Worst Decisions Ever Made by Film Studios

What does this list of films have in common?

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • The Blind Side
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Ted
  • Back to the Future
  • American Graffiti
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Star Wars
  • T the Extra-terrestrial
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Home Alone

All are huge films. All made the careers of many of the actors, directors, and writers that created. All were rejected by movie studios for one reason or another.

Wait, what? Yup, that’s right. Each of these films was rejected by at least one movie studio before it went on to become an iconic film.

Raiders of the Lost Ark was rejected primarily because it was set in the 1930’s and 40’s. The old school feel didn’t give Hollywood execs warm fuzzies – until Paramount put up a meager $18 million and came out of it with one of the greatest franchises in movie history.

Blue eyes and glowing fingers weren’t enough for movie bosses to “phone home” for their wallets for E.T.  Columbia thought the film was too wimpy. They choose Starman instead. Have you seen Starman? Nope, probably not, but no film buff can deserve that title without having seen one of the highest grossing films in history.

Columbia Pictures passes again on a small film called Back to the Future.  It wasn’t sexual enough. Well, they must have felt good and screwed when the film turned out to be one of the most popular films of the 1980’s.

 When is 3 million dollars worth $800 million? When Warner Bros. rejected Chris Columbus’ appeal for $3 million more dollar to make Home Alone. It took Fox 20 minutes to find the money and they made $800 million on the film.

Wait, wait, Columbia strikes out again with Pulp Fiction. They said no, but Miramax forked over a mere $8 million dollars they found in the casting coach in the bosses office. The film grossed $214 million! Why is Columbia still in business.

There were job openings at both United Artists and Universal after a young director named George Lucas released Star Wars. Both studios rejected it, but 20th Century Fox said, “Yes!” When the profits and spin-offs from the movie reached galactic proportions, Hollywood simply launched UA and Universal executives out a space hatch.

These are only a few films that were initially rejected that went on to make obscene amounts of money and to create iconic characters and actors.

The moral of the story: Don’t think you know what the public wants. Take a chance and see if you can’t land a monster hit right in the middle of the studio lot.

Article written by Bob Peryea for The Monthly Film Festival ~ Images: Tigerstrypes ; York Museum of Trust



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