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Photo: Andrew Milligan - PA Images (Getty Images) For every blockbuster that makes it to your local giga-plex, there are probably a half million screenplays that were never produced and a hundred thousand partially shot-but-not-completed features gathering dust in apartments in Los Angeles and New York. Those tokens of broken dreams are sad, but the saddest Hollywood stories are the movies that almost made it but stumbled at the last hurdle—completely finished films that (at least some) people want to see, but that will probably never be shown at movie theaters or even on streaming services. Here are 13 unlucky movies that are ready-to-watch, but that you'll probably never see.
Photo: Andrew Milligan - PA Images (Getty Images)
For every blockbuster that makes it to your local giga-plex, there are probably a half million screenplays that were never produced and a hundred thousand partially shot-but-not-completed features gathering dust in apartments in Los Angeles and New York. Those tokens of broken dreams are sad, but the saddest Hollywood stories are the movies that almost made it but stumbled at the last hurdle—completely finished films that (at least some) people want to see, but that will probably never be shown at movie theaters or even on streaming services. Here are 13 unlucky movies that are ready-to-watch, but that you'll probably never see.
On Tuesday, Warner Bros. announced that it doesn't plan to release Batgirl, in spite of having spent an estimated $100 million dollars on the superhero flick. According to some industry insiders, the film is being dropped as a tax write-off. Other sources report that the movie was so poorly received by early test audiences that the WB decided to duck out. If that's true, well, another female-led movie set in DC Comics' bat-verse and released by Warner Bros., 2004's Catwoman, was released widely, so I can only imagine how terrible Batgirl is. I'd love to know for sure. (It's also a bad look for the studio to shelve a movie headed by a Latina woman and featuring the first onscreen trans character in the DCEU, while still planning a major theatrical push for Flash, starring the guy accused of assault and grooming.)
This slide was revised after publication because Steve forgot about Birds of Prey, a very good movie.
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For fans of cinematic esoterica, Jerry Lewis's The Day the Clown Cried is the unreleased movie holy grail. According to Harry Shearer—one of the few people to have seen a rough cut of the movie—the combination of Lewis' immense egotism and tendency toward the maudlin with a story about the holocaust resulted in a movie that is "so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is. 'Oh, my god'—that's all you can say."
On the other hand, French movie critic Jean-Michel Frodon said it's an "interesting and important film" after screening it. We'll (hopefully) be able to make our own determination in 2024, when the library of congress plans to allow people to screen the flick at their Audio Visual Conservation campus in Culpeper, Virginia. Set your calendar.
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In 2015, Fantastic Four was released widely. A decade earlier, Fantastic Four was released. Eleven years before that, The Fantastic Four was completed and promoted, but never distributed. Made for an estimated $250,000 by cheap-exploitation king Roger Corman, the 90s version of the superhero story is thought by some to have never been intended for release. It was supposedly produced in order to retain the film rights to the characters, or so 20th Century Fox and Marvel would purchase the negative before creating their own bigger-budget version of the story. No matter why it was made, though, The Fantastic Four was completed and never released. Luckily, you can buy a bootleg copy at any DVD booth at any comic con, or just check it out on YouTube.
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The brainchild of Chinese real estate mogul Jon Jiang, this Chinese-American underwater epic was meant as an answer to James Cameron's Avatar. The backers are reportedly $130 million deep on the project, but there's no announced released date or end date in sight. It is finished, though: A version of the film was screened privately on the lot of Sony Pictures, and test screenings were held (reaction in both cases were reportedly less-than-positive). As recently as 2017, Jonathan Lawrence, one of the film's directors (there have been several) told Gizmodo that the film was due for release in China "very soon." I'm not holding my breath.
The trailer for I Love You Daddy might have played differently if star/director Louis C.K. was still a schlumpy everyman instead of a weirdo, but as it is, it's extremely unpleasant. A black-and-white, stylistic homage to the work of fellow sex predator Woody Allen, I Love You Daddy tells the story of a renowned film director who "likes young girls." C.K. plays the victim's father. It's all so unbelievably creepy and gross—kind of like Louis C.K.
