair. It had to be scrapped after test audiences reacted negatively towards it. This resulted in a bunch of ADR work to remove almost all references to the incident, save for Mr. Svenning's encounter with a TV executive over it.
    • Mallrats ended up a Sophomore Slump for Smith as the film both bombed with critics and at the box office. It did sell well on video though, and Universal allowed Smith to make a director's cut 10 years later.
  • Smith has frequently spoken of the bad memories he has from shooting Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, mostly owing to Jason Mewes' drug and alcohol abuse turning him into a "ticking time bomb" which threatened to shut the project down at any moment. During pre-production, Mewes would have constant mood swings due to heroin withdrawal, to the point that Smith threw him out of his car on their way to the set one day. Mewes would compensate for his lack of drugs by drinking heavily after every day of shooting and nearly got into a fist fight with Scott Mosier when he had to come back one night for a reshoot while drunk (Mewes later said that he was too intoxicated to remember anything that happened during production). When the shoot wrapped, Smith told Mewes point-blank to get sober or he'd never speak to him again.
  • Though Jersey Girl turned out fairly close to how Smith wanted, it wasn't for a lack of attempted Executive Meddling on the part of Miramax, who tried to pressure Smith into filming more scenes involving Jennifer Lopez after her relationship with Ben Affleck hit the tabloid headlines. Fortunately for Smith, the epic critical and commercial failure of the "Bennifer" vehicle Gigli caused the studio to quickly retract these requests. Smith also had some trouble dealing with veteran cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond on-set, though later admitted that he was just as much at fault as Zsigmond.
  • While production of Zack and Miri Make a Porno was also comparatively smooth, like Jersey Girl there was a fair bit of meddling from the studio involved over the type of humor involved. It was in release where things really went wrong, as the studio had no idea how to market it, cinemas refused to carry posters simply because they had the word "porno" in the title, and an overall lack of marketing caused the film to post underwhelming box-office numbers. Smith also took the reviews — many of which compared him disparagingly to Judd Apatow — hard, sending him into depression and reportedly almost breaking up his marriage.
  • Smith and his crew had, according to their own statements, a horrible experience filming Cop Out due to the behavior of his lead actor, Bruce Willis. Although Smith has supposedly kept some parts of his experience private, he devoted a whole chapter in his book Tough Shit to his experiences making the movie, as well as told stories at speaking engagements about Willis' behavior (calling him "the unhappiest, most bitter, and meanest emo-bitch I’ve ever met at any job I’ve held down"). Among the few incidents that are known, Willis:
    • Supposedly made Smith feel like crap on the second day of shooting, when (after Smith stopped by and told him he was a huge fan, and after seeing a group of people recognize him) say, "Those are the worst ones."
    • Intentionally flubbed his lines and mannerisms in order to waste time during filming, starting from the first day of filming.
    • Openly refused to stand on his lighting mark in outdoor scenes, then ignored Smith's orders during filming and walked off to the catering table constantly.
    • Said to Smith on one occasion: "I'm Bruce Willis! I've been Bruce Willis successfully for 25 years! How long have you been Silent Bob, motherfucker?"
    • Lectured Smith and his crew on their choice of camera lenses during a sequence shot in front of a green-screen.
    • Supposedly threatened to punch Smith during a break from shooting a scene in a hotel room, then denied it when Smith called him on it.
    • For his part, Willis has accused Smith of treating the shoot like a joke and constantly being high off his ass on marijuana while directing... though if Smith's own claims are true, it wouldn't be hard to understand why.

    Spider-Man film series 
The Spider-Man film franchises have had a long, sticky production history, with various projects either failing to get off the ground or dealing with significant development woes:

  • There are many reasons why Cannon Films' attempted film adaptation of the property never went anywhere in The '80s — cost overruns, script treatments that had Stan Lee going into fits (Spider-Man was originally envisioned by Menaham Gohan as a character akin to The Wolfman — an eight-armed, suicidal monster) and script rewrites that made the concept even worse. A combination of factors (including the failure of Masters of the Universe, a breakneck production schedule that had sets being built before the script was finalized and Cannon's existing financial problems) led to the project being scrapped and folded into Cyborg (1989), which turned out to be a modest hit for the company.
  • The circumstances behind Spider-Man 3's development are so infamous that it caused Sam Raimi to bow out of production of a planned fourth installment just before it went into production. The details behind this film's sordid history have been covered in multiple works, including the Spider-Man 3 Chronicles book, numerous interviews and a feature-length documentary by Youtube creator Midnight's Edge:
    • The troubles started soon after Spider-Man 2's release. Just after the film's debut, Sony immediately initiated production of a third installment, with Sam and Ivan Raimi spending two months crafting a treatment that would see Peter Parker growing as a character (and coming to realize that criminals have humanity), the Green Goblin storyline being closed off, and Spider-Man facing off against the Sandman (and later, the Vulture, who was intended to be played by Ben Kingsley, with the latter being in negotiations for the role). Producer Avi Arad ordered Raimi to include fan-favorite character Venom in the film, despite his objections.
    • Rumors after the film's release (and mentioned in the retrospective by Midnight's Edge) suggest that Raimi hired Topher Grace to play Eddie Brock out of spite towards Arad, while the latter reportedly wanted Venom in the film in order to setup a spinoff (he would get his wish, in a roundabout way, more than a decade later with the release of the standalone Venom (2018), which is set in a different continuity). In addition, Arad and the producers shoehorned in the Gwen Stacy character, and there was so much material on the drawing board that scriptwriter Alvin Sargent planned out scripts for an additional film after 3 in order to resolve all the subplots. Years later, Raimi would say in interviews that it was his fault for not keeping the various subplots trimmed down and in focus, and that he didn't believe in all the characters.
    • Kirsten Dunst only came back to the franchise on the condition that she would not be treated as a Damsel in Distress again, much like her involvement in the third act of both prior films, and after being told that Gwen would be taken hostage by Eddie/Venom during the climax (Mary Jane's role would be to convince Harry to help Peter during the final battle). The producers reportedly promised her this wouldn't be the case, but changed their minds afterward. They had to mollify Dunst (who was reportedly upset at the change) by making MJ into more of an Action Survivor, via giving her more to do (throwing a cinder block at Venom's head, for example) and swinging on hanging webs on her own, yet a number of screaming sounds she makes (taken from the bridge scene in the first film) were overdubbed onto the scene after filming was completed. In the audio commentary for the film's DVD release, Raimi says that he had to create a setpiece to put the character in danger in order to get the project completed on-time, and that he was not only angry at himself for having to renege on his promises to Dunst, but that telling her about the changes was one of the hardest things he ever had to do as a director.
    • Bryce Dallas Howard (who played Gwen) learned that she was pregnant while filming the stunt scenes (which she decided to perform herself)... just before she was injured on-set when a desk hit her as she was shooting a scene where she falls out of the window of a building. Thankfully, neither she nor her baby were injured. Conversely, Thomas Haden Church (Flint Marko/Sandman) broke three knuckles when he punched a real brick during filming of the fight scene with Spider-Man in the New York subway system.
    • The film was intended to be much Darker and Edgier, but numerous sequences and subplots were removed from the final product. Chief among them were scenes showing Peter being tempted by the Black Suit (and Foreshadowing that it was sentient by having it breathe as Peter looked on at it), along with a scene where he looks into a mirror and sees a nightmarish vision of himself as a monster. Another excised subplot had to do with Flint's daughter, who he would visit in a park in the shape of a sandcastle. Flint would learn during the finale that his daughter's illness is terminal and she begs him to spare Spider-Man, as she wants to die knowing that her father is a good man. Multiple participants in the production confirmed that the script was tweaked numerous times throughout filming.
