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Blockbuster films that almost didn't happen

It's hard to imagine that some of the most popular movies, and even franchises, were almost not even made. There are many expected blockbusters that get canned during production for not living up to expectations or any number of reasons. It's crazy to think that a production company would invest tons of money into a film only to cancel it halfway through production. Luckily, the movies in the list below found a way to survive. Here are 8 popular blockbusters that almost never got made.

Star Wars (1977)

It's actually not hard to imagine that Star Wars almost didn't get made. Hell, if you brought the concept to us in the 1970s we would've told you to go jump off a cliff. Star Wars was passed on by Universal Studios and United Artists before being picked up by 20th Century Fox. That wasn't the only hiccup, either, as the production also had some rough spots. During the first week of shooting, the film was interrupted by a rainstorm that caused many technical problems. It was also hard for the actors to take the movie seriously, with a number of them recently admitting at the 2015 Star Wars Celebration that they didn't think the film would do well at all. They were clearly wrong.

Waterworld (1995)

In the minds of many, Waterworld is one of those films that should have just been a wash. Universal Pictures originally set a budget of $100 million, which then ballooned to $175 (which was the biggest at the time). The movie received new writers, a new score, and last minute script changes, some of which were done by Joss Whedon (who refers to the ordeal as "seven weeks of hell"). After a hurricane destroyed a multi-million dollar set for the film, and lead star Kevin Costner almost died during the production, the movie was not looking like it would ever see the light of day. Eventually, though, the film finished production and was released, albeit to cult fanfare. Say what you will about Waterworld, but we'd call it one of the most underrated movies of all time.

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

One of the most tumultuous movie productions of all time has to be The Wizard of Oz, which just barely made it out of the gates. The movie was forced to have multiple rewrites and changed directors three different times. What's more, actor Buddy Ebsen actually had a reaction to his character's make-up and almost died. And, the Wicked Witch of the West (played by Margaret Hamilton) actually suffered serious burns on her body when disappearing into a smoke cloud. Yikes.

Back To The Future (1985)

We couldn't imagine life without Back to the Future, but the film almost didn't get made. The first draft of Back to the Future was canned by Columbia Pictures for being "not sexual enough." The writers took the film to many other studios over the next four years only to be rejected, even pitching the film to Disney (who rejected it over the whole Marty and his mom ordeal). Eventually, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis resorted to taking the film to their good friend, Spielberg, who took the film to Universal. The rest is history, and Back to the Future remains one of the best movie trilogies of all time.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Believe it or not, Disney was the first studio to show interest in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street. The problem was, of course, that Disney wanted Craven to tone it down for kids. When Craven wouldn't — and we don't blame him — Paramount Pictures picked up the film, then later dropped it because it was too similar to another film they were producing: Dreamscape. New Line Cinema decided to pick up the film for their first feature production. With New Line being a new production company at the time, there were many issues during the filming, including a holdup of the cast and crew's wages for two weeks. But, New Line persevered, and now A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of their biggest horror franchises to date.

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner was inspired by Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, but the first script was not up to Dick's standards. Ridley Scott took charge of the project and hired David Peoples to rewrite the script, bumping the budget from $13 million to $15 million. Right before the crew was ready to begin filming, Filmways backed out with their money, leaving the film without financing. Eventually, the producer of the film, Michael Deeley, was able to get three different backers involved, saving one of the most beloved cult classics of all time.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Jake Gyllenhaal's best movie, Donnie Darko, almost never saw the light of day, at least as far as a theatrical release was concerned. It was expected to be a straight-to-DVD fare, but the movie was saved by Drew Barrymore and Flower Films, who managed to push the movie to limited theaters. It was an impressive decision by Barrymore, and now she can see that her decision was the right one, as Donnie Darko currently holds an 8.1/10 rating from over 511,000 users on IMDB.

Fast & Furious (2009)

Universal Pictures actually planned to stop the fourth Fast and Furious movie from going to theaters, intending to release the movie straight to DVD. According to TheWrap, Universal Pictures co-president of production Jeffrey Kirschenbaum noted, "The talk internally was that the franchise was played out." It was, Jeffrey, it was, but somehow the franchise continues to churn out mindless movie dollars at the theater. In fact, give whoever continues to greenlight the movies a raise, because Fast Five grossed $626 million and Fast & Furious 6 grossed $788.7 million.