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Top 10 Alternate Movie Endings

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Akil Goin. Two endings are better than one – sometimes. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 alternate movie endings. For this list, we’re choosing film endings that were actually shot but then rejected for the final project for various reasons. Obviously, major spoilers lay ahead, so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users MinddKidzag, Andrew A. Dennison, Deathmatch1959, Vivek Varghese, Germano Pontes, Samuel LoveHeart Klinger, Jsmith94243, zombie840slice, Matthew Edd Crews, and Adam Delgado for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Akil Goin.

Top 10 Alternate Movie Endings


Two endings are better than one – sometimes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 alternate movie endings.

For this list, we’re choosing film endings that were actually shot but then rejected for the final project for various reasons. Obviously, major spoilers lay ahead, so SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Unlikely Hero
“Rocky Balboa” (2006)

For most films, it’s a general rule that the protagonist emerges victorious for his efforts, especially since it’s consistent with all the overcoming-adversity themes of this boxing saga. But times have changed, and while it’s rough to see Rocky lose his big fight because of ring rust and a major age difference, the theatrical defeat seen in “Rocky Balboa” was much more realistic and original. This alternate ending, in which the tables have turned and Rocky is the champion, looks like a safety precaution for anyone too sensitive to handle a bittersweet conclusion. Unlikely perhaps, but also probably more true to the series.

#9: The Ex-Factor
“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)

Many fans are split on which ending they prefer to this flick: the original or the theatrical version, and most debates cite the chemistry between Scott and Ramona as seen in the graphic novels “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is based on. In the original conclusion, Scott ends up with his first love instead of the woman he’s been questing for. And while this makes sense as an insightful character revelation, it’s a little too awkwardly executed. Director Edgar Wright has stated that he prefers the ending he delivered to the one in which Scott reunites with Knives, and test audiences also agreed.

#8: Death & Dystopia
“28 Days Later” (2002)

This was apparently too sad and tragic to test audiences, especially for a post-apocalyptic zombie horror film. When Jim dies on the operating table, Hannah and Selena arm themselves and courageously leave the hospital. The director was going for allusions of hope and empowerment, but preview audiences interpreted the footage as bleak because their survival didn’t seem likely. However, according to the DVD commentary, both the writer and director still prefer this scenario to Jim’s survival.

#7: Happily Ever After
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

An ending scrapped because it was too “happy,” this windup also killed all hopes for “Terminator” sequels with its scar-less John Connor as a Senator daddy, a smiling Sarah as a granny and a world without Skynet. Though it’s decades later and blue skies, green grass, and happy children surround her, Sarah still laments the dystopia that could have been. Test audiences hated it, but this alternate ending still shines for being interesting and detailed despite its faults.

#6: Don’t Feed the Plants
“Little Shop of Horrors” (1986)

This musical comedy lives up to its name by delivering horrors of epic and expansive proportions, but preview audiences didn’t like the 23-minute original ending that featured its protagonists and townspeople dying. Darker and truer to the off-Broadway musical it was based on, the cut scenes of the Audrey II apocalypse show how power, greed, and the pressure of capitalism corrupt. But it was the reshoots that made the Hollywood happy ending we now know that turned out to be the people’s choice.

#5: Cutting Room Floor
“Paranormal Activity” (2007)

Studio executives can be fickle, and that might be why the original ending of Katie getting shot at by police in this supernatural horror was rejected. Its gorier alternative, her throat slice to the camera, also saw its release only on home video formats. Instead, Paramount went for a horror movie staple that’s tried and true: the jump scare of its character throwing bodies at the camera, her own included. More sequel options this way, after all.

#4: Making a Statement
“First Blood” (1982)

Immediately following a passionate monologue about the horrors of war, Rambo makes it clear that he can’t bear the psychological trauma of a veteran, begging his Colonel to shoot him. When the request is denied, Rambo pulls the trigger for him and dies. It’s an overload of tragedy and emotional impact, but an instant sequel killer. The suicide was nixed for a police arrest instead and allowed “First Blood” to become the first of the “Rambo” series.

#3: Self-Sacrifice
“The Butterfly Effect” (2004)

There are four endings to this film but it’s the director’s cut that is the most interesting and disturbing one. In a moment of futility, Ashton Kutcher’s time-travelling character goes back to when he was in his mother’s womb to take the opportunity to strangle himself to death with his umbilical cord. This sacrifice ensures happier lives for his loved ones and indirectly addresses a plot point about his mother’s recurring stillbirths.

#2: Slept In
“Army of Darkness” (1992)

The theatrical run of “Army of Darkness” featured Ash’s antics and wisecracks in a shopping center after returning home safely from the Middle Ages. But this darker ending, in which Ash overdoses on a sleeping potion and dozes for one century too many, was included on the UK VHS release as well as on later DVD releases. In it, our hero awakens to a post-apocalyptic wasteland and cries in despair before the credits roll. However, the studio demanded a more positive conclusion, which prompted the changes and gave us the theatrical version of the ending we know today.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Crop Dusting
“Independence Day” (1996)
- Going Out in a Blaze
“1408” (2007)
- Suicide Frame-Up
“Fatal Attraction” (1987)
- Warranted Paranoia
“Pineapple Express” (2008)
- Cheating Death
“Final Destination” (2000)

#1: Legendary
“I Am Legend” (2007)

The alternate ending for this post-apocalyptic piece of sci-fi is slightly more faithful to the book it’s based on, in the sense that it plays with the themes of Robert Neville being “legendary”: instead of the other way around, it is he who is the actual abomination in a world occupied by the infected Darkseekers. His failures at recognizing the intellect and emotion these things possess comes forward in full force for some much needed depth and drama. And, unlike the theatrical ending, he doesn’t die!

Do you agree with our list? Which alternate movie endings are your favorite? For more Top 10s every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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