10 Movies That Were Ruined Thanks To Last Minute Changes
Creating a successful movie is no easy task. It requires a dedicated cast and crew, brilliant leading actors, a stellar script and a director who can get the best out of everyone involved. No wonder then that the vast majority of films fail to live up to expectations and are instead simply consigned to the trash. Because they are so hard to get right but also inherently expensive, movie studios will often interfere in productions if they think changes can be made to make it more successful. After all, they want to protect their investment. This meddling can often have the opposite effect though, where instead of improving a piece of work they actually end up ruining it with last minute changes.
Aliens 3 enjoyed a torturous production, with studio executives constantly forcing changes against the wishes of director David Fincher. The situation became so bad that eventually Fincher quit the project and completely disowned it after arguments of the script and budget. This allowed the producers to carry out their changes at the last minute, creating a film that disappointed fans and critics alike.
Dawn of the Dead
Originally, Dawn of the Dead was to conclude with the group of protagonists realizing that they couldn’t win against the zombie onslaught and come to the understanding that suicide was the only way to save themselves. With the scene ready to be filmed, studio executives decided that this was a bit too depressing and changed the ending so that the characters fought through the mindless enemies and escaped into a helicopter.
Once Upon A Time In America
Once Upon A Time In America has a reputation for being one of the most altered films of all time, after the studio decided to remove more than 90 minutes of footage from the final cut. This left the film as just over two hours rather than just below four hours, with a huge amount of the narrative and character development completely destroyed by the drastic changes. Fortunately, the original version has been released and is considered a classic.
I Am Legend
The film adaptation of the vampire science fiction thriller I Am Legend by Richard Matheson’s caught many people by surprise when it emerged that it had significantly changed the ending from the one in the novel. While the conclusion of the movie was meant to show that the vampires were only trying to get back their friend while Will Smith was really the villain, it ended up with the character fighting against the mutants as the studio felt audiences would react better to that. Not only did this spoil the entire meaning of the story but also made many of the elements leading up to the ending pointless.
Live Free or Die Hard
Like all of its predecessors, Live Free or Die Hard was set to be an expletive laden action fest that the fans of the series had become accustomed to. Unfortunately, the studio financing the movie had other ideas and chose to have the film aim for a PG-13 rating rather than the R rating they had previously been happy with. This effectively meant that everything that made the film part of the Die Hard franchise was removed, so that even the famous catchphrase couldn’t be used.
Hancock was initially meant to be a much more dramatic and dark story, with Will Smith’s character being a complete anti-hero. That is until the executives sent director Peter Berg back to the cutting board in order to make significant changes that would make the character far more likable. This unpleasant side of the hero would have made for a deeper examination of the genre rather than the version audiences got to see.
The story behind the interference from executives funding Brazil has become the stuff of legend, with Terry Gilliam making clear exactly how much trouble the entire experience was. The studio was adamant that the ending should be changed to a more uplifting version but the ex-Monty Python star refused. Executives were about the edit the film to a cut they preferred when Gilliam secretly screened the movie to critics who adored it, convincing the studio not to make the changes.
Richard Donner filmed much of Superman II alongside its predecessor, getting around almost all of the work completed until he was sacked by the movie studio. The executives wanted a less serious tone for the sequel and put Richard Lester in charge of finishing the shooting and re-editing the final cut. The end result was completely jarring and many fans felt the movie had been completely ruined.
All The Pretty Horses
All The Pretty Horses ended up as a commercial and critical failure following its release in 2000. This might have something to do with the fact that Billy Bob Thornton was made to make a vast amount of last minute changes to his epic, cutting almost 2 hours of footage from the final cut, leaving the story and overall experience a mess.
Although Blade Runner became a cult hit, it is widely seen as a movie that had been severely hampered by changes that the movie studio enforced upon director Ridley Scott. According to reports, they were unhappy with the stoic ending to the film, in which Rich Deckard chooses to keep the replicant safe even though he knows she will self-destruct whilst also hinting that the hero himself might be an android. The ending was changed to a much more cheery “they lived happily ever after” affair and Harrison Ford was made to provide a narration over the entire film.