For over 4 decades, Tim Burton has delighted movie goers with his quirky, dark masterpieces. Whether it was bringing Pee-Wee Herman to the big screen in the 1980’s, reinventing Batman in the 90’s, or going all musical in the 2000’s, Burton’s back catalog has something for everyone.
But what about the projects he almost made? What about all the projects Tim Burton’s name was attached to, but then for various reasons fell by the way side? Well wonder no more, as Horror Geek Life brings you 10 Tim Burton movies that never saw the light of day.
10. Superman Lives
It makes sense to begin this list with the most obvious selection of all – Tim Burton’s ill fated attempts to bring the Man of Steel back to the big screen, via an ill-informed Nicolas Cage casting.
If you’re not familiar with this legendary ‘near miss’ of a movie, it featured an original script by Kevin Smith, had the aforementioned Cage in the titular role, and had other names such as Jim Carrey and Chris Rock attached as well. As the story goes, Burton didn’t like Smith’s script and brought on his own team to rewrite it, which pissed people off, and with the proposed changes sent the project spiraling out of financial control.
One last fallout with one of the producers saw Burton quit the project, and go on to make Sleepy Hollow instead.
9. The Fly
There are very few details of just how involved Burton was with a Fly reboot, and exactly at what time. Whether it was before, during or after the David Cronenberg masterpiece is unknown, but you can certainly see the attraction for a guy like Burton.
8. The Addams Family
If ever there was a franchise tailor made for Tim Burton, it was Charles Addam’s iconic family of weirdos The Addams Family. Well, as recently as 2013, Burton was on board to direct a 3D stop-motion animated version, under the banner of Illumination Entertainment – the guys behind your kids favourite, annoying, yellow assholes; the Minions.
The film was to be based upon Addams’ original cartoon strip drawings, and could so easily have been Burton’s next The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was never meant to be though, and Burton dropped out shortly before the project was cancelled.
With Tim Burton in charge, Disney’s live-action Sleeping Beauty spin-off/re-imagining would have been very different. Helena Bonham Carter as Maleficent though … we could get on board with that!
6. Mai, the Psychic Girl
Chances are you haven’t heard of Mai, The Psychic Girl. Alongside new wave musical act Sparks, Burton planned to adapt the story of a 14-year-old Japanese girl with powerful psychic abilities, who is hunted down by a mysterious organisation (so much so Stranger Things, right?), in to a musical. Imagine that, a Manga musical? Holy shit, yes please.
Projects like Ed Wood and The Nightmare Before Christmas would eventually get in the way, and cause Carolco Pictures to end its partnership with the then enfant terrible of Hollyweird. But imagine how cool this could have been? Sigh.
5. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
A biopic of the life and times of American cartoonist, entrepreneur, and anthropologist Robert Ripley was high on Burton’s to-do list in the mid-2000’s, and at one point Jim Carrey had agreed to tackle the lead role.
Anyone who’s visited a Ripley’s Believe It or Not attraction will immediately recognise just how perfect a match Ripley’s life would be for a Tim Burton movie.
4. The Fall of the House of Usher
Anyone who knows Tim Burton, knows that he had a huge man-crush on Vincent Price. So much so in fact, he tried to get a Price bio off the ground at one point. With that project a no-go, remaking a classic Price movie seemed like the next logical step, and ideal way to pay homage to his hero.
For whatever reason, Burton ended up making Mars Attacks! instead, which is a real shame as Burton has never really made a true horror movie.
3. Jurassic Park
Out of all of the films listed here, we’re positive that the inclusion of Jurassic Park will be the one that truly blows your mind.
A Tim Burton adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel came at a time before the book had even been published. Warner Bros were interested in the property, before they were eventually outbid by Universal, who opted for Spielberg instead of Burton.
Oh how different the franchise could have been.
2. Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian
Hands up those of you reading this that doesn’t want to see a Beetlejuice sequel? Just like we thought – not many of you. Ever since the iconic original movie, which starred Michael Keaton as the spookiest sex pest in film history, there has been talk of a sequel.
One of the earliest ideas was tagged as Beetlejuice Goes To Hell, an idea in which the titular ghoul finds himself granted the gift of life, which to him is his idea of Hell. It wasn’t the most dynamic of concepts, but if it meant we got another Beetlejuice flick then who are we to argue, right?
Later though, the idea of a movie in which the Deetz family moved to Hawaii, and Beetlejuice is forced to compete in a surf competition against an undead sorcerer when the family summon him once more, began to circulate. It was totally bonkers, but the idea of these characters against an exotic background definitely had its allure.
1. Pirates of the Caribbean 5
With Gore Verbinski and Rob Marshall out, and Disney in search of someone new to resurrect the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, it’s no wonder the film’s star Johnny Depp reached out to his long time collaborator.
Aesthetically this is a film series that could really work with Tim Burton behind the camera. He could also get the very best performance out of Depp, bringing his quirky weirdness to the stagnant Jack Sparrow character. Not only that though, this could have been the spark Burton needed to revive his own career, which has taken a critical panning in recent years.
Which of these Tim Burton almost-movies would you most have liked to see? Let us know in the comments section below.