Did Empire Strikes Back’s Lack of Opening Credits Cause Problems?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: George Lucas got into trouble over the Star Wars films not having opening credits.

As you are almost certainly well aware, the famous Star Wars series of movies didn’t have traditional opening credits.

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Did Sylvester Stallone Star in Rocky Due to a Case of Mistaken Identity?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Sylvester Stallone was allowed to star in Rocky because the head of United Artists believed he was a different actor.

As you likely have heard by now if you know anything about the Rocky film franchise, the original Rocky movie was not just ABOUT an underdog boxer, it was literally an underdog itself…

Sylvester Stallone was a barely working actor whose only regular gig at the time of the filming of the movie was as an usher. However, he bet big on himself and insisted that if producers wanted to use his script for a movie about an underdog boxer who stuns the world by hanging with the heavyweight champion of the world…

then he would have to star in the movie.

Eventually, the movie was made on the extremely low budget (even in 1975, this was low) of $1 million. Stallone acted for scale (but he was also paid for the screenplay). The other actors got paid very little, as well. Talia Shire made less than $8,000 for her role as the love interest in the film, Adrian.

Anyhow, as the story goes, United Artists only agreed to greenlight the film for producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff (who had recently signed a three-movie deal with UA) if they got to see Stallone act.

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Was Robin Almost In Tim Burton’s Batman?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Robin was originally going to appear in Tim Burton’s original Batman film.

Tim Burton’s classic Batman film was famous for just HOW many different iterations the script went through before they settled on the final film. All sorts of things were in play in the original story, including even the death of Vicki Vale (which I detailed in an old Movie Legends Revealed here).

The main issue behind the changes was a problem so common that there’s even an adage about it – “too many cooks in the kitchen.” There were so many competing interests over the Batman film that Burton was getting it from all angles, from the producer, Jon Peters, to Warner Bros. corporate to probably every third security guard in the Warners lot. Everyone had an opinion.

One particularly common opinion was that Batman HAD to have a Robin in the movie.

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Did Zootopia Originally NOT Star Judy Hopps?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: “Zootopia” originally starred a different character other than Judy Hopps.

Sometimes, it seems as though these movie legends that we feature give off the wrong impression about about how movies normally work. We’re always talking about how some movie was drastically changed at the last minute, but for the most part, that’s not how things go. Most of the time, movies follow the same basic script that they had from the beginning of the film process. This is especially true with animated films, as they take so much longer to make, so typically everything is settled with an animated film well before the film is actually set to be released. Of course, that means when there are exceptions to this typical process, they stand out more, especially with animated films, where dramatically altering a film late in the process is quite costly.

In the past, we’ve discussed how the original story for Toy Story was scrapped so late in the process that they almost had to cancel the film’s release period. We’ve seen how Beauty and the Beast scrapped its early work to revamp Belle and how “Frozen” had to throw out a bunch of animation when they decided that Elsa was no longer the villain of the film. Similarly, then, the recent Disney hit film, Zooptopia, had to get rid of a lot of finished work when they decided just a year before the film was set to be released, that the film was starring the wrong character.

Zootopia is about a young rabbit police officer named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who fights stereotypes in the anthropomoraphic world of Zooptia, as rabbits are not seen as the sort of animal that you would typically see working as a police officer. Her pluck and moxie carry her through, as well as her optimistic way of looking at life.

Judy, though, was NOT originally the star of the film!
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Was He-Man Originally Intended as a Toy Tie-In for Film, Conan the Barbarian?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about toys and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of all toy urban legends featured so far! It is also really a Movie Legends Revealed, too, so it’ll be listed under both categories.

TOY/MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: He-Man began life as a toy tie-in for the Conan the Barbarian film.

One of the great movie toy tie-in legends involves He-Man and Conan the Barbarian. Namely, did He-Man originate as a tie-in to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Conan the Barbarian, and then Mattel decided, “Eh, let’s just keep this one for ourselves” and then took their Conan prototypes and turn them into the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy line.

The supporting evidence for this being the case is the fact that Mattel did, in fact, have a licensing agreement with Conan Properties International (CPI) to make Conan toys and then Mattel backed out. When He-Man came out, CPI sued Mattel for general copyright infringement claims (that He-Man was too similar to Conan as a toy) and, more specifically, that Mattel breached their contract with CPI to make the He-Man toys.

So is it true?
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Did Deadpool Lose His Bag of Guns in the Taxi Because of Budget Cuts?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND

: Deadpool lost his gun bag in “Deadpool” because budget cuts forced the filmmakers to cut out the scene where the character used the guns.

As the famous saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” This is very true when it comes to making films, as filmmakers are constrained by the budget of their film as to what they can actually do in their movies. You might want to have an epic battle sequence, but if you only have money in the budget for a small fight scene, you have to go with a small fight scene (or, of course, try to invent a new way to depict an epic battle sequence for less money). We’ve seen how budget concerns have dramatically affected the plotlines of films over the years, from the Ghostbusters going from a team of inter-dimensional time travelers to being “just” regular Ghostbusters to Marty McFly going from traveling to the future in an atomic bomb explosion to traveling to the future in a DeLorean. Budget had a similar impact on one of 2016’s biggest films, the surprise blockbuster, Deadpool, which saw major scenes and characters altered simply due to budget cutbacks, including one of the most memorable scenes in the film, when Deadpool loses his bag full of guns right before the climactic battle.

