“Mommy, what’s a movie theater?” – WIF @ The (Failed) Movies

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Movies That Were

Box Office Duds

Despite what Disney and Marvel would have us believe, there’s no magic formula for making box office gold. Everyone who makes a movie fully expects it to succeed and do well, but sometimes that’s not in the cards. While there are some movies that are critically maligned and do poorly overall, when a high-budget movie fails miserably the losses can be staggering.

10. The Adventures of Pluto Nash – Lost $96 million

If you don’t recall Eddie Murphy’s The Adventures of Pluto Nash you’re in good company. The 2002 film cost over $100 million to make and it was a massive science fiction comedy extravaganza. Or at least that’s how they described it, since barely anyone actually went to see it. It grossed a paltry $7 million at the box office.

The movie is so bad that even its star Eddie Murphy claims trying to watch it causes him to weep openly. It’s one thing for critics to savage a movie, and Pluto Nash has a dismal 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s quite another when even the star admits that the whole movie was absolutely terrible.

Because movie budgets are a little tricky to wrap your head around, and they also factor in things like marketing costs on top of it as well as adjusting for inflation, at least one source claims that the total loss for Pluto Nash tops $130 million.

9. Stealth – lost $96 million

In 2005 anyone probably would have thought a movie in which Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx have to tangle with artificially intelligent killer fighter jets would have been a good idea, right? That’s a big yes and no.

The studio that financed the movie for $135 million definitely thought it was a good idea. Audiences who didn’t actually go see the movie did not.  With a healthy marketing budget that was really trying to push it, when it managed to pull in $77 million at the box office it wasn’t as small a loss as the budget makes it seem. All told, it’s estimated that the movie lost about $96 million.

Stealth sits at 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Roger Ebert called it a dumbed-down Top Gun. If you recall, no one ever claimed Top Gun was very smart in the first place.

8. 47 Ronin – Lost $98 million

The Keanu Reeves movie 47 Ronin is what is known in Japan as a Chushingura. It’s a fictionalized account of the real-life events surrounding 47 master-less samurai, known as ronin, who sought to avenge the death of their master.

The story has been made into a film no less than six times but never was the story as big and extravagant as when Keanu starred in it back in 2013. It had a staggering $175 million budget, the highest ever for a debut director. And in a very telling sign, the movie sat on the shelf for two years after it was produced. That’s never good.

47 Ronin lost an estimated $98 million and the blame has been put, in part, on Carl Rinsch and his first time directing chops. It only has 16% on Rotten Tomatoes and many critics accused it of being both boring and cliche.

7. Lone Ranger – Lost $190 million

There are a number of movies that have been called cursed over the years. Poltergeist was one such movie, famously said to be cursed from the first installment through to the third of the series. The Lone Ranger is another film which definitely deserves to be considered for that honor, assuming you believe in such things.

The production of The Lone Ranger was hampered by numerous problems. It suffered delays as well as massive budgetary issues. At one point the budget had reached almost $300 million, and Disney had to shut down production to retool everything. That resulted in some cuts to special effects and other parts of the budget until it was scaled back to a lean, mean $215 million.

There were accidents on set with the stunt people involved, and a crew member even drowned during the production. Disney was fined $60,000 for safety violations and some inclement weather destroyed sets and cost even more money on the budget.

When the film was finally released and the bad reviews rolled in, the result was Disney chalking the movie up to $190 million loss.

6. Mars Needs Moms – Lost $111 million

In 2011, Mars Needs Moms seemed like a sure thing. The legendary Robert Zemeckis, who was responsible for iconic movies like Forrest Gump and Back to the Future, produced the motion-capture animation. The film itself was based on a book by writer and cartoonist Berkeley Breathed. It almost seemed worth the $150 million budget.

When you factor in marketing it’s believed that Disney probably invested about $200 million in this movie. Which is why when, on its opening weekend, it only pulled in $6.9 million people started to get worried. The final gross of the film was about $39 million, which means lost anywhere from $111 million to $161 million, depending on which numbers you want to work with.

