Some of the greatest SCI-FI Stories … almost didn’t make it to the screen. Production delays, cost overruns and more can threaten a project to the point of cancellation. Luckily for fans, the ones on this list found a way to survive.
Star Wars (1977)
Universal Studios and United Artists both passed on STAR WARS, before it was picked up by 20th Century Fox. During the first week of production, shooting was interrupted by a rainstorm that caused technical problems. When studio heads later tried to nix the Death Star finale, George Lucas went ahead and filmed it anyway. It has also been reported that some of the actors found it hard to take the movie seriously (with some later admitting that they didn’t think it would do well.) Guess they were wrong!
Blade Runner (1982)
Inspired by Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the first script for BLADE RUNNER was not up to Dick’s standards. Ridley Scott took charge of the project and hired David Peoples to rewrite the script, bumping the budget from $13 million to $15 million. Right before the crew was ready to begin filming, Filmways backed out with their money, leaving the film without financing. Eventually, the producer of the film, Michael Deeley, was able to get three different backers involved, saving one of the most beloved cult classics of all time.
Back To The Future (1985)
The first draft of BACK TO THE FUTURE was canned by Columbia Pictures for being “not sexual enough.” The writers took the film to other studios over the next four years — only to be rejected, even pitching the film to Disney (who rejected it over the whole Marty and his mom ordeal). Eventually, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis resorted to taking the film to their good friend, Steven Spielberg, who took the film to Universal. The rest is history.
The budget for WATERWORLD ballooned from $100 to $175 million (the biggest at the time). It received new writers, a new score, and last minute script changes, some of which were done by Joss Whedon (who refers to the ordeal as “seven weeks of hell”). After a hurricane destroyed a multi-million dollar film set, and lead star Kevin Costner almost died, the movie was not looking like it would ever see the light of day. Eventually, the finished film was released, to cult fanfare. Maybe one of the most underrated movies of all time.
Stranger Things (2016)
The creators of STRANGER THINGS, Matt and Ross Duffer, say initially they were intending to make a film out of the concept. They explain that “nobody wanted to hear movie ideas. They wanted to hear television ideas.” But then the networks weren’t thrilled with the idea of the concept as a TV show either (it was turned down 15 to 20 times), so they pitched it as an eight-hour movie that could include breaks. Ultimately, Netflix went for it.
As creators of THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, we’re hoping that one day our story will make it to the screen. We’ve been reaching out to filmmakers, in hopes of finding the right person to bring our story to life.
Wish us luck!!!