    • Production was so strained that at one point, Raimi was helming multiple units himself, while cinematographer Bill Pope had trouble lighting scenes at night correctly because of the number of characters wearing black costumes or armor. Not helping matters was an incomplete trailer that leaked midway through production from promotional company Ant Farm, and showed off Venom for the first time after Sony had taken pains to keep the character's identity a secret.
    • Danny Elfman originally had no intent on returning to the franchise due to difficulties working with Raimi during production of the previous film. Christopher Young (who contributed themes for 2) was brought in to create the entire soundtrack, but this was changed after Young reportedly wrote a love theme that the producers didn't like, forcing the latter to bring Elfman back into the fold to aid with development of the score. This, in addition to musicians John Debney and Deborah Lurie being brought in to reportedly rewrite Young's love theme, led to a schizophrenic tone in the film's music.
    • While the final product was a box-office smash (grossing more than $890 million against a $250 million budget), it received a polarizing reception from fans who complained that it was overstuffed and poorly paced. Despite this, it was not the Franchise Killer it retroactively came to be seen as — there were still plans to produce a Spider-Man 4.
    • Even an alternate cut of the film ran into problems. The Editor's Cut (reportedly created by Bob Murawski to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the film in 2017) was done primarily to restore Young's original score, as well as adding additional scenes (including the breathing Black Suit scene and the "sandcastle" scene with Sandman and his daughter at the park), but it ran into its own issues when it was released unannounced, first by someone at Sony unintentionally leaking it on Amazon (where it could be streamed) then as an unlisted extra on the U.S. Limited Edition boxset.
  • Spider-Man 4 is a notorious example of this trope, due to running into significant problems in the formative stages:
    • Production on 4 had already begun midway through filming on 3, with screenwriter David Koepp being courted by Sony and plans underway to James Vanderbilt write a fifth and sixth installment. At the time, it was speculated that Vanderbilt's script could serve as a jumping-off point for a franchise reboot should none of the principal players want to take part.
    • Raimi wanted to have Dylan Baker reprise his role as Dr. Curt Connors (who would finally transform into The Lizard) and The Vulture, who was planned to be played by John Malkovich, only to be told by Sony execs that they didn't want to use Lizard because his planned concept "didn't look human enough". Instead, Anne Hathaway was pursued to play an unnamed role, with rumors suggesting she would either play Felicia Hardy/Black Cat or "The Vultress", the daughter of The Vulture who picked up his mantle after he dies midway through the film. Reportedly, Sony also wanted to shoehorn Carnage in, and concept art released later showed that Mysterio may have shown up in a cameo or sequence before being arrested by Spidey. Despite no firm commitment from Dunst, Raimi and Maguire were still onboard and shooting was planned to commence in Jan. 2010.
    • According to Midnight's Edge, Raimi "hated" the script treatment he had received. In it, Peter and Mary Jane are married and living with a son after a Time Skip, only to be thrown out of their apartment after failing to make rent. J. Jonah Jameson would have a smaller role, and Adrian Toomes (Vulture) would have bought out the Daily Bugle. Spider-Man would have deliberately killed the Vulture during a fight, which leads Toomes' daughter (Vultress) to swear revenge against the wall-crawler. Peter would have cheated on Mary Jane, either with the Vultress (who is unaware of Peter's secret identiy) or Felicia Hardy. The film would have ended with Peter losing custody of his child, MJ leaving and him deciding to stop being Spider-Man. The script had no less than four revisions, with Raimi apparently disliking all of them.
    • In addition to this, several factors were working against Raimi and his team, including Sony's plans to push the film for a 2011 release (when filming hadn't started by Jan. 2010), plans to have a post-filming 3D conversion (in order to follow on the success of Avatar), another plan to have the film shot concurrently with Spider-Man 5 (which didn't have a script treatment or casting ready at that point) and a need by Sony to have 4 take on Thor, a property the studio used to own but was later acquired by Disney as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite Maguire being optimistic about the film's production, Raimi announced on Jan. 10, 2010 that he would no longer be helming the project, causing the film to be formally scrapped soon after.
  • The circumstances that led to Spidey's inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (beginning with Captain America: Civil War) can be traced to the tumultuous post-filming process that marked the production of The Amazing Spider Man 2, which became the lowest-grossing film of the Spider-Man franchise:
    • The previous installment, The Amazing Spider-Man, was one of the most financially successful reboots for a superhero, though not quite reaching the highs of Spider-Man 3. At the time of ASM1's production, Sony and Marvel agreed to a licensing deal where the former would retain all of the home and theatre profits in exchange for Marvel retaining all of the franchise's merchandising rights, thus depriving them of massive profits on toy lines and associated goods regardless of how well the film performed. After the first film was released, Sony (which was largely averse to the idea of helming a shared cinematic universe) decided to use the Amazing films (directed by Marc Webb) as a launchpad for future spinoffs and shared movies with other characters they owned.
    • While the actual process of shooting the film was largely stress-free, according to most of the people involved on the production, problems reared their head as soon as filming wrapped. The script (which, according to both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, was great) was butchered in the editing room, with executives forcing additional story beats, sequel hooks and narrative pacing that clashed with the tone the film was trying to contain. A major character — Mary Jane Watson herself (played by Shailene Woodley) — had her entire role cut from the film. It is rumored that Kaz Hirai (then-CEO of Sony Pictures) was even active in the editing process to direct the film's tone.
    • It was also around this time that (according to the Sony Pictures email hack of 2013) various Marvel Studios executives began to criticize Sony's plans, with Marvel Entertainment president Alan Fine (who had obtained a copy of the script) complaining about the film's awkward tone and Avi Arad's Executive Meddling to Sony production VP Tom Cohen, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige giving the production team a list of his concerns and advice for how to edit ASM2. Some of the hacked emails also show that Amy Pascal was irritated with Arad's handling of the franchise, and was looking for ways to minimize his influence and have another executive producer take over.
    • The film was released to mediocre reviews, despite earning $709 million against an estimated $200-300 million budget, and received significant Creator Backlash (Sally Field went on record saying the film was "ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag", James Horner refused to get involved in the script meddling and Garfield criticized the poor editing of the final product). Like Spider-Man 3, ASM2 would not only turn out to be a Franchise Killer for the Webb-led series, but also served to take down its associated video game adaptations as well.
    • The problems didn't end with the film's release. Garfield was asked to attend a dinner in July 2014 (in Rio de Janeiro), where Hirai would formally announce a start date for filming of a planned third installment. Garfield then changed his mind after showing up in the city hours beforehand underdressed and sporting a beard (grown for production of Silence) that he supposedly wasn't proud of. Garfield cancelled his attendance at the last minute, forcing Hirai to hastily change his plans and eventually leading him to can the actor altogether. Despite attempts by the studio to force a shared universe by producing a Sinister Six film and a female-led Spider-Man spinoff, the Sony hack (and Sony's own financial woes alongside the aforementioned lack of merchandising profits) eventually led them to host discussions with Marvel, and a deal was struck to put Spidey into Civil War.
  • Development on Venom (2018) was rushed to meet an October 2018 deadline — several months before the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, a Marvel Studios movie with Spider-Man characters, and a few months before Sony's own Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which Venom itself would promote — and this would directly and indirectly lead to a number of problems down the line. According to Deadline, the production on the film underwent a shutdown leading up to the release, Tom Hardy and the director got into frequent conflicts on the set, and editing on the film was done in an incredibly short timespan to meet the aforementioned release date that had already been set. In any case, it's actually surprising to see that the final film itself doesn't reflect the majority of these problems.

    Star Wars film series 
One of the most beloved franchises of all time, Star Wars didn't exactly get to the place it was the easy way.

