Big-budget movies have always been the spectacles of Hollywood. Looking at some of the numbers for what studios are willing to pay for certain movie productions is truly hard to believe. And of course, every so often, one of those big movies fails miserably, showing the risk of putting that much money behind any one title.
Sometimes certain movies don’t get made, and the most common reason behind it would surely be budget. As great as a movie might sound and regardless of the talent involved, when those numbers start to climb, a studio can always get nervous and pull the plug. That was the case for these intriguing projects that never came to be.
Orson Welles secured one of the most unprecedented deals in Hollywood history when he was given full control over his first feature film. That movie ended up being Citizen Kane, which obviously worked out pretty well. However, Welles’s first idea was an ambitious adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Reportedly, among the bold ideas that Welles was considering included shooting the movie from a first-person perspective of the main character. During pre-production, the budget was clearly heading well above $1 million. While that is an indie movie by today’s standards, it was a huge amount at that time, especially considering the studio was not confident in the project.
Given how beloved the live-action/animated hybrid Who Framed Roger Rabbit has become, it is astounding there has never been a sequel. However, there had been numerous talks of some sort of follow-up for years, with the prequel adventure Who Discovered Roger Rabbit coming the closest.
The movie was said to follow Roger’s rise to fame as a Broadway star and was going to feature Roger finding out Bugs Bunny was his father. The sequel would have used a mix of traditional animation, CGI, and live-action, but when the budget started to go past $100 million, the idea was abandoned.
Following the success of their collaboration on Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger and director Paul Verhoeven were set to re-team on an epic new project called Crusades. The movie was said to be a violent and controversial story about the Holy Crusades with Schwarzenegger as the hero.
While production was gearing up and a cast including Jennifer Connelly and Robert Duvall was set in place, Verhoeven and Schwarzenegger had a meeting with the studio to address budget concerns. According to Schwarzenegger, when asked what guarantees could be made that the budget wouldn’t go over $100 million, Verhoeven launched into an angry rant about there being no such guarantees. The project was abruptly canceled after that.