Rubbing salt in the wound, when it was released overseas it somehow made even less money: only $2.1 million throughout 14 countries. The question needs to be asked then, how did the movie that had so much talent behind it end up failing so miserably? The problem may have been in the execution.

Mars Needs Moms used motion capture technology, the kind of stuff we as audiences really took a shine to with characters like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, or the Na’vi from the movie Avatar. The problem was the way it was used in Mars Needs Moms was less cool, and what at least one person described as creepy.

5. Titan AE – Potentially Lost $120 Million on a $85 Million Budget

On paper, the animated film Titan AE looked bulletproof. Director Don Bluth, who created classics like The Secret of NIMHThe Land Before Time, and An American Tail was helming a sci-fi animated film featuring the voice talents of Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Bill Pullman and many other well known stars.

Behind the scenes, things were pretty ugly during the production of the movie. For starters, Don Bluth was not the original director. The film was already $30 million into the production before the original director was fired and Bluth was hired alongside Gary Goldman. According to Goldman, the initial $30 million was used to do some pre-production art and nothing else.

The movie blended traditional 2D animation with 3D animation, which didn’t seem to be a conscious choice from the get go. According to Goldman, they just abandoned the 2D idea halfway through production and finished it with 3D because that’s what was new and cool at the time.

The movie ended up losing somewhere between $70 million and $120 million on an $85 million budget. It also saw the head of Fox Studios fired by Rupert Murdoch, and the closing of their Phoenix Animation Studio, which had produced two major bombs including the earlier animated film Anastasia.

4. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas – Lost $125 million

Proving that there are no guarantees with animated movies no matter how much effort goes into them, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas bombed like a case of Molotov cocktails. The film was produced by DreamWorks Studios, and featured voice acting from Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Michelle Pfeiffer. That all sounds great in theory, but the reality was not.

For unknown reasons, Sinbad was turned into a Sicilian in this movie, completely ignoring the source material, which was just one of several issues. According to DreamWorks, the budget for Sinbad was $60 million. That number should be looked at with a bit of skepticism, as the former head of DreamWorks David Geffen said in an interview that the movie actually lost the studio $125 million. No amount of advertising budget can more than double the losses of a movie, so DreamWorks may have been playing a little fast and loose with their numbers, or their co-founder Geffen just had no idea what he was talking about.

The movie had extensive marketing tie-ins with Baskin-Robbins, Hasbro, M&Ms and more. When it debuted, it didn’t even out-gross Finding Nemo, which had already been in theaters for six weeks.

3. Cutthroat Island – Lost $147 million

It’s not often that a movie does so poorly it kills an entire genre of film, but that’s what Cutthroat Island seemed to do. The Renny Harlin directed movie, starring Geena Davis in a swashbuckling adventure, did so poorly Hollywood didn’t make another pirate movie for over a decade.

It can’t be overstated just how awful this movie’s whole legacy is. The budget for Cutthroat Island was $115 million back in 1995. Its box office take was $10 million. This was so bad, it actually made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest financial loss in film history at the time. When you adjusted for inflation today, you’re looking at a loss of $147 million.

The IMDb facts page for the movie reads like a rogue’s gallery of bad ideas and terrible mistakes. One actor was fired for getting drunk and mooning Geena Davis. Star Matthew Modine explained that some of the budget went for the shipping of dozens and dozens of cases of V8 for the director to drink on set. They had to be shipped from the United States to Malta, and apparently an entire room of the vegetable juice was left at the end of filming. On top of that, three cameras were used to film every single shot which resulted in massive amounts of unused film at the end of production.

Harlin is said to have fired the chief camera operator from the set, which resulted in dozens of other crew members quitting in solidarity. The blame can’t solely be put on Harlin’s shoulders though, as he tried to quit production realizing just how bad the movie was going to be, as did Geena Davis. The studio refused to stop production.

2. Gemini Man – Lost $111 million

Betting on Will Smith is usually a smart choice when it comes to Hollywood. Many of his early films were massive blockbusters, like Independence Day and Men in Black. Everyone has a miss once in a while though, and Smith definitely missed the mark with his 2019 sci-fi flick Gemini Man.

