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How 15 Shelved Films Released After an Actor's Breakout Role to Exploit His or Her Newfound Fame Performed Financially

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | November 26, 2012 | Comments ()


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It's common in Hollywood that a young actor just starting out will get involved in a dreadful film that would otherwise never see the light of day, but subsequent to the filming of that movie, the actor in question hits it big, and his or her past cinematic sins are released to exploit that actor's newfound fame. That wasn't exactly the case for this weekend's release of Red Dawn -- that movie was delayed for years due to the bankruptcy of MGM. However, in the interim, a couple of the stars of the Red Dawn -- which was shot in 2009 -- have since become big names, thanks to major franchise hits like The Hunger Games and Thor. The film debuted over the weekend -- the biggest Thanksgiving box-office weekend of all time -- in 7th place, with a modest $22 million over the five days. Would it have performed better if it'd been released as originally scheduled? Unlikely. The $22 million opening is, however, far better than most movies which are delayed or unearthed after an actor hits it big.

Here are 15 such instances.

Red Dawn (Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson). Filmed before Thor and Avengers, as well as The Hunger Games, released afterward: $22 million Thanksgiving weekend.

House at the End of the Street (Jennifer Lawrence). Filmed Before Hunger Games, released after: $31 million.

Case 39 (Bradley Cooper). Filmed Before The Hangover, released after: $13 million.

All About Steve (Bradley Cooper, Sandra Bullock). Filmed Before The Hangover and The Proposal, released after both: $33 million.

Paper Man (Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone). Filmed Before The Proposal, X-Men: Wolverine and Zombieland, released after all three: $13,000.

Adventureland (Kristen Stewart). Filmed Before Twilight, released after: $16 million.

Little Ashes (Robert Pattinson). Filmed Before Twilight, released after: $481,000.

Detention (Josh Hutcherson). Filmed before Hunger Games, released after: Box-office unavailable (i.e., not much).

Phantoms (Ben Affleck). Filmed before Good Will Hunting, released after: $5.6 million.

Smart People (Ellen Page). Filmed Before Juno, released after: $9.5 million.

Blood Red (Julia Roberts). Filmed Three Years Before Mystic Pizza, released after (should've waited a year and released it after Pretty Woman): $15,000.

Camp Hell (Jesse Eisenberg). Filmed before Zombieland and The Social Network, DVD release pending Eisenberg's lawsuit to prevent the filmmakers from capitalizing on his cameo, shot in 2007.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Charming Potato). Filmed Before His Huge Year (21 Jump Street, The Vow, Magic Mike), and Delayed to Add More Potato Scenes (in the original cut, he died). Not yet released.

Ingenious (Jeremy Renner). Filmed before The Hurt Locker. Release pending funding.

Copper Mountain (Jim Carrey). Filmed in 1983 (was also the feature film debut of Alan Thicke). Unreleased in the United States, but released in Germany on DVD in 2006 to exploit Carrey's fame. The trailer will make you weep.


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Meanwhile, at the weekend box-office, it was the holdovers who held the top spots: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II and SkyfallLincoln, continued to hold that spot, as well, bringing in another $34 million to bring its total to $62 million.

Rise of the Guardians, the animated film seeking to exploit the holiday season, opened poorly with only $31 million over the five-day frame, below last year's The Muppets $41 million on the same weekend. Life of PI came in at number six with $30 million over the Thanksgiving weekend, performing better than last year's Hugo which targeted a similar audience.

Wreck-It-Ralph also added $16 million despite new competition from Guardians, and it's total now stands at $150 million.

In more limited release (367 theaters), Silver Linings Playbook made $5.9 million, while Rust and Bone (2 theaters) made $30,000 and Hitchcock grossed a tepid $301,000 in 17 theaters.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • TenaciousJP

    I fulled expected Leonardo DiCaprio and "The Man with the Iron Mask" -- filmed before Titanic, released afterward.

  • nrvs

    Persisting with the Charming Potato thing? Retirement beckons, I think.

  • WHY IS NOBODY TALKING ABOUT HOW AWESOME THAT COPPER MTN TRAILER WAS?! It's the ultimate 80s cheese; for God's sake it takes place at a frigging SKI LODGE! It there a better setting for an 80s movie?

  • apsutter

    That felt like the longest trailer ever made. Remember the episode of South Park where they go to the ski lodge and the parents by a time share? Perfect parody of Copper Mountain.

  • DominaNefret

    I saw the Silver Linings Playbook last Sunday, and then saw all of this stuff about how the opening was being delayed until Wednesday and they were doing this limited release schedule where they'd only open it in 400 or so theaters at first. I went "what, hunh? I am pretty sure this is out, because I just saw it."
    Did some googling and figured out that it had actually been released at 16 theaters on the 16th. That is definitely an extremely limited release.

    I loved it. As someone who has been struggling with mental illness my entire life, I found it to be one of the most realistic portrayals that I have seen. Some bits hit extremely close to home, in ways that other movies have tried, but failed to do.

  • Arran

    Was Adventureland really "shelved", though? The fact it was shot before Twilight seems more like a quirk of scheduling rather than a case of being put on the shelf.

  • Sweep The Leg

    You are correct. Same goes with "Paper Man"...it was never held from release. Its post-production schedule might have been slower than other bigger budget fare that the actors were involved with, causing some leap frogging to the theaters. But there was no shelving involved.

  • JenVegas

    Awww, Copper Mountain is an awful looking movie. But it totally makes me miss that show, Duck Factory, that Jim Carrey used to be on.

  • BWeaves

    Has anyone seen "The Sessions" yet? Any good?

  • I actually kind of loved Detention...

  • BlackRabbit

    Hey, what about Cabin in the Woods?

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    What about every Cuba Gooding Jr. movie at the Redbox? Because I'm convinced every last one of those is, somehow, pre-Jerry Maguire, and that his career was basically retroactively destroyed by them.

  • Blake

    JGL - Premium Rush? Was it not originally scheduled to before released before TDKR?

  • Art Vandelay

    JGL was a well-known actor before TDKR. Inception, 50/50, 500 Days of Summer, etc.

  • Blake

    Yes totally, but I seem to remember PR having an earlier original release date. It could just be that the studio had no idea when to release it and wanted to ride JGLs TDKR notoriety.

  • Blake

    G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Charming Potato).Delayed to Add More Potato Scenes (in the original cut, he died). Not yet released.

    Zombie Potato? Hell YES! Otherwise no thanks, dead Potato is better.

  • Henry_Hill

    I'd put Cabin in the Woods on this list. It was shelved for years, but my understanding is that Hemsworth's breakout had a big part in it finally getting to theaters.

  • Hemsworth had nothing to do with the release. It didn't even get a theatrical release in his native Australia. This was a case of the distributors not knowing how to market a horror film that didn't fit in a tidy little box. See Trick'r Treat or even Saw for similar examples of shelving and delayed releases.

  • Sirilicious

    i'm pretty sure the MGM bankruptcy was a big part.

  • Fredo

    What about The Cabin in the Woods? Just like Red Dawn, it too was caught in the MGM imbroglio and it too featured Chris Hemsworth pre-Thor/Avengers.

  • Yeah, but Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo.

  • Word, bitch, Phantoms like a motherfucker.

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