Movies & TV

7 Big Movies That Were Ruined By Controversies

Whitewashing, duct tape, and Mel Gibson.
IMAGE Universal Pictures
Comments

Not all publicity is good publicity. If people take offenSe to your movie en masse, riches and awards are unlikely to be glittering in your immediate future.

The following films crashed and burned or quietly faded into insignificance after the public and the media turned against them.

1| Ghost in the Shell
The Scarlett Johansson-starring Ghost in the Shell remake isn't a great movie, but as far as dumb actioners go it's not so different to her mega-hit Lucy.

The big problem was the decision to cast Johansson in a role that was Japanese in the original comic and anime. Indeed, the majority of the lead roles went to white actors despite being set in Japan.

Its subsequent commercial failure has been held up as the final proof that whitewashing is box-office poison.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

2| A Dog's Purpose
A Dog's Purpose is a reminder that it's hard to walk back from bad publicity, even if the controversy turns out to be false.

People were up in arms when a video emerged of a dog "nearly drowning" on set. It was eventually judged by American Humane to have been deliberately misleading.

The pup was okay, but the premiere was cancelled and the film slipped by with hardly a ripple.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

3| The Birth of a Nation
Nate Parker's highly anticipated biopic of slave-rebellion leader Nat Turner (its name an ironic reference to DW Griffith's infamous, racist 1915 epic) was a hit on the festival circuit and was widely tipped for Oscar success.

But the media attention around the film also brought to light the rape charges levelled against Parker by a fellow student in 1999. The director had been acquitted, but the scrutiny soured the movie's release. Box-office takings were minimal and the talk of big awards dried up.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

4| The Great Wall
This China-US co-production was damaged by whitewashing's equally unpopular cousin, the white-savior complex, in which befuddled ethnic groups rely on a white hero to sort out their problems.

Matt Damon was front and center in the Western marketing for the action movie, and although some critics pointed out that he was given no more screen time than the film's Asian stars, audiences were baffled that a white man was the main figure in posters for a film set in ancient China.

Hint: they were trying to please everyone. Do you think it worked?

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

5| The Beaver
Jodie Foster's odd drama about a man suffering from depression who starts talking to a glove puppet arrived when its star Mel Gibson was still mired in a highly public meltdown, and the public didn't want to know.

It took another five years before Hollywood would begin to look past his transgressionsbut that's a controversy for another time.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

6| A Belfast Story
As journalists, we can tell you that press packs come in all shapes, sizes and differing degrees of quality and relevance. But the prize for scariest delivery goes to A Belfast Storya film based around the Northern Ireland Troubleswhich sent out a balaclava, nails and a roll of duct tape to alarmed journos.

Director Nathan Todd apologized, but by that point a poor reception was pretty much guaranteed.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

7| Nina
Putting aside questions of who should be "allowed" to play whom, the Zoe Saldana-starring biopic of musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone made the mistake of upsetting Simone's family.

"It's based on a lie," Simone's daughter Lisa Simone Kelly told Digital Spy. "If I were [Saldana]and I've really tried to put myself in her shoesand I had the opportunity to play someone as complex and intricate and deep as my mother, I think I probably would have grasped at the opportunity as well."

"But at the same time, when you read the material, when you read the script, if you have any real knowledge of Nina Simone, then you need to ask certain questions."

The limited release pretty much disappeared beneath the angry criticisms of Simone's estate.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

From: Digital Spy

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Hugh Armitage
View Other Articles From Hugh
Comments
Latest Feed
 
Share
With Disney and Sony fighting over big money, Spidey's future is uncertain. For now.
 
Share
Star Cadet, a brand by the guy behind the hilarious TBS series Final Space, just dropped a Star Trek-themed collection.
 
Share
The country’s bestselling utility van gets a major upgrade after 15 years.
 
Share
From the BTK killer to the Atlanta Child Murders and Charles Manson.
 
Share
 
Share
Apple is putting all its power and money into the highly-anticipated new series.
 
Share
Here's how your data online could be used against you.
 
Share
 
Share
 
Share
Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss' Trinity will also return despite dying in Revolutions.
 
Share
A number of Filipinos have been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
Load More Articles
Connect With Us