50 movies with alternate endings

Written by:
December 1, 2020
Touchstone Pictures

50 movies with alternate endings

Between the first word put on the page of a script and the completed theatrical release, a film goes through countless changes, shifts, rewrites, and sometimes complete reshoots. Even after a film is released—such as in the case of a movie like Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner"—the director can continue working on additional alterations to be released in future home media releases, or even as entirely separate films from the theatrical cut. Director Jordan Peele publicly said it took a whopping 200 drafts of his widely acclaimed and award-winning film "Get Out" before he had a version that was ready for production. And even then, the original ending had to be reshot once it got in front of test audiences. Movies are a collaborative process. When all the moving pieces are combined, and cast and crew assembled, different perspectives and inputs can drastically alter a film's original course. This is in addition to the eventual input acquired from test screenings, which can further complicate a film's road to completion.

So, sometimes alternate endings come about because test audiences don't agree with the director's vision, and consumption has to be taken into account over artistic intent. Sometimes, a studio gets its hands over the production first, foreseeing potential problems with test audiences before they even happen. And sometimes, it's simply that there was too much additional footage shot that couldn't make the final cut of the film, or the director changed his mind one way or the other. But whatever the case may be, a revised ending can drastically reshape a movie from start to finish—oftentimes for the better, but equally as often for the worse. However, most of the time, these alternate endings become eventually accessible to the public, either released with home media or even leaked online, allowing people to see the movies that could've been.

Thus, after scouring the internet and acquiring information from various sources, Stacker compiled its own list of movies with alternate endings, ranging widely in genre, medium, and reason for changed ending. Starting with the year 1939, all the way up until 2018, here are 50 movies with alternate endings.

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1 / 50
Selznick International Pictures

Gone with the Wind (1939)

The classic Civil War film starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable almost veered a bit differently from Rhett Butler's iconic ending line "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," after Scarlett O'Hara pleads with him to stay with her in Atlanta. In 2014, an alternate script of the film was unearthed, in which Scarlett, instead, comes off confident that Rhett will return to her someday. The producers' ultimate decision to scrap it retains Scarlett's decision to return home to Tara, putting off thinking about hard things until tomorrow.

2 / 50
RKO Radio Pictures

Suspicion (1941)

One of Alfred Hitchcock's Cary Grant-led thrillers was notoriously fraught in the decision over its ending, abetted by studio meddling. While the novel the movie is adapted from tells the story of a killer through his victim's eyes, Grant's casting as the leading man made studio RKO want Hitchcock to position Grant as a hero to retain his public image. Thus, the film ends with Grant's Johnnie admitting his actually non-murderous intentions to his wife, Lina (Joan Fontaine), and the two staying together—much to the years-long displeasure of Hitchcock.

3 / 50
Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions

The Birds (1963)

In another famous Hitchcock picture, the classic horror film about inexplicably murderous avians almost had a much more chaotic final scene. In the original film, Tippi Hedren's Melanie Daniels has been deeply traumatized and injured by the bird attacks and must be taken to a hospital in San Francisco. As she's escorted into a car to take her away, a menacing mass of birds ominously watch her and continue to do so as the car drives away. An alternative ending idea was to show the ravaged town and shoot one final bird attack before Melanie gets away, though the projected hefty shooting time by screenwriter Evan Hunter might've been what killed that ending.

4 / 50
Columbia Pictures

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Stanley Kubrick's satirical skewering of Cold War hysteria almost ended in a pie fight, as opposed to a nuclear holocaust cheerfully set to the song "We'll Meet Again," sung by Vera Lynn. Already shot and ready to go, if not for a last-minute change by Kubrick, the film was to end with an absurd, mass custard pie fight between world leaders in the infamous War Room. However, after a test screening, Kubrick deemed the ending "too farcical," and with a line of dialogue that could potentially offend due to the recent assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

5 / 50
Campanile Productions

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

The seminal Western, starring cinema icons Robert Redford and Paul Newman, ends on a famously ambiguous note, with Redford's Sundance Kid and Newman's Butch Cassidy emerging, guns blazing, to a shootout with Bolivian soldiers in South America. The movie—based on real events—doesn't actually depict the ensuing shootout. Instead, it finishes on a sepia-toned freeze frame, allowing the audience to believe that, perhaps, the pair made it out alive. However, the original ending let their gruesome deaths play out but was cut in favor of one that bolstered their glamorous myth.