Back in the 1980s, eccentric infomercial pioneer Victor "Santo Gold" Rigatuso spent a reported $2 million dollars to make a science fiction movie called Blood Circus in which alien invaders battle professional wrestling superstars while the fate of the world hangs in the balance. It was not distributed. In 2008, Rigatuso placed a 35mm print of the film on eBay for $21 million with a buy-it-now price of $750 million. Surprisingly, no one bought it. In 2014, the film was shown at a secret screening at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. Since then, nothing. All we have of the greatest film ever made are the clips you see in the YouTube video above.
Johnny Depp is the director, co-writer, and star of this movie, in which a struggling actor agrees to play the main character in a snuff film. Not only is that an interesting plot, Marlon Brando appears in the movie in his final film role. It screened at Cannes to mixed reviews, and was never released in the United States. Why, Johnny Depp? Why?
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I'm a sucker for 1950s rock n' roll revue movies—not for the stories, but for the performances. A documentary about Bill Randle, a disc jockey I'd never heard of, Pied Piper of Cleveland contains performances from Bill Haley and His Comets, Pat Boone, Roy Hamilton, LaVern Baker, Johnnie Ray, and, in his first film appearance, Elvis Presley. The film is so obscure, some have claimed it doesn't exist, but it reportedly screened once at a junior high school in Cleveland in the 1950s, and aired on local TV as well. Current whereabouts are unknown.
Most films that fail to find distribution end up in movie-limbo because they're terrible and no one cares about them. I'm using 2006's The Quest to represent all these movies, because I literally can't think of a film I want to see less.
Created by Mike Fleiss, a producer of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, The Quest is a perfect encapsulation of mid-aughts cultural rot. It's a "reality-film" in which five college students from Colorado travel to Cabo San Lucas during spring break to get drunk and have sex. It is thankfully not available to stream anywhere. The video above, a review of the 2006 Nissan Quest mini-van, is way more interesting.
This experimental science fiction film written by John Malkovich and directed by Robert Rodriguez is finished and has a release date, but that release date isn't until just about everyone living on earth is dead. The only copy of the film is currently inside a safe in a vault that is set to open on November 18, 2115. All that's been released are a few teasers (that are actually ads for a fancy cognac).
It's easy to forget that Canadian anti-comedian Tom Green was a household name in the early aughts. A decade later, the dude's career was so cold that this mockumentary he starred in and directed was seemingly unable to secure any kind of distribution. People who like Tom Green really like Tom Green, so it's hard to believe that there isn't enough interest in this movie for it to come out, but as of 2022, that's how it is. Sadly, I wasn't able to find a trailer for Prankstar, so you'll have to enjoy(?) the trailer for Freddy Got Fingered instead.
I don't know whether Hollywood assassins are really trying to kill movie star Randy Quaid and his wife Evi, but I know that I want to see the movie they made about it. According to Evi, Star Whackers is "highly experimental with nudity, [and] adult language and content throughout." Reportedly, Quaid plays at least three roles in the movie, and the nudity Evi mentioned is Quaid walking around in a bathrobe with his junk hanging out. Quaid's previous films include The Last Picture Show, Midnight Express, National Lampoon's Vacation, and Brokeback Mountain.
The original Tremors is such an awesome movie that I watch each reboot, TV adaptation, and sequel with great hope, only to have that hope dashed on the rocks of disappointment every time. Sadly, I can't even do that with the 2018's Tremors (not to be confused with 2018's Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell). This version of Tremors is a feature-length TV movie starring Kevin Bacon and shot as the pilot for Tremors, a 2018 TV series. (Not to be confused with Tremors, a 2003 TV series.) The show was never picked up, so the pilot never aired, and I never got the chance to be disappointed. But the trailer actually looks cool.< Back to 68k.news US front page