Estimates place Gemini Man‘s losses at around $111 million. A number of factors seem to have come together to make the movie fail so badly. For starters, it was filmed at 120 frames per second for a 3D release. High frame-rate movies like that have a curious effect on audiences.

While it seems like higher frame rate and crisper detail should make a movie a more exciting and interesting experience for viewers, what happens is the movie becomes so real and clean looking it removes some of the magic and glamour we expect from movies. While it’s hard to define, the result is that audiences just don’t like the way it looks.

The other problem with the movie was that the story-line was pretty generic and not interesting. It wasn’t necessarily a bad movie, but being so run-of-the-mill and then having so many reviews dominated by the technological aspects of the high-frame-rate meant that no one was really trying hard to sell the movie.

1. Terminator: Dark Fate – Lost $120 million

The Terminator franchise is one of the most unusual in film history. The first one made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, proved James Cameron as a blockbuster filmmaker, and started the ball rolling on one of cinema’s most famous characters. 10 years later when we got Terminator 2 it became one of those rare times when a sequel surpasses the original. And then things took a turn.

Rise of the MachinesSalvation, and Genisys were all fairly underwhelming at the box office and for critics. But then James Cameron returned to the franchise with Dark Fate and brought series star Linda Hamilton back as well. It felt like a recipe to take us right back to the legendary status of T2: Judgment Day. Or at least that’s what it seemed like at first.

Dark Fate opened at $29 million at the domestic box office. Respectable numbers for a low budget film, but not for something of this caliber. The budget for Dark Fate was estimated at somewhere around $185 million. In order to break even the movie needed to make about $450 million. That put the movie on track to lose a staggering $120 million overall.

Despite having the original director and cast back, and even being critically praised for being the best film in the franchise since Terminator 2, it seems that audiences had just had enough of Terminator after so many bad movies in a row.

“Mommy, what’s a movie theater?”

WIF @ The Movies

Dreams = Books = Movies – WIF Entertainment

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Books and Movies

Inspired by Dreams

Dreams are a combination of pictures and stories that develop in our minds while we sleep. Dreams can be about literally anything from something funny, to romantic, or even terrifying. While 95% of dreams are not usually remembered, it is believed that people dream anywhere from three to six times per night with each one lasting between five and twenty minutes.

While most dreams are never remembered, some people do recall specific details about them. And on a few rare occasions, people have been inspired by what they dreamed of. As a matter of fact, some great creations were developed from actual dreams. For example, the melody for the Beatles’ song “Yesterday“ was inspired by a dream. Paul McCartney woke up one morning with a tune stuck in his head that he didn’t recognize, so he composed the chords for it on the piano and it became the music for one of their most famous songs.

Another example is that of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry. It has been said that many of his poems and short stories were inspired by the many nightmares he suffered from throughout his life.

There are also several famous books and movies that were inspired by actual dreams, 10 of which we’ll detail below…

10. E.B. White’s Stuart Little

The beloved children’s story of a mouse named Stuart Little was inspired by a dream that E.B. White had in the 1920s. The anything-but-ordinary mouse was born into a family of humans in New York City and lived with his parents, his older brother George, and a cat named Snowbell. While White had the dream in the ’20s, it was only put into a novel in 1945.

While he was sleeping on a train, White dreamt of a little boy who looked and acted a lot like a mouse. He wrote a few episodes about the boy/mouse and put them away with the intent of sharing the stories one day with his nieces and nephews. But around twenty years later his story became a best-seller and even inspired the 1999 hit movie Stuart Little, which starred Michael J. Fox as the voice of the mouse.

9. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

In the mid-1970s, William Styron was struggling to come up with ideas to write another book. That’s when he experienced a dream that would inspire him to write Sophie’s Choice. He described the dream as “a merging from the dream to a conscious vision and a memory of this girl named Sophie. And it was powerful because I lay there in bed with the abrupt knowledge that I was going to deal with this work of fiction.” His vision of Sophie was that of her “entering the hallway of this humble boarding house in Flatbush with a book under her arm, looking very beautiful in the middle of summer with a soft of summer dress on and her arm bared and the tattoo visible.”

