Not every film can be a blockbuster hit, even if it has a fantastic cast with the likes of Margot Robbie and Alexander Skarsgard in the lead roles. While the 2016 action-adventure The Legend of Tarzan seemed like it could have been a surefire hit, it was a commercial and critical flop. However, the film is finding some new life on Netflix, so you can stream it if you missed this one.
The Legend Of Tarzan Brought Back A Legend
The Legend of Tarzan takes a different angle on the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, showing Tarzan returning to the jungle rather than his years raised in the jungle. The story follows John Clayton, aka Tarzan, who returns to the jungles of Africa to investigate claims of slavery. Alexander Skarsgard starred in the titular role with a fantastic ensemble cast that includes Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent, and Christoph Waltz.
Reviving A Hundred-Year Old Franchise
The Legend of Tarzan was also the final film to be produced by the late Jerry Weintraub, who was known for producing films like The Karate Kid and the Oceans series. David Yates directed the film with a screenplay by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer. Unfortunately, the film didn’t end up being greater than the sum of its parts and received relatively mixed to negative reviews.
Failed To Turn A Profit
Interestingly, The Legend of Tarzan seemingly made a decent amount of money, as it brought in around $356.7 million worldwide against a budget of $180 million. However, the film’s production budget required it to make at least $400 million to break even, so the film wasn’t the financial success the studios were hoping for. While there was potential for a sequel, the box office falling short of expectations ensured that wouldn’t happen.
A Troubled Production For Over A Decade
The Legend of Tarzan had a long road to production, which played a part in its ultimately disappointing performance. A Tarzan movie was in the works since 2003, and there was a version of the film at one point that was written by John Collee and directed by Guillermo del Toro. Unfortunately, Guillermo del Toro had to drop out of the movie to go work on The Hobbit franchise.
Production Changed Hands Multiple Times
The Legend of Tarzan changed hands again at this point, with a version reportedly written by Stephen Sommers and Stuart Beatle in the ether. This version was supposed to have the same tone and feel as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, though it also didn’t make it through the development phase. Another version of the film would have been written and directed by Craig Brewer, but this version didn’t come together either.
Michael Phelps As Tarzan?
Finally, David Yates was attached to direct The Legend of Tarzan in 2012, but the film was put on production hiatus due to budget issues. Another interesting tidbit is that Skarsgard wasn’t the only one in the running for the Tarzan role, as Henry Cavill, Tom Hardy, Charlie Hunnam, and, surprisingly, Michael Phelps were considered. Hilariously, Jerry Weintraub reportedly changed his mind about Phelps after watching the Oympian hosting Saturday Night Live for just two minutes.
Ultimately, The Legend of Tarzan didn’t turn out to be the successful action-adventure franchise it set out to be. Still, it’s an interesting film with some solid performances. If you missed out on this one, you can check it out on Netflix now.