Hollywood is a place where the more you learn about how the industry works, the more amazing it becomes that anything ever actually gets made. Between funding movies, arguments between producers, and tension on sets, it can be a miracle to actually keep your movie from becoming a total mess. In the case of these 10 movies, between how they were made and the expectations set by the studios, everybody thought they'd be complete failures. Everybody was dead wrong.
The movie that introduced all of us to Patrick Swayze's very firm beliefs on putting Baby in a corner, it's pretty surprising to think that there was a time where this was anything but a classic. However, the truth is, test audiences absolutely hated the movie, and its producer was so disappointed in it that he said "Burn the negative, and collect the insurance." It went on to make $214 million at the box office, on a budget of $6 million.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
You and I both know that this movie's an undisputed classic that paved the way for Disney to become the unstoppable juggernaut of the film industry that it is today, but back in 1937, making an animated film with a running time of over 80 minutes was a massive risk. Critics at the time thought that kids would never be able to sit still for that long, and that adults wouldn't suffer through a movie meant for children for that long either. Even Walt Disney's wife, Lillian, said the movie was "doomed to fail."
Speaking of Disney properties (man that still feels weird to say), before Star Wars was a billion-dollar enterprise of movies, games, merchandise and just about everything else you could think of, it was just another B-grade sci-fi movie from an unknown director. Fox believed in it so little that they allowed George Lucas to keep the merchandising rights (which we imagine they're kicking themselves over now), and Lucas himself went on vacation during the premiere. He returned to find out it was shattering box office records.
The Blair Witch Project
This is maybe less surprising than a lot of the other entries on this list. An independent horror movie that was filmed on a shoestring budget with incredibly low-quality equipment, it was an experiment that could have easily tanked. However, between a brilliant marketing campaign and word of mouth, it became a massive success.
Think those were surprising? Wait 'til you see the rest!
Before he was directing major Hollywood productions and writing comics for Marvel and DC, Kevin Smith was a young upstart director making a movie starring his friends and people he could hire locally. He maxed out his credit cards, sold his comic book collection, and used up his college fund to make a little movie called Clerks, and while nobody thought much of it at the time, they changed their tone when it got bought by a major studio and went on to earn over $3 million on its budget of $27,000.
Arnold Schwarzenegger had a bit of a slow start to his acting career, and had only recently found some success with Conan the Barbarian. His agent warned him that taking the role of the titular Terminator would typecast him as a villain and ultimately be career suicide, and Arnie himself even responded to a question about he boots he had with him as being for "some s*** movie I'm doing." That "s*** movie" ended up launching the careers of both him and director James Cameron (who we'll also be hearing more about later).
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
This is a case where it's really a miracle that the movie ever got made at all. Disney head honcho Michael Eisner tried to shut down production on the film when he found out that a movie based on an antiquated Disneyland theme park ride was going to cost the studio over $100 million. Even once he was talked down, producers who visited the set absolutely hated Johnny Depp's quirky, Keith Richards-esque performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, and predicted the movie would bomb. Instead, it spawned a massive franchise.
Friday the 13th
Much like The Blair Witch Project, this little horror movie project wasn't really expected to be anything but a disposable bit of entertainment. Even Betsy Palmer, who played Jason Voorhees's mother (who's the real killer in the first movie, not Jason), mentioned that she only signed on because she wanted to buy a car, and that she thought the script was a "piece of s***." We suspect she changed her tone once she saw the box office gross for the movie.
Before National Lampoon was a massive name in comedy and gave us classics like the Vacation series, there was this gem of a frathouse movie that nobody thought would succeed. Donald Sutherland accepted an upfront payment of $35,000 because he "just wanted the money," but then estimated that that decision cost him a whopping $14 million for a single day's shooting.
That's right, there was actually a time when people thought that freaking Titanic wasn't going to be a success. Between numerous production delays and a massively bloated budget of $200 million, critics everywhere were predicting that it would bomb, especially when it got pushed from a summer release to December. Instead, it stayed at the number one spot at the box office for an unprecedented 15 weeks, raked in over $2.1 billion dollars, and won 11 Oscars, putting it in a tie for most Oscars ever won by a movie.