As movie studios front a lot of cash to get movies made, they often have at least some say in the finished product. Whether this is right or wrong is debatable, particularly when it undermines the creative vision of the filmmakers, but their sense of entitlement is somewhat understandable. Even so, there are countless examples of movies that suffered from studio meddling.
Generally speaking, the intention of the studios is to make a film as palatable and marketable as possible. However, there are also many other common reasons that studios insert themselves into the production cycle, and it’s not always good. With that in mind, here are 8 of the movies that suffered the most as a result of studio meddling.
8. The Last Airbender (2010)
Though The Last Airbender isn’t a film known for its quality, it might have been at least somewhat better were it not for studio interference. The 2010 M. Night Shyamalan movie based on the popular anime Avatar: The Last Airbender failed to impress critics and audiences alike, and it caused massive furore among fans of the source material. The film is far from a masterpiece, but studio involvement was reportedly responsible for a number of its shortcomings.
According to CinemaBlend, many of the criticisms levelled at the film weren’t down to its director, but the studio. One self-proclaimed insider shared details of repeated studio involvement, alleging that the film’s producers were behind a number of the most problematic developments. These included forcing rewrites, insisting on cutting multiple important scenes to keep the film under 100 minutes, and the nepotism-informed casting of Nicola Peltz as Katara.
The latter of those had an unfortunate knock-on effect. Casting a white actor to play a Water Nation character saw her family (and the rest of her tribe) also cast with white actors. The casting of Dev Patel as a recognizable star forced them to cast people of color as the Fire Nation, making the film a racially-charged nightmare. Though the allegations are largely unconfirmed, it’s believed that studio meddling severely hindered the film’s ability to resonate with its core audience.