He felt like he had to write the Holocaust-themed story and in 1982 an acclaimed movie was made starring Meryl Streep as Sophie.

8. Christopher Nolan’s Inception

The 2010 psychological thriller Inception, a movie that is itself about dreams, was inspired by actual dreams. Director Christopher Nolan took the idea from his own lucid dreams for his seventh feature film. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a talented thief who is very skilled at stealing secrets from people while they are dreaming. This new job, however, requires him to plant an idea inside the mind of a man instead of stealing it.

Nolan claims that Inception was an elusive dream. He said “I wanted to do this for a very long time; it’s something I’ve thought about off and on since I was about 16.” He also mentioned that ever since he was a kid, he was fascinated by how he would wake up and then fall back into a lighter sleep but still know that he was dreaming, and even manage to examine the location of his dreams.

7. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novel written in the 1800s by Robert Louis Stevenson (pictured above) and is about a man who has a split personality – the good Dr. Jekyll, and the terrible Mr. Hyde.

It is said that Stevenson was fascinated with split personality disorder but was unable to figure out how to put it into writing. However, one night he dreamt about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: “In the small hours of one morning… I was awakened by cries of horror from Louis,” his wife Fanny explained. “Thinking he had a nightmare, I awakened him. He said angrily ‘Why did you wake me? I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.’”

Stevenson was apparently sick with tuberculosis and under doctor’s order to rest when he wrote the novel. He produced the first draft of 30,000 words in between three to six days, followed by a second rewritten copy in just three more days. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sold 40,000 copies in just six months, followed by over 250,000 copies in North America. His novel has also inspired several movies over the years.

6. Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher

In 1999, Stephen King was hit by a minivan when he was walking down a road in Maine. During the time that he was recovering from a shattered leg and a collapsed lung, he started to have vivid dreams, which inspired him to write his horror novel Dreamcatcher.

The novel is about four friends who reunite in the woods each year for their annual hunting trip. But one year a stranger ends up at their camp, all confused and muttering about lights in the sky. The friends are then faced with a terrifying creature from another world and need to figure out how to survive.

He was quoted telling the San Francisco Chronicle, “The first really strong idea that occurred to me after the accident was four guys in a cabin in the woods. Then you introduce this one guy who staggers into the camp saying, ‘I don’t feel well,’ and he brings this awful hitchhiker with him. I dreamed a lot about that cabin and those guys in it.”

The novel was turned into a movie in 2003, which featured a who’s who of both on and off-camera talent, including Morgan Freeman and Lawrence Kasdan.

5. Stephen King’s Misery

Not surprisingly, Stephen King came up with the idea for his horror novel Misery from a nightmare. It is about a famous author who is rescued from a car crash by his number one fan. However, he soon realizes that the crazy fan has other ideas in store for him that include abuse and captivity.

King was quoted saying “Like the ideas for some of my other novels, that came to me in a dream. In fact, it happened when I was on Concord, flying over here, to Brown’s (hotel in England). I fell asleep on the plane and dreamt about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed the remains to her pig and bound his novel in human skin. I said to myself, ‘I have to write this story.’” And that’s exactly what he did. He wrote the first forty or fifty pages on the landing between the ground level and first floor of the hotel.

While his book was published in 1987, the movie Misery was released in 1990, starring James Caan and Kathy Bates.

4. Jason Mott’s The Returned

The Returned is a novel written by Jason Mott about an elderly couple who have a government agent show up at their home with their son. The only thing is, their son drowned fifty years ago on his eighth birthday. The boy looks and acts the same, but there’s no possible way that it could be their deceased son. Or could it?

In an interview with CNN, Mott described how the idea for the book came to him in a dream about his deceased mother. “In the summer of 2010, I had this dream that I came home from work one day and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me.” He went on to say, “I came in and sat down with her, and we just talked about everything that had happened since her death.” He explained, “It was one of these really vivid dreams where you wake up and question whether it was real or not.”