  • Just like Jaws, the other daddy of Summer Blockbusters, the original Star Wars (AKA: "Episode IV: A New Hope") made George Lucas suffer as much as his friend Spielberg. They had the bad luck of starting filming in the Tunisian desert just as it rained. The props and equipment had their obligatory malfunctions and breakdowns. The crew didn't really care about or understand the movie, a sentiment which spread to the cast; both Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness openly ridiculed Lucas's script (Guinness, reportedly, even demanded that Lucas kill Obi-Wan Kenobi so he wouldn't have to appear in the sequels.) Lucas clashed with cinematographer Gilbert Taylor and the movie ended up so badly behind schedule the crew had to split into three units and meet deadlines or else face shutdown.

    Post-production fared little better despite a delayed release date, as Lucas had to call in two editors (with help from his then-wife, Marcia Lucas) to salvage the movie after his first cut was a complete disaster, and his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits turned visual effects team was forced to complete a year's work in six months. And did we mention how ILM initially spent half their budget on four shots that turned out to be completely worthless? When the studio asked for a teaser trailer, this was basically slammed together from the footage available at the time. Lucas was forced to supervise his effects team personally, and nearly got a heart attack from exhaustion. No wonder he took 22 years to direct again.
  • The Empire Strikes Back, while less brutal, did run into troubles too.
    • New director Irvin Kershner spent a lot more time setting up takes, and producer Gary Kurtz allowed production to go way over budget (triple that of the original in fact).
    • Lucas wanted to keep the film out of any studio's hands and financed it himself, but he was forced to take out a loan with 20th Century Fox as his security.
    • The crew arrived in Norway to film the Hoth scenes to be greeted by the worst winter storm in years. (How bad? The scene where Luke escapes from the Wampa lair was achieved by opening the door to their hotel and filming Mark Hamill running outside.) And the various locations used, knowing it was a Star Wars film, overcharged the production for their services. This resulted in Kurtz not being involved in the next film.
    • Shooting the Dagobah sequence was particularly difficult. The Yoda puppet was made of a less-than-optimal material, resulting in it being quite a bit heavier than what Frank Oz was used to from his time with the Muppets. The strain put on his arms meant the scenes had to be shot on a quite erratic schedule. Because Oz was buried beneath heavy scenery, Mark Hamill couldn't hear what Yoda was saying and had to essentially read the puppet's lips in order to know when to come in with his linenote , resulting in mistimed cues. Also, Irvin Kershner developed respiratory problems due to the smoke being used for the swamp's fog and wore a gas mask to cope. Hamill also had some issues with the smoke but had to tough it out.
    • Then there's the tragedy of John Barry, the production designer for the original Star Wars as well as the Superman films, who was assigned as 2nd unit director to help make up for lost time during the crazy things happening in Norway. During one of his breaks, he flew to Africa, contracted meningitis, and on his return, died right when he wanted to take a break to get a health check. This would have lasting repercussions for the next film, as Lucas had earmarked Barry to direct it, forcing him to start his search from scratch.
  • As for the final part of the Original Trilogy, Return of the Jedi, it may not have been as contentious as A New Hope or Empire, but the production crew certainly faced their own problems according to J.W. Rinzler's "Making of Return of the Jedi" book:
    • During pre-production, Lucas and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan would constantly argue over story beats and setpieces, with both of them getting into heated discussions over whether to scrap Endor entirely in favor of setting the climactic battle on Had Abbadon, the supposed Imperial "home planet".
    • Richard Marquand was brought on as director after several of Lucas' planned choices didn't pan out, and they ran into frequent conflicts during filming. Not only was Lucas constantly on-set when Marquand directed, but the former would often give the actors advice contrary to Marquand's direction.
    • Likewise, Marquand alienated several of the actors, with both Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill accusing the director of treating them terribly while simultaneously fawning over Harrison Ford's performance.
    • Principal photography was beset with numerous delays and clashes between Lucas and Marquand, with the former wanting to use multiple cameras during each take so he could have more material in the editing room, and the latter wanting only one or two cameras with no fallback option. Lucas would frequently go behind Marquand's back and have extra cameras brought on set before Marquand arrived, resulting in flared tempers and arguments.
    • The filmmakers inadvertently used old film stock that caused many shots to have a bizarre blue tint, which forced ILM to fix the color timing on many shots in post-production.
    • Lucas also ran into budget problems as a result of ensuring his loan with 20th Century Fox after the release of Empire, to the point of interfering with filming. Marquand had to beg Lucas for a Rancor hand prop to be constructed so that close-ups of Hamill could be filmed.
    • The infamous "Black Friday" incident, where 100,000 feet of film stock containing effects shots that couldn't be read in an optical printer were unceremoniously dumped by Lucas himself. The crew at ILM were forced to go back to the drawing board and start again from scratch, with many getting drunk when they heard the news.
    • Ralph McQuarrie became burned out because of his constant work on the film and his hatred of the Ewok concept, and walked away from the production.
    • Cinematographer Alan Hume, who was angered over Lucas' treatment of Marquand, informally stepped away from his duties, leaving camera operator Alec Mills to finish filming in the last month of production.
    • The first screening of the film (using an early cut) was reportedly a disaster, with Lucas deriding the editing and the fact that it didn't feel like a Star Wars film. Eventually, one of the film editors, Sean Barton, did his own cut that Lucas preferred a lot more, and it was this cut that the final version was crafted from.
  • The Force Awakens had several issues.
    • Early on in filming, Harrison Ford injured his leg while filming a scene on the Millennium Falcon. Faulty hydraulics caused a door to close at the wrong time. Initial reports claimed it to be a minor ankle injury, but it was later revealed Ford had broken a leg. Criminal charges were filed against LucasFilm for set negligence, and the case was settled with a hefty fee.
    • Before the film even began, the pre-production phase was rather tumultuous. Michael Arndt was hired to write a script based on a story outline by George Lucas. When J. J. Abrams was hired as director, Arndt's script and Lucas's story outlines were allegedly trashed so that writing could start from scratch (though the truth of these claims is in dispute). In addition, Abrams' own film studio, Bad Robot, reportedly clashed with LucasFilm during principal photography.
  • Solo:
    • It hit a massive snag in the final weeks of filming after directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller left the production in June 2017 after four months of shooting. Reports differ whether the directors voluntarily left or were fired. There was reportedly applause when word came to the set that they were leaving.
    • An anonymous source stated that producer Kathleen Kennedy had problems with them from day one, as they had very different ideas about what the film should be note  and refused to compromise. Their fondness for letting actors improvise also wasn't seen kindly by many, and Lawrence Kasdan even came to the set to chew them out over it, resulting in a deal similar to the one struck on The Birdcage that at least one take of every scene would be shot exactly as scripted before the improvising started. Emilia Clarke claimed in an interview just before the film's release that Lord and Miller only gave the main actors very vague directions on how to portray their characters (including telling her at one point to "play it film noir"), and told them to just focus on the improvisational comedy.
    • Ron Howard eventually signed on to complete the principal photography and nearly a month of reshoots and original editor Chris Dickens was also replaced with longtime Ridley Scott editor Pietro Scalia. In the end, Howard ended up reshooting almost the entirety of the film, with 80 percent of the finished product being his work, effectively Unperson-ing Miller and Lord from the production.note 
    • Reportedly, the studio wasn't satisfied with the performance of Alden Ehrenreich as Solo and hired an acting coach midway through production, and Ehrenreich also complained to the producers that the directors were pushing him to give a performance akin to Ace Ventura.
    • Because the change in directors resulted in the production going overschedule by months, Michael K. Williams' character had to be completely removed from the film. He'd completed principal photography but couldn't be available for reshoots as he was already involved in production for Hap and Leonard. Paul Bettany, already under contract with Disney for his role as Jarvis/Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stepped in to replace him.
    • Due to extended production and extensive reshoots, the budget for the film reportedly ended up being twice what was originally allocated. The extensive retooling also left the film with little viable footage for advertising with the first trailer appearing only three months before its May 25th release.note 
    • When it came time to market the film, the campaign hit a setback in 2018. In March of that year, a French artist accused Disney of plagiarizing several posters he made for Sony France, leading to Disney and Lucasfilm hastily commissioning a new set of posters. The fact that the posters were made by a third party without proper oversight didn't do much to fix perceptions.
