There are many films never made for a multitude of reasons. Some of the films have been presumed to be cursed, too complex, too expensive, or just stuck in development hell. These are just a few well-known titles of films that might never see the light of day.
Atuk is based on the 1963 satirical Canadian novel, The Incomparable Atuk, by Mordecai Richler of an Inuit man moving to Toronto only to be corrupted by greed and pretentiousness of living in a big city. It parodies Canadian celebrities, politicians and cultural elites who were popular around the time. The film development is one of the most well-known films stuck in development hell with most of the leading actor choices dying from accidents, overdoses or illness. One day this film will be made, but it may not live up to the expectations.
A Confederacy of Dunce
This story had some time on stage and a hard time getting published with an interesting story about a widow preserving her husband’s fictional novel. Many filmmakers tried to make this into a film like Steven Soderbergh in 2005 or Mel Gibson in 2003 but film studios usually back out because of… reasons. A Confederacy of Dunce is about Ignatius, a 300lb couch potato Don Quixote-like man being eccentric, idealistic, and delusionally creative. He sits on a couch all day watching movies, belches and writes unmailed letters to no one. He hates modern-day pop culture while being disdained has a hobby of his. The story is a tragic comedy that could fit be for an independent film company to make one day.
There was a movie going to be made in 2009 but it was cancelled with a lot of back and forth from director Gore Verbinski and 20th Century Fox. BioShock is a retro-futuristic first shooter game set in 1960. Jack, the protagonist, airplane crashes in the ocean near the bathysphere terminus that leads to the underwater city of Rapture. A city built in the 1940s that operated like a laissez-faire social environment. It became corrupted with crime after the discovery of sea slugs having the ability to make little girls psychic that have large robotic protectors. Jack is requested by a person opposed to the rule of the original builder of the city. I could see this made today with the resurgence of good video game movies.
This is the unmade X-Men film that would have been released around the same time as Wolverine: Origins in 2011. The film went through three directors until no director was assigned to the project by its cancellation by 2018 from 20th Century Fox. It was aimed to be like a romantic comedy about the New Orleans mutant that can create and control kinetic energy from his fingertips. The film would have introduced Minster Sinister and his underground thieving squad.
Francis Ford Coppola’s long project started when he was 16 years old. The draft of the film Megalopolis follows an architect with dreams of turning New York City into a utopia with the Mayor in the way of his vision. It’s supposed to be like Fritz Lang’s Metropolis but an up-to-date version. The film is set for production in 2022 with A-lister stars with a $100 million budget, but it might be delayed for unfortunate and current reasons.
Leningrad: The 900 Days
This film was never made due to the fatal heart attack the director Sergio Leone had before filming. This was supposed to be an adaptation of Harris Salisbury’s non-fiction book “The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad.” An American photographer is trapped in the city of Leningrad at the beginning of the WWII Eastern Front battle while falling in love with a Russian woman. They fight to survive only for the photographer to die on liberation day.
No bail for the Judge
Alfred Hitchcock has a multitude of unfinished work from his filmography. This film wasn’t made because of timing and the lead actress backing out. The laws in the UK changed the rules to prostitution and entrapment making the filming of the story impossible. Also, after Katherine Hepburn walked away because of a miscarriage a previous year and the birth of her son in 1960, she came busy and unavailable. Without Katerine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock became uninterested in the film. This would have been an adaptation of a thriller novel by Henry Cecil about a London barrister with the assistance of a gentleman thief who must defend her High Court judge father after being accused of murdering a prostitute. It would have starred Katherine Hepburn, Lawrence Harvey and John Michael Hayes.
The Dolly Dolly Spy
In the 1960s, Adam Diment was a popular spy novelist that had a huge following. His stories reflected the swinging sixties scene of sex, drugs, dancing and spinning out the latest London slang. He was known as the counterculture version of Ian Fleming. His best hit, The Dolly Dolly Spy, was set for production with the novelist and David Hemmings (of the film Blowup 1966) to be cast as Philip McAlpine, a morally ambiguous spy into sex, drugs and the nightlife (a character considered to be wilder than 007 James Bond.) But the novelist disappeared from public life and the film was shelved afterwards.
Crusade was a film about the first crusades if the film production company Carolco didn’t go bankrupt. It would have been directed by Paul Verhoeven in the mid-nineties. Based on an Empire Magazine interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger said the film was pulled when the director could not agree to keep the budget under $100 million. It was the 90s and that was a large amount of money for a historical epic. It would have been close to the historical fact for a film epic with the fighting and backstabbing with problematic moments during those wars.
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno
In 1964, Inferno (French: L’Enfer) was a film project that was abandoned because director Henri-Georges Clouzot suffered a heart attack that had him hospitalized. This was in combination with a cast member with an illness onset, heatwaves and emptying a lake for an important plot in the movie. The film was loosely about a middle-aged hotelier man jealous of his 20-something-year-old wife. It was partially in black-and-white and in colour with a psychedelic flair. There’s a documentary and test footage film online to know more about the film.
Between making 2001: A Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick was going to make a biopic of Napoleon Bonaparte after two years of research and development. The film was cancelled due to cost and two epics released around 1970 (War and Peace, and Waterloo) that performed poorly at the box office.
This film might be in development hell or just in a really long writing stage. Poe would have been a biopic about Edgar Allen Poe written by Sylvester Stallone and at one point would have been starring him too. There’s a photo of Stallone modelling himself in a top hat and Victorian clothes as the 19th-century poet on Instagram. The film is like his dream project he wanted to do back in the 1970s.
Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Alexander
An epic biopics of the Macedonian conqueror that ushered in the Hellenic era would have a movie event. It would have been directed by Baz Luhrmann who also directed Romeo and Juliet and The Great Gatsby. The film might have been set with pop tunes and a similar directing style from his film Red Curtains film trilogy. Furthermore, it would have starred Leonardo Dicaprio as Alexandar the Great. An Alexandar the Great film was made by Oliver Stone. The film is stuck in pre-production.
This would have been the first adaptation of Dune beating the 80s version, the 2021 version and the miniseries. The first attempt to turn Dune into a film was by Alejandro Jodorowsky. A documentary of the production of the unrealized attempt was well received with many awards and accolades. The film has a lot of 70s stars and artists like Salvador Dalí. It would have been cool and epic and very expensive to finish.