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6 / 50
Laurel Group

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

George Romero's equally revered sequel to his groundbreaking zombie horror film "Night of the Living Dead" sees two of its protagonists, Peter and Francine, who were previously held up in an abandoned mall during the zombie apocalypse, escape via helicopter from the roof after the undead and looters began overtaking the mall. However, in Romero's much bleaker plan for the end of his film, Peter and Francine both commit suicide. Though Romero did partially shoot this original ending, he went with a more vaguely optimistic one, having grown attached to the characters and taking into account the film's lighter tone.

7 / 50
Brandywine Productions

Alien (1979)

The end Ridley Scott's "Alien," which would go on to become a quintessential sci-fi franchise, sees heroine Ripley narrowly escape the clutches of the malevolent Xenomorph, having fled her ravaged ship and crew in a shuttle that unknowingly carried the Xenomorph on board. But in the film's alternate ending, Ripley shockingly perishes, having never been intended to survive by Scott in the first place. When he was met with anger by studio executives, Scott was forced to shift the script to a happier ending.

8 / 50
Warner Bros.

The Shining (1980)

In the canon ending to the classic horror film, Jack Torrance's reign of terror on Wendy and Danny at the Overlook Hotel ends with their escape. Jack eventually freezes to death after getting lost in the hotel hedge maze, and the film ends with a cryptic photo showing Jack at the hotel decades before. However, Kubrick's adaptation of the Stephen King novel extended this final scene, with Wendy and Danny being visited at a hospital by the hotel manager, Stuart Ullman, who insists there isn't enough evidence to support Wendy's claims of what happened there. Ullman then commits a small act that seems to portray his knowledge of the hotel's supernatural forces, but the scene was, unfortunately, not well received by test audiences.

9 / 50
The Ladd Company

Blade Runner (1982)

Due to test screenings and studio meddling, "Blade Runner" has become notorious for its multiple alternate endings. There were seven alternate endings, and Ridley Scott continued to work on the most definitive version of the film after its poor reception in 1982. The "U.S. Theatrical Cut" is what screened in 1982 and included narration and a happy ending. The "Workprint" version is what Scott had before changes were made due to test screenings. The "International Cut" is more violent. The "Director's Cut" gets rid of narration and the happy ending and includes a dream sequence. The "Final Cut" has all the changes of the "Director's Cut" plus the violence of the "International Cut," an extended dream sequence, and additional footage added, and is what Scott considers to be the definitive version of "Blade Runner."

10 / 50
Universal Pictures

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Steven Spielberg's sci-fi family classic ends with lovable alien E.T. giving heartfelt goodbyes to his human friends before boarding his spaceship home. However, it was revealed by actor Robert MacNaughton, who plays lead character Elliott's older brother Michael, that after E.T's emotional farewell, Elliott would be seen playing "Dungeons & Dragons" again with his friends, this time as the Dungeon Master, before the camera reveals that Elliott is still in touch with E.T., But after the score was added, it was decided that there was more resonance in ending the film with the spaceship taking off.

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11 / 50
Anabasis N.V.

First Blood (1982)

The first film in the "Rambo" series veers away from its adapted source material, in that it allows the titular John Rambo to live. Instead of being confronted by his former commanding officer Sam Trautman, who convinces Rambo to end his rampage and be turned over to the authorities, the original ending that was shot sees Rambo beg Trautman to kill him, with Trautman reluctantly obliging. Though this original ending was more faithful to the novel, Rambo actor Sylvester Stallone himself allegedly requested the ending be changed.

12 / 50
National Lampoon

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

The classic Chevy Chase-led road trip comedy ends with the besieged Griswold family finally reaching their Walley World destination, only to discover that it's closed. Patriarch Clark Griswold then takes the park security guard hostage and demands that his family be let inside. Though the police do come, the park's owner sympathizes with the Griswold family and lets them in his park. However, the original ending sees Clark take the owner hostage in his home instead, and, though also a happy ending for the Griswolds, concludes with a plane hijacking to boot. This original ending was scrapped when test audiences were disappointed that they never actually got to see Walley World.

