CLOSE
Original image
Lionsgate

15 Shelved Movies That Were Eventually Released Years Later

Original image
Lionsgate

Sometimes, movie releases are delayed because studios don’t know how to sell the film to audiences or because of financial or legal pitfalls. These projects are “shelved,” meaning they sit collecting dust, unseen by audiences for years (or even decades).

1. 'Margaret': Shelved for 6 Years

Margaret completed production in 2005, but it was shelved for six years because of lawsuits against director Kenneth Lonergan. He was contractually obligated to deliver a movie with a run time less than 150 minutes, but the final cut came in more than half an hour longer than that. Fox Searchlight shelved it until the lawsuits between the director and his financiers could be settled.

When it finally came out in 2011 in a limited release of just 14 theaters, Margaret’s run time was exactly 149 minutes and 49 seconds. Now on DVD, you can now enjoy the director’s cut that clocks in at 186 minutes.

2. 'Prozac Nation': Shelved for 4 Years

Although Prozac Nation made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2001, its distributor Miramax then shelved the film for more than four years due to lukewarm test screening reactions. Miramax was under the belief that they couldn’t sell the film to general audiences, so they quietly released it on the premium cable network Starz! in 2005.

3. 'The Cabin in the Woods': Shelved for 2 Years

The Cabin in the Woods was set for release in early 2010, but its distributor MGM was on the verge of bankruptcy. As a result, the post-modern horror film didn’t open until early 2012. When it finally did come out, the rising star power of Chris Hemsworth and co-writer/producer Joss Whedon gave The Cabin in the Woods a boost at the box office.

4. 'Take Me Home Tonight': Shelved for 4 Years

Take Me Home Tonight was completed in 2007, but it didn’t receive a theatrical release date until four years later. According to star Topher Grace, Take Me Home Tonight’s distributor Universal Pictures delayed it because they didn’t know how to market a youth comedy with so much cocaine and drug consumption.

"It's an audience film. It's not drama, but there was a real hesitation because there is so much cocaine in it, and our feeling at the time was, 'You can't do a movie about Prohibition without alcohol, and you really can't do a movie about partying in the '80s, at the age these kids are, without showing cocaine use," said Grace. Rogue Pictures acquired the distribution rights for $10 million and released the film in 2011.

5. 'Fanboys': Shelved for 1 Year

In 2009, Fanboys was finally released in theaters after a shaky post-production period that saw it sit on the shelf at The Weinstein Company for a year. After a re-shoot period where director Kyle Newman had a difficult time getting the cast together again, The Weinstein Company wanted to re-edit the movie's story from a group of teenagers breaking into Skywalker Ranch so their friend could watch The Phantom Menace before he dies of cancer into a road-trip-sex comedy. Without Newman’s consent, Little Nicky director Steven Brill was brought in to shoot new elements to remove the cancer plot and to make it more raunchy.

6. 'The Plot Against Harry': Shelved for 20 Years

Director Michael Roemer’s The Plot Against Harry premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969, but it could not find theatrical distribution because it tested poorly with general audiences. It sat on the shelf for twenty years until Roemer wanted to show it to his children. Both his kids and the film transfer technician working with Roemer thought the film was funny, so Roemer struck new prints and applied to the New York Film Festival. The Plot Against Harry belatedly found critical acclaim and commercial distribution in 1989.

7. 'Red Dawn' (2012): Shelved for 3 Years

Although the film was finished in 2009, the remake of Red Dawn sat on MGM’s shelf for three years. Before an expected summer 2010 release date, MGM had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was unable to finance projects. After MGM re-structured, Red Dawn was slated for 2011, but another controversy hindered its release.

MGM didn’t want to offend the emerging Chinese movie-going market, so producers decided to change the enemies’ nationalities. Throughout 2011, filmmakers painstakingly changed the Chinese invaders and their insignia into North Koreans using digital special effects.

8. 'A Thousand Words': Shelved for 4 Years

The Eddie Murphy comedy A Thousand Words completed production in 2008 with a release date planned for sometime in 2009. However, it didn’t open until 2012 because it was caught in a legal battle over distribution rights between Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks.

