The movie business is a delicate and fragile ecosystem, and even the smallest misstep can have a profound affect on events all over Hollywood. When there's this much money at stake, one wrong move could have huge consequences that may ultimately leave hundreds of crew members out of work through no fault of their own.
Imagine investing a lot of money and even more time into developing a movie, only to have the rug pulled out from under you thanks to events that aren't even under your control. It doesn't seem very fair, but it happens all the time, and we've already seen plenty of examples of what happens as the result of this domino effect.
When the stakes get higher, the margin for error gets a whole lot thinner, and one high-profile disaster can lead to similar projects being delayed, placed into turnaround or abandoned completely. Ironically, a lot of these canceled movies had the potential to be much better than the ones that saw them unceremoniously thrown back into development hell, but sadly we'll never get a chance to find out for ourselves.
11. The End Of The Historical Epic Boom Is Bad News For Michael Mann's Gates Of Fire
Back at the turn of the 21st Century, the critical and commercial success that greeted Ridley Scott's Gladiator led to big-budget historical epics becoming Hollywood's favorite genre for a hot minute. However, this rapid over-saturation quickly led to diminished box office returns and lukewarm reviews, and the boom quickly faded.
While the likes of Scott (multiple times), Wolfgang Petersen, Oliver Stone, Roland Emmerich and John Woo all got in on the action, another of the industry's biggest directors missed out on the opportunity to have a crack at bringing the ancient world to the big screen.
Gates of Fire would have seen Michael Mann tackling the legendary Battle of Thermopylae, in a gritty and immersive blockbuster that had George Clooney attached to produce and star, and would have been a major departure for a filmmaker best known for glossy, stylish thrillers.
Unfortunately, the money men got cold feet when similar titles like Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven and King Arthur under-performed, and the final nail was hammered into Gates of Fire's coffin when Zack Snyder's 300 depicted what would have been Mann's signature battle in speed-ramped and hyper-stylized fashion.