13 / 50
Lucasfilm

Return of the Jedi (1983)

At the end of the final installment of the original "Star Wars" trilogy, our heroes Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo triumph over the evil forces of the Galactic Emperor and its leader, Emperor Palpatine. However, creator George Lucas had a much darker ending for the trilogy in mind—one where, after Darth Vader dies, Luke would have picked up Vader's helmet and placed it on himself, proclaiming to be the new Vader. Eventually, Lucas changed his mind, in an acknowledgment that the film is for kids.

14 / 50
Embassy International Pictures

Brazil (1985)

Terry Gilliam's satirical dystopian sci-fi has a well-documented account of Gilliam's battle for the original cut of his film, which depicts a much bleaker end for lowly government employee Sam Lowry, who descends into madness by the film's conclusion. Originally 142 minutes long and released without issue in Europe and internationally, Universal's studio head Sid Sheinberg disliked the length and dark ending for American audiences and made a cut to reflect a happy, "love conquers all" theme. However, after screening it for critics without studio approval and winning three awards, Universal finally agreed to release the original cut.

15 / 50
Paramount Pictures

Clue (1985)

The film based on the popular board game was intentionally shot with three separate endings, a gimmick that writer and executive producer John Landis thought would bolster the murder-mystery format, pay tribute to the original game, and make more money. While it failed to bring in more revenue for the film, it's given the reappraised cult film an extra amount of charm. Two of the three endings pin the penultimate murder reveal on one person, while the third ending purports that everyone in the film is equally responsible in one way or another—there was even an unfilmed fourth ending.

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16 / 50
The Geffen Company

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Frank Oz's adaptation of the original Roger Corman film, which adds the musical element of the off-Broadway production, is bizarre, hilarious, sweet, and full of infectiously catchy tunes. But the ballad of Seymour, Audrey, and man-eating plant Audrey II had a much darker ending intended by Oz than what was allowed by test audience reception. In Oz's true vision for the end of his film, Audrey II devours both Audrey and Seymour and the "Mean Green Mothers From Outer Space" take over planet Earth. Instead, in the reworked and released ending, Audrey and Seymour triumph over the evil plant and live happily ever after.

17 / 50
Paramount Pictures

Pretty in Pink (1986)

At the end of John Hughes' cult hit rom-com, Molly Ringwald's unpopular Andie Walsh ends up getting together with handsome, preppy rich boy Blane, forgoing her best friend Duckie's romantic intentions toward her. However, in Hughes' original draft, Duckie and Andie do end up together—which, if one has seen the film, feels like the natural progression of their friendship. Unfortunately, test audiences booed at this development, and so Hughes was forced to pair Blane and Andie together instead.

18 / 50
Paramount Pictures

Fatal Attraction (1987)

The classic psychological thriller about an affair gone horribly wrong ends with obsessive stalker Alex (Glenn Close) being murdered by Dan (Michael Douglass), the man she had an affair with, and his wife Beth (Anne Archer)—a portrayal that has since been criticized for sexism. But the original ending sided more with Alex, where Dan is framed for murder and taken into custody, while Alex leaves a message for Beth to let her know Dan is innocent (though still guilty of adultery). This ending did not fare well with test audiences, who wanted Alex to suffer for her crimes, and so director Adrian Lyne was forced to change it—much to the chagrin of both himself and Glenn Close.

19 / 50
New World Pictures

Heathers (1989)

In the popular cult film about homicidal high school students, protagonist Veronica Sawyer finally rebuffs her initial romantic inclinations with the murderous J.D., whose intentions to blow up their school are then turned toward himself. At the same time, Veronica disavows the popular girls, "The Heathers," for good. But "Heathers" had a few ending ideas, according to screenwriter Daniel Waters, including the school actually blowing up, Veronica herself blowing up, or Veronica being stabbed by her old, unpopular friend. Though all potentially good conclusions, they were simply floated as part of the film's writing process and development.

