, a heist comedy based on a 1997 North Carolina robbery directed by Masterminds Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jared Hess, has seen multiple reported release dates come and go over the past year, having been stuck in limbo after production company Relativity Media went belly-up. But in the annals of delayed movie history, a year is a mere blip. In this week’s gallery, here are 24 movies that sat on the shelf for years after completion (or relatively close thereof).
(2015, delayed 7 years) Accidental Love
Money problems plagued this comedy starring Jessica Biel as a waitress who survives a nail gun shot to the head, prompting cast and crew walkouts and union pullouts. Producers held the production hostage by delaying filming of the crucial nail scene, and when all funding evaporated, the movie was left incomplete. In 2014, Millennium Entertainment cobbled the footage together for release while director David O. Russell took his name off the project, with credit now going to one Stephen Greene.
(2013, delayed 7 years) All The Boys Love Mandy Lane
Nothing particuarily wrong about this grindhouse slasher by way of Badlands, except that original distributor Weinstein Company got cold feet after the spectacular failure of the Grindhouse project by Tarantino and Rodriguez. After premiering at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, the Weinsteins sold the movie to Senator Entertainment’s nascent distribution arm, which then went out of business. It took another half-decade until the movie showed up on VOD with a limited theatrical release.
(2009, delayed 2 years) Fanboys
The Weinsteins strike back! This raunchy paean to Star Wars worship features a group of friends (one of them dying of cancer) plotting to break into Skywalker Ranch and steal a workprint of The Phantom Menace. After production, the Weinstein Company hired another director to shoot new vulgar scenes and tested versions with the cancer plotline cut. The movie was eventually released as an amalgamation of the original and reshot versions.
(2012, delayed 2 years) Cabin in the Woods
A mega winky deconstruction of horror films, Cabin was a piece of film flotsam that emerged from the bankruptcy of MGM in 2010. Lionsgate, mid-thrall with Twilight and Hunger Games, picked it up in 2011 and scheduled it for release the year after.
(2011, delayed 4 years) Take Me Home Tonight
No changing hands of distributors with this one. Star Topher Grace contends that Universal sat on this ’80s-set party comedy because the studio didn’t know how to handle a movie featuring copious cocaine use.
(1997, delayed 3 years) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
The once shining depraved star that is the Texas Chainsaw franchise continued to dim throughout the ’90s, when Columbia pushed back this maligned comedy sequel until Renee Zellweger became a household name post- Jerry Maguire. Co-star Matthew McConaughey insisted on not releasing the movie at all by that point.
(2010, delayed 2 years) Case 39
To comment on the wild nature of show biz, by 2010, Zellweger’s name was no longer big enough to guarantee a movie hitting theatrical release. Paramount shelved Case 39 until it saw a release opening after co-star Bradley Cooper hit it big with The Hangover.
(2015, delayed 34 years) Roar
The most violent film shoot in history without fatalities, Roar features lions, tigers, elephants, and more tearing apart a house and mauling cast and crew, with real bloodletting onscreen. Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren, and cinematographer Jan De Bont required hundred of stitches between them. Completed in 1981, the movie was never shown in America until Drafthouse picked it up for limited release.
(2012, delayed 2 years) Red Dawn
Another victim of the MGM bankruptcy starring Chris Hemsworth, Dawn attracted controversy when the invading enemies were changed from China to North Korea. FilmDistrict eventually picked it up.
(2011, delayed 4 years) Margaret
For his follow-up to You Can Count On Me, Kenneth Lonergan was unable to stick to Fox Searchlight’s mandate to keep Margaret at 150 minutes or less, resulting in years of post-production tinkering and conflict. Even Martin Scorsese was brought in to do a cut, which ran 165 minutes. Litigation threats compelled Lonergan to finally turn in the 150 minute cut, though you can see the original 3-hour movie on DVD.
(2012, delayed 4 years) A Thousand Words
Eddie Murphy shot several movies virtually back-to-back-to-back with director Brian Robbins, resulting in Meet Dave and the Oscar-nominated Norbit. The third, A Thousand Words, was halfheartedly released years later when, by that point, Murphy had largely quit the film scene to focus on home life.
