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To 10 Movies Plagued By Real Scandals

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Written by Michael Wynands Getting a movie made is hard enough, but when these productions were rocked by scandals that they just couldn't shake, it was the box office that suffered! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Movies That Were Plagued by Real Production Scandals. But what will take the top spot on this list? The Interview, The Birth of a Nation, or All the Money in the World? Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to boxtroll for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Movies+Plagued+By+Real+Scandals
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When it comes to promoting a film, there is actually such a thing as bad publicity. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Movies Plagued By Real Scandals.

For this list, we’re looking at films that made headlines as a result of a scandal or controversy surrounding the production, cast or crew - both in the lead-up to the film’s release, and afterwards.

#10: “Twilight Zone: The Movie ” (1983)

Odd and sometimes sinister occurrences are par for the course when it comes to the “Twilight Zone” franchise. The thing is, such unnerving events are supposed to transpire within the story, not behind-the-scenes. During filming, this big screen adaptation of the classic anthology series played host to one of the most tragic accidents in Hollywood history. When a combination of pyrotechnics and a helicopter stunt went awry, star Vic Morrow and two young child actors were killed. This tragedy alone would have damaged the film, but it was further discovered that these children, aged 7 and 6, had been hired illegally and were not allowed to be on set at that hour or under those conditions.

#9: “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)

Honestly… this Mel Gibson directed biblical drama was marred by controversy from start to finish. For starters, the violence and graphic imagery of suffering and torture was seen by some as as verging on religious horror porn. Then there were issues of historical inaccuracies. Undeniably the biggest problems however, were accusations of anti-semitism in the way in which Jews were depicted in both the script before production, and, to perhaps a lesser extent, in the film itself. Had Gibson’s anti-semitic rant taken place a few years earlier, it’s doubtful this movie would ever have gotten made.

#8: “Ghost in the Shell” (2017)

Sure, dressing in blackface isn’t remotely acceptable anymore, but on-screen diversity still has a long way to go. As seen with films like “Aloha” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” in this modern age, a large portion of the population does not want to see Caucasians playing non-white roles. So when Scarlett Johansson was cast to play the lead in the 2017 big screen adaption of the hit manga “Ghost in the Shell,” the news wasn’t exactly well-received. Considering the character is named Major Motoko Kusanagi in the source material, many felt that casting a white actress over a Japanese one was clearly inappropriate. Ultimately, “Ghost in the Shell” was deemed to be a box office flop.

#7: “A Dog’s Purpose” (2017)

Cinemagoers seem particularly susceptible to the appeal of sentimental films about the relationship between man and man’s best friend. You know what dog-lovers really don’t like though? Seeing animals get mistreated. And this film production saw itself embroiled in a rather serious scandal when a particularly damning on-set video surfaced. In it, a canine performer is seen being forced into extremely rough water against its will, eventually going under before someone yells cut. Seemingly overnight, “A Dog’s Purpose” went from being an appealing tearjerker to a widely boycotted film. It still did well at the box office, but the footage, edited for maximum effect or not, nonetheless hurt its reputation.

#6: “Last Tango in Paris” (1972)


A controversial film when it was first released, this Bernardo Bertolucci-directed picture, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, is still the subject of scandal, even decades later. At the time of its release, the NC-17 film was banned in various countries, and only released in others after certain edits were made. Decades later however, the film has been the subject of another scandal. The infamous sex scene, which saw butter used a lubricant, was apparently filmed with minimum notice given to Maria Schneider and without her consent; it did not even appear in the script. Understandably, this reveal prompted outrage.

#5: “I'm Still Here ” (2010)

From the very beginning, this film attracted a lot of attention because of its confusing premise and Joaquin Phoenix’s commitment to this long-running piece of performance art and meta-acting. In the same year as the film’s release however, director Casey Affleck was sued by two female employees who worked on the movie during its tumultuous and unconventional production. Producer Amanda White and cinematographer Magdalena Gorka alleged that they had suffered sexual harassment at the hands of Affleck throughout the filming process. The lawsuits were settled out of court, but the scandal continues to follow Affleck years later.

#4: “Amityville: The Awakening” (2017)

Here’s an example of just how far reaching the effects of a scandal can be. Though Harvey Weinstein didn’t even serve as a producer on this particular film, the fact that it was distributed by Dimension Films, which is owned by the Weinstein Company, was enough to land “Amityville: The Awakening” within the blast radius of Weinstein’s scandal-to-end-all-scandals. Harvey Weinstein, as everyone now knows, has been accused of various sexual abuses byover 80 women. Weinstein has left the company that bears his name, but the shockwaves of his actions will surely continue to be felt by many associated films.

#3: “The Interview ” (2014)


Scandal feels like a bit of an understatement when talking about a film which prompted a dictator to threaten the United States with war should the film be released. “The Interview” sees James Franco and Seth Rogen playing journalists charged with assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Given this leader’s reputation, it was admittedly a pretty dicey (or brave) concept for a film. When North Korea threatened military action, and other parties cautioned of terrorist attacks, Columbia Pictures ultimately opted to go the digital rental and limited release route. North Korea was later blamed for a massive revenge hack of Columbia’s parent company, Sony.

#2: “The Birth of a Nation” (2016)


American actor and filmmaker Nate Parker was accused of rape back in 1999 when he was in college, but was ultimately acquitted of all charges. Given this history, when Parker presented the world with “The Birth of a Nation” in 2016, about the famed slave preacher-turned-rebellion-leader Nat Turner, that chapter of his life quickly took center stage with a torrent of bad publicity. Why? Perhaps because the film not only involves a rape which Parker’s character sets out to avenge, but the story was also co-written by Jean McGianni Celestin, the co-defendant with whom Parker was originally accused.

#1: “All the Money in the World” (2017)


This scandal proved so damaging that the filmmaker actually recast a central role after filming had completed. In 2017, star Kevin Spacey, like Harvey Weinstein, was accused of numerous counts of serious sexual misconduct. But when you’re a famous director like Ridley Scott, you’ve got the clout to make such big changes at the last minute to save a film from being swamped by disgust and disapproval. Spacey’s role was re-cast, and went to Christopher Plummer, who then received both a Golden Globe nomination and Academy Award nomination for his work in this story about the famous kidnapping of industrialist J.P Getty’s grandson. However, sadly, the film attracted even more controversy when it was revealed that Mark Wahlberg had reportedly received $1.5 million for taking part in the reshoots, while co-star Michelle Williams received less than $1,000.
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