8 Movies That Were Delayed By Major Real-Life Events
As carefully managed a business as the movies usually are, life has a way of intervening. Many movies have had their release plans scuppered, typically for financial reasons or to avoid clashing with a big-hitting rival. Occasionally, though, something entirely unforeseen occurs that sets a film back by months or even years.
Here are eight such incidents...
1| The Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Planned release: February 17, 2017
Eventual release: January 26, 2018
The final installment in the popular sci-fi YA trilogy was set to be released early last year, but is only just seeing the light of day following that left actor Dylan O'Brien fighting for his life.
While filming a stunt in Vancouver, O'Brien reportedly fell from one vehicle into the path of another. He suffered concussion, facial fractures and brain trauma, and production on the film was shut down with the intention of resuming work when O'Brien had recovered. However, it soon became clear that his injuries were severe and the film was put on an indefinite hiatus.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. O'Brien made a full recovery and returned to acting, completing the movie. And with a starring role in this year's American Assassin, the future looks bright for the young actor.
2| Phone Booth
Planned release: November 15, 2002
Eventual release: April 4, 2003
The Colin Farrell-starring real-time thriller was one of a number of post-9/11 action films that eschewed more realistic terror attacks for high-concept threats. Set entirely in and around a single phone booth, this story of a cheating husband being manipulated by an unseen sniper must have seemed a perfect fit.
The film's 2002 release date was knocked back, however, because of the horrific Beltway sniper attacks that left ten people dead and several more injured over the space of three weeks. The killers were eventually caught and the movie was released in April 2003.
Original release date: July 2, 1997
Eventual release date: December 19, 1997
James Cameron's retelling of the ill-fated RMS Titanic story was itself–in production, at least–. Members of cast and crew were taken ill after spending day after day submerged in water and Cameron himself was cited as the source of much on-set tension, with star Kate Winslet admitting that she was terrified of the director.
The most notable behind-the-scenes SNAFU, however, remains slightly mysterious. Someone (possibly two someones–the prime suspects were a pair of disgruntled caterers) laced the lobster chowder with the drug PCP (aka angel dust)–leading to 50 members of cast and crew being hospitalized.
With all these incidents, it's no surprise that the film was nudged back a few months, prompting speculation that Cameron had made a Piranha II-style turkey. Of course, Titanic proved to be one of the self-styled King of the World's most enduring hits, and one of the most successful movies ever made.
4| Furious 7
Original release date: Summer 2014
Eventual release date: April 3, 2015
The seventh installment in the much-loved auto-action franchise was touched with tragedy when its star Paul Walker, who played former LAPD officer Brian O'Conner, (unrelated to the making of the movie) in California.
Following Walker's passing, work on the film paused. While only half of his scenes had been shot, the film was eventually completed with the help of his brothers Caleb and Cody and the digital effects geniuses at Weta. Never intended as a finale to the series, the story was reconfigured to give Brian's character a suitably touching conclusion: retirement and a happy family life with his partner Mia (Jordana Brewster).
5| Gone Baby Gone
Original release date: December 28, 2007
Eventual release date: June 6, 2008
Ben Affleck made his directorial debut with this bleak but excellent crime thriller based on the novel by crime writer Dennis Lehane. With its themes of child abduction and pedophilia, the film had its UK release in December 2007 sensibly pushed back into the following year, due to the still-unsolved abduction of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann.
Horribly, it wasn't the only real world crime to impact on the film. In Malaysia it was delayed to March 2008 because of the kidnapping and murder of young Nurin Jazlin.
6| Red Dawn
Original release date: November 24, 2010
Eventual release date: November 21, 2012
The remake of the 1984 Patrick Swayze-starring war movie faced several hurdles before it finally reached cinema screens.
Work on the film was finished in 2009, with a release planned for summer the following year. However, this didn't anticipate MGM filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The media company was restructured and Red Dawn was given a new release date of 2011–at which point it was decided that a film depicting hostile Chinese invaders was going to be a problem at a time when China was starting to emerge as a major movie-going market.
The film was significantly re-edited and digital effects artists erased all traces of Chinese insignia. Now the baddies were North Koreans, who the producers presumably had no fear of offending. The film's US release was nudged back to late 2012 accordingly, but despite these changes, it was still never released in China.
7| Jeepers Creepers 3
Original release date: 2015/2016
Eventual release date: September 26, 2017
The third installment of the horror franchise was first announced way back in 2006, but was only greenlit for production in 2015 after struggling to complete its financing.
However, shortly after production began, the Union of British Columbia Performers (UBCP) issued a warning urging actors not to respond to a casting call for the movie, due to director Victor Salva's criminal past. Salva had been charged with the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old actor in 1988, and served 15 months in prison. The film was eventually completed and released (for just a single day theatrically) last year.
8| Dr Strangelove
Original release date: December 1963
Eventual release date: January 29, 1964
Kubrick's satire about a deranged general unleashing a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union is both a hysterical farce and a chilling warning about the insanity of the Cold War. Its first test screening was November 22, 1963, with general release planned for a few weeks later. However, November 22 was a fateful one for the United States: it was the day that President John F Kennedy was assassinated.
With the national mood dark in the wake of the killing, the film was rescheduled for January 1964. A climactic pie-fight scene that contained the line, "Gentlemen! Our gallant young president has been struck down in his prime!" was removed, though Kubrick later said he had already planned to excise it; and a line from Major Kong (Slim Pickens) was edited to change "Dallas" to "Vegas". Despite the delay and these changes, Dr Strangelove went on to become one of Kubrick's most acclaimed pictures.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.