After being attached to helm the superhero tentpole for a whopping eight years, Edgar Wright abruptly exited Marvel’s “Ant-Man” last week due to creative differences. The director was reportedly upset that the studio altered his and Joe Cornish’s script without their consent.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
Click through for 10 filmmakers who bailed — or were given the boot — from major directing gigs.
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Gary Ross — “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
Despite the mega success of the first “Hunger Games” movie, Gary Ross exited the franchise and Francis Lawrence came on to direct the following films. Ross shot down reports that negotiations with Lionsgate for “Catching Fire” were problematic following speculation about salary disputes. “As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule,” he said.
Catherine Hardwicke — “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”
Despite rumors that Summit had fired Catherine Hardwicke, who launched the “Twilight” series, for being difficult, she said she “had the first right of refusal” in her contract. Hardwicke said she decided against directing the sequels because the first book of Stephenie Meyer’s YA trilogy was her favorite and the studio’s production schedule was too intense.
Tim Burton — “Maleficent”
Tim Burton was loosely attached to “Maleficent” in 2011 and his commitment was significant enough for Disney to hire his “Alice in Wonderland” screenwriter Linda Woolverton to pen the script. “Harry Potter” director David Yates was then thrown into the mix before Robert Stromberg, the production designer for “Alice in Wonderland” and “Oz the Great and Powerful,” came on board. The live-action “Sleeping Beauty” reimagining marks his directorial debut.
Brenda Chapman — “Brave”
“Brave” was supposed to be the first Pixar film to be directed by a woman before Brenda Chapman was suddenly replaced by Mark Andrews about a year before the movie’s release. “Some other people that this has happened to have just disappeared and not done much afterward,” Chapman told The Huffington Post after getting the ax. “But I didn’t want to do that. I have a fighting spirit.” She ultimately retained a small credit and shared the Oscar for best animated feature with Andrews.
Patty Jenkins — “Thor: The Dark World”
After “Thor” director Kenneth Branagh decided to produce instead of helm the sequel, the pic was passed around several times before Marvel found TV veteran Alan Taylor. Much to everyone’s surprise, Patty Jenkins was hired for the “The Dark World” after “Game of Thrones” director Brian Kirk withdrew from negotiations over financial issues. Jenkins abruptly left the film less than two months later in what she said was an amicable parting. Reports later surfaced that the director was let go for not moving decisively enough to meet the goal of the looming release date.
Richard Thorpe — “The Wizard of Oz”
The classic film was a revolving door for directors in the late 1930s. Original helmer Richard Thorpe was fired two weeks into shooting and replaced by George Cukor, who overhauled the makeup and costumes for the major characters, forcing all their scenes to be reshot. Victor Fleming then stepped in and shot the majority of the movie when Cukor left to work on “Gone with the Wind,” only to later assume Cukor’s job on the Civil War drama. King Vidor ultimately completed the movie, shooting the iconic “Over the Rainbow” sequence, but refused to take credit until after Fleming’s death.
George Cukor — “Gone with the Wind”
This seemingly unending game of director’s chairs also took place during the filming of another 1939 classic, “Gone with the Wind.” Although he spent two years in pre-production, George Cukor was let go three weeks into filming after having left “Oz” to steer “Wind.” Cukor reportedly butted heads with producer David O. Selznick over the script and production rate. Victor Fleming was pulled away from “Oz” to take over on the movie, which was far behind schedule. The grueling work hours caused Fleming to suffer a nervous breakdown after 10 weeks. Although Sam Wood completed the final scenes, Fleming received sole credit as he made the most sizable contribution.
Steven Soderbergh — “Moneyball”
“Moneyball” would have been a completely different film under original director Steven Soderbergh’s control. Sony questioned the commercial value of a documentary-style drama starring real-life athletes, so they stopped production three days before shooting was scheduled to begin after five years of development. Star Brad Pitt eventually recruited Bennett Miller to elevate it to an Oscar-nominated pic. The screenwriter was also changed multiple times: Steve Zaillian was hired for the job, replaced by Aaron Sorkin, only to be called back again.
Anthony Mann — “Spartacus”
David Lean turned down the dark historical epic, forcing star and exec producer Kirk Douglas to turn to his second choice for the job: veteran director Anthony Mann. But he regretted his decision a week into filming. “It was clear that Tony Mann was not in control,” Douglas wrote in his autobiography. “He let Peter Ustinov direct his own scenes by taking every suggestion Peter made.” Douglas later went the opposite route, despite the crew’s concerns, and hired up-and-comer Stanley Kubrick, who had directed him in “Paths of Glory.”
Alex Cox — “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”
Although Terry Gilliam’s fingerprints are all over “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” another director had his hands on the drug-fueled roadtrip movie first. Original helmer Alex Cox reportedly clashed with star Johnny Depp and author Hunter S. Thompson, especially over his animation ideas. “Alex had some dream that he could make Thompson’s work better,” Depp once said in an interview. “He was wrong.” Cox was dismissed and Gilliam was brought in to fix the script in 10 days with writer Tony Grisoni.