    • Though the film got a moderately decent critical reception — albeit it still earned the weakest reviews of any live-action Star Wars film since Attack of the Clones — it had an underwhelming opening weekend thanks to stiff competition from Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2. Things only got worse when it suffered a major drop-off the following weekend and failed to have a leggy run, and this along with an abysmal overseas performance — making less than half of what was made by Attack of the Clones, the previous worst-performing Star Wars film internationally — made it the first Star Wars film to be an outright Box Office Bomb. The film's lukewarm financial performance led many fans, critics, and industry observers to question whether Disney's plan to turn Star Wars into a Marvel-style cinematic universe, especially with their "Star Wars Story" films, was a good or sustainable idea.
  • The Rise of Skywalker hit several snags long before it started filming. Carrie Fisher, who reportedly had a much larger role as Leia than the prior two films, died in December 2016, requiring the script to be heavily rewritten.note  In September 2017, director Colin Trevorrow and writer Jack Thorne left the project only a few months before filming was set to begin. Rian Johnson was first asked to stay on after completing The Last Jedi, but turned down the offer. J. J. Abrams later signed on as director and the release date was pushed back from a Summer 2019 release to December 20, 2019.

    Superman film series 
  • Superman was dogged by clashes between producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind and director Richard Donner over the film's tone; the Salkinds wanted a more slapstick film, while Donner wanted the film to take itself more seriously. Casting for the title role took a long time to settle on Christopher Reeve (although he was definitely worth the effort); he also didn't get along with Jack O'Halloran, who played Non. Marlon Brando was, par for the course, a pain in the ass to work with, refusing to put in the effort to remember his lines and instead reading them off baby Kal-El's diaper. Finally, there were special effects problems (not that many breakdowns, but a lot of money to make them work), which contributed to the film falling behind schedule - they filmed both Superman and its sequel simultaneously without much of a clear schedule in the first place. The film was a hit, but the lost profits to the Salkinds over this led to Richard Donner being fired before the second movie was completed.
  • Superman II featured a new director in Richard Lester after the Salkinds fired Donner; by the time Lester was brought on board, around three-quarters of the second film had been shot concurrently with the first film, but the time and budget overruns led to the Salkinds getting cold feet and shutting down production until they saw the box office returns for the first film. When production started anew, Lester didn't just have to film the remaining scenes, but he also had to re-shoot scenes originally directed by Donner due to DGA regulations. Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando both refused to work with Lester, forcing the producers to cobble together the film using some footage from Donner and some from Lester. Some of the scenes were filmed two years apart from each other, leading characters to look different from scene to scene, have completely different hairstyles, or even different hair color. Marlon Brando's scenes were cut out completely so that they wouldn't have to pay him.
  • Superman III had perhaps the smoothest production phase of all the Christopher Reeve Superman films, but still had to suffer heavy re-writes after the original script featuring Brainiac and Supergirl was rejected, since it was considered too expensive to film because of its inferior budget compared to the previous two movies (plus, they wanted to give Supergirl her own movie). Christopher Reeve did not want to play Superman once again, partly because he was fed up with the role and partly because he felt that Richard Donner had been unfairly treated, leading the producers to scramble for replacements (Tony Danza was heavily considered for Reeve’s role). It was only when they allowed Reeve veto power over the script that they got him back. Apparently Lois Lane’s role was reduced to five minutes after actress Margot Kidder publicly expressed some sympathy for Richard Donner after the Salkinds fired him. Taking Donner and Kidder’s side, Gene Hackman refused to return for this film. The video game that Ross Webster plays in the film was developed especially for the movie but had to be downgraded because the original version was considered too realistic for 1983. Richard Pryor was coked out of his brains during filming. On top of all that, a threatened lawsuit from the producers of Kramer vs. Kramer forced the originally-planned title, Superman vs. Superman: Superman III to be ditched, after the Salkinds decided it wasn't worth the fight.
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace basically had no real budget to work with, partly because producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus were secretly siphoning away funds to finance other projects, which caused all kinds of problems for what should have been a huge film. As if that weren't enough, Margot Kidder later said the working relationship between her and Reeve soured during filming and that Reeve didn't get along with director Sidney J. Furie either. Reeve only accepted to play Superman once more if he had creative control over the script, hence the anvil-laden plot about the dangers of nuclear proliferation.
  • The production of the fifth Superman movie went through many different versions on the road to becoming Superman Returns (which actually had a calm production). The Other Wiki has a very exhaustive listing, but the best-known facet is that later stages were essentially a battle between two sides. On one hand we had writers like Kevin Smith (who wittily recounts his experiences on the project here) who wanted to produce a faithful, respectful treatment of Superman's mythos. On the other we had producer Jon Peters, who said Supes's red-and-blues looked "too faggy", wanted to give Brainiac a robot sidekick described as "a gay R2-D2 with attitude" (??), and demanded that Superman battle a giant robot spider. All of this has become a Running Gag among Superman fans, with Peters himself a symbol for incompetent Executive Meddling.

    Welles, Orson 
One of the many reasons why Orson Welles was never able to fully realise the early promise he showed with his debut, Citizen Kane, was the way black clouds of troubled productions seemed to follow him everywhere he went. Most of the problems involved securing funds, but others involved simply crappy luck.

  • Citizen Kane itself just managed to avoid this, as Welles' co-writer Herman Mankiewicz was known as a drunk and a compulsive gambler who had been kicked out of almost every studio for insulting whoever stood in his way. Who knows what he might have done had he not broken his leg in a drunken fall, giving Welles and producer John Houseman the excuse to board him up in a guest ranch and keep constant watch over him as he completed the screenplay.
  • The trouble for Welles began with his second film, The Magnificent Ambersons. Though still regarded as a classic, the film is held up as an example of how Executive Meddling can ruin a film beyond all recognition. Welles later said, "They destroyed Ambersons, and 'it' destroyed me."
    • Production itself finished two weeks behind schedule and over $200,000 over budget. The director of photography for Citizen Kane, Gregg Toland, was unavailable, and Welles had a less fruitful relationship with his replacement, Stanley Cortez. Full sets were designed and built for every scene in the film, even the very briefest; as a result, the ratio of set cost to total production budget was higher than it was for Gone with the Wind. Though the film is set in Indianapolis, it was filmed in and around Los Angeles, which meant the studio had to get creative for winter scenes; it took twelve days to perfect the snow effects, and once they began shooting, the cameras and other equipment kept breaking down in the cold. Many cast and crew members (with the notable exception of Welles) came down with head colds as a result. The noisy cameras and cranes also ruined sound recording, forcing the cast to re-dub all of their dialogue at a total cost of $25,000 (more than three times the dubbing budget) as Welles rebuffed suggestions that the equipment noise be sorted out at the source.
    • But worse was to come in post-production; Welles had to leave for Brazil at RKO shareholder Nelson Rockefeller's behest to shoot an anthology film called It's All True to promote the Good Neighbor Policy for US-South American relations.note  The film's editor, Robert Wise, edited the film from Welles' notes and sent him a 132-minute rough cut; Welles sent back instructions to cut a further 22 minutes.note  The 110-minute version was given a disastrous test screening in Pomona in front of an audience of mostly teenagers who had come to see the musical The Fleet's In; the audience laughed during the dramatic scenes, especially those featuring Agnes Moorehead in her Oscar-nominated performance as Fanny, and said on their comment cards that they found the film too depressing, especially the ending in which Eugene visits a now withdrawn Fanny in a crowded boarding house that is revealed in the final shot to be the former Amberson mansion (though 10% of the comment cards were positive; one praised the film and said it was too bad the audience was so unappreciative). RKO chief George Schaefer described it as the worst preview screening he had attended in 28 years in the film business.
