Making a great movie is hard enough under the best of conditions; filmmakers will constantly find themselves fighting against countless uncontrollable forces, let alone those creative ones – namely producers, actors and studio executives – who want to place their own stamp upon the work.
However, sometimes a promising movie will have to work that little bit harder to achieve greatness, because the powers that be – be they studio heads, investors, or even the directors themselves – simply don’t want it to happen.
By way of financial stake or a simple dissatisfaction with the product, 10 powerful names made their best efforts to ensure that these films flopped and were quietly forgotten, yet they have managed to endure as certifiable classics to this day. Here are 10 classic movies people tried to sabotage…
10. Woody Allen Begged United Artists Not To Release Manhattan
Despite being probably the second-most acclaimed film in Woody Allen’s career – after his Oscar-winning Annie Hall, of course – Manhattan is not a film the writer-director-star is proud of. While garnering luminous reviews across the board and an eventual two Oscar nominations, Allen was so dissatisfied with the final result that he begged United Artists not to release it, even offering to make his next film for them for free as an incentive. Allen was quoted as saying, “I just thought to myself, ‘At this point in my life, if this is the best I can do, they shouldn’t give me money to make movies’”.
The famously modest, self-deprecating filmmaker appears to be his own worst enemy as far as success goes, though at least UA didn’t relent and actually take him up on his offer. They clearly knew they had a winner on their hands; the film made $39m against a $9m budget.
This article was first posted on June 13, 2013