20 / 50
Touchstone Pictures

Pretty Woman (1990)

There was once a grittier version of the beloved rom-com, surrounding a Hollywood sex worker and wealthy businessman who fall in love. Though posited as a kind of fairy tale once snagged by Disney and director Garry Marshall, it was originally a darker drama and capitalist critique entitled "3,000," which ends with Julia Roberts' Vivian and Richard Gere's Edward not ending up together. Instead, Vivian and her friend Kit hitch a bus bound for Disneyland with the money she made off of Edward, as Vivian stares off into the distance. When the original company that purchased "3,000" went bankrupt, the film went to Disney, where rewrites to the film occurred, giving it its lighter tone.

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21 / 50
Carolco Pictures

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

If the alternate ending to the "Terminator" sequel had come to fruition, there probably wouldn't have been any more "Terminator" movies at all. Though heroine Sarah Connor succeeds in averting "Judgement Day," the story is left open still for continuation (which is exactly what happened). An alternate ending shows Sarah Connor many decades into the future, reflecting on the events prior in voice-over. Her son becomes a U.S. senator and has a daughter, and Skynet is vanquished. In the long run, it was a bit too optimistic of an ending for the dark series.

22 / 50
Pathé Entertainment

Thelma & Louise (1991)

The iconic conclusion of "Thelma & Louise" shows the titular antiheroines, finally cornered by the police, drive to their deaths at the edge of the Grand Canyon in a grand blaze of glory. Though there were other ending ideas floated around—including one where Louise would push Thelma out of the car, saving Thelma and sacrificing herself—director Ridley Scott did shoot an extended alternate final sequence: There's a longer take of the car's descent before it drops, then Harvey Keitel's character goes to the edge of the cliff and finds the Polaroid of the two women taken before they set out on their journey. 

23 / 50
Dino De Laurentiis Company

Army of Darkness (1992)

The final installment of Sam Raimi's gonzo "Evil Dead" trilogy sees its chainsaw-armed hero Ash Williams emerge victorious after being hurtled back in time and being forced to battle Deadites in the Middle Ages. However, the original ending set up the potential for a fourth film, where Ash takes an improper amount of the potion meant to send him back to the present day and, instead, he's sent too far forward—all the way to a dystopian future England. But the studio, Universal, thought this ending was too depressing, and so it was reshot.

24 / 50
Morgan Creek Entertainment

True Romance (1993)

Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino's crime romance tells the tale of young lovers Alabama and Clarence, and Scott's direction follows Tarantino's script to an absolute T—except in regards to the ending, which Scott changed to add a bit more of a romantic flair after getting attached to the characters. Scott's ending allows Alabama and Clarence to flee the mob and the police, escape to Mexico, have a child, and live happily ever after. In Tarantino's original version, Clarence is killed, and Alabama makes off with the money alone, admitting that she never truly cared for Clarence. Tarantino, however, agreed with Scott's decision to change the ending in correlation with his vision for the film.

25 / 50
View Askew Productions

Clerks (1994)

Kevin Smith's seminal slacker hit ends with burnt-out customer service workers Dante and Randal reaching a moment of clarity, as Dante decides to make amends with the women he's wronged and closes the shop he wasn't even supposed to be at that day. However, the original ending—which Smith apparently shot due to not knowing how to end his film—depicts Dante being murdered at his Quick Stop by an anonymous robber. Ultimately, Smith sided with Dante actor Brian O'Halloran, who hated the original ending, and reshot it.

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26 / 50
Walt Disney Pictures

The Lion King (1994)

In the classic animated Disney film, Simba, heir to the Pride Lands, reclaims his late father's post from evil uncle Scar, restoring peace and carrying on the circle of life. But there was an alternate ending to the beloved tale, revealed via storyboards, which was considerably more terrifying. Scar wins the final battle between him and Simba, pushing Simba to his death, but is quickly burned alive by encroaching flames. Though more in-tune with its Shakespearean roots (even directly lifting a line from "Hamlet" itself), it's obvious why the more family-friendly approach won out.