The studios split and equally divided about 200 film projects, but they couldn’t come to terms with two films that were already completed at the time of separation: A Thousand Words and The Lovely Bones. Considering that the latter is from Peter Jackson, an Academy Award-winning director, and the former tracked poorly with test audiences, Paramount and DreamWorks released The Lovely Bones and shelved A Thousand Words.

9. 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer': Shelved for 4 Years

While it was completed in 1986, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer wasn’t released until four years later because of its violent and bloody subject matter. Director John McNaughton experienced a long battle with the MPAA when he couldn’t deliver an R-rated version without compromising his vision. However, Roger Ebert felt a passion for Henry, and the critic led a campaign to see its release in theaters. The MPAA eventually gave it an unrated tag in 1990.

10. 'Repo Men': Shelved for 2 Years

Although the film was completed in 2008, Repo Men didn’t come out in theaters until two years later. Relativity Media and Universal Pictures shelved Repo Men when they learned that the film adaptation of cult rock musical Repo! The Genetic Opera was opening around the same time. Both featured similar titles and plots involving men tasked with repossessing organ implants when customers were unable to pay their bills. While the musical gained cult status, the other film failed to find an audience or admirers when it was released in early 2010.

11. 'Romance and Cigarettes': Shelved for 2 Years

John Turturro’s Romance and Cigarettes premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2005 but sat on the shelf for two years until its eventual self-financed release. It found distribution with United Artists, but was lost in the shuffle when Sony bought out the smaller company. Frustrated with the lack of movement, Turturro put up his own money to finance a limited release in 2007.

12. 'Rampage': Shelved for 5 Years

The William Friedkin film Rampage screened at European film festivals in 1987, but it didn’t receive a theatrical release until 1992. Its production company, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, filed for bankruptcy, which contributed to the five-year lag between premiere and release. When Rampage finally found new distribution with Miramax during the early '90s, Friedkin changed his point of view on the death penalty and shot a new ending, and re-edited the film accordingly. Instead of committing suicide in prison, the main character sends his victims’ families disturbing and violent letters and is scheduled for a parole hearing.

13. 'Blue Sky': Shelved for 3 Years

Blue Sky was completed in 1991, but it wasn’t released in theaters until 1994. Its distributor, Orion Pictures, filed for bankruptcy shortly after Blue Sky wrapped production and, after Orion's restructuring, the film was released and received widespread critical acclaim. Jessica Lange received an Academy Award for Best Female Actor in a Leading Role.

14. 'Lovers on the Bridge' (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf): Shelved for 8 Years

French director Leos Carax’s Lovers on the Bridge gained some critical acclaim when it premiered during the Cannes Film Festival in 1991. Impressed with how audiences and critics took to the film, Miramax acquired the distribution rights for the stateside market. However, Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein didn’t see any commercial appeal with Lovers on the Bridge and let it sit on the shelf for eight years. Director Martin Scorsese’s passion and enthusiasm for the film led to its release under the Miramax Zoë subdivision in 1999.

15. 'I Love Lucy: The Movie': Shelved for 48 Years

In 1953, MGM made a feature film version of the widely popular TV comedy I Love Lucy. It was made up of three episodes of the television show with new footage that bridged the gaps. However, MGM shelved the movie because studio executives believed it would interfere with the release of The Long, Long Trailer, which also starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. I Love Lucy: The Movie sat on the shelf for almost 50 years until it was screened at a fan convention in 2001.

Original image
Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
30 Memorable Quotes from Carrie Fisher
Original image
Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Just days after suffering a heart attack aboard a flight en route to Los Angeles, beloved actress, author, and screenwriter Carrie Fisher passed away at the age of 60 on December 27, 2016. Though she’ll always be most closely associated with her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, Fisher’s life was like something out of its own Hollywood movie. Born in Beverly Hills on this day in 1956, Fisher was born into show business royalty as the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds.

In addition to her work in front of the camera, Fisher built up an impressive resume behind the scenes, too, most notably as a writer; in addition to several memoirs and semi-autobiographical novels, including Wishful Drinking, Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, The Best Awful, Postcards from the Edge, and The Princess Diarist (which was released last month), she was also an in-demand script doctor who counted Sister Act, Hook, Lethal Weapon 3, and The Wedding Singer among her credits.

