No matter how popular the characters are, it's hard to take a two-minute sketch and stretch it into a two-hour feature film. Saturday Night Live specializes in putting strange characters on stage and letting them loose for a minute or two with ridiculous dialogue, and bringing those characters back for more. However, movie demand action, which means changing the familiar setting. Sometimes it works and produces a wonderful movie. But for every Blues Brothers or Wayne's World, there is also a movie like It's Pat, The Coneheads, or A Night at the Roxbury.
The successes lead writers and producers to want to repeat the process, while the failures make everyone skittish. Some sketches get as far as a script, but many were shot down even earlier. Often it was because of other recent SNL movie failures, but the movie that scuttled the planned 1993 Hans & Franz film was Arnold Schwarzenegger's. The Governator was supposed to co-produce the project. Kevin Nealon said,
“Yes, we wrote a musical! Hans & Franz: The Girly Man Dilemma. I wrote it with Conan O'Brien, Robert Smigel, and Dana Carvey. Arnold Schwarzenegger was co-producing with us, and he was going to star in it. We got it written, sold it to Sony. But I think Arnold got cold feet.”
In a 2010 interview with the A.V. Club, Smigel said that the problem really came down to the box office bomb that was Last Action Hero, saying “That movie came out and it was a failure and I was told by his agent that Arnold decided [adopts Schwarzenegger voice], ‘I will never be myself in a movie again! It can’t be done, this is the proof. I can’t play myself in a movie, automatic failure.’”
Hans & Franz was far from the only rejected movie idea. Read about the others at mental_floss. What was your favorite movie that came from a Saturday Night Live sketch? And which ones have you seen that are just horrible?