With reshoots becoming a bigger mainstay in Hollywood blockbusters, we run a greater risk of getting a product that may very well be bad. Over the last several years, we’ve seen that, when reshoots come into play, more often than not moviegoers are likely to get a bad movie. The following 8 examples show that reshoots are more likely to hurt your film.
Number 8: Superman 2
Despite positive critical reception upon release, it was later revealed that the original Superman director, Richard Donner, was fired near the end of production and replaced with Richard Lester. Then over half the film was reshot, meaning that most of Lex Luthor’s roles were subsequently dropped as Gene Hackman was unwilling to return due to Donner’s treatment.
With the release of the Donner cut years later, it was found that reshoots for Superman: The Movie made it worse than what was originally entailed, thus making it inferior. So if you ever feel like watching the original Superman films, for whatever reason that may be, be sure to select the Donner cut, as most consider this to be the SUPERior cut.
See what I did there?
Number 7: Solo: A Star Wars Story
Although Solo is not the worst film on this list, its holy hell of a production made headlines as original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller of 21 Jump Street fame, were fired when nearly 80% of the movie was shot. They were replaced with Apollo 13’s Ron Howard. Due to the backlash of The Last Jedi from big Star Wars fans and fans of Lord and Miller’s other works, many chose not to watch Solo or just boycott it outright, causing the film’s box office performance to tank in terms of Star Wars money. This is unfortunate, as it was a good movie when all things were considered.
The biggest irony of all though was that it was confirmed by both Maul actors, Ray Park and Sam Witwer, that the reshoots actually helped make a lot of the elements more inline with Star Wars canon. Meaning the reshoots actually made Solo more consistent with the Star Wars universe. While other reshoots on this list made their movies worse story wise, here it actually helped significantly.
Number 6: I am Legend
The perfect example of how a good movie is turned bad by its ending. The original ending for I am Legend saw Will Smith’s character realize that the monsters feared him as he kidnapped their kind and experimented on them. This ending followed the original themes and ideas found in the book it was based on, making for a much more coherent and pleasing story.
The theatrical ending, while more upbeat, completely ditches those themes previously set up, making for an experience that leaves you unwilling to re-watch the movie. That’s a big sin, even greater than the movie’s box office, which somehow managed to turn a profit despite the lukewarm reception from critics, fans, and audience alike.
Number 5: Dark Phoenix
In terms of quality, Dark Phoenix was not the worst X-Men movie. Yet it performed terribly due to the film being constantly pushed back for reshoots, to the point where interest in Dark Phoenix tanked along with its quality. Continuity was thrown out the window, with so many parts feeling disjointed and disconnected from the films that came before it and the third act, which originally took place in space, getting replaced with a mediocre train sequence. This lackluster setup completely left out what made the original comic so unique.
When fans learned of the original ending being ditched for a plain one, very few people came out to watch the film. Dark Phoenix currently stands as the lowest reception and lowest grossing film in the franchise. Will it be missed? No, no it will not.
Number 4: The Predator
If there were ever an example of how not to do a soft reboot, Shane Black’s The Predator would be the perfect example. After tanking with test audiences, The Predator was thrown into reshoot after reshoot until scenes made no sense and the ending was an absolute pain to comprehend. Scenes transitioned from day to night so quickly that you have to wonder if literal days passed or the director got lazy.
During the extensive reshoots, 20th Century Fox also chose to add references to 2004’s Alien vs Predator into the franchise, thereby making it canon. This was not only lazy, but also broke the Predator timeline that had been set up previously. The ending was also tacked on, making a sequel baiting ending so sequel baity, audiences couldn’t care less if it were eventually made.
The movie tanked and no one cared.
Number 3: Suicide Squad
This movie already had so much bad buzz going into it from the start. With a weird looking Joker played by an even weirder Jared Leto, being considered a sequel to the already poor Batman v Superman, David Ayer screaming ‘Fuck Marvel’ at 2015’s Comic Con, a Guardians of the Galaxy rip-off soundtrack AND, to top it all off, it got flack for showing too much of Margot Robbie’s butt. So of course Suicide Squad needed extensive reshoots thrown into the mix.
The rushed script, choppy editing, and bizarre plot made for an experience that would make even the most braindead of audience members scratch their heads. So much of Suicide Squad felt like it was missing, and it was, as reports leaked that large portions of the movie were left on the cutting room floor just to meet a 2 hour runtime, making the work David Ayer put into it feel insulting.