Though she struggled with alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental illness, Fisher always maintained a sense of humor—as evidenced by the 30 memorable quotes below.

ON GROWING UP IN HOLLYWOOD

“I am truly a product of Hollywood in-breeding. When two celebrities mate, someone like me is the result.”

“I was born into big celebrity. It could only diminish.”

“At a certain point in my early twenties, my mother started to become worried about my obviously ever-increasing drug ingestion. So she ended up doing what any concerned parent would do. She called Cary Grant.”

“I was street smart, but unfortunately the street was Rodeo Drive.”

“If anything, my mother taught me how to sur-thrive. That's my word for it.”

ON AGING

“As you get older, the pickings get slimmer, but the people don't.”

ON INSTANT GRATIFICATION

“Instant gratification takes too long.”

ON THE LEGACY OF STAR WARS

“People are still asking me if I knew Star Wars was going to be that big of a hit. Yes, we all knew. The only one who didn't know was George.”

“Leia follows me like a vague smell.”

“I signed my likeness away. Every time I look in the mirror, I have to send Lucas a couple of bucks.”

“People see me and they squeal like tropical birds or seals stranded on the beach.”

“You're not really famous until you’re a Pez dispenser.”

ON THE FLEETING NATURE OF SUCCESS

“There is no point at which you can say, 'Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap.'”

ON DEALING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

“I'm very sane about how crazy I am.”

ON RESENTMENT

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

ON LOVE

“Someone has to stand still for you to love them. My choices are always on the run.”

“I've got to stop getting obsessed with human beings and fall in love with a chair. Chairs have everything human beings have to offer, and less, which is obviously what I need. Less emotional feedback, less warmth, less approval, less patience, and less response. The less the merrier. Chairs it is. I must furnish my heart with feelings for furniture.”

“I don’t hate hardly ever, and when I love, I love for miles and miles. A love so big it should either be outlawed or it should have a capital and its own currency.”

ON EMOTIONS

“The only thing worse than being hurt is everyone knowing that you're hurt.”

ON RELATIONSHIPS

“I envy people who have the capacity to sit with another human being and find them endlessly interesting, I would rather watch TV. Of course this becomes eventually known to the other person.”

ON HOLLYWOOD

“Acting engenders and harbors qualities that are best left way behind in adolescence.”

“You can't find any true closeness in Hollywood, because everybody does the fake closeness so well.”

“It's a man's world and show business is a man's meal, with women generously sprinkled through it like overqualified spice.”

ON FEAR

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

ON LIFE

“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.”

“No motive is pure. No one is good or bad-but a hearty mix of both. And sometimes life actually gives to you by taking away.”

“If my life wasn't funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”

“I shot through my twenties like a luminous thread through a dark needle, blazing toward my destination: Nowhere.”

“My life is like a lone, forgotten Q-Tip in the second-to-last drawer.”

ON DEATH

“You know what's funny about death? I mean other than absolutely nothing at all? You'd think we could remember finding out we weren't immortal. Sometimes I see children sobbing at airports and I think, 'Aww. They've just been told.'”

Original image
Mabel Livingstone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
12 Surprising Facts About Bela Lugosi
Original image
Mabel Livingstone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On October 20, 1882—135 years ago today—one of the world's most gifted performers was born. In his heyday, Bela Lugosi was hailed as the undisputed king of horror. Eighty-five years after he first donned a vampire’s cape, Lugosi's take on Count Dracula is still widely hailed as the definitive portrayal of the legendary fiend. But who was the man behind the monster?

1. HE WORKED WITH THE NATIONAL THEATER OF HUNGARY.

To the chagrin of his biographers, the details concerning Bela Lugosi’s youth have been clouded in mystery. (In a 1929 interview, he straight-up admitted “for purposes of simplification, I have always thought it better to tell [lies] about the early years of my life.”) That said, we do know that he was born as Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó on October 20, 1882 in Lugoj, Hungary (now part of Romania). We also know that his professional stage debut came at some point in either 1901 or 1902. By 1903, Lugosi had begun to find steady work with traveling theater companies, through which he took part in operas, operettas, and stage plays. In 1913, Lugosi caught a major break when the most prestigious performing arts venue in his native country—the Budapest-based National Theater of Hungary—cast him in no less than 34 shows. Most of the characters that he played there were small Shakespearean roles such as Rosencrantz in Hamlet and Sir Walter Herbert in Richard III.

