Movies released too early - your choice?

What I’m looking for are movies that, if they were released at a later date, would have been much more successful than they were.

My choice would be Rounders. Released in 1998, it was about 6-7 years too early. If it would have been released later, it would have been a huge financial hit given poker’s explosion in popularity on the internet and television.

As it stands, it still is an entertaining movie, but I think it would have been a blockbuster if it was released at the appropriate time. To be fair, there was no way for anyone to predict the popularity of poker on television, so I don’t think sitting on it would have been practical. However, in hindsight, it would have been a great thing for the bottom line if they could have seen into the future.

Any other movies come to mind?


Mallrats perhaps. It came out in 1995 when the teen sex comedy genre was dead. Five years later American Pie revived the genre.

I don’t know if this fits the OP’s category exactly, but I always thought Shock Treatment would make a lot more sense now than in 1980. Richard O’Brien saw TV evolving in a way that nobody else was, and of course the explosion of reality TV shows that he was oddly prophetic. It probably was near-incomprehensible then. Hell, I first saw it in 1998 and was totally confused. Then Survivor got huge and I went “ohhhh”.

Rounders would have been more successful, but not that much more successful, and certainly not a blockbuster. Maybe $60M instead of $22M?

I had no idea what computer programs were when “Tron” came out and made it hard to follow the plot… Other people may have had the same problem. It didn’t strike me as a good movie either.

I have long thought Blade Runner was hurt by being released the year after Raiders of the Lost Ark. Anyone who loved Harrison Ford in Raiders, or Star Wars for that matter, who went to Blade Runner expecting more of the same would have gotten a terrible shock, and probably gone away and told all their friends the movie sucked. Of course the movie didn’t suck for a minute, but it was also not what people then expected from a “Harrison Ford movie”–very much not.

Really? You don’t think it would have been a blockbuster? That surprises me (you could be right, but I don’t see it). With poker being broadcast on ESPN in primetime, people from 18 to 80 are playing in the main event, I’d see this movie having mass appeal. I didn’t see it in the theaters when it came out, and I think I would have definitely gone to see it if it were released later. Hell, I didn’t even understand the lingo when I saw it the first time, but after watching poker on TV (and who would have predicted THAT would have worked?), the movie was much more enjoyable.

I’m defining blockbuster as $100M or more.

Didn’t Donnie Darko open September, 11th 2001? Probably would have done better a couple of month’s later.

Mystery Men. If you’re going to parody something, it helps if your audience is really familiar with the source material being parodied. The movie was released in 1999, about one year before *X-Men *started the superhero movie trend and two years before *Spider-Man *officially made superheroes the Next Big Thing. Had Mystery Men been released just a few years later, I’ll bet it would have been significantly more successful, because by then so many more people were familiar with the genre.

Ishtar. Most critics panned it because of its outrageous $55 million price tag. Nowadays, that amount of money wouldn’t be a big issue (Land of the Lost, for instance, cost twice that and no one complained about the price).

Excellent nomination and one I completely agree with.


IMO it’s hard to argue against Wag the Dog, regardless of your politics.

I was sure this thread was going to be about Cutthroat Island, a so-so pirate movie that should have waited until the pirate craze.

Not saying it didn’t, but why would a movie open on a Tuesday?

I don’t think 21 was.

According to the Wikipedia article:
“The limited release of this film happened the month after the September 11 attacks. It was then held back for almost a year on the international releases, where it fared much better and was viewed by many more cinema goers.[citation needed] From here the cult following of this movie began, and the DVD release of the film brought it again to American audiences.”

Rounders started the explosion of poker.

The Thing. Set it out around the same time as Alien, and it does better than vs. E.T.