Movies That Completely Changed at the Last Minute

There are many films that were changed at the last minute, for better or worse. Imagine Tom Hanks playing Jerry Maguire or Winona Ryder as Mary Corleone in The Godfather III. Maybe audiences wouldn’t have bought nice-guy Hanks as a power-hungry sports agent? Perhaps if Winona Ryder stayed with the part of Mary Corleone, critics would have been kinder to the film, because they were not concentrating on Sofia Coppola’s wooden performance. Let everyone in the comments section know about any big time last minute changes that you think totally affected a film, or any other cool last minute alteration movie trivia.

Annie Hall

What Was the Change?

Annie Hall was supposed to be called Anhedonia, which means “an inability to experience pleasure.” The original film was all about Woody Allen’s character Alvy, told through a stream of conscious type narrative. In fact, Annie (Diane Keaton) only appeared in about a third of the film. Once Allen got into the editing room, he reluctantly realized that the film should focus on Alvy and Annie’s complicated romance. Scenes featuring Annie were added and the film was cut with more narrative focus.

Blade Runner

What Was the Change?

Ridley Scott’s adaptation of the classic novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ended with an ambiguous conclusion. Could Rick Deckard actually be a replicant himself? The studio disliked the implication and the ambiguity. They opted to add a little Deckard voiceover narration to help tie up any loose ends. The voiceover also kindly informs us that Rachel will not self-terminate.

Scream 2

What Was the Change?

In 1996, Kevin Williamson redefined the horror movie and breathed new life into a fledgling genre. Of course, a Screamsequel would follow. After filming started the following year, the whole script for Scream 2 was leaked online. Williamson wound up having to write a completely different ending.

Jerry Maguire

What Was the Change?

It’s very difficult to imagine anyone other than Tom Cruise playing Jerry Maguire. However, he was not director Cameron Crowe’s first choice. Crowe originally wrote the script for Tom Hanks. However, by the time Crowe finished writing the script, Hanks was making his directorial debut in That Thing You Do!

The Godfather Part III

What Was the Change?

Francis Ford Coppola originally hired 18 year old Winona Ryder for the part of Mary Corleone in the final installment of his epic trilogy. However, Ryder left the project due to “nervous exhaustion.” Coppola then hired his daughter, Sofia, to play the role.

Dawn of the Dead

What Was the Change?

In the original ending of Zack Snyder’s horror remake, the remaining survivors decide to commit suicide rather than become zombies. Changes were made to the climax and instead of a mass suicide, the characters decide to fight the walking dead. They wind up defeating the zombies rather easily and escape on a helicopter.

Back to the Future

What Was the Change?

Young up and coming actor Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly in Back to the Future. A few weeks into production, both director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Robert Gale, knew that Stoltz was not quite pulling off the comedic character. Zemeckis asked the studio to fire Stoltz and hire Michael J. Fox (who they originally wanted for the film).


What Was the Change?

Steven Spielberg was just a young up and coming filmmaker when he was hired to direct Jaws in 1974. He went againstthe studio’s wishes and opted to use a mechanical shark, instead of a real one, for the film. The mechanical shark turned out to be a bust. It would sink to the bottom of the ocean and salt water ate up its mechanical motor after just one week of filming. Spielberg had no option but to shoot the film showing much less of the shark.

Fatal Attraction

What Was the Change?

The original ending of Fatal Attraction had Alex committing suicide by slashing her throat, and Dan getting arrested for her murder. Test audiences didn’t like the ending, so it was changed. In the new ending, Alex shows up at Dan’s house, while his wife Beth is getting ready to take a bath. Alex attacks Beth with a kitchen knife, Dan saves the day for a second by drowning Alex in the tub, but she’s not dead yet. Beth shoots and finally kills her.

Batman Forever

What Was the Change?

Sure, now we know Batman as this incredibly dark character. But before Christopher Nolan revitalized the franchise with his Dark Knight trilogy, Joel Schumacher and company had to ruin it first. Director Tim Burton exited stage left when producers told him that they wanted to make the third Batman film a more family-friendly, light-hearted experience. Michael Keaton left with him and Val Kilmer was then hired to wear the suit. Schumacher’s Batman Forever came in at two and a half hours and was deemed way too dark by the studio. Several major cuts were made and nearly 40 minutes of Schumacher’s footage hit the cutting room floor.

I Am Legend

What Was the Change? 

In the original ending of the movie, which followed the ending of the novella on which it was based, Robert (Will Smith) is trapped in the basement surrounded by a slew of vampires. He discovers that the vampires are actually intelligent, kind creatures who are simply trying to rescue their friend, a vampire Robert had captured earlier. The ending was changed at the last minute and the script was rewritten so that the vampires became the mindless enemy. Robert uses a grenade and blows up the monsters, instead of being able to communicate with them.


What Was the Change?

Daredevil, the story of a blind superhero played by Ben Affleck, was supposed to be Marvel’s next great superhero franchise. However, 20th Century Fox wanted Daredevil to be released with a PG-13 rating. That demand sent director Mark Steven Johnson into the editing room, where he needed to chop almost 30 minutes from the final cut.

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