Film 101: Development Hell

Ah, development hell, the two words you never want to hear associated with a film you really want to see.

Development hell is the term used for a project, big or small, that is stuck in development for years without moving on to completion. During this time a project can change directors, cast, scripts and producers multiple times and yet no real progress is made. If it goes on long enough, development hell can lead to production being shut down multiple times.

Examples of films that suffered a long time in development hell include (but are not limited to):

Warcraft: This 2016 bomb was announced all the way back in 2006 but it took ten years to bring the movie to completion

Akira: There have been numerous attempts to create a live-action adaptation of this 1988 animated film, but as of 2012 production has been shut down for the 4th time.

Deadpool: The first deal to create a Deadpool film was announced all the way back in 2000. Then another attempt was made in 2004, followed by a new attempt in 2010. Finally, as we all know, the film was released in 2016 and became one of the most popular films of the year.

Jonny Quest: A live-action adaptation of the cult classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series has been in the works since 1995. At one point in 2009, Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were reported as being attached to the project. Since 2015, it’s been reported that Robert Rodriguez would be directing the film, though as of late there have been little to no details on the project.

Atlas Shrugged: A film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus was stuck in development hell for nearly 40 years before the first part of a trilogy was finally released in 2011 (part 2 in 2012 and Part III in 2014).

Star Trek 4 (Abramsverse): It could be argued that the sequel to Star Trek Beyond is in a mild state of development hell as it’s been two years and there have been little to no details about the next film in the series.

These are just a few examples of films that were stuck in development hell (some remaining there to this day). This can also occur to video games (Aliens: Colonial Marines, Duke Nukem Forever and Team Fortress 2 for example) as well, though that’s a story for another day.

What films in development hell do you wish would hurry up and get released already? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film 101

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