8 Interesting Films Stuck in Development Hell

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | Source: Warner Bros.

[Update, 5/4/16: New information added throughout article!] Whether or not you felt it was worth the wait, the year’s release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the end result of a long and seemingly impossible quest to get the two superheroes in the same film. And with plans for a Wonder Woman and Justice League movie in 2017, fans will soon be getting two more films that for many years seemed doomed to an eternity in development without ever seeing the light of day.

But while Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and other DC Extended Universe movies managed to break out of the cycle of development limbo, there’s still a wide variety of exciting films just waiting for the opportunity to break free. Some of these films appear to be close to getting made, while others will almost certainly never get made. Here are eight interesting films, in no particular order, that remain stuck in development hell for a variety of reasons.

1. Ghostbusters 3

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters (1984) | Source: Black Rhino Productions

First of all, just to be clear, this entry refers to an aborted project that would have involved the cast of the original Ghostbusters, not the rebooted version with a new cast that is coming out this summer. Dan Aykroyd originally wrote a script that revolved around the original group of Ghostbusters getting transported to a hell-like version of Manhattan, but according to Harold Ramis, “no one was motivated to pursue it,” and the script ended up being used as the basis for Ghostbusters: The Video Game.

Then, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, writer-producers on The Office, wrote a script that introduced a new group of young Ghostbusters with the old ones appearing in a mentor role, according to Ramis. However, the failure of their comedy Year One then put that version of the film in jeopardy. As if the story situation couldn’t get any more complicated, Aykroyd appeared on Larry King Now in May and said, “It’s based upon new research that’s being done in particle physics by the young men and women at Columbia University,” seemingly giving out concrete story elements.

However, Aykroyd has never exactly been the person to ask about the status of the film, having said the film was on the verge of production on various occasions for a decade. And then you have potential Ghostbusters 3 director Ivan Reitman, the director of the first two films, telling Slash Film, “we’ve been thinking of alternatives, and we’re actually making some real progress, and we’ll see what happens. That’s the most honest answer I can think of.” So who knows what’s really going on with this film on the script level since even the filmmakers can’t give consistent answers.

Script problems aside, one of the biggest issues with a potential Ghostbusters 3 has also been that actor Bill Murray reportedly isn’t interested in returning — which is probably the only consistent factor in the history of Ghostbusters 3′s development. “I would love to work with him again. I’d hope that he could be in this film. He could be, he might not be, I really don’t know,” Reitman told Slash Film. The lack of Murray’s Peter Venkman in a potential third film begs the question as to whether there’s even a point in trying to figure out this decade-long train-wreck. However, the final blow to the project came with the tragic death of Harold Ramis in early 2014. Plans for a sequel starring the original cast were scrapped, and a reboot starring a new, all-female crew was made instead.