4 finished films that were never released
Posted January 26
MOVIE PURGATORY — Movies and controversy seem to go hand-in-hand all too often. Whether it’s because the content of the film raises a few eyebrows or because the lead actor decides to make some unflattering headlines just before the film's release, Hollywood is no stranger to controversy.
The latest to pop up is centered on the family film, “A Dog’s Purpose,” set for release on Jan. 27. The movie tells the story of one dog who actually figures out his purpose. The film was gaining positive momentum and then a video of what appears to be a trainer forcing a dog into a stunt the animal did not want to be a part of was released and things became heated.
PETA was calling for a boycott of the film, online message boards exploded and Universal actually canceled the premiere of the film. The producers of the film as well as the trainers said the video wasn’t quite what it appeared, but that didn’t stop a firestorm of controversy from engulfing the family flick.
This got me thinking about other controversies that not only canceled a premiere of a film, but also actually kept it from ever being released.
Here is a list of four finished films that never saw the light of day:
Unlike the other films on the list, this 2014 film was eventually released and people actually had a chance to see it.
“The Interview” stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as a TV host and producer duo that land the interview of the century when Kim Jong-Un agrees to sit down with Franco’s character.
The film was highly publicized and with the star power it was likely going to make money hand over fist. Then the “Sony hacks” happened and everything changed.
Hackers attacked Sony Pictures, which later resulted in threats of attacks if Sony released “The Interview” in theaters. The movie was canceled, but Sony did end up releasing the film briefly on Christmas Day and then later on Netflix.
The film “Hippie Hippie Shake” stars a well-known cast and has been finished for years, but it has never been released.
The movie stars Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller and chronicles the memoirs of Richard Neville, the editor of the Australian satirical magazine “Oz.” The film centers around the launch of the London edition of the magazine in the 1960s and the roadblocks it faced.
The film was announced in 1998, but didn’t start production until 2007. The film was finished and ready for release in 2008, but controversy in Miller’s personal life led to a delay. Then in 2009, creative differences among filmmakers led to yet another delay and “Hippie Hippie Shake” has yet to get a release.
Some copies of the film have been floating around online and a few (mainly positive) reviews have cropped up, but as of now, there is no plan on releasing the nearly decade-old film.
River Phoenix was quickly becoming one of the world’s biggest stars when he died at the age of 23 in 1993. When Phoenix died, he was still filming the movie “Dark Blood,” and due to his death, the film wasn’t finished.
The movie’s plot is almost too much to commit to the page here and if you’re really interested you can check out the plot synopsis. Suffice it to say, there are some interesting characters and dark tones.
“Dark Blood” was actually finished 19 years later and premiered at the Nederlands Film Festival in 2012 and then was shown a handful of other times. The film itself has never been released and very small number of people have actually seen the finished product.
The film received mainly positive reviews, but that’s also going off of a very small sample size.
Sept. 1984 was the intended release date for the sci-fi comedy “Nothing Lasts Forever,” based on the novel of the same name. The film follows a young man who aspires to be an artist and ends up on a journey that takes him to Europe, an alternate New York, an underground world run by tramps, and eventually the moon via a city bus.
Before its release date, MGM postponed the film and never put it back on the release schedule. Now, more than 30 years later, the film still has yet to be released.
A pirated copy popped up on YouTube, but was quickly taken down due to copyright claims. The closest thing “Nothing Lasts Forever” has ever had as an official release is when the cable channel Turner Classic Movies aired it on television.
There you have it— four movies that were stopped from release thanks to controversy. This happens more often than you may think in Hollywood and I’m sure we’ll hear about more in the future.
What movies come to mind when you think of controversy and delays? Let us know on social media and in the comments.
John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. John also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome and it just so happens that these are the three things he writes about.