Pop Culture | Movies

10 Movies That Hollywood Expected To Fail, But Obviously Didn't

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Universal

Plenty of movies released over the years have gone on to become beloved classics, but they don't always turn out that way. It's impossible to predict what's going to stick the landing, and in the case of these 10 movies, everybody seemed to guess wrong on how it would do.

The Lion King (1994)

Disney

The Lion King is one of Disney's biggest success stories, taking in nearly a billion dollars worldwide during its theatrical run. It's interesting then that Disney themselves really didn't seem to believe in the movie; most of their senior animation staff jumped ship to work on Pocahontas, which they thought would be its biggest prestige picture since Beauty and the Beast.

Disney

The Lion King was left in the hands of much younger staff members who wanted to try some experimental filmmaking methods, and ultimately their efforts paid off; it made over three times the revenue Pocahontas would make, and was much better received critically.

The Matrix (1999)

Warner Bros.

It's hilarious to think that at one point in time The Matrix was a scrappy little up-and-coming sci fi action film and not a revolution of special effects and storytelling that would spawn dozens of imitators and two divisive sequels. However, that was definitely the case as the Wachowskis pitched their project to Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

The studio ultimately didn't give the movie much advertising or attention due to its unknown directors and weird meld of Eastern philosophy and sci-fi with Western action. Despite this, it went on to be a massive hit that has even been claimed as the reason DVD took off as a format!

Star Wars (1977)

LucasFilm

I sincerely doubt I need to explain how massive Star Wars is. The movie launched one of the biggest multi-media franchises of all time, and to date is still avidly watched by audiences across the world.

LucasFilm

What's crazy though is that pretty much nobody who worked on it thought it would take off. Actor Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) requested his character die, the studio let George Lucas keep all merchandising rights in exchange for a pay cut (yeah, think about that), and Lucas himself was so convinced it would flop after the studio forced a rewrite that he went on vacation during the premiere!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Disney

It's difficult to picture a time when Disney's full-length animated movies didn't dominate box offices and the lives of children worldwide, but that's exactly where they were in 1937 when they were working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Disney

Critics at the time thought it was insane for a studio used to producing 5 - 10 minute shorts to take on a full-length feature, and infamously predicted that it would bankrupt Disney. Instead, the movie was a hit worldwide, and set the stage for Disney to become the unstoppable juggernaut we know today.

Back to the Future (1985)

Universal

Did you know the script to Back to the Future was rejected by a bunch of studios? Originally commissioned by Columbia Pictures (who thought it wasn't raunchy enough), it was eventually sold to Universal Pictures by Amblin Entertainment

Universal

The new studio wasted no time in meddling with it as much as possible, with the filmmakers infamously having to fight to keep the word "future" in the title and up-and-comer Michael J. Fox as the lead. The result was ultimately one of the greatest family adventure franchises of all time.

Seriously, even more of the greatest movies of all time had to struggle to get made...

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