Despite some noticeable reshoot scenes involving jokes, Harley Quinn’s hair, and the facial hair on most of the main cast, this film did well enough to earn a sequel/reboot from James Gunn, and a spin off movie for Harley Quinn. So not all bad deeds go punished.
But with all that being said, the fact that there is three movies worth of Jared Leto’s Joker that we will never get to see if just unforgivable.
Update 2022: #ReleaseTheAyerCut
Number 2: Fant4stic
There’s a FANTASTIC version of this movie that we will never get to see… according to director Josh Trank, who directed the literal dumpster fire that was Fantastic Four, or Fant4stic as the fans call it. This movie — like Suicide Squad — already had so much to live up to: it had to be better than the two goofy movies that came before it while also proving that Fox could handle the Fantastic Four license better than Marvel. The last part turned out to be a blatant lie, as it was leaked that the only reason this movie even existed was to keep the franchise’s film rights out of Marvel’s hands.
Scenes cut too fast, a lot of action appears to be missing, Victor von Doom’s name changes for some reason, Kate Mara’s hair LITERALLY changes in between takes. Fant4stic is a literal incoherent mess that no one enjoyed, almost damning the brand forever. Hell, the film did so poorly that it actually damaged a couple careers. Miles Teller lost his role in La La Land, Josh Trank got blacklisted for a good while and lost the chance to make his Boba Fett movie, and Simon Kinberg got to walk away scot-free and make Dark Phoenix. That last damage was self-inflicted
Worst part of this mess: whomever handles the upcoming MCU Fantastic Four move will now have more on their shoulders than necessary.
Number 1: Justice League
Boy, where to start here? So on top on having to heavily rewrite the original idea for Justice League because of studio execs knee jerk reaction to your previous movie, you’re constantly fighting off biased studio execs and egotistical producers, and then your daughter loses a battle with depression that leads to you having to step down and away from your movie, and on top of even that, your movie then gets recut and reshot to hell by a filmmaker who is your complete opposite, the film tanks and you get the blame for it.
These are just a few of the problems that befell Zack Snyder while trying to make Justice League. The movie, like Suicide Squad, and Fant4stic, already had so much to live up to: it had to overcome the critical pannings of Suicide Squad and BvS, bring together heroes that were (at the time) more popular than Marvel, be better than Wonder Woman and The Avengers, compete with Marvel at the box office and, worst of all, remove Henry Cavill’s mustache.
Justice League did none of those things.
The reshoots failed to make anything better, instead creating a movie with no identity whatsoever. Joss Whedon was brought aboard to helm the reshoots, with about 85% of the movie being his and it shows. Whedon’s comedic writing clashes harshly with Snyder’s dark tone, making for an unfunny mess. Henry Cavill’s de-mustached face looks like a melted Ken doll that would give Chuck Norris nightmares. Ben Affleck’s weight and hair fluctuate aggressively to the point that they hinder his performance in post-production. As a matter of fact, everyone’s performances flip-flop between good and bad.
Due to the rushed post-production, Justice League’s VFX suffered to the point that it looks like a video game, and not in the good way. Think dated PS2 cutscene graphics, especially regarding Steppenwolf. There are even times where they looked unfinished; and that’s because they were. In order for the execs to keep their bonuses, they had to realse the film by November, which they did, regardless of the quality of the vfx.
The editing is even choppier than Suicide Squad’s, with a two hour runtime that more or less ends at the 1hr 40min mark. It was also learned that the film’s original cinematographer was not brought on for these reshoots, as he shot Justice League on film while the reshoots happened on digital. This not only makes for bad scene consistency, but also made the cinematographer literally cry.
This was a movie that needed to be longer, but the reshoots basically sentenced Justice League to the worst fate imaginable: being forgettable. And because it was forgettable, no one felt they needed to see it. Justice League lost a lot of money and made sure we would not see a DC team up movie for the foreseeable future, at least outside the CW Arrowverse.
This is quite tragic, as a lot of fans (myself included) grew up with the animated Justice League show and remember a time where the now cancelled George Miller’s Justice League had us foaming at the mouth. The fans deserved better, the actors deserved better, the crew deserved better, and Zack Snyder deserved better.
2020 Update: The Snyder Cut of Justice League will release on HBOmax in 2021. Thankfully, no reshoots will appear in this version of the movie.
2021 Update: So there were some pick ups added but no reshoots. The movie released on March of 2021 on HBOmax and it was freaking awesome. My review is here. Check out the movie, it’s awesome.
2022 Update: #RestoreTheSnyderVerse