2. HE FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR I.

The so-called war to end all wars put Lugosi’s dramatic aspirations on hold. Although being a member of the National Theater exempted him from military service, he voluntarily enlisted in the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1914. Over the next year and a half, he fought against Russian forces as a lieutenant with the 43rd Royal Hungarian Infantry. While serving in the Carpathian mountains, Lugosi was wounded on three separate occasions. Upon healing from his injuries, he left the armed forces in 1916 and gratefully resumed his work with the National Theater.

3. WHEN HE MADE HIS BROADWAY DEBUT, LUGOSI BARELY KNEW ANY ENGLISH.

In December 1920, Lugosi boarded a cargo boat and emigrated to the United States. Two years later, audiences on the Great White Way got their first look at this charismatic stage veteran. Lugosi was cast as Fernando—a suave, Latin lover—in the 1922 Broadway stage play The Red Poppy. At the time, his grasp of the English language was practically nonexistent. Undaunted, Lugosi went over all of his lines with a tutor. Although he couldn’t comprehend their meaning, the actor managed to memorize and phonetically reproduce every single syllable that he was supposed to deliver on stage.

4. UNIVERSAL DIDN’T WANT TO CAST HIM AS COUNT DRACULA.

The year 1927 saw Bela Lugosi sink his teeth into the role of a lifetime. A play based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker had opened in London in 1924. Sensing its potential, Horace Liveright, an American producer, decided to create an U.S. version of the show. Over the summer of 1927, Lugosi was cast as the blood-sucking Count Dracula. For him, the part represented a real challenge. In Lugosi’s own words, “It was a complete change from the usual romantic characters I was playing, but it was a success.” It certainly was. Enhanced by his presence, the American Dracula remained on Broadway for a full year, then spent two years touring the country.

Impressed by its box office prowess, Universal decided to adapt the show into a major motion picture in 1930. Horror fans might be surprised to learn that when the studio began the process of casting this movie’s vampiric villain, Lugosi was not their first choice. At the time, Lugosi was still a relative unknown, which made director Tod Browning more than a little hesitant to offer him the job. A number of established actors were all considered before the man who’d played Dracula on Broadway was tapped to immortalize his biting performance on film.

5. MOST OF HIS DRACULA-RELATED FAN MAIL CAME FROM WOMEN.

The recent Twilight phenomenon is not without historical precedent. Lugosi estimated that, while he was playing the Count on Broadway, more than 97 percent of the fan letters he received were penned by female admirers. A 1932 Universal press book quotes him as saying, “When I was on the stage in Dracula, my audiences were composed mostly of women.” Moreover, Lugosi contended that most of the men who’d attended his show had merely been dragged there by female companions.   

6. HE TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER.

Released in 1931, Dracula quickly became one of the year's biggest hits for Universal (some film historians even argue that the movie single-handedly rescued the ailing studio from bankruptcy). Furthermore, its astronomical success transformed Lugosi into a household name for the first time in his career. Regrettably for him, though, he’d soon miss the chance to star in another smash. Pleased by Dracula’s box office showing, Universal green-lit a new cinematic adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Lugosi seemed like the natural choice to play the monster, but because the poor brute had few lines and would be caked in layers of thick makeup, the actor rejected the job offer. As far as Lugosi was concerned, the character was better suited for some “half-wit extra” than a serious actor. Once the superstar tossed Frankenstein aside, the part was given to a little-known actor named Boris Karloff.

Moviegoers eventually did get to see Lugosi play the bolt-necked corpse in the 1943 cult classic Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. According to some sources, he strongly detested the guttural scream that the script forced him to emit at regular intervals. “That yell is the worst thing about the part. You feel like a big jerk every time you do it!” Lugosi allegedly complained.

