One of the most dreaded phrases in the movie industry is “development hell.” This refers to movies that take far too long to be financed, filmed, and edited. Here are some of the most notable examples of movies that got stuck in development hell before finally being released.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
This movie is so notorious for being in development hell that there is actually a documentary about this. Back in 1990, Terry Gilliam planned a remake of Don Quixote starring Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort. Thanks to a string of bad luck, including flash floods destroying film and actors getting injured, this movie was not actually made until 2017. However, legal issues ended up keeping it from getting released in the United States until mid 2018.
The Other Side of the Wind
Orson Welles first got the idea for this film within a film in 1961. After struggling to get funding for years, Welles finally started filming in the late 60s. However, there were constant issues like people being recast and Welles changing his mind about key scenes, so it was never released in Welles lifetime. After a lengthy crowdfunding campaign and four years of legal drama, the movie was finally released to critical acclaim in 2014.
Few fans are aware of the crazy backstory behind this romantic film. It was initially conceived as a 1976 movie starring Steve McQueen and Diana Ross, but the project fell through. After being shelved for almost 20 years, Lawrence Kasdan found the old screenplay and decided to give it another shot. The resulting movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner is still a fan favorite today.
Mad Max Fury Road
After the first film was released in 1979, director and writer George Miller only started planning a sequel in 1985, and it took Miller another 13 years to come up with the basic idea for the movie. Sadly, the project stalled in 2001 after 9/11 made funding very challenging, and then it stalled yet again in 2007 when Heath Ledger passed. When it finally started filming in 2012, rain delayed shoots so badly the movie was not released until 2015.