27 / 50
Cecchi Gori Pictures

Seven (1995)

The shocking ending to David Fincher's psychological crime thriller asks an iconic question by Detective David Mills—"What's in the box?!"— before the gruesome contents are revealed to him, and he kills vile culprit John Doe, feeding into Doe's plan. However, there were numerous alternate endings to "Seven," including one where Mills and Detective Somerset race to save Mills' wife, Tracy. Other endings include one where Somerset is the one to kill Doe instead; one where Mills shoots Doe and Somerset; and even one where Doe kills Mills, Somerset kills Doe, and it all takes place in a fiery church. However, test screenings and studio input resulted in the ending that is recognized today.

28 / 50
TriStar Pictures

My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

When it came to the development of this Julia Roberts rom-com, Julianne always failed to sabotage her best friend Michael's wedding after realizing she's in love with him. But in the film's original ending, Julianne also meets a new man, which was loathed by test audiences due to not feeling Julianne's actions warranted happiness. To appease the studio and give Roberts a happy ending while also making audiences happy, they expanded Julianne's gay friend, George, who essentially acts as her conscience and shows up for her in the end at the wedding.

29 / 50
Twentieth Century Fox

Titanic (1997)

The epic romance film based on real events concludes with Rose completing the retelling of her fleeting romance with Jack and the treasure hunters pursuing her Heart of the Ocean gem giving up their search. She secretly drops the gem into the sea to reunite it with Jack. In the alternate ending, the treasure hunters run to meet Rose at the stern of the ship, believing her to be committing suicide until Rose drops the gem (to the treasure hunters' dismay), and Rose offers some emotional exposition. Actor Bill Paxton believed cutting this alternate ending was necessary to complete the story.

30 / 50
Amen Ra Films

Blade (1998)

Marvel's second cinematic comic book adaptation ends with half-vampire vampire hunter Blade choosing not to cure himself of his vampire abilities so that he can continue hunting vampires more efficiently. He subsequently goes off to carry on his duties in Moscow. However, an alternate ending strove to set up a sequel with Blade's enemy Morbius as the main antagonist, extending the final rooftop sequence between Blade and his human partner, Karen, to reveal the "living vampire" watching them nearby. But when "Blade" director Stephen Norrington left the franchise, Guillermo del Toro, who directed "Blade II," had other ideas in mind.

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31 / 50
FGM Entertainment

Ronin (1998)

The spy thriller fronted by Robert De Niro ends on a darkly ambiguous note—the fate of Irish Republican Army operative Deirdre, who put together the film's ensemble of mercenaries, is never actually revealed. Though in a final scene, De Niro's character is told by Jean Reno's character that Deirdre won't be coming back. In an alternate ending included in the film's DVD release, Deirdre sees the two characters before she's kidnapped by the IRA and deemed a traitor. Though director John Frankenheimer preferred this ending, test audiences hated it.

32 / 50
Bona Fide Productions

Election (1999)

Alexander Payne's black comedy ends many years after eager overachiever Tracy Flick narrowly wins her high school presidency election. In the final sequence, her former foe and attempted election saboteur, civics teacher Jim McAllister, catches a brief glimpse of Tracy's successful political career in Washington D.C. and then hurls a soda at the limousine she pulls away in. This is followed by Jim refusing to answer the raised hand of a young Tracy clone at the museum where he now works as a tour guide. An alternate ending has Tracy and Jim awkwardly reconciling years later, and it didn't fare well with test audiences.

33 / 50
Block 2 Pictures

In the Mood for Love (2000)

The impossible affair between star-crossed Chow and Su, in Wong Kar-wai's romantic drama film, ends with the two unable to ever truly engage in a proper farewell, leaving their love unresolved as Chow puts his feelings for Su behind him for good. An alternate ending shot by Kar-wai depicts Chow and Su meeting one last time at the place Chow plans to bid farewell to her memory forever. It's unclear why this ending was cut, though it would make the conclusion of the film substantially less heart-wrenching.

34 / 50
Pandora Cinema

Donnie Darko (2001)

In the alternate ending to "Donnie Darko," the titular character's fate is still the same. After the vortex forewarned by Frank the Rabbit opens up on the doomed earth, Donnie Darko awakens to find that the previous events of the past 28 days have been rewound, then the engine of a jet caught into the vortex falls on Donnie in his bed, killing him. The alternate ending shows Donnie's grisly demise in full, and it is included on the director's cut bonus disc. As it's particularly horrid, it was probably cut to keep an NC-17 rating at bay.

