If too many cooks can spoil the broth, then what can happen when too many writers are working on one film? As detailed by Simon Brew on Den Of Geek, the result is a creative mess, albeit a lucrative one. In his post, Brew charts the numerous permutations of screenwriters who were brought on to create scripts for The Flintstones film. Brew also notes how all of these screenwriters and drafts, rumored to be between 32 and 35 in total, would end up effecting Writers’ Guild Of America rules on crediting in final films.
Part of the issue was the changing of directors, from Richard Donner to Brian Levant, who ultimately directed the film and brought in a “writer’s room” mentality and several different groups to pen the film. The number of writers wasn’t a well-kept secret and spilled over into critics’ vitriol towards the film where it was pretty universally panned (it currently has a 21 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). As Brew writes,
By then, it was widely known just how many pens had contributed to The Flintstones’ script of course, and it’d be a regularly cited fact in reviews of the film (think lines along the theme of “35 people couldn’t even think of one funny joke” then rinse and repeat). Even then, one of the three who did ultimately receive credit, Jim Jennewein, wasn’t happy. “We had no contact with the script after Levant came,” he said. “Everyone thinks drama needs a single unifying voice, and I think the same holds true for comedy. Screenwriting is a real craft, and movies are different from TV.”
It’s an interesting read about how a blockbuster can easily gain more writers and contributors as it goes through different hands in Hollywood, ultimately leading to a film that didn’t seem to please too many people and is rarely remembered or brought up anymore. And yet it still took 35 writers to bring something so easily forgettable to the screen.