Troubled productions are a common thing for Doug Liman, who is generally considered a very good director who makes hit movies. But many of his biggest hits, such as The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Edge of Tomorrow, were all derailed at some point (he was fired from Bourne) and went on to be huge. It seems he’s facing a similar situation with Lionsgate’s expensive YA flick, Chaos Walking.
Reshoots are currently taking place on the film which has the promising lead duo of Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland, the latter not appearing at last night’s premiere of Avengers: Endgame for that very reason. North of $100M has already been spent on the project which has been called a “major challenge” for Lionsgate, picked up the rights to Patrick Ness’ novels back in 2011. For all that money spent, the result according to WSJ was a film that “turned out so poorly it was deemed unreleasable by executives who watched initial cuts last year, according to current and former employees.”
Shocker, but the film can’t seem to stick to a release date, either…
“Lionsgate delayed the film’s planned March release and is about to begin three weeks of additional production, at a cost of millions more, in the hope that new scenes will improve its commercial prospects. “We wouldn’t be shooting more if we didn’t think we could make this movie work,” said Mr. Feltheimer.
Lionsgate must’ve thought they had a potential goldmine when they first acquired Chaos Walking. In 2011 the company had already struck gold with The Hunger Games movies, and was three years away from launching Divergent. Unfortunately, by the time Divergent got around to its third film the box office had dwindled to just $179M worldwide and they tried to peddle the fourth and final one for TV. They ended up not making it at all because the cast refused to participate.
This is all to say that Chaos Walking is probably a few years too late. The star power of Holland and Ridley could help, but as we’ve seen with similar blockbuster adaptations (lookin’ at you Mortal Engines) there’s simply not much interest out there.
Chaos Walking could be different, though. We just won’t know for a long time as it’s nowhere close to being finished.