It’s not uncommon for movies to be a little late, or off schedule. Producing movies is a huge undertaking with many parties involved and the chances of things going wrong. Studios can collapse, rights can go into limbo, and world conditions can necessitate a project’s delayed release.
Most delays only last a few months, maybe even a few weeks but there are some movies that are delayed beyond just false starts. Some sit on shelves for years, gathering dust and seemingly never seeing the light of a screen. These movies were shelved before they were finally released years later and why they gathered dust in the first place.
2020 science fiction horror film under water Kristen Stewart stars as mechanical engineer Nora Price in Kepler 822. Ocean floor research and drilling facilities have been affected by the earthquake and many stranded and injured are unable to reach the surface. As the crew tries to escape and make their way to the top, the sea spills some monstrous secrets and the resulting climax is Lovecraftian in its revelations.
The film was originally slated for completion in 2017 but was shelved until January 2020. The film was originally produced by 20th Century Fox who decided to shelve the project after completion. Once Disney bought the studio, they decided to capitalize on Kristen Stewart’s star power and release the film. Ultimately, the film received mixed reviews and underperformed at the box office but has developed a cult following.
blue sky Follows the tumultuous relationship between Carly (Jessica Lange) and Hank (Tommy Lee Jones) in the 1960s. Hank is a supporter of underground nuclear testing, an initiative code-named Blue Sky, and a major in the military, while Carly is a free-spirited soul dealing with mental health issues and trapped feelings. Moving from Hawaii to an isolated Alabama base becomes the catalyst for a series of events that will change their relationship and the course of the Blue Sky Initiative.
Completed in 1990, the film was halted due to Orion Pictures filing for bankruptcy. The picture was finally released in 1994, which was unfortunately 3 years after the tragic death of director Tony Richardson. Another silver lining of the film is finally being released which won Jessica Lenz an Oscar as well as a Golden Globe and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for her performance.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Completed in 1985, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Michael Rooker stars as Henry, a psychopathic serial killer who indiscriminately kills people across the country. Tom Towles also stars as Henry’s friend from prison called Otis. The characters are based on real-life killers Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Tull. The film is a dark and serious study of psychology and murder that ran into extreme controversy upon its festival debut.
Although the film received equal parts praise and response at its initial screening, Henry Had major trouble finding a distributor and sat on the shelf for 5 years after being given an X rating by the MPAA. It was finally released in 1990 as an unrated limited release. The controversy didn’t stop there when the original poster was withdrawn for being too extreme and replaced with a new version.
All the boys love Mandy Lane
Slasher movie All the boys love Mandy Lane was completed in 2006 and stars Amber Heard as the titular Mandy Lane, who, after a summer of puberty, finds herself returning to school as a young woman, and finds herself the object of desire of the school’s largely male population. After a sudden death at a party and Mandy’s continued rise in popularity, Mandy and her new friends head to a remote ranch to party for the weekend. Of course, the bodies soon begin to pile up as the killers begin picking off the teenagers one by one.
Although the film had some success on the festival circuit, it entered rights-based hell as the film was screened sporadically at festivals for nearly 7 years between distributors. The film finally saw a full release in 2013 where it received divisive reviews, with some calling it a new take on the slasher genre and others dubbing it a played-out trope fest.
The New Mutant
One of the most famous and unexpected examples of movie closures in recent times is the story The New Mutant. Pitched as a dark X-Men close-up story featuring all new mutants and an impressive cast, fans were over the moon to get a new and different X-Men universe film. The all-star cast features Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Blue Hunt, and Henry Zaga as a group of teenage mutants learning to control their abilities in a hospital facility.
The film was slated for release in 2018 after principal filming was completed in the fall of 2017. Disney acquired production studio 20th Century Fox in the winter of 2017, and Disney made the decision. The New Mutant A new view is required. The release was delayed while reshoots were planned but ultimately the reshoots never actually took place due to studio reshuffles. Eventually, director Josh Boone returned to finish work on the film, and it was released in 2020. Unfortunately, it was a box office bomb with mixed negative reviews and a box office gross of $49 million against a budget of around $80 million.
MORE: Why This Forgotten X-Men Movie Was Almost Great