'World War Z' and 4 Other Troubled Film Productions

Brad Pitt's zombie apocalypse drama 'World War Z' hits theaters Friday, and judging from good reviews and initial predictions, it's likely to be one of summer's big box office hits. The film's success wasn't always guaranteed, though — for years, 'World War Z' suffered through production issues that threatened to keep the film from appearing in theaters at all. For more on the movie's troubled history, as well as the production problems of four others, read on. [Image: Paramount]

How the 5 Most Troubled Film Productions Fared

Brad Pitt's zombie apocalypse drama 'World War Z' hits theaters Friday, and judging from good reviews and initial predictions, it's likely to be one of summer's big box office hits. The film's success wasn't always guaranteed, though — for years, 'World War Z' suffered through production issues that threatened to keep the film from appearing in theaters at all. For more on the movie's troubled history, as well as the production problems of four others, read on. [Image: Paramount]

'World War Z' (2013)

Way back in 2007, Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, secured the rights to Max Brooks' bestselling novel. Over the next two years, a script was written by one screenwriter and then re-written by another. Two production companies signed on, but then said they would back out without another financier. In 2011, financing was finally secured, and filming began. Yet several actors, including Matthew Fox and Bryan Cranston, dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. All of the film's prop guns were almost seized by Hungarian officials because their delivery into the country hadn't been cleared, and the charges weren't dropped until February 2012. Three months later, after the film had wrapped, seven weeks of additional footage was shot. Lost guru Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the film's third act, but was soon replaced by fellow Lost alum Drew Goddard. The new scenes were written, 30 to 40 minutes of additional footage was shot, and the budget blew up to $200 million. If World War Z fails to make that money back, it's safe to say Paramount will not be pleased. [Image: Paramount]

'Apocalypse Now' (1979)

Francis Ford Coppola gave John Milius $15,000 to write the film adaptation of Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness,' and Milius worked with friend George Lucas for four years to develop the film. Somehow, they thought shooting the movie in Vietnam while the war was going on was a good idea. Yet due to safety concerns (duh), the project was shelved. Eventually, Coppola signed on to direct, and the production was moved to the Philippines. Harvey Keitel was cast, and then replaced by Martin Sheen when Coppola didn't like his take on the character. In 1976, production was shut down for six weeks when a typhoon caused major damage in the region. The next year, Sheen had a heart attack on set, and took a month off to recover. While filming, Coppola found star Marlon Brando too overweight to play some of the scenes as written, so he had to use a body double and re-think the film's ending. After filming finally wrapped, it went through editing hell, with even Coppola thinking it was unlikely to ever hit theaters. A year after its scheduled premiere date, it was finally released, called "a disappointing failure" by critics. Yet today it's considered a masterpiece. Go figure. [Image: United Artists]

'Titanic' (1997)

James Cameron wasn't always the king of the world. To make Titanic, Cameron and his team dove down to the real sunken ship 11 times in 1995, damaging it in the process. During filming, the director's infamous perfectionist personality, as well as his fiery temper, caused frequent clashes between cast and crew. One crew member got so fed up with Cameron that he poisoned his soup with PCP — seriously. Several cast members, including star Kate Winslet, got sick from the cold water tanks, three stuntman broke bones, and the Screen Actors Guild was called in to investigate the safety of the set. Over time, the film's budget ballooned to $200 million, and executives begged Cameron to make cuts, but he refused. The film's release was delayed for five months, causing the media to speculate it was a disaster. Fortunately for Cameron, Titanic, as we all know, ended up making two billion dollars, so it looks like things worked out okay. [Image: Paramount/20th Century Fox]

'Alien 3' (1992)

Several screenwriters were involved in making the third installment of the Alien franchise, and it was the film's producers who actually ended up writing the final version. After several directors were considered, hired, and dropped, David Fincher signed on, but his vision for the film often contrasted with what the producers had in mind. After filming wrapped, the studio made major edits without Fincher's consent, causing the director to disown the film. That was a smart decision — although Alien 3 did well financially, it's considered the worst of the franchise. [Image: 20th Century Fox]

'Jane Got a Gun' (2014)

Stuart Wilson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The western action drama, aiming for a release next year, has faced a range of problems since production began. Lynne Ramsay was attached to direct, but when she failed to show up on set the first day of filming, she was replaced by Gavin O'Connor. This caused star Jude Law to drop out, as he only wanted to work with Ramsey. Bradley Cooper signed on to replace him, but then dropped out as well. So did Michael Fassbender. The latest actor attached to star is Ewan McGregor, but it's only a matter of time before we hear news that he's dropped out, too.