    • A second screening in Pasadena (with Welles' 22 minutes of cuts restored by Wise and smaller cuts made elsewhere to make up the difference) was much more well-received by the audience, but panic had already set in at RKO, who decreed that the film would have to be re-cut. Unfortunately for Welles, he was still in Brazil, and as he had ceded control over editing as a gesture of good faith during his contract negotiations with RKO, the editing process was delegated to a team led by Wise, studio exec Jack Moss, and Joseph Cotten, with Wise ultimately handling the lion's share of re-cutting the existing footage and re-shooting scenes (including the new happy ending) to smooth over the changes. Welles was horrified when he heard the film was being re-cut in his absence and begged RKO to send Wise to Brazil with the film so that they could re-cut it together, but wartime travel restrictions made this impossible. A direct line to Welles' hotel room in Rio de Janeiro was put into Moss' office, but Cy Endfield later recalled that Moss wouldn't answer his phone when it rang in case it was Welles with more instructions, and when Welles tried sending lengthy telegrams, Moss threw them away without reading them.
    • All told, between 40 and 50 minutes of Welles' version of the film were cut.note  Worse, the cut footage was destroyed, ostensibly to free up space in the RKO vault, but it is speculated that the true reason was to keep Welles from restoring the cuts upon his return. The changes did nothing to save the film at the box office, where it posted a $600,000 loss (a fortune for a small studio such as RKO). Bernard Herrmann was so angered at the cuts to his score for the film that he had his credit removed under threat of legal action. Welles was even more disgusted, describing the film as having been "edited by a lawnmower", and fell out with Cotten and Wise as a result of their roles in the film's butchery, although he forgave Cotten a few years later after the latter wrote him several letters of apology, and he reconciled with Wise while accepting a DGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984.note 
  • After a triptych of films with relatively smooth productions (apart from friction between Welles and the editors or the studios) - The Stranger, The Lady from Shanghai, and Macbethnote  - Welles, a veteran Shakespearean actor, turned his attention to adapting Othello for the screen. Unfortunately, the film marked the first instance of a recurring theme for Welles productions: shoots that dragged on for years as Welles kept having to shut down production until he could raise the money to continue.
    • Just after he began shooting in 1949, one of the film's Italian producers announced that he was bankrupt, and filming shut down. Welles had to fund the film out of pocket, and the shoot (as documented in Put Money in Thy Purse by Irish stage actor Micheál MacLiammóir, who played Iago in what became his only screen appearance) lasted three years as Welles shot whatever scenes he could with whatever cast, crew, and money were available. The delays meant several roles, including that of female lead Desdemona, had to be recast when the original performers had to honour other commitments, and the scenes involving the now departed actors had to be reshot.
    • To raise money for Othello, Welles agreed to take supporting roles in an assortment of films including The Third Man and The Black Rose; on the latter film, he insisted his character's robe be lined with mink even though it would not show up on the film, and when shooting wrapped, the coat vanished - Welles had taken it to wear in Othello. When Black Rose director Henry Hathaway complained about Welles' theft of costumes and cameras to his boss at 20th Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck, the studio mogul, an old friend of Welles, simply laughed it off. Welles was not so lucky with the costumes for the first scene of Act V, in which Iago and Roderigo make a failed attempt on Cassio's life that leaves Roderigo dead; the costumes intended for the scene were impounded, and with no money to get them out, they had to re-stage the scene in a Turkish bath with almost no dialogue.
  • Terry Gilliam was not the only filmmaker who sank years and millions of dollars into an adaptation of Don Quixote, and unfortunately for Welles, his version remained unfinished at his death.
    • Welles initially planned to shoot a 30-minute film for CBS entitled Don Quixote Passes By, with the characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza dropped into the present day (having already been presented as anachronisms in the source material). He shot colour test footage in 1955 with Mischa Auer and Akim Tamiroff (both of whom he had already directed in Mr. Arkadin) in the lead roles, but CBS found the concept too bizarre and scrapped the project. The test footage is believed lost.
    • So Welles changed direction and decided to shoot a black and white feature film adaptation, using his salaries from acting roles in other directors' films and $25,000 from his friend Frank Sinatra. He initially offered the role of Don Quixote to Charlton Heston (whom he had just directed in Touch of Evil before being forced out of the project), but Heston was only available for two weeks when shooting began in 1957, so Welles instead offered the role to Spanish actor Francisco Reiguera, with Tamiroff returning as Sancho Panza. Patty McCormack, fresh from her star turn in the film adaptation of The Bad Seed, was offered the role of Dulcie, an American girl visiting present day Mexico City in the film's framing story who would be told of the Don's adventures by Welles (As Himself) and then meet the self-styled knight and squire for herself.
    • Scenes were shot in various Mexican locations from July to October 1957, mostly on silent 16mm film (Welles planned to dub the dialogue himself later) and with a bare-bones script around which the actors were instructed to improvise. True to form, the budget ran out, and Mexican producer Oscar Dancigers pulled the plug on the project before backing out entirely, leaving Welles to fund the film himself. He had to accept roles in commercially viable films (including narration for The Vikings and King of Kings) to raise funds, and switched the location shooting to Spain and Italy when the cast and crew and money were all available simultaneously (including filming sequences he described as "the prologue and the epilogue" in Malaga while commuting to Paris to edit his adaptation of The Trial).
    • Filming dragged on for so long that McCormack aged out of childhood, forcing her character to be dropped. Welles later said he hoped to re-shoot Dulcie's scenes with his daughter Beatrice (ten years McCormack's junior) in the role, but shooting went on so long that even she aged out of range for the character. More problematic was Reiguera's declining health; at his insistence, Welles prioritised his remaining scenes so that they were all shot before Reiguera's death in 1969.
    • Unfortunately, even with Reiguera's role completed (and reshoots impossible without stand-ins), Welles never got around to dubbing more than a few scenes as he kept changing his mind about what he wanted the film to be every time he went to Spain (he allegedly told his friend Dominique Antoine that his only path to finishing the film would be never to return to Spain). For example, he originally planned to re-imagine the famous windmill scene by having the Don walk into a cinema showing a mediaeval battle scene and attack the screen with his sword, believing it to be a real battle, but he later sent his cinematographer Gary Graver to Seville to shoot some footage of windmills (the footage was later lost). He claimed in an interview that he had been forced to scrap ten reels' worth of footage in which Don Quixote and Sancho Panza visit the Moon after the Apollo 11 Moon landing made such a journey no longer seem like pure fantasy.
    • Even at his death in 1985, Welles was still planning new scenes and had over 1,000 pages of script for the film. Among the directions he considered were incorporating Don Quixote into an "essay" film similar to F for Fake and Filming Othello, potentially called When Are You Going to Finish Don Quixote? after a question he had long since tired of hearing.
    • But Welles' death simply inflamed the question of what to do with the surviving footage. Initially, Greek-French director Costa-Gavras and a team of archivists from the Cinémathèque Française assembled a 45-minute compilation of scenes and outtakes, which premiered at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim. However, Welles' mistress and sometime collaborator, Croatian actress Oja Kodar, was left the rights to his unfinished films in his will, and she was keen to see the film completed, so she took such footage as she could access (editor Mauro Bonanni, who had worked on the film with Welles in Rome in 1969, claimed the rights to some of the footage, including the negatives; the Italian Corte Suprema di Cassazione ruled in Kodar's favour in 2017) and travelled around Europe in search of a director willing to assemble it into a completed film before finally finding one in Jesús Franco, second unit director on Welles' Chimes at Midnight.
