14 Bad Movies That Were Way More Interesting Behind The Scenes

Over 1.3K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of 14 Bad Movies That Were Way More Interesting Behind The Scenes
Voting Rules
Vote up the behind-the-scenes dramas that could be their own movie.

Hollywood churns out plenty of bad movies every year that come and go without much fanfare. However, every once in a while a movie gets released that gives the public more behind-the-scenes fodder than even the best screenwriter could dream up.

The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Waterworld are all best known for the epic disasters that happened when the cameras weren't rolling. Prima donna cast members who refused to act together in the same scene, directors getting fired in the middle of production, and budgets getting slashed are just a few of the juicy details. 

Make your voice heard. Vote up the behind-the-scenes dramas that could be their own movie.

  • 1
    553 VOTES

    The Island of Dr. Moreau

    David Gregory's 2014 documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Moreau depicts just how much of a total disaster the 1996 sci-fi-horror film was to shoot. The project was doomed from the start with an inexperienced film director, Richard Stanley, who was fired just three days into the movie's production. 

    The cast included not one but two egomaniacal prima donnas, Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer, who staged a personal war against each other. They often refused to act together in the same scene. Kilmer became such a diva with his outrageous demands that he purposefully mumbled his lines and often showed up late. Brando didn't even bother to learn his lines. 

    John Frankenheimer took over directing duties following Stanley's exit. As soon as production ended, he couldn't wait to get Kilmer out of his sight. He told his crew, “Get that bastard off my set!!" He also said, "I don’t like Val Kilmer, I don’t like his work ethic, and I don’t want to be associated with him ever again.”

    The antics of Brando and Kilmer, a flood that nearly totaled the movie's entire set, and the directing change made the production go from six weeks to six months. Critic Jason Bailey wrote on Flavorwire:

    Roughly akin to watching a slow-motion train wreck in which the flames spread into the brush and become an out-of-control wildfire. What the hell happened?

    553 votes

    Available On:



  • Who knew a video game adaptation could go so horribly wrong? Super Mario Bros. became the first video game to ever get a live-action adaptation to the big screen. It's also considered one of the “most troubled” shoots of all time. The production went over budget, lasted weeks longer than originally scheduled, and there was constant fighting.

    Bob Hoskins described making the movie as the worst experience of his career:

    The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Brothers. It was a f*****' nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent.

    Hoskins also said that he almost died on two separate occasions, once from near-drowning and another time from electrocution.

    The script changed so many times that the actors did not bother to learn their lines until they were called to do the scene. Hoskins and John Leguizamo were so unhappy that they reportedly started boozing during work hours. Dennis Hopper, who didn't want to do the movie in the first place, was only supposed to be on set for five weeks. He wound up there for 17 weeks.

    The filmmakers could not decide on the movie's tone. Should it be darker to cater to the adults? Should it stick more to the light-heartedness of the game? Co-director Ricky Morton nearly quit the project. The first directors had already been fired. Morton discussed the script issues:

    And then we went into production, started casting, I started building these huge sets and all the prosthetic creatures and everything. And we were spending so much money; they needed more money and it was an independent production at the time — I think it was financed by a French bank or something — so they decided to try and pre-sell it to a studio to raise the money to finish it. The reaction from the studios was that the script that was written was too dark and too adult, and it should be rewritten — or de-written, as I called it — to a lower level, adding stupid gags and making it more childlike, which is what happened. It got rewritten about two or three weeks before principal production, so by the time the script came in we were ready to shoot.

    The movie flopped at the box office. It was dismissed by critics. Wrote Carrie Rickey: “Scenery rushes by, noise blares, characters pop up wearing new costumes that they couldn't possibly have had time to change into as they eluded their adversaries."

    823 votes
  • Olivia Wilde impressed with her work behind the camera in her first movie, 2019's coming-of-age comedy Booksmart. Her natural knack for filmmaking made her sophomore effort Don't Worry Darling an anticipated project.

