Most movie endings are generally cemented. What you see is what you get. However, every now and then, alternate movie endings will pop up either in news headlines, in the special features, or a Director’s Cut release. Usually, alternate movie endings are alternate for a reason. Because they’re awful. However, as we’ll find out, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the filmmakers got it right the first time but cowed to pressure, or they made several endings and chose the wrong one. Whatever the reason, endings make a huge difference on the feel of the overall story, giving it more weight or making it sink entirely. Here are 25 Alternate Movie Endings Better Than The Original.
The original ending of this crime film shows Sam, played by Robert De Niro, wait in a cafe for his love interest Deirdre, but she never shows and eventually, he gets in a car and leaves. However, the alternate ending is much more brutal. It shows Deirdre coming to the cafe door, but she turns and leaves. A black van pulls up and men in masks pull her into the car as she screams. It’s a final gut punch that makes you question if it was the CIA or the IRA kidnapping her.
The Lion King
Of course, we all remember the theatrical ending of this film showing Scar being mauled to death by his hyena minions. However, in an alternate ending, Scar is burned alive. This was also the original ending, but producers felt it was too dark and uninteresting.
There were several alternate endings to this angsty teen film, including the school blowing up or Veronica blowing up, but in one particular shocking ending, Veronica asks Martha if she wants to rent a movie. Martha’s reply is stabbing Veronica in the stomach and calling her “Heather” while she bleeds on the ground. Veronica replies, “My name’s not Heather, you b*****!”
The Butterfly Effect
The theatrical ending shows Evan and Kayleigh seeing each other on the street. They seem to recognize each other but walk away. However, in the director’s cut, he watches a home video of his birth and travels back in time when he’s in the womb and strangles himself with his umbilical cord thus not changing the timeline and harming anyone around him. It’s a dark ending but also fitting to the tone of the story.
In the original, Rambo has an emotional moment in front of Colonel Trautman before being talked down and escorted out of the building. However, in an alternate ending, Rambo gives Trautman a gun and forces him to shoot Rambo in the stomach, ending the movie in Rambo’s death. It’s a tragic end for a tragic story.
Die Hard with a Vengeance
Let’s face it, this film’s ending was pretty anti-climactic. The alternate ending is a vast improvement, giving McClane and Simon Gruber a final face-to-face meeting rather than just shooting a cable to kill him from far away. McClane is cleaned up, sober, and out-wits Gruber in a much more satisfying showdown.
The original ending to this movie is similar to the theatrical ending but with a minor change. Katie still lures Micah out of the bedroom and kills him, but rather than throwing him at the camera, she slowly approaches the camera, looks into it, and then slits her own throat. It’s a far more grisly end that doesn’t resort to a cheap jump scare.
Originally, Alfred Hitchcock wanted to end this film with someone driving through San Francisco and seeing the entire Golden Gate Bridge covered in birds. With serious special effects limitations, they decided it would be too expensive and scrapped the idea, but that would have been a pretty great way to end it.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
In the alternate ending to this film, after Scott achieves his goal, he decides Knives is the one for him after she helps him with Graves. This ending has more emotional weight to it and seems to make more sense to the overall story.
Rather than the evil woman Esther being kicked in the face by Kate and drowning in a cold lake, in the alternate ending, Kate saves Max but Esther goes home, applies make-up, and is seen at the top of the stairs when police arrive. She introduces herself while curtseying to them. While she isn’t defeated, it’s a much more eerie end and opens up for potential sequels.
If this film’s ending was too sappy for you, you’re not alone. Jonathan Nolan’s original script had Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, go into the black hole and die, sacrificing himself while sending the data back to Earth. It’s a bleak end for the hero but avoided the whole “love transcends space and time” theme.
In this remake of the original Carrie directed by Brian DePalma, after the death of Carrie, Sue is giving birth to her child but instead of a baby, it’s the bloody hand of Carrie. Afterward, Sue’s mother is comforting her and has a vision of Carrie in a bloody prom dress cradling her daughter.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Okay, if we’re honest, everyone would have likely hated this alternate ending. In it, the showdown between Peter La Fleur and White Goodman ends in disaster with La Fleur getting hit and Goodman winning the game. We see the Average Joe’s hanging their heads in defeat while Globogym basks in the victory. Roll credits. This was the original ending, but they rewrote it because, like we said, everyone hated it. Still, we think it’s hilarious.
28 Days Later
In the original ending, Jim is saved from a gunshot wound, thanks to his two friends at a hospital. However, in the alternate ending, the surgery fails and Jim dies. With him gone, the two women march out of the hospital into an unknown future. Jim dying would have cemented what we all know about the zombie genre – no one is safe.
This dark film’s original ending by Terry Gilliam didn’t sit well with his producers, and one of them, Sid Sheinberg, recut it to have a “love conquers all” ending where Sam finds happiness in the end. Gilliam leaked the alternate ending to the press in which that happy ending was just an illusion, and it ends on Sam being lobotomized by the totalitarian government he fought against.
I Am Legend
The ending of this film, where Robert Neville blows himself up, didn’t really solve anything and didn’t explain the title of the movie. In contrast, in the alternate ending, Neville doesn’t blow himself up but finds out the vampires only wanted to retrieve one of their own kind that Neville had taken to do experiments on. He is a legendary figure for them as he’s the last human roaming around the city, trying to take one of them.
In the theatrical version, Deckard and Rachael drive off into the sunset with Harrison Ford providing voice-over to wrap it up. However, in the Director’s Cut alternate ending, Deckard touches an origami Unicorn, has a vision of a real unicorn, and then joins Rachael in the elevator. Cut to black. This ending gives more clues to the question of whether or not Deckard is a replicant, and it removes the drive-off-in-the-sunset scene that contrasted with the tone of the film.
It’s arguable if this would have been a better ending or not, but it certainly would have been wildly different than the original. In an alternate ending, Ridley Scott wanted no one to survive, including Ripley. Rather, he wanted the alien to kill Ripley and then the final shot would have been the alien mimicking Captain Dallas’s voice to Earth.
In this alternate ending, Dante is gunned down by a robber. The robber steals from the register while Dante bleeds out on the floor. Of course, it’s hard to say this is a better ending since it’s so grim, but the unexpected turn of events creates a more memorable ending.
Little Shop of Horrors
While the original ending had Seymour killing Audrey II, this alternate ending had the opposite happen. Audrey II eats Seymour and then takes over the entire world. It’s just the over-the-top kind of ending this movie needed.
In this film’s alternate ending, Mike dies in the fire, but his tape recorder is found. Rather than Mike’s wife listening to the tape of him and his daughter, it’s the hotel manager, Olin, that listens to it in his car. Mike’s ghost still haunts the room.
While the original ending has Dale and Saul survive their insane day, the alternate ending was much darker. In the alternate ending, they’re sitting on two barrels, smoking of course, and are suddenly killed by a machine gun. They reach over to hold hands as a sign of their bromance.
Originally, this film’s script was written as a dark drama called “$3,000.” In it, Edward drives up and provides an envelope full of cash before taking off. Meanwhile, Vivian yells how much she hates him and picks up her money in tears. It’s sad but surprising and almost fitting.
It’s no secret every Terminator movie after this one pales in comparison, with the latest rendition being the worst yet. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day‘s alternate ending, Sarah Conner is a grandmother talking about life being a gift, John has a daughter, and Skynet is no longer a threat. This happy alternate ending would have likely ended this cycle of bad sequels and wrapped it all up for good. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Everyone knows this film ends on a high note with the entire cast together in a little too perfect photo op shot. However, in an alternate ending, Han Solo was supposed to die, Luke would be traumatized by his encounter with the Emperor and his father, and Leia would return to her leadership position in the Alliance. Lucas, however, objected to this ending when he realized killing off Han would have negatively affected toy sales.