35 / 50
MGM

Hannibal (2001)

Following the infamous scene in which Hannibal Lecter feeds a scalped, brain-exposed Ray Liotta his own sautéed matter, Lecter once again dodges capture by the FBI and Clarice Starling. Lecter escapes on a plane, where he feeds some leftover brains to a boy sitting next to him. But there was another ending in which Lecter and Starling shockingly kiss before Lecter escapes and eludes Starling. Lecter's escape and time on the plane with the boy are extended and altered as well. Perhaps, a kiss was more horrifying to director Ridley Scott than forced cannibalism.

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36 / 50
Walt Disney Pictures

The Princess Diaries (2001)

Unexpected princess Mia Thermopolis reluctantly accepts her inherited status, transforming her from awkward high schooler to European royalty. The film was originally supposed to end with Mia simply agreeing to become a princess. But after director Garry Marshall's granddaughter saw the first cut of the film, she wanted to see the castle Mia would be journeying to. Thus, the film ends with stock footage of a European castle for Marshall to make his granddaughter happy.

37 / 50
DNA Films

28 Days Later (2002)

After escaping the fortified mansion, survivors of the zombie apocalypse, Jim, Selena, and Hannah retreat to a remote cottage, and Jim recovers from his gunshot wound. They experience a small flicker of hope as they unfurl a sign meant to catch the attention of a passing jet so that they may possibly be saved. But there were actually four other endings—one in which Jim doesn't survive his wounds, another where it was all a dream, and one that cuts Jim's rescue differently, all of which were tested with audiences. The fourth ending, only storyboarded, shows Jim save Frank via blood transfusion "after encountering a mysterious scientist." The soldiers in the final act would have also been removed entirely.

38 / 50
Universal Pictures

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Unexpectedly impacted by the tragedy of 9/11, the first installment in the Jason Bourne saga almost had its ending and opening reshot to quell potential backlash over a negative portrayal of United States intelligence agencies. Since the movie frames the CIA as the bad guys, an ending was shot where Jason Bourne would wake up and realize it was all just a dream and that the man behind the CIA's secret assassination program was stopped. But when the original version of the film was received positively in test screenings, the alternate endings were scrapped.

39 / 50
BenderSpink

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

At the end of the hit sci-fi thriller, Ashton Kutcher's time-traveling Evan travels back to his childhood to stop the woman he loves from ever meeting him to prevent her eventual death in the present day. There are multiple alternate cuts of this ending, which only alter it slightly, but the director's cut ending is by far the most terrible. In this, Evan travels back to when he was in utero and strangles himself with his own umbilical cord. It's for the best that some ideas never make it past the cutting room floor.

40 / 50
Celador Films

The Descent (2005)

The British horror film about unlucky cave-divers has a different ending between the U.S. and U.K. releases. The end of the U.S. version sees final girl Sarah escaping the clutches of the bloodthirsty subterranean humanoids, getting to her car and driving away—then pulling over to be terrified by a vision of her dead friend before the movie rolls credits. The U.K. version extends this by revealing that her escape was nothing more than a dream. Sarah is still trapped in the cave. This ending is preferred by director Neil Marshall, who was forced to offer a "happier" ending to American audiences by the studio.

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41 / 50
Dimension Films

1408 (2007)

There were four different endings shot for the film adaptation of Stephen King's short story of the same name, about a skeptical paranormal investigator trapped in an otherworldly hotel room. The theatrical ending sees Mike Enslin survive his stay in the room and burn it down. Meanwhile, in the director's cut ending, considered to be the most definitive, Mike dies as he destroys the room, which was considered too depressing by test audiences. There are two more endings available on the film's Blu-ray release as well: one where Mike dies but his publisher still sent his manuscript and one where Mike's survival is only slightly altered from the theatrical cut.

42 / 50
Warner Bros.