    Then, the negative press and sordid rumors took over. The director and her longtime partner Jason Sudeikis suddenly broke up. Wilde was linked to the film's star and international pop sensation Harry Styles. Everyone wanted to know. Did they have an affair? Speculation of a love triangle spread. Wilde addressed the distraction:

    I hated that this nastiness distracted from the work of so many different people and the studio that I was up there representing. But, you know, sadly, it was not something that was entirely surprising to me. I mean, there’s a reason I left that relationship.

    Rumors also spread that Florence Pugh and Wilde did not get along and that she was not happy with the director and Styles hooking up. Pugh was largely absent from the film's press tour. The one time she did speak about the movie, she offered a bitter response to the way the film had been framed and discussed in public, including by its own creators:

    When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry. Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.

    Wilde also said she fired Shia LaBeouf because of “combative energy.” She explained:

    As someone who is such an admirer of his work, [Shia’s] process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.

    LaBeouf refuted Wilde's claim in an interview with Variety: “You and I both know the reasons for my exit. I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse."

    Things didn't get any smoother when the movie was finally set to be unveiled. Pugh, the film's star and primary selling point, skipped the film's press conference. Wilde said Pugh was tied up with filming commitments in another country, but Pugh soon made clear that wasn't exactly the case. And then there was the Spitting Incident at the premiere, when footage emerged making it seem like Styles may have spit on co-star Chris Pine as they were settling into their seats. The controversy captured the Internet's speculative attention for a good 72 hours, with clips from all angles being analyzed like the Zapruder film by online sleuths.

    The psychological thriller about a 1950s utopian society hiding a dark secret received mostly negative, and often harsh, reviews. Critic Scott Tobias wrote:

    It takes a while for Don’t Worry Darling to reveal itself as abysmal, because it spends such a grueling amount of time being merely pedestrian.

    483 votes

    Available On:


  • 4
    466 VOTES

    Wesley Snipes reprised his role as the vampire hunter Blade for the third and final time in 2004's Blade: Trinity. Much of the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding Blade: Trinity centers around its mercurial star. Snipes infamously made things difficult on his director, including at one point refusing to open his eyes during a key scene - to the point that the film had to CGI him opening his eyes in post-production.

    Co-star Patton Oswalt discussed more of the turmoil during a 2012 interview with The AV Club.

    Patton alleges that Snipes tried to strangle director David Goyer. The director was scared enough that he added a little extra security from some bikers he met at a strip club. According to Oswalt:

    David says to them, “I’ll pay for all your drinks if you show up to set tomorrow and pretend to be my security.” They agreed to the deal and showed up the next day while Wesley freaked out and went back to his trailer.

    Snipes has denied Patton's claim. “Let me tell you one thing. If I had tried to strangle David Goyer, you probably wouldn’t be talking to me now. A Black guy with muscles strangling the director of a movie is going to jail, I guarantee you."

    Oswalt also discussed a conversation that Goyer had with Snipes:

    Wesley sat down with David and was like, “I think you need to quit. You’re detrimental to this movie.” And David was like, “Why don’t you quit? We’ve got all your close-ups, and we could shoot the rest with your stand-in.” And that freaked Wesley out so much that, for the rest of the production, he would only communicate with the director through Post-it notes. And he would sign each Post-it note “From Blade.”

    Patton also alleges that Snipes would smoke weed all day in his trailer and opted to stay in character - and furthermore, that the film's entire tone shifted during its tumultuous production. Originally, Blade: Trinity was meant to be more serious. However, it ultimately pivoted to a campier and lighthearted story featuring Blade battling Dracula.

    There’s a scene where Blade goes in and confronts this guy for harvesting humans. That scene was supposed to be the whole basis of the film. Blade is fighting for the last shred of humanity. But they thought that it was just so f*cking grim, so they decided to just have Blade fighting Dracula.

    Goyer called the experience of working with Snipes “the most personally and professionally difficult and painful thing I've ever been through.” The third installment effectively ended the Blade franchise. Critic Brian Orndorf wrote:

    A trainwreck set to a booming soundtrack, turning vampire hunting into a screen chore while it almost intentionally torches the macabre groundwork laid down by the first two features.

