Top 10 Movies that Underwent Major Reshoots

Written by Shane O'Gorman Making a movie is a long and difficult process, and the final result isn't always what the studio expected, which can result in a big chunk of the film being reshot at a later date! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Movies that Had Big Reshoots! But what will take the top spot on our list? 'Back to the Future', 'Apocalypse Now', or 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to Freemantle_uk for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Films%20that%20Underwent%20Major%20Reshoots
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Maybe get things a little more organized before the cameras start rolling, eh fellas? Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies that Underwent Major Reshoots.

For this list, we’re looking at films that had to redo scenes or restart production entirely in favor of a new creative direction. We based our choices on how significant these alterations were to the final product – these could be for better or for worse and could have been done before or after test screenings.

#10: “World War Z” (2013)

This zombie apocalypse made for a fun summer blockbuster, but many felt the more thought-provoking and tense themes of the novel on which it was based had been overlooked in favor of an overabundance of action scenes. Well, except for the third act, which presents a slower, horror-based climax in comparison to the set pieces found before it. Of course, this was actually the result of many people involved butting heads over how to properly end the film. The change came about very late in production, causing a rushed script re-write and the budget to soar to $190 million. The film was luckily a commercial hit upon release, so maybe the changes weren’t so ‘brain-dead’ after all.

#9: “Payback” (1999)

This Mel Gibson neo-noir crime thriller was extremely dark in tone, as are most movies within the genre. However, studio execs felt that it was maybe too dark for its own good and feared that it would ultimately alienate mainstream audiences. So, a script rewrite was quickly put together and the original director, Brian Helgeland, was booted off the project, with his position filled by the production designer, John Myhre. Roughly 30% of the film was altered due to this change, including a different opening scene, removing a sequence that involved spousal abuse, and the addition of Kris Kristofferson as an antagonist.

#8: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)

This film began production while the comic series it was based on was still being written. This meant that director Edgar Wright had no ending to go off of, and therefore had to create his own. Originally, Ramona Flowers denied Scott’s love, an ending that test audiences highly disapproved of because it didn’t feel right considering the turmoil Scott had endured leading up to that point. Wright agreed and reshot it as the one we know and love today. As for the final graphic novel, author Bryan Lee O’Malley gave Scott an ending that was closer to the film.

#7: “Fant4stic” (2015)

When the behind the scenes drama is more interesting than the movie itself; its lack of success after the fact can’t be that shocking. Things seemed promising at first, with director Josh Trank fresh off his breakout hit, “Chronicle.” However, reports indicate that there was unbelievable tension between Trank and the studio, with him supposedly behaving erratically and uncooperatively at every turn. This caused him to be kicked off the project, with massive reshoots needed to stitch together some sort of coherent plotline from the already disastrous production. Needless to say, it failed and it clearly shows, with critics feeling the film lacked a sense of pacing, logic, and even fun in the final product.

#6: “Superman II” (1980)

The original “Superman” movie was intended to be shot back-to-back with its sequel, which ended up arriving two years later. Director Richard Donner had completed approximately 75% of filming for the second installment, when an overlong shooting schedule and hikes in the budget sparked tension between him and several of the producers. To end the arguing and to make sure things didn’t get too out of control, Richard Lester was hired to replace Donner to continue shooting “Superman II”. Production began again under his direction, and he called for multiple changes to better suit his vision of the Man of Steel. This including re-filming entire scenes that Donner had already completed, resulting in some continuity errors within the finished film.

#5: “Jaws” (1975)

“Jaws” is a classic of cinema, right? Well, if things had gone differently, it might not have been as fondly remembered as it is today. Aside from going over budget and shooting well beyond schedule, the film was originally going to show the killer shark much more often than what’s seen in the final product. Spielberg eventually felt that the prop shark looked goofy and even fake, instead opting to show it as little as possible, hoping this would create suspense - as we’d never suspect when it’d strike next. Following extensive delays during principal photography and reshoots after test screenings, the challenges seemed worth it in the end, as “Jaws” became the highest grossing film ever up to that point.

#4: “Suicide Squad” (2016)

Oh, where to begin? After the negative backlash to “Batman v Superman”’s overly dark tone, Warner Bros. quickly pressured the filmmakers behind “Suicide Squad” to undertake addition filming to ensure a more lighthearted vibe… months after shooting was completed. The result was drastically different footage being cut together, ultimately culminating in a convoluted mishmash of plotlines, character arcs, and tonal shifts. Making matters even worse, several scenes involving The Joker were cut altogether, making his involvement in the final film feel almost pointless. The sentiments were echoed in the critical reviews that followed its theatrical release.

#3: “Apocalypse Now” (1979)

This is yet cinema classic, and one that had a long, hard road to travel to achieve that recognition. Reshoots were attributed to several factors both in and out of the filmmakers’ realm of control. Entire sets were destroyed by a typhoon, causing production to be shut down. Then, star Martin Sheen suffered a major heart attack, causing filming to once again be interrupted and started again at a later date. This isn’t even mentioning the business side of matters, with the movie going well over budget and causing many headaches while they tried to convince the studio to give them more money to finish the project. The film is a masterpiece, but its development was an apocalypse.

#2: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)

This spin-off from the mainline “Star Wars” series definitely felt like a departure from the franchise norm. Emphasizing the “War” in “Star Wars,” the film had a notably grim tone in comparison to its predecessors, something the filmmakers involved feared Disney may not be happy with. No spoilers, but the ending in particular is especially somber, therefore reshoots were pre-scheduled and done as a precaution to film a much ‘happier’ option should the studio want a more pleasant ending. Surprisingly, the House of Mouse was okay with the dark, sad ending that ended up in the final cut, though some of the footage from the alternate version can still be seen in some trailers.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions…
- “Exorcist: The Beginning” (2004)

- “I Am Legend” (2007)

- “September” (1987)


#1: “Back to the Future” (1985)

We need to go back… back to the… drawing board? Originally, the filmmakers wanted Michael J. Fox to portray Marty McFly, but due to Fox’s commitments to the television series, “Family Ties,” they had to go with Eric Stoltz instead. About four weeks into production, many involved felt Stoltz had been miscast, so once again they pursued Fox for the role. After Fox was officially hired, they had to start from scratch; reshooting everything they’d already filmed with Stoltz to maintain continuity. In fact, if you look very closely, you can still see some Stoltz’s footage used in a few scenes. But even so, we still can’t picture anyone but MJF as the time traveling teen.
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