(2008, delayed 27 years) White Dog
Explosive genre maestro Samuel Fuller’s final American film, co-scripted by the late Curtis Hanson, plays ruff with a dog trained by a former white supremacist owner to only attack black people. Fuller was run out of town for the movie and moved to France, with White Dog never hitting theaters in the States. It was finally released uncut by Criterion, 11 years after Fuller’s death.
(2002, delayed 3 years) Eye See You
By 2002, Sylvester Stallone’s career had entered the darkest timeline. His attempt to rebrand in CopLand didn’t work (people apparently don’t need to see fat Rocky), while passion project Driven hit a wall. So when a producer abandoned Eye See You mid-shoot, UIP was convinced another Stallone stinker was on the horizon and didn’t release it ’til years after the fact.
(1989, delayed 3 years) Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
A cinema verite descent via dismemberment and placid madness, Henry played the festival circuit for years unable to pick up distribution due to its content. After a positive review from Roger Ebert linking the stigma of the “X” rating to arthouse challengers like The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Henry was released uncut as an X feature. The following year, the NC-17 rating was introduced.
(1984, delayed 26 years) Night of the Ghouls
Aww yeah, you knew Ed Wood would show up in this list! Ghouls, shot post- Plan 9 as a sequel to Bride of the Monster, lay dormant in a production lab due to lack of funds. Decades later, a Wood fanatic footed the bill for its release onto VHS.
(2005, delayed 4 years) Prozac Nation
The Weinsteins (again!) picked up this depression cherry during their Miramax days after it debuted at the 2001 Toronto Film Fest. The company muddled around with multiple cuts without finding the movie’s right edge, before dumping it on Starz! mid-decade.
(1992, delayed 5 years) Rampage
Somewhat fresh off his artistic comeback with To Live and Die in L.A., William Friedkin made this Michael Biehn vehicle — part murder spree, part histrionic courtroom drama. Italian producing legend Dino De Laurentiis was set to release Rampage; his company, DEG, then went bankrupt, delaying the movie by several years.
(2015, delayed 5 years) Shanghai
The Weinstein Company shot this 1940s-era mystery in Thailand, after China revoked their permit a week before shooting was to start. The movie gross almost $10 million internationally during initial release (a far cry from its $50m budget) and the Weinsteins did nothing with the product for years until suddenly and quietly dumping it in theaters last year.
(1999, delayed 8 years) The Lovers on the Bridge
Directed by Leos Carax ( Holy Motors) and released in France in 1991, this strung-out romantic drama starring Juliette Binoche didn’t see an American theatrical release until the fin de siècle for any real known reason.
(1990, delayed 21 years) The Plot Against Harry
Independent filmmaker Michael Roemer only shot two features, during the 1960s. The second, Plot Against Harry was shot in 1969 and abandoned after failing to connect with any audience. Decades later, while transferring the film to videotape as a gift to his kids and witnessing the technician laughing, Roemer passed the film around again to acclaim.
(1954, delayed 10 years) Tiefland
Leni Riefenstahl, she of neutral docudrama Triumph of the Will fame, directed and starred in this adaptation of Hitler’s favorite opera. After resolving a global inconvenience during the later 1940s, French authorities confiscated the Tiefland reels, with Riefenstahl only able to complete the film a decade after shoot. Cannes then rejected it.
(2003, delayed 4 years) Unconditional Love
Using his clout after My Best Friend’s Wedding success, P.J. Hogan directed this way offbeat comedy about a mild housewife who becomes involved with tracking down a murderer of singers. New Line Cinema eventually released the movie on Starz!
(1994, delayed 3 years) Blue Sky
This Tommy Lee Jones/Jessica Lange drama took a while to hit theaters due to Orion’s bankruptcy in 1991. Lange, who won the Best Actress for this movie, would’ve had to compete with Jodie Foster ( Silence of the Lambs) for the Oscar had Blue Sky released on time, though Lange did beat out Foster in ’94 over Nell.
(2005, delayed 3 years) A Sound of Thunder
Production company Franchise Pictures went bankrupt during this Ray Bradbury adaptation’s post-production. Budget reports vary wildly for this, and the higher the number goes, the sadder the final result looks on the screen.