A movie adaptation of The Fantastic Four was completed in 1994 but was never intended to be released. It was produced solely for legal purposes, to retain the film rights for Fantastic Four.
What I love about this story is that the director, actors, and other participants thought they were making a real movie. The producers never told them it was all a sham.
In 1992, Constantin Film was about to lose its option on the film rights for Fantastic Four, unless production began by December. Without the $40 million in necessary funding for a full-budget film, producer Bernd Eichinger turned to Roger Corman for help.
Constantin Film permitted the director, actors and others involved in the film to believe that the studio intended to release it in theaters, rather than the film being a cinematic equivalent of an ashcan copy. The cast and crew did the film for low salaries after being told that if it did not get released to theaters, it would be used as the pilot for a potential television series.
Filming lasted a month and finished in January 1993, after which post-production began. The cast gave press interviews and attended comic book conventions in good faith. The studio announced a premiere date of 1994, at the Mall of America in Minnesota. In late 1993, the studio announced that the film would not be released because of the budget.
Over a decade later, Constantin Film made a $100 million Fantastic Four film and its sequel, the $130 million Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
I've never seen the 2005 Fantastic Four movie or its sequel. Were they any good?