I Am Legend (2007)

The divisive theatrical ending to the post-apocalyptic sci-fi allows protagonist Robert Neville to find a cure for the vampiric disease that has plagued humanity. He sacrifices himself to a horde of vampires so that two other survivors may take his cure to others. However, an alternate ending is more in line with the ending of the novel the film is based on. Neville discovers his test subject is the vampire leader's partner, and he lets her go and abandons his research after realizing the vampires actually fear him. But negative reactions from test audiences had the final say in this.

43 / 50
Columbia Pictures

Pineapple Express (2008)

In the original ending to the popular stoner comedy, pothead comrades Dale, Saul, and Red escape from the fiery climactic final brawl with the mobsters that were after them. But in an alternate ending, one of the bad guys, thought to be dead, decimates Dale and Saul with a machine gun, and the film finishes with them holding hands as they die. Pretty bleak for such a funny movie, but it seems this ending was never meant for theatrical release; it was simply something extra added to the film's DVD features.

44 / 50
Dark Castle Entertainment

Orphan (2009)

When Esther is found out by her adoptive family not to be the young Russian orphan they took her for, she tries to kill them before being drowned by her adoptive mother. However, an alternate ending sees Esther's family escape while Esther wins out in the end by fooling incoming police into believing she's just an innocent little girl. One can safely assume either the studio or test audiences preferred an ending that offers proper retribution for evil Esther.

45 / 50
Solana Films

Paranormal Activity (2009)

The first film in the popular found-footage horror series has three alternate endings along with the original, in which homeowners Katie and Micah succumb to their tragic fate at the hands of their demon-infested residence—an ending audiences can thank Steven Spielberg for. Before Spielberg's input, however, director Oren Peli dug through a few different conclusion choices: one where the cops confront a possessed Katie and kill her, one where Katie slits her own throat, killing herself and releasing the demon from her body, and one never actually shot in which Katie bludgeons Micah to death with his own camera.

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46 / 50
Columbia Pictures

Salt (2010)

The Angelina Jolie-led action thriller originally concludes with double agent Evelyn Salt proving her loyalty to the CIA by turning on the Russians she was accused of cooperating with, then being allowed to head out and track down other sleeper agents. In an alternate cut, this ending is extended, showing Salt's next moves in her quest to take down the Russian facility that made her—seemingly more explicit in attempting to set up a sequel. The film has many flashbacks, so a considerable amount of extra footage made it into the DVD extras.

47 / 50
Universal Pictures

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

After Scott Pilgrim defeats the final evil ex out of Ramona Flowers' "seven evil exes," Scott's most recent girlfriend, Knives Chau, finally accepts that it's over between them and lets him leave to try giving it another shot with Ramona. But in the alternate version, Scott and Knives end up together instead, which played during test screenings. There was even an unshot ending, which would have shockingly made Scott out to be a serial killer, having murdered all of Ramona's exes and then dreamed himself to have been in a video game.

48 / 50
Warner Bros. Pictures

Man of Steel (2013)

The most recent iteration of the classic DC superhero takes a darker, grittier approach to its storytelling, ending with Superman defeating the evil General Zod by snapping his neck and killing him. Though seemingly out of step with the character's original intent, there was an alternate ending in which Zod was spared and sent back into space. However, writer David S. Goyer felt that that ending didn't work with the film's overall tone.

49 / 50
Universal Pictures

Get Out (2017)

After Chris escapes the clutches of his girlfriend Rose and her deranged, racist family, things suddenly look bleak when what looks like a cop car appears before Chris. Rose, dying on the ground, pleads for help—only for Chris's TSA buddy, Rod, to jump out of the car and save him. It's an upbeat ending for the protagonist, but originally Chris is captured by the real cops and sent to jail. However, audience reactions during test screenings led to the far more optimistic conclusion that made the theatrical cut.

50 / 50
Warner Bros. Pictures

A Star Is Born (2018)

Bradley Cooper's updated take on the classic tale of a Hollywood rise and fall sees his doomed protagonist, Jackson Maine, hang himself after concluding that the burden of his alcoholism is too much on his successful, pop star wife, Ally. But there were a few different routes that could've been taken for that downbeat finale, including Jackson swimming out to sea and drowning himself or riding his motorcycle and getting into an accident (similar to Kris Kristofferson's fate in the 1976 version). Ultimately, Cooper ended up changing his mind and settled on what made the theatrical cut.

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