7. LUGOSI’S RELATIONSHIP WITH BORIS KARLOFF WAS MORE CORDIAL THAN IT’S USUALLY MADE OUT TO BE.

It’s often reported that the two horror icons were embittered rivals. In reality, however, Karloff and Lugosi seemed to have harbored some mutual respect—and perhaps even affection for one another. The dynamic duo co-starred in five films together, the first of which was 1934’s The Black Cat; Karloff claimed that, on set, Lugosi was “Suspicious of tricks, fearful of what he regarded as scene stealing. Later on, when he realized I didn’t go in for such nonsense, we became friends.” During one of their later collaborations, Lugosi told the press “we laughed over my sad mistake and his good fortune as Frankenstein is concerned.”

That being said, Lugosi probably didn’t appreciate the fact that in every single film which featured both actors, Karloff got top billing. Also, he once privately remarked, “If it hadn’t been for Boris Karloff, I could have had a corner on the horror market.”

8. HE LOVED SOCCER.

In 1935, Lugosi was named Honorary President of the Los Angeles Soccer League. An avid fan, he was regularly seen at Loyola Stadium, where he’d occasionally kick off the first ball during games held there. Also, on top of donating funds to certain Hungarian teams, Lugosi helped finance the Los Angeles Magyar soccer club. When the team won a state championship in 1935, one newspaper wrote that the players were “headed back to Dracula’s castle with the state cup.” [PDF]

9. HE WAS A HARDCORE STAMP COLLECTOR.

Lugosi's fourth wife, Lillian Arch, claimed that Lugosi maintained a collection of more than 150,000 stamps. Once, on a 1944 trip to Boston, he told the press that he intended to visit all 18 of the city's resident philately dealers. “Stamp collecting,” Lugosi declared, “is a hobby which may cost you as much as 10 percent of your investment. You can always sell your stamps with not more than a 10 percent loss. Sometimes, you can even make money.” Fittingly enough, the image of Lugosi’s iconic Dracula appeared on a commemorative stamp issued by the post office in 1997.

10. LUGOSI ALMOST DIDN’T APPEAR IN ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN—BECAUSE THE STUDIO THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD.

The role of Count Dracula in this 1948 blockbuster was nearly given to Ian Keith—who was considered for the same role in the 1931 Dracula movie. Being a good sport, Lugosi helped promote the horror-comedy by making a special guest appearance on The Abbott and Costello Show. While playing himself in one memorable sketch, the famed actor claimed to eat rattlesnake burgers for dinner and “shrouded wheat” for breakfast.

11. A CHIROPRACTOR FILLED IN FOR HIM IN PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.

Toward the end of his life, Lugosi worked on three ultra-low-budget science fiction pictures with Ed Wood, a man who’s been posthumously embraced as the worst director of all time. In the 1953 transvestite picture Glen or Glenda?, Lugosi plays a cryptic narrator who offers such random and unsolicited bits of advice as “Beware of the big, green dragon who sits on your doorstep.” Then came 1955’s Bride of the Monster, in which Lugosi played a mad scientist who ends up doing battle with a (suspiciously limp) giant octopus.

Before long, Wood had cooked up around half a dozen concepts for new films, all starring Lugosi. At some point in the spring of 1956, the director shot some quick footage of the actor wandering around a suburban neighborhood, clad in a baggy cloak. This proved to be the last time that the star would ever appear on film. Lugosi died of a heart attack on August 16, 1956;  he was 73 years old.

Three years after Lugosi's passing, this footage was spliced into a cult classic that Wood came to regard as his “pride and joy.” Plan 9 From Outer Space tells the twisted tale of extraterrestrial environmentalists who turn newly-deceased human beings into murderous zombies. Since Lugosi could obviously no longer play his character, Wood hired a stand-in for some additional scenes. Unfortunately, the man who was given this job—California chiropractor Tom Mason—was several inches taller than Lugosi. In an attempt to hide the height difference, Wood instructed Mason to constantly hunch over. Also, Mason always kept his face hidden behind a cloak.

12. HE WAS BURIED IN HIS DRACULA CAPE.

Although Lugosi resented the years of typecasting that followed his breakout performance in Dracula, he asked to be laid to rest wearing the Count’s signature garment. Lugosi was buried under a simple tombstone at California's Holy Cross Cemetery.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios