Believe it or not, having an idea and writing the script isn’t always enough to get a movie rolling. More often than not some stuck-up studio executive will say that “it just won’t work” and kick you out the door. It takes a lot of time and effort to convince them to give the script a second chance, and if it wasn’t for all those stubborn writers the world would never see movies like Star Wars, Home Alone or Pulp Fiction. I bet those execs felt really stupid when they saw all those millions pouring in.
Let’s talk about the top 7 hit movies that were bombed by studio execs!
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
I know “Dumb and Dumber” may not have been your favorite movie of all time, but definitely was smash hit with the audience in 1994! Execs all over Hollywood wouldn’t even read a script with such a name, so the Farrelly brothers renamed it to “A Power Tool is Not a Toy”, but that didn’t help either. Eventually New Line Cinema decided to give it a shot, but… they almost screwed up the entire movie by rejecting Jim Carrey over Nicolas Cage, because Jim’s fee of $400,000 was a bit too much. While they were figuring things out, Carrey starred in Ace Ventura, so the studio had to pay $7 mil to get him back. Someone probably got fired.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
It wasn’t easy for Tarantino and his co-writer Roger Avary to sell their script to Columbia TriStar. After reading the script, the company executives completely demolished the movie, saying things like “worst screenplay ever”, “Awful, not funny. And makes no sense”. Naturally, they sold the movie rights, and Miramax picked it up, giving Tarantino $8 mil to work with. Those $8 mil turned into $213 million at the box office, helping Quentin launch his career.
Home Alone (1990)
Warner Bros. Really screwed the pooch on this one. They refused to raise the budget to $17 mil and straight out canceled the movie, auctioning off the right to the highest bidder. 20th Century Fox picked it up, gave John Hughes $18 mil budget and got themselves a freaking blockbuster. At the end, the movie earned over $476 mil worldwide.