“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was originally planned to start with Indie riding a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China, followed by the discovery of a “Lost World” type of hidden valley with dinosaurs. The idea was scrapped when the Chinese government refused to let them film there.
George Lucas was fined $250,000 and “The Empire Strikes Back” was nearly pulled from theatres because he put screen credits at the end of the movie (which was rare) to preserve the dramatic opening sequences.
During the space race, Stanley Kubrick was so worried that humans would soon make first contact with aliens that he tried to buy an insurance policy for 2001: A Space Odyssey in case audiences found his depiction of aliens ridiculous.
In The Shining, Stanley Kubrick intentionally isolated Shelley Duvall and argued with her often. Duvall was forced to perform the iconic and exhausting baseball bat scene 127 times. Afterwards, Duvall presented Kubrick with clumps of hair that had fallen out due to the extreme stress of filming.
Die Hard was a sequel to the 1968 movie “The Detective” starring Frank Sinatra. As such, 20th Century Fox were contractually obliged to offer Sinatra the leading role. He turned it down due to his age.
Francis Coppola was worried his film Apocalypse Now would be a box office flop and could bankrupt him, so he decided to quickly make a happy musical to recoup his losses. In the end Apocalypse Now was a success, but the happy musical (One From the Heart) was a disaster and bankrupted him anyway.
The movie “Paranormal Activity” had a budget of only $15,000 but made $194 million. During the screening, people were walking out that one studio executive thought the film was bombing. They later learned that the viewers were actually leaving because they were too frightened.
In Back to the Future, the original idea was for the time machine to be a refrigerator, but because Robert Zemeckis was afraid that kids would imitate the film and get trapped in fridges, they changed it to a DeLorean car.
The term “Napoleon Dynamite Problem” is used to describe the phenomenon where “quirky” films such as Napoleon Dynamite, Lost in Translation and I Heart Huckabees prove difficult for researchers to create algorithms able to predict whether or not a viewer will like a certain film.
The software to create the black hole in the movie ‘Interstellar’ is a full implementation of Einstein’s equations in 40,000 lines of C++, and rendered thousands of 23-megapixel IMAX frames on a 32,000-core render farm at about 20 core-hours per frame.