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Top 10 Great Movies Saved By Last Minute Changes

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Thomas O'Connor

That was a close one! From Scott Pilgrim, to Shrek, to Clerks, these movies faced some major last minute changes for the better. WatchMojo ranks the top great movies saved by last minute changes.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Great+Movies+Saved+By+Last+Minute+Changes Special thanks to our user ninou78 for suggesting this idea!


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We’ll never know for sure, but we probably dodged a serious bullet thanks to these creative decisions. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Great Movies Saved By Last Minute Changes.

For this list, we’re looking at fan favorite pieces of cinema that underwent last minute changes, ones that undoubtedly improved the final product. Also, we will be discussing spoilers for some films on our list, so consider yourselves warned.

#10: “Shrek” (2001)

This now-classic animated feature stars Mike Myers as a cantankerous ogre who just wants to be left alone in his swampy home. While we all remember the title character’s thick Scottish brogue, he almost sounded completely different. For starters, he was initially voiced by Myers’ fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Farley, but sadly, Farley passed away before he finished recording his lines, so we’ll never know what could have been. Meyers was brought in as a replacement, but before settling on a Scottish accent, Myers recorded much of his dialogue in his natural Canadian accent. Thankfully, Myers recognized that this didn’t work, and his lines were re-recorded with the accent we know and love today.

#9: “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” (2010)

Edgar Wright’s supercharged adaptation of the cult Canadian indie comic almost had an entirely different ending from the one audiences ultimately got. After defeating the last of his paramour’s evil exes, Scott walks off hand in hand with his new squeeze. But in the initial version of the film, Scott instead wound up with Knives, his love interest from earlier in the film. Towards the end of production however, the sixth Scott Pilgrim comic book was released, which saw Scott and Ramona reunite, and so the ending was changed to fit with the source material.

#8: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)

A standout from this X-Men time-hopping adventure was the introduction of Evan Peters as the silver-haired speedster Quicksilver. But the character’s role in the movie, including the memorable “Time in a Bottle” sequence, were almost something else entirely. Originally, Wolverine was going to recruit a young Juggernaut to help break Magneto out of prison. Director Bryan Singer chose to change the character to Quicksilver midway through production after watching some high-speed camera videos and getting the inspiration for the film’s memorable sequence. Given that Peters’ fun performance and big scene were major highlights of the film, we’re not complaining that Juggernaut got the boot.

#7: “American Beauty” (1999)

Sam Mendes’ award-winning film about an advertising executive who falls for a much younger woman while navigating a midlife crisis famously ends badly for its protagonist. But he wasn’t always going to be the only one who ended the movie in a bad way. Originally, secondary characters Ricky and Jane were meant to take the fall for the events of the film’s climax, being hauled in to stand trial despite their innocence. The extra sequence would have caused the film to run for an extra half hour, which Mendes felt ruined the film’s pacing and impact by dragging things out with little payoff. Seems like he made the right call.

#6: “Scream 2” (1997)

The second installment in this self-referential horror trilogy had its entire production derailed when the script leaked online, spoiling the ending. The studio was desperate to maintain the secret of the film’s ending, so the script had to be re-written. But that’s not all! The ending we got was one of several endings written for the film as a way to ensure no further leaks would happen. Even the cast and crew weren’t allowed to know which ending was the “real” one. In one of the “dummy” endings, it turned out that virtually the entire supporting cast were part of a mass plan to kill protagonist Sydney Prescott. Wow, that’s dark even for this franchise.

#5: “First Blood” (1982)

In the original climax of this iconic action movie, Vietnam vet John Rambo confronts his former commanding officer, Colonel Trautman, letting loose an epic and tear-stained monologue about his treatment at the hands of the people he thought he was fighting for. At the end of it all, Rambo begs Trautman to finish him off once and for all. In the original ending, Rambo literally forced Trautman’s hand to put him out of his misery. Unsurprisingly, Rambo actor Sylvester Stallone felt this was a downer, and the ending was changed so that Rambo instead surrenders himself to the police. The original ending also would have put the kibosh on the film’s sequels.

#4: “Clerks” (1994)

Kevin Smith’s career-making indie comedy is a mostly lighthearted affair, even with some of the darker twists and turns the film takes towards the end. But originally, the closing seconds of the film would have taken a serious turn. In Smith’s original ending, put-upon convenience store clerk Dante would have been shot and killed in a robbery mere seconds before the credits rolled. It certainly would have been a shocking and memorable twist, but Smith was convinced to remove the ending following its first screening. It’s hard to argue that the proposed ending wouldn’t have felt out of place, ending an otherwise fun movie on a bleak note.

#3: “The Shining” (1980)

Stanley Kubrick’s horror opus is widely regarded today as one of the finest horror films of all time, thanks in no small part to the nail-biter of an ending. The film ends on a desperate chase through the Overlook Hotel and the nearby hedge maze, with Danny and Wendy Torrance narrowly escaping the crazed Jack. In the finished film, the pair escape moments before the credits roll. But originally, a sequence would have seen them recovering in a hospital. This additional scene was actually included in the film’s L.A. premiere, but was removed afterwards because Kubrick wisely realised that it detracted from the impact of the film’s final sequence.

#2: “Back to the Future” (1985)

It’s hard to imagine Marty McFly being played by anyone other than Michael J. Fox, but we narrowly avoided a timeline in which the character was played by “Mask” star Eric Stoltz. Stoltz was originally cast in the role by director Robert Zemeckis but after a few weeks of filming, the director realized that Stoltz wasn’t a great fit in the role. Zemeckis’ first choice had for the part had always been Fox, but his part in the hit sitcom “Family Ties” presented a scheduling roadblock. Following Stoltz’s departure, Fox signed on for the role, filming “Family Ties” by day and working on the film by night.

#1: “Jaws” (1975)

This iconic horror film is the poster child for the “less is more” philosophy, teasing audiences with glimpse of the rampaging shark to build suspense. This same formula has been used for countless horror movies since, but we almost got something very different. Originally, audiences were meant to see much more of the monstrous shark, but the mechanical predator constructed for filming rarely worked when it was supposed to. Not one to let a little thing like a malfunctioning robot shark get him down, Steven Spielberg made use of what shark footage he could get, electing to show the beast as little as possible before the climax - and just like that, a classic was born.


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