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Best Movies That Never Got Made – MovieWeb

For every movie that makes it to theaters, there are hundreds of discarded ideas. Check out some of the best ones that never got made.
The journey of a film or series from the conception of an idea until it reaches its premiere in theaters or a streaming platform can be quite long and filled with all kinds of obstacles. And for every production that makes it to the audience, there are hundreds that don't even manage to get past the early stages of development and remain stagnant as just that: ideas that didn't work out. The reasons behind these ideas' failures can vary. There are some projects that, as brilliant as they may be, are conceived in an unfortunate context, so they usually turn into scripts stored away in drawers until, some years later, a different team of filmmakers picks them up again. Oftentimes, it is simply a matter of money: the filmmakers are unable to secure the funds needed to produce the film, or their approach proves to be too expensive. Other reasons include the fact that an idea in itself is not worth pursuing, or that the production company sets its sights on another, much more tempting project.
However, these are not the only reasons why major productions have not been made. There are just as many reasons as films that never got released. In many cases, a film might even be fully shot and ready to premiere, but the project is discarded at the last minute, just like Scoob! Holiday Haunt, which leaves the audience wondering about the way the production would have turned out. Here's a look at nine of the best movies that were never made.
A biopic about the life and career of Napoleon Bonaparte was on its way to being director Stanley Kubrick's most ambitious project. After the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick began researching the French emperor for an upcoming film, Napoleon, reading every book he could get his hands on and even traveling with his partners to France and England several times. However, this exhaustive investigation never paid off, as after Waterloo's box-office flop in 1970, no studio wanted to invest in a historical epic film, and the project was scrapped. In recent years, this project was revisited by Cary Fukunaga and HBO, who announced their intention to turn Kubrick's concept into a miniseries.
Related: 10 Batman Movies That Never Got Made
Starting in 2006, director Guillermo del Toro worked on an ambitious project: adapting H. P. Lovecraft's sci-fi horror novel At the Mountains of Madness into a movie. In fact, Universal had already budgeted him to start working on the project, and producers such as James Cameron and Tom Cruise were involved. However, due to some creative differences, issues regarding negotiations, and the film being R-rated, the project was eventually dropped.
The Kill Bill film series is one of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's most iconic productions. Both films were shot simultaneously and released only a few months apart, in 2003 and 2004. Since then, and over the years, he talked several times about the possibility of working on a third installment, Kill Bill Vol. 3 also starring Uma Thurman, for which he had a few ideas in mind. However, he changed his mind greatly over the years, and as of 2019, Tarantino rejected the possibility of ever working on the movie.
Giraffes on Horseback Salad is a screenplay written by Salvador Dalí in 1937. The Spanish artist had the idea of making a comedy film of it starring the Marx Brothers. The movie would feature a love story between an aristocrat and a surrealist woman whose face would remain hidden from the audience. This idea was discarded as Metro Goldwyn Mayer, the company the Marx Brothers were part of at the time, considered it too surrealistic to carry out. Despite this, Harpo Marx was hooked on the idea and tried to pursue it for many years, albeit unsuccessfully.
Heart of Darkness is a novel by Joseph Conrad published in 1899 and inspired by his own experience in Congo. From the beginning of his career, filmmaker Orson Welles intended to work on a film adaptation of it, and in fact, it was the first screenplay he wrote. However, due to the sheer ambition of the project Welles had imagined, he was unable to get the necessary funds, so he had to abandon this idea and stick to his plan B: Citizen Kane.
Related: Spider-Man: The Canceled Movies That Never Got Made
No one can doubt how successful E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the 1982 classic film directed by Steven Spielberg, was. This production became one of the most popular films in cinema, and came very close to having a sequel called Nocturnal Fears. For this follow-up, Spielberg teamed up again with screenwriter Melissa Mathison to work on a script featuring Elliot's latest adventure, but this time, a much grimmer one: the boy and his siblings would be kidnapped and tortured by carnivorous aliens, and E.T. was to save the day. However, due to the dark nature of this new project, Spielberg decided it wasn't such a good idea after all, so he dropped the project (via Screen Rant).
In the late-80s, director Ridley Scott teamed up with artist HR Giger, with whom he had worked on Alien, to develop a film called The Train, scripted by Jim Uhls for Carolco Pictures. This production would be a sci-fi horror film featuring a genetically altered creature running loose on a crowded subway train. However, Scott ended up stepping away from the project to direct Thelma & Louise, and whilst The Train was passed through a number of hands after this, ultimately Carolco filed for bankruptcy and the film was forever shelved.
In 2014, Sofia Coppola started working in partnership with Universal Pictures on a live-action version of The Little Mermaid, a film that would not be family-friendly: her idea was to produce a much darker version, closer to Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale. However, due to creative differences and budget problems, Coppola ended up leaving the project. The concept kept circulating for a few more years, and rumors swirled that Chloë Grace Moretz would star in the film, but in the end it never came to fruition.
Following Batman and Batman Returns, Warner Bros. hired Tim Burton to direct Superman Lives, expecting his version to be both dark and twisted. The original script was written by Kevin Smith, and the actor in charge of embodying Superman would be Nicolas Cage (via Collider). This production started to unfold very slowly, but due to recurring creative differences between the filmmakers as well as the high budget required for the film, it was finally shelved, despite squandering a budget of $30 million on it.


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