In art and in life, sometimes, things don’t end well. After watching a movie, sometimes audiences wonder what it would have been like had it ended differently. Well, it’s just not audiences who wonder, but also filmmakers, investors, studios and producers. Many times, more than one ending is shot and the final ending is ultimately chosen after test audiences view the film. Here are ten movies with shocking alternative endings. Most of the alternative endings have been included on DVD and Blu Ray releases. Several of the alternative endings were actually used in the film, and so the original ending ended up becoming the alternative ending. One of these movies doesn’t even have a definitive ending and just has three different ones. And if you haven’t seen these movies yet, here’s your SPOILER ALERT.
10. Pineapple Express
2008’s Pineapple Express, staring Seth Rogen and James Franco was a huge hit about, well, taking huge hits (of marijuana). The ending we saw in theaters had Rogen and Franco surviving the shootout and talking about it over breakfast. However, this story could have gone a different way entirely. In the alternative ending, Franco and Rogen stay in the warehouse and get so high, they forget about the bad guy who ends up shooting and killing them. This perhaps would have been the more realistic choice.
9. Men In Black II
The ending of the 2002 hit Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones/Frank the Pug vehicle, Men in Black II was changed because of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th of the previous year. The original ending of the film had a scene where the world Trade Center Towers opened up and released a huge throng of UFOs into space. The scene was cut, but the filmmakers had a huge problem on their hands, which was the film’s short running time. So, they did the easiest thing possible, which was to add additional trailers before the film began, and to show the short film, The Chubbchubbs, which went on to win an Oscar for Best Short Film, before the main feature. The DVD of the film also features another alternative ending, which is similar to the final ending, but takes place in a different location of the Men In Black Headquarters.
Everyone knows what happened on the real Titanic, but did you know the movie had a different ending entirely? If you don’t remember, the film ended with the older Rose, played by actress Gloria Stuart, standing alone, quietly dropping her giant blue diamond necklace into the ocean. In the alternative ending, Rose makes a big scene about it, dropping her necklace into the Ocean in front of the treasure hunters. She then tells them that “only life is priceless” and the real value is in, “making every day count.” One of the treasure hunters replies to her in a way that describes how awful this alternative ending was, when he says, “That really sucks, Lady.”
7. The Butterfly Effect
The 2004 Ashton Kutcher film, The Butterfly Effect, was a commercial success, but was never critically acclaimed. The film had four different endings. The theatrical ending showed Evan passing Kayleigh on a New York City sidewalk, seeing her and recognizing her, but moving on. The happier alternative ending takes place eight years in the future and shows Evan and Kayleigh running into each other on a sidewalk and Evan asks Kayleigh out for coffee. The third alternative ending has Evan and Kayleigh seeing each other on the sidewalk and passing each other, but after hesitating, Evan turns around and follows her. Last but not least, the director’s cut, which is the most shocking ending, has Evan watching a video of his own birth, traveling back in time, and then committing suicide by strangling himself with the umbilical cord before he is born. This ending also explains why Evan’s mother has two stillborn children before him.
The movie Clue was based on the board game, and did not actually have one definitive ending. There were four endings shot for this film, and one ending was cut. During the theatrical run, different endings were shown at different theaters. In some cities, newspaper ads indicated which ending would be shown, A, B, or C. All three endings are on the VHS version of the film. The DVD also includes all three endings, with the option for one to be chosen at random. Each ending has different suspects responsible for different murders.
5. The Princess Diaries
The ending of Gary Marshall’s The Princess Diaries was changed, but only in a minor way. In the original cut of the movie, it ends with Mia agreeing to become a princess. However, the final ending went a little further and included a shot of a European Castle with a Genovian flag that was added digitally. So, what’s so shocking about this ending? It was the idea of Marshall’s 5 year-old granddaughter, who was disappointed she didn’t get to see the castle where the princess would be living, from the first cut.
4. Pretty Woman
Romantic comedy classic Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts, didn’t just have an alternative ending, it was supposed to be a different movie entirely. Originally conceived as a dark drama about prostitution in Los Angeles in the 1980’s, it was called, $3,000. Vivian was a cocaine addict, and part of the stipulation of her week with Edward is that she had to stay clean. The final theatrical ending has Vivian and Edward falling in love. The script originally had Gere and Roberts in his limo, where he gives her an envelope with $3,000, and telling her to leave. She is then seen with her friend on a bus to Disneyland. Considering Pretty Woman has become a classic modern comedy, they made the right choice.
3. The Break-Up
2006’s The Break-Up, ends with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn running to each other on the street, several months after their nightmare of a break up. However, real life influenced art because the ending used wasn’t the ending the filmmakers were originally going for, with the couple simply breaking up for good. However, the movie coincided with Aniston’s real life break up with Brad Pitt and producers didn’t want her character to be jilted too, so they chose a more open ended version.
2. Fatal Attraction
The 1987 film about the mistress from hell, Fatal Attraction, had a very interesting alternative ending. The ending in theaters had Alex, played by Glenn Close, shot and killed by Michael Douglas’ wife, Beth, played by Anne Archer. However, the ending originally filmed for the movie had Alex committing suicide in order to frame Douglas for murder. The police take Douglas away, but Beth finds a cassette tape where Alex threatens to commit suicide, and ultimately her husband is acquitted. Test audiences didn’t like this ending, which is actually more shocking than the final ending, so it was scrapped.
1. Sweet Home Alabama
The Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy had a very funny alternative ending. The theatrical ending had Witherspoon fall back in love with her high school sweetheart, played by Josh Lucas, and them living happily ever after. The alternative ending is funny, but sort of silly. In a practical joke, Lucas carries Witherspoon’s apparently lifeless body into a party, where all of their friends are, and says she was struck by lightning. As everyone is reacting, she pops up and kisses Lucas, fooling everyone, just for a minute.