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Did Jane Foster Become a Scientist In Thor Due to a Suggestion from a Scientific Advisor on the Film?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Jane Foster became a scientist based on a suggestion by a scientist advising on the film.

It is always interesting to see how characters evolve from the beginning of a screenplay until they end up on the silver screen. We’ve seen in the past how just a re-written song took Elsa from the villain of Frozen to one of its heroes and we’ve also seen how Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was almost completely re-written to make Belle more of a feminist. This was also the case with Jane Foster in the 2011 hit Marvel film, Thor.

Natalie Portman starred as Foster, who is an astrophysicist in the film, forced to deal with the contrast between her belief in science and Thor’s seeming proof of the existence of magic. Of course, astrophysicist is a good deal different than Jane Foster’s career in the Thor comic books, where she was a nurse for decades before eventually becoming a medical doctor, as well. As the story goes (as suggested to me by my pal, Travis Pelkie), Marvel got the idea to make Jane a scientist from one of the scientists who helped Marvel as part of the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a project of the Naional Academy of Sciences that helps advise filmmakers about the science in their films.

Is that true?
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Did Zack Snyder Really Say That He Couldn’t Get Into ‘Normal Comics’ When He Was Younger Because of the Lack of Sex and Killing?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Zack Snyder said that he couldn’t get into “normal comics” when he was growing up because there was not enough “sex or killing.”

There is a popular meme going around with a purported quote from Watchmen, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director, Zack Snyder, talking about his opinions about comic books when he was younger (I saw it shared by the very nice comic book site, youdon’treadcomics_.

In it, Snyder purportedly says about comics (while promoting his film adaptation of Watchmen):

I had a buddy who tried getting me into “normal” comic books, but I was all like, “No one is having sex or killing each other. This isn’t really doing it for me.” I was a little broken, that way. So when Watchmen came along, I was, “This is more my scene.”

So, is it a real quote?
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How Did An Early Screener of Halloween Change the Film Forever?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: John Carpenter came up with the iconic score for Halloween only after an advanced screening of the film.

It’s really fascinating to realize that there is a whole genre of films that really only came about in the last 40 years or so. There had obviously been horror films before 1978’s Halloween and there had even been films that you could call “slasher” films before (heck, one of the classics in the genre, Alfred Hitchcok’s Psycho, came out almost 20 years before Halloween), but the specific set-up of director John Carpenter’s Halloween was a new one for Hollywood.

It told the story of a maniac named Michael Myers (or “The Shape”) terrorizing a suburban neighborhood on Halloween night, trying to kill as many babysitters as possible…

One heroic babysitter, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was able to protect her young charges and ward off the killer…

“Slasher killer tries to kill teenagers” became its own extremely successful genre from this point on, although few of its copycats were ever able to duplicate the brilliance of Halloween, which stood out as a legitimately great film for its time, regardless of genre.

Written by Carpenter and his co-producer on the film, Debra Hill, the movie is also extremely well known for the brilliant, stripped-down score for the film by Carpenter himself. Movies traditionally have orchestral scores, so Carpenter’s simple keyboard score really stood out and his famed score was used for most Halloween sequels, even the ones that Carpenter wasn’t otherwise involved in making.

The film was made on a very small budget (under $400,000) and its stripped-down style was used beautifully by Carpenter and the almost guerrilla filmmaking somehow worked out perfectly (like the famous decision by costume designer Tommy Lee Wallace to use an adapted Captain Kirk face mask for Michael Myers’ iconic mask. Wallace just bought the mask from a costume shop for less than two dollars and transformed it into a piece of film history).

Carpenter, of course, was looking to do even bigger films and before the release of Halloween, he screened the almost-finished film for a Fox film executive as a sort of demonstration of his skills. Carpenter recalled how her reaction to the film changed it forever:

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Was Bela Lugosi Nearly the Original Universal Studios Frankenstein’s Monster?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Bela Lugosi nearly played Frankenstein’s Monster, who would have looked dramatically different!

I once asked my mother about the Outlander TV series. I had recalled that she had enjoyed the novels, so I recommended the TV series to her and she said she preferred not to watch it. When I asked why, she explained that she already had her vision of what the characters looked like and she wasn’t interested in seeing a conflicting version to spoil her own vision.

The interesting thing about that is that is very much what DOES happen with popular film adaptations of famous novels. The film version becomes the definitive version, whether it matches the novel at all. In the case of Frankenstein’s Monster, Mary Shelley’s novel describes the character MUCH differently than the version that was played by Boris Karloff in 1931’s Frankenstein, and yet the Karloff version is now the iconic depiction of what Frankenstein’s Monster looks like.

It’s fascinating to note, then, that said iconic depiction of Frankenstein’s Monster almost never came to pass!!

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