    466 votes

    Available On:



  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace would be Christopher Reeve's final movie as the Man of Steel. The 1987 project was doomed right from the start. Cannon, the production company producing the superhero sequel, experienced a horrible run of financial losses, hemorrhaging about $90 million between 1985 and 1986.

    The money setbacks meant the budget for Superman IV would have to be dramatically slashed. The original budget of $30 million got cut all the way down to $17 million. The visual effects budget took a big hit, and the production tried to make England pass for New York. 

    Reeve wrote about a scene that was supposed to take place in New York in his 1999 autobiography Still Me:

    We were also hampered by budget constraints and cutbacks in all departments. Cannon Films had nearly 30 projects in the works at the time, and Superman IV received no special consideration. For example, Konner and Rosenthal wrote a scene in which Superman lands on 42nd Street and walks down the double yellow lines to the United Nations, where he gives a speech. If that had been a scene in Superman I, we would actually have shot it on 42nd Street. Richard Donner would have choreographed hundreds of pedestrians and vehicles and cut to people gawking out of office windows at the sight of Superman walking down the street like the Pied Piper. Instead, we had to shoot at an industrial park in England in the rain with about a hundred extras, not a car in sight, and a dozen pigeons thrown in for atmosphere. Even if the story had been brilliant, I don’t think that we could ever have lived up to the audience’s expectations with this approach.

    Then, there were problems with the script. Cannon forced the movie's director Sidney J. Furie to cut the film from 134 minutes down to 90 minutes. This created crater-like plot holes. Plans for an additional Superman were scrapped. Superman IV effectively killed the franchise until 2006's Superman Returns. The movie completely flopped at the box office. Critics lambasted the project, which only scored 10% on Rotten Tomatoes.

    347 votes

    Available On:


  • A Brian De Palma movie starring three of the biggest movie stars on the planet at the time (Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith) based on an adaptation from Tom Wolfe's best-selling novel was bound to be a sure-fire hit and Oscar contender.

    Unfortunately for the 1990 black comedy satire The Bonfire of the Vanities, not even massive star power and a great story could save it. It's bad news when someone writes an entire book about how awful events were behind the scenes. Julie Salamon's The Devil's Candy laid out the sordid details of the fiasco.

    First, the movie came in way over budget at $40 million. Warner Bros. suits were so upset by De Palma's ballooning production budget that they threatened to make him pay for any scene that cost more than $75,000. 

    Then, there was the issue with casting. In Wolfe's book, the role of Judge Leonard White was played by a Jewish man. In the film, they cast Morgan Freeman because studio executives thought he served up some needed “likability, empathy, racial balance.” Many critics felt that all three leads were miscast. Griffith's acting was criticized. Willis struggled to play the alcoholic journalist. The script even had to be changed to tailor to his limits as an actor. Plus, there were reports that Hanks and Willis did not get along. 

    Making matter worse was that all the production woes were widely publicized. By the time the film came out, the public had heard about the in-fighting and out-of-control budget in great detail. The result was a total flop at the box office and a critical disaster. The book The Bonfire of the Vanities tells an important story of class wealth and privilege. A rich white man flees the scene of a hit-and-run accident in the Bronx. The movie failed to deliver that narrative.

    The critic from Time Out wrote:

    In a twin-track movie, we watch dipso journo Peter Fallow (Willis) - who narrates - rise as adulterous Wall Street trader Sherman McCoy (Hanks) falls. Fallow is put onto a story: a poor Bronx Black is a near-fatal hit-and-run casualty. The car turns out to be McCoy's Mercedes - scoop! - and the jackals descend. What De Palma delivers is merely a mediocre yuppy nightmare movie, stylistically flashy but with little pace, bite, or pathos. As usual with De Palma, the woman gets shafted (here Griffith as McCoy's mistress). If anything, it's a Hanks 'little boy lost' movie, more in the Big tradition than The Big Tradition.

    156 votes

    Available On: