Chris Columbus was surprised when his story about cute little critters who turn into menacing monsters was picked up by none other than Steven Spielberg. Spielberg saw the project as being one of the most inventive ideas that had come across his desk in, well, ever. He snapped up the movie rights and began the process of setting it up at his new production company- Amblin Entertainment. Chris Columbus would have to wait, however, as Spielberg had used up some of his cred earned with Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind by making the box office failure 1941. Spielberg would eventually earn it all back by making E.T. After E.T. became a box office sensation, Steven Spielberg could make any film he wanted anywhere he wanted to make it. Warner Brothers would eagerly snap up Gremlins.
Joe Dante had directed The Howling, which had been seen as a novel, low budget horror film. His career, however, had seen better days by the time Steven Spielberg chose him to guide Gremlins forward as the film’s director. While Spielberg mostly liked the script, he did have a few problems with it- it was originally much darker and violent. Spielberg wanted that toned down. Originally the main cute character- Gizmo- was supposed to turn into an evil gremlin like the others. Spielberg didn’t think that was a good idea. Joe Dante had originally thought that the film could be a low budget horror film but quickly saw that the complexity of the creatures and the vision that Steven Spielberg had for the film would make it much bigger and much more expensive than he thought it would be when he signed on.Would he be up to the challenge? Stay tuned!