5 Classic Films Funded in Nutty Ways

The Quaker Oats Co. funded 'Willy Wonka'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2011 3:42 PM CDT
Gene Wilder in the original "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Producers have long writhed in agony seeking ways to fund feature films. Cracked lists five of their weirdest schemes:

  • El Mariachi. Robert Rodriguez, the future director of Machete and Sin City, paid for this low-budge action flick by submitting himself to medical experiments that included removing chunks of flesh from his body, taking a 1-month drug trial, and pooping into clear tupperware.

  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Producer David Wolper convinced the Quaker Oats Company to fund the multimillion-dollar 1971 film and produce a candy bar to go along with it. Too bad the bars tasted nasty and had to be recalled.
  • Animal Farm. The CIA bought the rights to George Orwell's classic novel, and funded this 1954 animated film as a piece of anti-Communist propaganda. Even stranger: CIA involvement was kept secret for nearly 50 years.
  • Plan 9 From Outer Space. The Baptist Church of Beverly Hills funded this infamous clunker in an attempt to fund films about the apostles. The entire Plan 9 cast was even baptized as part of the agreement.
  • Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Mario Van Peebles Sr. produced and acted in this 1971 porno film about a militant black man opposing the white establishment. When he contracted gonorrhea having unprotected sex in the film, he filed a claim with the Director's Guild for workman's comp, and used the money to buy more film for the movie.

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