He wrote a short story about a couple whose son returns from the dead and received a great response to it, so he continued writing it and a year later he had finished his manuscript which turned out to be a best-seller. It was later turned into a television series.

3. James Cameron’s Terminator

The 1984 hit movie The Terminator starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic cyborg sent back in time to assassinate a woman whose unborn son will lead humans in a war against machines.

Director/writer James Cameron was staying at a hotel in Rome while working on Piranha II: The Spawning when a horrible flu and high fever hit him, causing him to have nightmares. In fact, he dreamt of a chrome torso appearing from an explosion and dragging itself with kitchen knives across the floor right at him.

He recalled when he came up with the idea for Terminator, “I was sick at the time. I had a high fever. I was just lying on the bed thinking and came up with all this bizarre imagery… I think also had the idea that because I was in a foreign city by myself and I felt very dissociated from humanity in general, it was very easy to project myself into these two characters from the future who were out of sync, out of time, out of place.”

2. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight

Twilight is the story of a modern day love triangle between a vampire, a werewolf, and a human. The idea for the book came to author Stephenie Meyer in a dream. She explained her dream by saying “It was two people in kind of a little circular meadow with a really bright sunlight, and one of them was a beautiful, sparkly boy and one was just a girl who was human and normal, and they were having this conversation. The boy was a vampire, which is so bizarre that I’d be dreaming about vampires, and he was trying to explain to her how much he cared about her and yet at the same time how much he wanted to kill her.”

Prior to being a best-selling author, Meyer was a stay-at-home mother who was an avid reader but was never a writer. At first, she documented the dream so that she would remember it with no expectation of making it into a novel. But after nine rejections, her dream became a reality and her story is now known throughout the world by her Twilight books and movies.

1. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

In 1816, Mary Godwin and her fiancé, Percy Shelley, visited Lord Byron’s residence in Switzerland. During stormy nights, Lord Byron, who was a poet, would get his guests to read ghost stories to each other. One night, he asked his guests to write down their own horror stories.

After the request, this is what Mary claimed happened to her: “When I place my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think… I saw – with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some power engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.” She described in great detail the dream that frightened her that night – the dream that inspired her famous novel, Frankenstein.

Dreams = Books = Movies

WIF Entertainment

Fictional Character Back-stories

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Read with me

 Weird Things

That Inspired Your

Favorite Fictional Characters

Nobody pulls a fictional character out of thin air. Even the craziest, most ridiculously over-the-top characters have some basis in reality. Today we want to discuss ten of the most curious inspirations we could find. For example, did you know that …

10. Shredder was Inspired by a Guy

with Cheese Graters in His Arms


Master Shredder is the eternal enemy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: a seven-foot-tall tall, armor-clad master of martial arts capable of punching clear through a man’s chest. Surely such an awe-inspiring and badass character was inspired by something equally as awesome, like a monster truck catching fire or a samurai sword made of crystal plasma?

But alas, no. Master Shredder, easily one of the most intimidating characters from any cartoon, was actually inspired by a guy shoving cheese graters on his arms. To explain, as we’ve discussed before, the guy who originally designed Master Shredder was inspired to create him while he washing his dishes and happened to put his hand through his big-ass cheese grater. At that moment he stopped to think about how radical a character would be if he had two such weapons attached to his arms all of the time. As a direct result of that moment, Master Shredder was born.

9. Dragonball Z Characters are Named After Vegtables.

Goku is Based on a Monkey God


If you didn’t watch Dragonball Z as a kid, then stop reading this, set aside two hours, and go watch this fight scene. Don’t worry if anyone looks at you funny, they’re probably just confused about why you’re not fist-pumping constantly. The series revolves mostly around the adventures of Goku — a super powered alien who can destroy continents with his fists — and his various battles with other similarly-powered entities.

So of course, almost all of the main characters have names based on food puns. Goku, for example, is known as Kakarot within the show, which is a pun on the word “carrot”. His friend Krillin is based on the Japanese word for “chestnut”, in reference to his bald head. Goku’s son, Gohan, is a pun on the Japanese word for “rice”, whereas his mortal enemy-turned-friend, Vegeta, is literally a pun on the word “vegetable” because sometimes it’s easier to just be direct.