    • Unfortunately, the fact that Welles had used three different film stocks (16mm, 35mm, and Super 16mm) and stored different reels under different conditions meant the visuals were wildly inconsistent; he had also deliberately mislabelled the cans so that only he would know how to edit the film.note  The lack of a screenplay meant Franco and producer Patxi Irigoyen had to re-write and re-record the dub script, which meant the audio shifted in quality almost as often as the visuals. They also had to exclude all footage of McCormack, the rights to which were claimed by Bonanni.
    • The result, entitled Don Quijote de Orson Welles, was released in 1992. Spanish critic Juan Cobos, who had seen a rough cut before Welles' death, said Franco's film bore no resemblance to Welles' vision, while the Chicago Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum unfavourably compared it to the 1986 Cannes Film Festival compilation. Consensus remains that the film was better off left as it was at Welles' death - unfinished and, in all likelihood, unfinishable.
  • Chimes at Midnight was almost as troubled as Othello.
    • Welles had been pitching the idea of a play called Five Kings - a condensed adaptation of Richard II, Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2), Henry V, Henry VI (Parts 1, 2, and 3), and Richard III - since 1939. By 1960, he had distilled the idea to a Falstaff-centric adaptation of the two Henry IV plays, with some additional dialogue from Richard II, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. However, his Spanish backer, Emiliano Piedra, didn't think a Shakespeare adaptation was marketable, and persuaded Welles to shoot an adaptation of Treasure Island alongside the film that became Chimes at Midnight. Welles agreed, but it is believed he only did so to placate Piedra, and never so much as shot a single frame of Treasure Island.
    • The cast members' availability meant that many scenes had to be shot using stand-ins, and any scenes featuring their faces had to be shot all at once; John Gielgud, as King Henry IV, was only available for ten days, while Jeanne Moreau, as Doll Tearsheet, was only available for five days, and Margaret Rutherford, as Mistress Quickly, was available for just four weeks. Welles joked that in one scene that featured seven principal characters, every one was played by a stand-in shot over their shoulder.
    • Filming began in September 1964, and, inevitably, ground to a halt when the money ran out three months later. Welles was adamant that the film be shot in black and white, scuppering potential offers of funding that were contingent on the film being shot in colour. He was finally able to secure funding from Harry Saltzman in February 1965, and shot the hitherto missing scenes, which included many of Keith Baxter as Prince Hal's longer speeches, Hal's coronation scene, and all of Welles' own scenes as Falstaff (growing stage fright meant that he waited until the end of production to shoot Falstaff's solo scenes).
    • The film's limited budget had an especially adverse effect on sound recording, both on set and in post-production. The rapid camera movements and editing further clouded the dialogue, and dubbing was made even more difficult by Welles' prolific use of long takes and shots of characters' backs to take advantage of actors' presence or compensate for their absence. Spanish actor Fernando Rey, as the Earl of Worcester, and French actress Marina Vlady, as Hotspur's wife Lady Percy, had such heavy accents that their roles had to be completely overdubbed by other actors in post-production.
    • The initial screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966 was a success, but Bosley Crowther of The New York Times took the film to task for the poor sound quality, the confusing editing, and Welles' performance as Falstaff. Saltzman lost confidence in the film in light of the early criticism and gave it almost no promotion, causing it to sink without trace at the box office. Its reputation has improved in the years since, with the Battle of Shrewsbury sequence still regarded as one of the greatest, most harrowing depictions of a mediaeval battle in the history of cinema, but legal wrangling over ownership of the film (by Saltzman's widow Adriana, Welles' daughter Beatrice, and the families of Piedra and fellow producer Angel Escolano) meant that home video releases were few and far between until 2015.
  • The Deep, an adaptation of Charles Williams' book Dead Calm, began production in 1966, and was intended to be a more commercially viable, less "arthouse" film than many of Welles' previous efforts. Unfortunately, it suffered the same "shooting whatever we can whenever the people and money are available" trend of many of his other films, and eventually money and Welles' own interest dried up after three years. Accounts differ on why filming was abandoned (with a climactic explosion left to shoot); lead actress Oja Kodar alleged that Jeanne Moreau was unwilling to dub her lines, while editor Mauro Bonanni claimed that Welles was dissatisfied by acting novice Kodar's performance. The death of lead actor Laurence Harvey in 1973 put a permanent end to filming, and since it never entered post-production, it only exists in work prints with no soundtrack. Dead Calm was ultimately filmed under that title in 1989 with Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill in the lead roles, but The Deep remains unreleased, although there is sporadic interest in polishing what does exist of it.
  • Welles' final film, The Other Side of the Wind, took over 40 years to finally see the light of day and it was quite a rollercoaster ride.
    • Welles first got the idea in 1961 when his friend Ernest Hemingway committed suicide. He originally envisioned the film as a tale of an aging bullfighting fan with an interest for a young bullfighter, but the project didn't progress for five years. As Welles kept working on the script, with a working title of Sacred Beasts, he changed the bullfight fan into an aging filmmaker resembling Hemingway as he navigates the changing Hollywood landscape. Welles was unable to get full financial support from investors and like most of his projects, he ultimately funded the film with his own money.
    • Production officially began in 1970, with Welles and his second unit crew filming at the MGM backlot without the studio's consent. To protect their cover, the crew posed as film students visiting the lot while Welles had to sneak in through a darkened van. Everything was shot in a single weekend without sleep and the crew intoxicated with amphetamines, as it was clear they could not visit the lot again and it was already in deep decay. The backlot would officially be demolished a few years later.
    • Filming was disrupted in 1971 when Welles' production company in Europe was deemed a holding company by the US government and fined with a huge tax bill. Welles had to accept whatever job was offered to him to pay the debt off in full, though he used some of the money from his various acting gigs to keep the film's financing alive. During this time, he stated that The Other Side of the Wind was "96% complete", though that was most likely referencing the film-within-the-film sequences that were finished before he had to halt production.
    • In the meantime, Welles made the documentary F for Fake with the Iranian-French owned Les Films de l'Astrophore. Seeing an opportunity to finish his pet project, Welles struck a three-way deal with the company. He would raise a third of the funds himself while Iranian producer Mehdi Bushehri would supply another third and the remaining funds would come from Spanish producer Andrés Vicente Gómez.
    • With some financial support in place, Welles managed to film new scenes in 1973 whenever cast members were available. For instance, all of Lilli Palmer's scenes were shot in Spain with her being the only cast member present. While in Madrid though, Welles and Oja Kodar (who co-wrote and co-starred in the film) got trapped in a flood for three months and had to relocate to Paris. It wasn't until a year later when filming officially resumed. Prior to this, Welles was unsure if he would play the director character himself, but by that time he settled on fellow filmmaker John Huston for the part.
    • The most crucial element of the film was a party scene, which was shot at Southwestern Studio in Arizona, using leftover furniture made for The New Dick Van Dyke Show. Joining Huston were Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg, Norman Foster, and more. Welles also shot more scenes in a private mansion he rented not far from his studios.
    • Just when things were going well, emerging financial mishaps threatened to stop production again. Gómez fled the United States while embezzling most of the film's budget and Bushehri had to put up most of the outstanding budget, which would lead to an ownership dispute. The messy financial meltdown meant that Welles could no longer use the studio and the mansion, so the remainder of the party scenes were shot at Bogdanovich's own house in Beverly Hills. In addition, both Welles and Bogdanovich had to put up their own money to continue production due to a lack of new financial deals. One producer did make what Welles called "a wonderful offer", but investor Dominique Antoine shot it down thinking a better deal would come. One never did.
    • Further complicating matters was the timeframe Welles needed to edit the film, due to its unconventional and experimental feel. It would require an entire year of full-time work, with Welles using the same editing techniques as F for Fake where he used three separate moviolas to simultaneously edit the film. The Other Side of the Wind required two extra moviolas, all circulating a table with a team of assistants to help him. To make matters worse, Les Films de l'Astrophore was under new management who refused to pay for the editing job. As Welles was considered a liability, they threatened to reduce his share of the profits and take creative control away from him for the final cut. This prompted Welles to find more investors that ended up completely fruitless. In spite of the film's growing financial instability, Welles managed to complete principal photography in early 1976, albeit with a few elements unfinished. However, Welles could only edit the film whenever he had time and by 1979, 40% of the editing was done.
