In 1993, a German producer teamed up with legendary “King of the B-Movies” Roger Corman to produce a low-budget, feature-length adaptation of the popular Marvel comic book “The Fantastic Four.” The movie was never officially released.
Producer Bernd Eichinger owned the film rights to the comic, but a clause in his contract stated that he would lose the rights if he didn’t go into production on a “Fantastic Four” movie by December 31, 1992. Up to that point, Eichinger had failed to convince a Hollywood studio to commit to a big-budget version of the story.
The producer crafted a clever way to hold onto the rights so that he could later make a big-budget version of “The Fantastic Four.” He called on Roger Corman, a legendary producer famous for his ability to crank out movies with low budgets and short schedules.
It turns out that Eichinger never had any intention of releasing this low-budget version of the comic — a fact that he withheld for the movie’s cast and crew. After Corman announced plans to release the film theatrically, Eichinger paid Corman $US1 million to stand down, and all available prints were reportedly destroyed by then-Marvel chief Avi Arad.
Arad didn’t respond to our request for a comment for this story.
Thanks to bootlegged copies that surfaced online, the unreleased “Fantastic Four” movie has become a cult classic.
Business Insider recently sat down with Corman at his office in Los Angeles to talk about his most recent project, “Death Race 2050,” a sequel to the cult hit “Death Race 2000,” which Corman produced in 1975.
We also talked to the director of “The Fantastic Four,” Oley Sassone. Corman and Sassone give an enlightening account of one of the most bizarre Hollywood tales you’ll ever hear.
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