As for Goku himself, he’s based on legendary Chinese figure Sun Wukong, a monkey king/god who possessed a staff that could literally fill the entire universe if he wanted it to. Because of course the guy whose name means “carrot” is based on that guy.

8. Patrick Bateman is Based on

Tom Cruise


Patrick Bateman is the main character of the American Psycho book and subsequent movie of the same name. In regards to the latter, Christian Bale was brought in to play the inimitable Patrick Bateman, a self-confessed narcissistic serial killer who butchers people he doesn’t like as and when he feels like it.

To get into the mind-set of such a fundamentally repugnant character, Bale didn’t watch interviews with serial killers or people with comparable mental issues to Bateman. Instead, he watched an interview with Tom Cruise. According to director Mary Harron, Bale called her up out of the blue one day to gush about how freaking creepy Tom Cruise was and how he was the perfect inspiration for how he’d portray Bateman onscreen. According to Harron, Bale was taken with how Cruise “had this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes”, and he incorporated it into his portrayal of the character.

7. Michael Myers was Based on

One Very Creepy Kid


Michael Myers is the star of the Halloween series of movies. He’s a merciless, unstoppable killing machine who has spent more time on camera stabbing things than Gordon Ramsey. He’s a legendary character in his own right, and he stands amongst other 80′s slasher villains as one of the most iconic characters of that era of film making. He was also based on one very scary child.

In his early life, John Carpenter, the director of the original movie, visited a mental asylum for no reason we can adequately explain. On this trip, the young director happened upon a very seriously mentally ill child of around 13 years of age. According to Carpenter himself, this child had a stare that was both deeply unsettling while simultaneously being “completely insane”. Carpenter was so shaken by this experience that he directly lifted the whole thing and incorporated into his movie when the time came to characterize Michael.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go write some fan fiction about what Michael Myers would have looked like if John Carpenter saw the same Tom Cruise interview as Christian Bale did.


6. Batman is Based on Zorro, a Play,

and da Vinci’s Ornithopter


Superheroes don’t come more iconic than Batman; if they did, Batman would probably just punch them through a window and look menacingly towards the sky. Now, fans of the character are probably aware that he shares several similarities with another black-clad hero called Zorro, AKA The Fox. This isn’t an accident — many of Batman’s traits, such as how he masquerades as a rich socialite during the day, are directly inspired by Zorro. Hell, in his actual origin story, the film young Bruce Wayne was watching the night his parents got shot was The Mask of Zorro.

As for why Batman dresses like a giant bat, well that was rather curiously inspired by the villain of a play called “The Bat” (later remade as a movie calledThe Bat Whispers) which features a murderer who stalked his prey while dressed like a big-ass bat. Finally, the wings of Batman’s cape were directly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Ornithopter drawing, because of course they were.

In other words, Batman, one of the greatest heroes ever known, is directly based on a guy from a play who stabbed people while dressed like a giant bat. Aren’t comics fun?

5. Dory from Finding Nemo was Based on

Ellen before They Cast Ellen to Play Her


Before anyone says it — yes, we know that Dory from Finding Nemo was voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, and we know that she utterly nailed that part. What we’re here to talk about is the fact that Dory was based on Ellen before Ellen even signed on to do the role.

According to Andrew Stanton, one of the film’s directors, Dory was inspired by an interview he saw Ellen take part in, in which he observed her “change the subject five times before finishing one sentence“.  Building upon that, Stanton wrote the character to be more and more like DeGeneres until eventually he realized that nobody but her could accurately portray the character the way he had in mind.

In other words, before DeGeneres agreed to play Dory, the character was already written to be exactly like her in every way, only as a fish.

