Screenplay Sagas: 50 Remarkable Movie Rights Facts

- Sponsored Links -

26Paramount's Indiana Jones Deal

Paramount's Indiana Jones Deal

Paramount Pictures permanently retains the distribution rights to the first four Indiana Jones films and the 1992-93 TV series. The studio would receive "financial participation" from any future Disney-produced Indiana Jones movies.

27. In 1994, a Fantastic Four film was made with the intention of never being released (it never was) as a tactic to retain the rights without paying for a more expensive movie. The full movie has been leaked on YouTube.

28. When Uwe Boll made a bid to direct the Warcraft movie, Blizzard responded, "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you, especially not to you."

29. Writer H.F. Saint received such a substantial payday of $2.3 million for the movie rights to his debut novel, 'Memoirs of an Invisible Man,' that he retired and never wrote another book.

30. Kevin Kwan sold the film rights to "Crazy Rich Asians" for just $1. However, as part of the conditions for the rights, he served as executive producer of the film with near-total creative control.

Latest FactRepublic Video:
15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

31Jet Li Rejects Matrix Role

Jet Li Rejects Matrix Role

Jet Li declined a role in The Matrix Reloaded because Hollywood producers wanted to record and copy all of his martial arts moves into a digital library, with all intellectual property rights owned by them.

32. A Christmas Story was initially overlooked and only became a classic after Ted Turner purchased the rights and began airing it yearly on cable TV.

33. When Universal Studios acquired the rights to the original Dracula novel, it was revealed that author Bram Stoker had not complied with a portion of US copyright law, placing the novel into the public domain.

34. In 1977, 20th Century Fox had so little faith in the "Star Wars" franchise that they gave away all of the movie licensing and merchandising rights to George Lucas in exchange for his $500,000 directorial fee.

35. Munich-based EM.TV purchased the rights to the Muppets in the late '90s for $690 million. Four years later, Jim Henson's children bought the rights back for $89 million.

- Sponsored Links -

36Miramax's Princess Mononoke Katana

Miramax's Princess Mononoke Katana

When Miramax Films acquired the North American film distribution rights for Studio Ghibli's "Princess Mononoke," chairman Harvey Weinstein demanded permission to make cuts in the movie. Producer Toshio Suzuki responded by sending him a katana with a message reading "No cuts."

37. Believing that his comic strip, 'Calvin and Hobbes,' only works in print form, cartoonist Bill Watterson has refused to sell the film rights to his comics and turned down offers from Steven Spielberg and Pixar.

38. The production company behind the 1964 Spaghetti Western "A Fistful of Dollars," a remake of the 1961 Japanese Samurai film "Yojimbo," was successfully sued by Toho, the production company behind "Yojimbo," granting Toho royalties and distribution rights to Leone's film.

39. Fully authentic film portrayals of Martin Luther King Jr. are not seen because, in 2009, Steven Spielberg was granted exclusive film and life rights to the works of MLK (and for a biopic never made). Now, dialogue and speeches are manufactured to prevent copyright issues, including 2014's Selma movie.

40. Veronica Roth, author of the 'Divergent' trilogy, wrote her first book in her senior year at Northwestern University. Her career took off with the publishing rights sold before she even graduated college, and the film rights were sold before the novels were even printed.

- Sponsored Links -

41Disney's Sixth Sense Gamble

Disney's Sixth Sense Gamble

David Vogel, then-president of production at Disney, read M. Night Shyamalan's spec script for The Sixth Sense and loved it. Without corporate approval, Vogel bought the rights for $3 million. Disney then dismissed Vogel from his position. The film went on to spend five weeks at number one.

42. After Michael Douglas was fired from the stage production of "Summer Tree," his dad, Kirk Douglas, bought the stage and film rights to the story and gave it to Michael to star in.

43. For close to a decade, Universal Pictures didn't realize it owned the merchandising rights to the film Darkman (1990). It wasn't until toy-maker SOTA asked for a license to make a Darkman action figure that Universal finally looked into it and found out it had owned the rights all along.

44. Kevin McClory, who held the rights to produce a film adaptation of the James Bond book Thunderball, made two different Bond films based on that one book: Thunderball in 1965 and Never Say Never Again in 1983.

45. Before Doubleday bought Stephen King's 1974 book Carrie and gave him a $2,500 advance, 30 publishers had rejected it. The hardcover sold only 13,000 copies, but Signet bought the paperback rights for $400,000, finally allowing King to quit teaching and become a full-time writer.

46Spielberg's Animated Harry Potter Vision

Spielberg's Animated Harry Potter Vision

When J.K. Rowling sold the Harry Potter film rights to Warner Bros., Steven Spielberg was initially contacted to be the director. Spielberg wanted the adaptation to be an animated film with Haley Joel Osment as the voice of Harry Potter.

47. The only money Anthony Burgess made directly from the 1971 adaptation of his book, A Clockwork Orange, was the $500 he was paid for the film rights.

48. Kurt Vonnegut sold the movie rights to "The Sirens of Titan" to Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. In a 1987 interview, Jerry admitted that his main motive for buying the rights was less about making the movie and more to ensure that nobody would produce a bad film version of the book.

49. The first "The Fast and the Furious" movie licensed its title from a 1954 Roger Corman movie after rejecting other bad titles involving racing and wars. However, Corman kept the rights to numerical sequel titles, explaining why the franchise has no "The Fast and the Furious 2."

50. In 1998, Marvel offered the cinematic rights to almost all of its characters to Sony for a mere $25 million. Sony rejected the offer and only purchased the rights to Spider-Man for $10 million, believing that movie audiences would only care about him.

- Sponsored Links -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here