    • Things only got worse from there. The film's primary financer, Mehdi Bushehri, was the brother-in-law of the Shah of Iran, who got overthrown that year. This made his funds problematic, with Ayatollah Khomeini's government having the film seized due to its association with the Shah's reign, escalating the aforementioned ownership dispute. The original negative was consequently confiscated to a Paris vault, and Welles was only able to get a workprint of the raw footage out of the country. With Welles' passing in 1985, the copy went to Kodar along with his other unfinished projects as part of his will. Another workprint copy was held by the film's cinematographer Gary Graver. Both Graver and Kodar, along with Bogdanovich, critic Joseph McBride (who had a supporting role), and producer Frank Marshall (who was the film's production manager) began a rousing effort to complete the film by trying to get the necessary funds to do so and potentially fix the legal mess.
    • There were more hurdles in store for them. When Kodar screened Graver's rough cut of the film to various A-list directors in the late 1980's and early 1990's for help with the completion, they all declined for one reason or another. Among the ones who turned down the offer, Huston was in very poor health while George Lucas was confused by the footage he saw, finding it too avant-garde for audiences to handle. Another legal headache arose when Welles' daughter Beatrice claimed that she was the true owner of all of Welles' incomplete projects by California law and effectively blocked any attempts to complete the film. This is despite the fact that she only inherited the assets from the death of his widow (and Beatrice's mother) Paola Mori in 1986, and those did not include his unfinished films.
    • Back in Iran, Khomeini's government later found the negative worthless, and the tangled ownership came under litigation. Mehdi Bushehri held tight to his claims that he owned two-thirds of The Other Side of the Wind, but after hearing about the remaining crew's efforts to finish the film, which got to a point where Frank Marshall was showing the rough cut to major studios in the late 1990's but couldn't reach a deal due to the legal troubles, he decided that the best way to recoup his investment was to get the film released. So in 1998, he arbitrated his claims and reduced his shares, resolving some of the legal issues. With a deal in place, Showtime pitched in to help finance the film's completion. These plans were undermined when Beatrice Welles filled a lawsuit later that year. Making matters worse, Kodar could not enforce the late Orson Welles' clause in his will that gives disinheritance to anyone that questions the ownership of Kodar's inheritance, which Beatrice was doing, due to her lack of legal fees.
    • Just when you thought things couldn't get more complicated, Paul Hunt came into the picture. As he was one of the film's original crew members, serving as line producer, assistant editor, assistant camera operator, and gaffer, Kodar approached him to help with an acceptable deal and filled him in with rights holders. Hunt and his producing partner Sanford Horowitz soon formed "Horowitz Hunt LLC" and reached a deal with Bushehri to potentially acquire his rights to the film. Even though their contributions were not as burdensome as the aforementioned issues, they would create another obstacle in the completion process.
    • While the case was going on, Bogdanovich announced in 2004 that plans to finish the film were still in place, but replicating Welles' experimental editing would be a challenge. Two years later, Beatrice Welles made a proposal with Showtime to turn The Other Side of the Wind into a semi-documentary and not release it as a completed film. Kodar was not fond of this idea, and it undermined Bushehri's desires, which his widow kept alive following his death that year. In 2007, a deal was reached where the parties would pay Beatrice Welles either an undisclosed amount, shares in the film's profits, or both. Bogdanovich later claimed that the deal to finish the film was "99.9% finished" and the completed project would come out in 2008.
    • Horowitz Hunt LLC soon obtained Bushehri's rights to the film and planned to release two versions: a completed theatrical cut and Welles' initial 42-minute cut. As the original negative was still locked up in France, Bogdanovich decided to work with the workprint cut and other positive film materials that Kodar kept in a Los Angeles vault. Showtime created an editing suite in the summer of 2008 so the material could potentially be logged in with Bogdanovich supervising the project. Horowitz Hunt LLC then made negotiations with Kodar to obtain her rights to the film, but they could not reach a deal. Beatrice Welles caught wind of this and slapped the parties with an injunction, claiming an inheritance on the negative residing at the LTC Film Vault in Paris and refusing to open it up. As it turned out, Bushehri's attorney failed to formally rebuke Beatrice's claim, and Showtime was forced to halt production and close the editing suite. The network later made it clear that they would only pay to complete the film if all the material was available, which included the negative that required permission from all the estates before it could be obtained.
    • With Bogdanovich still contemplating the project and a legal settlement looking murky, Horowitz and financier John Nicholas renamed the former's venture "Project Welles The Other Side LLC", as Hunt died in 2011. The plan was to finish their negotiations with Kodar and Beatrice Welles so they could access the original stored negative while also providing a chain of title and a clear account of events. In addition, they launched www.projectwelles.com to gain more funds. While they were able to resolve the copyright issues, Showtime failed to reveal a projected budget. This alarmed Kodar as she wanted the completion process done in a professional manner and not to have a repeat of what happened with Don Quixote. By the time Showtime executive Matthew Duda retired in 2012, the network's involvement with The Other Side of the Wind was over.
    • Enter Filip Jan Rymsza, a producer who had been aware of the film for quite some time. He partnered with German producer Jens Koethner Kaul and Frank Marshall in an attempt to salvage the project, and by October 2014, Rymsza's Royal Road Entertainment announced plans to acquire the rights to the film so the completion process could resume. They successfully pulled it off by obtaining rights held by Les Films de l'Astrophore and Bushehri and reaching an agreement with Kodar and Beatrice Welles. The plan was to release it by May 6, 2015, which marks the 100th anniversary of Welles' birth, with Bogdanovich and Marshall overseeing the completion process.
    • These plans were thwarted when it was revealed around that time that the film was not even close to being completed. Around two-thirds of the film still needed to be edited, there was no musical score or opening narration, and two key shots had not been filmed. Royal Road tried to fund post-production by pre-selling distribution rights, but potential distributors wanted to view edited footage rather than the workprint. Undeterred by this request, they launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $2 million so the original negative could be flown from Paris to LA for a 4K scan and it could be edited by Affonso Gonçalves. The goal was lowered by $1 million when potential investors offered to match the amount and Marshall clarified that the objective was to edit the first 20 minutes of the film so they could attract a distributor that would help with the rest of post-production. In the end, the campaign only raised $406,405 and the project once again came to a halt.
    • The final hope to complete the film came in the form of Netflix, who were negotiating a deal with Royal Road in 2016 to finish The Other Side of the Wind and make a companion documentary. Once they got Kodar's approval, the original negative finally came to LA and the completion process resumed with a new post-production team in place. Even Michel Legrand, the composer for Welles' F for Fake, was brought on to compose the score.
    • To make a long story short, the film was finally finished in 2018 and premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival that August with Netflix releasing it to the public in November. By that time, most of the cast had passed away with Welles.

    X-Men film series 
  • While X-Men: The Last Stand may not have had as troubled a production as the next entry in the series, it had its share of issues, especially in pre-production:
    • Bryan Singer left to direct Superman Returns and took Cyclops actor James Marsden and co-writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris with him, leading to Matthew Vaughn signing on as director. However, Vaughn himself left shortly before shooting was due to start, saying he couldn't bear to be separated from his young family and with the deadlines imposed by Fox he "didn't have the time to make the movie that I wanted to make". The latter part wasn't helped by Executive Meddling, which demanded the inclusion of as many new characters as possible for merchandising purposes, which resulted in some characters getting a bridge dropped on them, and others being left Out of Focus. (Vaughn only accepted to make X-Men: First Class on a tight schedule years later because Fox gave him creative freedom.) In the meantime, Brett Ratner replaced Vaughn.