4. Daffy Duck is Based on a Real Guy

Who Had No Idea He was Being Mocked


Daffy Duck is easily one of the most recognizable cartoon characters to have ever existed, and one of his most memorable feature is his incredibly pronounced lisp. Daffy’s uniquely irritating and oddly charming voice has endeared the character to children for decades, so you’d expect the guy who inspired that voice to have at least been aware of it. But apparently he wasn’t. According to this article about the life of Chuck Jones, Daffy’s lisp was directly inspired by a “humorless Warner Brothers producer” named Leon Schlesinger, who spoke in a similar manner. Schlesinger apparently wasn’t very popular around the studio, and the cartoon duck was given his voice as a rather unsubtle screw you. In fact, some of the animators were reportedly terrified of showing  Schlesinger the first cartoon involving Daffy, fearing his wrath once he realized the character was actively taking the piss out of him.

However,  Schlesinger never noticed and, according to Jone’s autobiography, he actually turned to someone after the cartoon ended and innocently asked “That’s a funny voithe! Where’d you get that voithe?” completely oblivious to the mockery.

3. The Terminator was Inspired by a

Nightmare About a Robot Skeleton Carrying Knives


When someone says something came to them in a dream, they’re almost certainly lying because people don’t remember their dreams — they remember their nightmares. Which is, funnily enough, where the idea of the Terminator came from.

As recounted here, a young, illness-stricken James Cameron suffered from a terrible, horrifying nightmare as a young director, about the top half of a mechanical skeleton dragging itself across his floor. According to the various accounts Cameron has given over the years, the mechanical skeleton was carrying two knives as it edged its way towards him, because apparently his brain thought “a horrifying living skeleton” needed to be just that little bit scarier.

This nightmare was so vivid that it stuck with Cameron for the rest of his life. Eventually the director decided to flesh out the nightmare, both metaphorically and literally, by turning it into the script for The Terminator, a movie about a robot skeleton covered in human flesh hunting people down. Now if you’ve ever seen the movie, you may recall that a scene almost exactly like Cameron’s original nightmare occurs right towards the end, only instead of the skeleton hurting anyone, it’s quickly crushed by a giant mechanical press. Wait a sec — does this mean James Cameron filmed this movie just so that he could get closure on a scary dream he once had?

2. King Joffrey was Based on

Emperor Commodus from Gladiator


Jack Gleeson’s portrayal of King Joffrey from Game of Thrones has been lauded by critics and fans as nothing short of amazing, almost entirely because Gleeson has such a punchable face. Seriously, George RR Martin physically penned a letter to Gleeson after he appeared on the show, just to congratulate him on being such an irritating little butthole. So how did Gleeson pull off being so objectively unlikeable? Well, according to him, he based a lot of his characterization of Joffrey directly on Joaquin Phoenix — more specifically, his portrayal of Emperor Commodus in the Gladiator movie. In fact, according to Gleeson, a lot of the times he was sat on that big iron throne, he was picturing Phoenix’s big smug face and annoying smirk from that movie and trying to emulate it. Considering how many punch holes are in our TV, we think he did a pretty good job.

1. Darth Maul was Based on a Drawing

of a Guy with a Circuit Board on His Face


Because we’re not really into the habit of beating dead horses, we’re not going to discuss how terrible the Star Wars prequels were. We are, however, going to discuss how much we think Darth Maul kicks ass. The answer of course is tons: Darth Maul kicks tons of ass, if only because he settled an office argument about whether or not anyone could actually kill Liam Neeson.

Curiously, the idea for Darth Maul’s unique and rather striking visual appearance was based almost entirely on a caricature drawn by Iain McCaig. The caricature was drawn by McCaig while he was trying to design “Sith Lord” versions of his friends and colleagues as a creative exercise, and it was basically of some guys face with a circuit board pattern on it. This particular drawing just so happened to catch George Lucas’ eye, and he immediately tasked McCaig with fleshing out the idea to create Darth Maul.

Weirdly, McCaig’s initial idea was that of an undead human with red ribbons all over their face, which is what he came up with when Lucas literally told him to just “draw his worst nightmare”. For some reason of another, Lucas didn’t like this idea and he instead just let McCaig wing it, which is when he came up with the idea of drawing caricatures.

From that initial idea, Darth Maul as we know and love him today was born. So let that be a lesson to everyone out there — doodling at work is totally fine, as long as your boss happens to think your drawings looks totally boss.

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