12 Films Studios Tried To Bury

Cult classics, box office turkeys, and other movies Hollywood tried to keep from us.

20th Century Fox20th Century FoxThe movie industry is pretty much a crapshoot. In these tough economic times studios are relying more and more on "safe bets" - movies that are sequels, remakes, or adaptations from other media - because they have built in audiences and there's less margin for error than a totally original idea that makes it to the screen. Even then, though, there's no guarantee that each film they produce is going to be a hit, or even be able to recoup its budget; and, when you sink millions (sometimes billions) of dollars into each production, that's quite the loss you're making, potentially every few weeks. Sometimes studios catch potential turkeys before they get to the general public (and the critics), and try their best to cut their losses by making sure as few people as possible see it. Clearly they're not gonna make a decent return on these pieces of crap, there's no reason to have audiences see it and therefore be put off seeing any more of their movies in the future. January and February are the studios' "dump months" of choice - a time when everyone is too wiped from Christmas spending and it's too cold outside to consider a trip to the cinema. There are other time where the reasons for a studio burying a film are less clear. There are perfectly good films that were nonetheless fobbed off in a dump month, decent flicks that were released with little to no promotion in limited numbers of screens, and even completed movies that were simply shelved and never released. Here are just twelve examples of films that studios tried to bury, for reasons that will (hopefully) become clear...

12. Snowpiercer

Radius-TWCRadius-TWCEven putting aside the likes of Godzilla and the Marvel movie releases of the summer, we're not sure there's a film this year whose release has been so closely followed as Snowpiercer's. Adapted from French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by director Bong Joon-ho, who previously helmed The Host and Mother, this South Korean-American co-production looks brilliantly bonkers. In a dystopian future where the Earth has suffered another ice age, the few remaining survivors stay alive by travelling on a huge train, powered by a perpetual-motion engine, which circles the globe on a never-ending journey. On that train there is a class structure not unlike our current one, with the privileged few living in comfort at the front of the train, and the downtrodden commoners stuck at the back, living in their own filth. With a cast including Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell and Joon-ho veterans Song Kang-ho and Go Ah-sung, plus a $39.2 million, Snowpiercer seems just the right mix of creative risk and Hollywood bankability. If only the Weinstein brothers felt the same way. Since the infamous producing duo secured the rights for the movie's distribution in the US, genre film fans have been concerned about what state Snowpiercer would get released in, if at all. There were threats of the 125 minute run time being sliced in half and voiceovers being added, but in the end they simply decided to release the film uncut, albeit in a handful of theaters, with almost no publicity. Snowpiercer won't get the audience it deserves because...we don't know, the Weinsteins have no faith in it? They're massively trolling internet film fans? Who knows?

Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/