    • While the revolving door of directors was going on, another problem presented itself in that Halle Berry refused to return as Storm unless she was given top-billing, a significant pay increase and the biggest role of the main cast. She initially refused to budge on her demands, but the financial and critical drubbing taken by Catwoman knocked some sense into her, and she eventually settled for a much more reasonable fee (Storm did get the largest role of the main X-Men after fan favorite Wolverine, though this was more a by-product of most of the other main characters being killed off or sidelined).
    • A troublesome first week of shooting saw cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, who had originally signed on with Vaughn, storm out of the production. This resulted in Dante Spinotti, who had worked with Ratner on Red Dragon hurriedly taking over the role, and then being replaced himself for the final leg of filming by James Muro, after Spinotti had to honor a prior commitment. In a later magazine interview in his native France, Rousselot called Ratner a "jumped-up little Hollywood asshole" and said that not quitting with Vaughn had been the worst mistake of his entire career.
    • Rousselot wasn't the only person who conflicted with Ratner. Over a decade after the film's release, Ellen Page revealed that, against her wishes, Ratner had outed her on-set as being gay, made various homophobic remarks to her throughout the course of filming, and even got one of the producers to threaten to fire her unless she wore a t-shirt saying "Team Ratner" on occasions when she was needed on-set, but not in costume.
    • A rather telling consequence of the film's hectic production cycle was that it ended up being the first X-Men movie to not have a dedicated product line, as its development was too rushed for ToyBiz to be able to put together action figures for it. There weren't any The Last Stand figures until Hasbro did some in the Marvel Legends line in 2007, a year after the movie's release. Somewhat ironic, since the main reason behind the obscene number of characters in the movie was potential toy sales.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine was delayed by weather and Hugh Jackman's commitments with Australia, begun with an unfinished screenplay that was rushed due to the then upcoming 2007-2008 writer's strike - director Gavin Hood detailed that during shooting in Australia, script pages would be sent from LA, at times in the night prior to them being filmed; also, characters such as Gambit and Deadpool were late additions, explaining why the former appears so little and the latter wound changed to an unfaithful version - and saw Hood entering conflicts with studio 20th Century Fox and Jerkass bean counter Tom Rothman micromanaging every aspect, right down to repainting sets without telling Hood. Even the movie's title was changed without Hood being informed, with Jackman telling him once he saw it on IMDB. Plus, the second unit didn't match Hood's style, making him feel the action scenes were like ones in an 80s flick. Eventually Richard Donner (husband of producer Lauren Shuler Donner) was forced to join production in order to mellow out things. And an incomplete version with missing special effects leaked online one month before the film's premiere. The film could have ridden out the bad critical and fan reception like the previous film, if not for the disappointing box office. This caused the series to get a partial reboot with X-Men: First Class.
  • To what extent isn’t fully known but what is known is that Bryan Singer’s habit of being absent from set caused problems on set of X-Men: Apocalypse, meaning Newton Thomas Sigel (the film’s cinematographer) and Simon Kinberg (the writer and producer) had to direct some scenes. Sophie Turner revealed that Singer was, in her words, “unpleasant” and implied the on-set tension between Rami Malek and Singer on Bohemian Rhapsody also happened with her. Oscar Isaac also hated the costume and makeup he had to wear to play Apocalypse, which according to him prevented him from being able to properly move or even move his head to face the actors due to how restrictive and heavy the full-body suit was. Jennifer Lawrence also described the production as “all chaos, no fun” in an interview and it’s understandably theorized by fans that her experience on this set was the main reason Lawrence decided to leave the franchise, though she came back for Dark Phoenix. Olivia Munn also later complained about Singer's and Kinberg's lack of knowledge of the original comics, revealing that the two knew almost nothing about Psylocke's backstory, and originally wanted the character to wear a generic Movie Superheroes Wear Black outfit, resulting in her having to lobby for something closer to her comic outfit.
  • If this article is anything to go by, Dark Phoenix had lots of behind-the-scenes turmoil.
    • The trouble began when Fox executives looked at the poor critical and commercial reception for X-Men: Apocalypse and felt that the film was an anomaly of what was otherwise a consistently well-performing franchise, rather than evidence that audiences were growing frustrated with its creative direction. In a desperate attempt to win back the fans' trust, Fox decided to reboot The Dark Phoenix Saga, which they previously tackled with the aforementioned The Last Stand to disastrous results. Recurring series producer Simon Kinberg was chosen to direct in his feature film debut. Although Kinberg won the trust of the stars (including Jennifer Lawrence, who reportedly refused to do the film unless Kinberg directed it) due to his aforementioned work as a fill-in director on Apocalypse, fans were more skeptical given how Kinberg co-wrote The Last Stand, never directed a prior feature film and lost some credibility for his role in the infamous Fantastic Four (2015) reboot.
    • Filming went smoothly, but once Fox executives got to see a rough cut, both them and Kinberg agreed that the film was a mess and decided to begin reshoots. Thanks to having to renegotiate many of the actors' contracts, the reshoots didn't occur for over a year. It was during this time that Rupert Murdoch, having grown disillusioned with the trend of media consolidation, decided to sell Fox and its entertainment assets to Disney, which owned Marvel Comics and would almost certainly move to put the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since the deal wouldn't be finalized for nearly a year-and-a-half, Fox was forced to continue on with the film. The reshoots ended up resulting in the film moving up its release date by several months. All this was happening as the marketing campaign was rolling out.
    • Then things went to hell. James Cameron, who was producing Alita: Battle Angel for Fox, complained that his film was scheduled to open against Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman and Bumblebee, fearing a box office slaughter from all three. Consequently, Fox moved up Dark Phoenix's release date by four months, making it a summer blockbuster, while giving Alita the February slot originally reserved for Dark Phoenix. Several Fox executives, including current studio head Emma Watts, rebelled against the move, but were overruled. As the merger with Disney closed, many of the film's marketing staff were forced out in the post-merger shakeup, resulting in the film's campaign lacking any sort of message or direction. Not helping matters was that fans mercilessly mocked the film before its release, seeing as a lame duck entry in a franchise that was doomed to end in the merger's aftermath.
    • The end result was a disaster both critically and commercially. The final film was a critically-panned mess that received a lower Rotten Tomatoes percentage score than both The Last Stand and Wolverine. Financially, the film was a massive bomb that opened with a whopping $33 million on its opening weekend in America, the lowest opening ever for an X-Men film. Things got worse when bad word-of-mouth lead to the film experiencing a second weekend drop of 71.5%, the worst for the genre since Batman v Superman. The lack of legs was further exacerbated by the film being pulled from over 1,600 theaters in its third weekend. The film effectively ensured any thought of the X-Men film franchise continuing in its current capacity would be dashed.
  • The New Mutants has had a troubled post-production.
    • The film was shot in summer 2017 for an intended April 2018 release. Following test screenings (which were rumored to not have gone over very well, although this point is disputed), Fox decided to push the movie back ten months to February 2019. One report alleges that the movie wasn't seen as scary enough and that the film needed to be significantly reworked as a result, which isn't exactly reassuring considering that the movie was promoted as being a horror movie over being a superhero movie. (Another report explained that the reshoots were meant to counter perceived Executive Meddling and make the movie closer to Boone's original vision, which had more scares; the same account states that the film tested well.)
    • Following that delay, Fox postponed the release again six months to August 2019, with rumors suggesting that as much as half of the film needed to be reshot. However, with regard to the massive delays to the movie, several factors are still in play; namely, that actors weren't necessarily available for reshoots due to other projects, such as Anya Taylor-Joy on Glass and Maisie Williams on Season 8 of Game of Thrones. After Disney's acquisition of Fox the release date was delayed yet again, to April 2020, nearly three years after filming began (and more than two years after its first teaser trailer), and a year after the Grand Finale of the series, Dark Phoenix.

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