Whatever tone you think your story will end in, chances are that viewers will find it too dark upon seeing it – they would rather walk out of there with a smile on their face mountains of questions. Sometimes it’s for the best – and sometimes not so much. But cinema is also an industry, what do you expect?
1. 28 days later
Initially, the film ended with the slow and painful death of Cilian Murphy in the hospital with a bullet in the sideboard. The first tests found it too dark: as a result, the end of the film was changed and it is actually the zombies that we see slowly dying before the credits roll.
2. Apocalypse Now
Coppola has always been a friend of the test viewer: he used to send letters to the test audience inviting him to help (the director) finish the film. This was the case for Apocalypse Now as for almost all of Coppola’s films, inciting him in particular to cut the long part of the film taking place in a French plantation.
3. Death suits you so well
The feedback from test audiences about Death Suits You was so bad that Zemeckis found himself having to completely change his ending, even going so far as to delete a subplot in which the character played by Bruce Willis fell. in love with a waitress.
In the first version of the film, the dodgeball team led by Vince Vaughn lost their match against that of Ben Stiller. It was the spectators of the test screenings who encouraged the production and the director to favor a happier ending.
5. Kuzco, the Megalo Emperor
The film was to be called the kingdom of the sun and consist of an eco-fable with Sting at the helm of the music. Except that the first tests were so negative that Disney fired the director outright, hired a guy to replace him and redo everything, changed the initial plot and dumped Sting’s songs.
The first versions projected during the test sessions predicted the death of ET: in the face of the fits of tears and the recriminations, Spielberg had to backpedal to actually offer an even sadder ending.
Initially, Rambo was to die, killed by Trautman. As often, the spectators preferred to have a happier ending and pushed in this direction during the first tests: Stallone accepted. He took it well, considering all the money brewed by the Rambo sequels.
The first feedback from test audiences on Les Affranchis was appalling. At the first screening, 40 people broke after 10 minutes and the rest hated the ending. Scorcese therefore returned to post-production with his editor to greatly speed up the start and multiply the ellipses in order to better convey the feeling of being drugged to the spectators.
We cannot say that the first public of Sea teeth found the film bad; but Spielberg was not satisfied with the terror induced by the shark’s appearances. He therefore decided, after the first tests, to add a sequence where we see the head of the shark appear as well as additional off-screen cries. History to fuck more pressure.
10. Pretty Woman
The director of the film never considered having Julia Roberts and Richard Gere end together. Much more cynically, there was talk of Richard Gere dumping Roberts like shit – not from the same world. People didn’t understand and demanded a happy ending. The producers screwed up the pressure.
11. Sunset Blvd.
At the first screening, a guy explained to Billy Wilder that he had done the worst shit ever seen on earth. The film was supposed to open with the remains of William Holden in the morgue – but it didn’t work at all. That’s where Wilder got the idea to put that weird initial scene where the hero’s body is floating in the pool. And he chose to modify his narration by adding a voiceover.
Always think happy ending.