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    17 Times Interference From Hollywood Executives Drastically Changed Films (Or Tried To, At Least)

    The suits love it! They do have a couple notes, though...

    1. Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg demanded that the creators of Toy Story make the movie "more adult, sarcastic, and barbed," a directive that led to a disastrous mid-production screening known within Pixar as "Black Friday."

    Woody throwing Buzz out the window in the original Black Friday reel
    Pixar / Via

    The filmmakers had to rewrite the script following the screening, mainly because the characters (especially Woody) were so damn unpleasant. Thus the dream of making Toy Story edgy died, and Pixar was born. 

    2. Disney chairperson Michael Eisner actually gave director Roger Allers "unusually free rein" on the movie that would become The Emperor's New Groove, but following disappointing box office performances by Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it was decided that the movie needed to be funnier.

    Early reel footage of Kuzco and Pacha
    Disney / Via

    Allers' vision was an epic based on Incan mythology called Kingdom in the Sun, while the finished product was...The Emperor's New Groove: a movie I happen to have fond memories of, but one that doesn't really make sense until you read about its troubled production history

    3. The original ending of The Lion King was way, way darker than the final product, and Disney thought it was "too horrific for a Disney film." More horrific than Scar getting devoured by hyenas, that is.

    The original ending of The Lion Ling, with Scar begging for Simba to save him
    Disney / Via

    Here's how the alternate ending plays out: Simba and Scar fight on top of the burning Pride Rock, and Simba throws Scar over the edge. Scar begs to be saved, and when Simba pulls him to safety, Scar tosses him off the rock and burns to death, laughing maniacally while Simba (who survived the fall due to a well-placed tree) watches. So, yeah. Intense. 

    4. In 2017, Andrew Garfield said that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn't able to deliver on the promise of a script he loved because "certain people at the studio had problems with certain parts of it," which led to a lot of cuts.

    Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man 2
    Sony / Via

    Garfield mentioned that after enough cuts, "the thread" that ran through the screenplay was broken, resulting in an unfocused final product.

    5. The studio requested that the filmmakers of Back to the Future find a more cost-efficient way of sending Marty McFly back to 1985, after the original idea (having him drive through a US Army nuclear test) was rejected for being too expensive to film. The iconic lightning strike at the clock tower sequence was filmed in its place.

    Lightning striking the clock tower
    Universal / Via

    But the executives didn't get everything they wanted. When Sid Sheinberg suggested that the movie's name be changed to Space Man From Pluto, producer Steven Spielberg sent back a memo that read, "Hi Sid, thanks for your most humorous memo. We all got a big laugh out of it. Keep ‘em coming." He hoped that Sheinberg would be too embarrassed to say that his idea wasn't actually a joke. The movie's called Back to the Future, so he must've been right. 

    6. New Line Cinema wanted The Golden Compass "to be something it wasn't." They cast Ian McKellen in the role of Iorek Byrnison against the director's wishes, and seriously dialed back the books' critique of theocratic and fundamentalist religious institutions.

    Philip Pullman protesting accusations that he's trying to convert people to atheism with The Golden Compass books
    Getty / Roberto Ricciuti

    Regardless, the Catholic League still called for a protest of the movie, prompting author Philip Pullman to argue against the accusation that he was trying to "convert" children to atheism. 

    7. Director Ridley Scott's first choice for J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World was Christopher Plummer, but studio executives at Sony "wanted a bigger name," so Kevin Spacey was cast instead.

    Kevin Spacey and Christopher Plummer side by side as J. Paul Getty
    Sony / Via

    Christopher Plummer ended up in the role after it was recast following accusations of sexual assault against Spacey.

    8. DreamWorks told director Cameron Crowe that he couldn't call his movie Untitled or The Uncool, so after coming up with a list of around 40 alternatives, he landed on Almost Famous.

    from the archives: when the studio refused to release "almost famous" under the original title "untitled"... @jimmyfallon sent these ideas.

    Cameron Crowe / Via Twitter

    Cast member Jimmy Fallon came up with some ideas too, including Doin' It, Doin' It 2 — The Neal Preston Story, and Doin' It 3 — This Time, It's Personal. My personal favorite of his suggestions is The Volleyball Incident (with the note "some reshoots required"), but alas, they all went unused.

    9. When Ben Affleck and Matt Damon sold the script for Good Will Hunting to Rob Reiner's Castle Rock Entertainment, it was an action thriller about "kids from Southie" helping their brilliant friend evade the government. Reiner told the duo that they should drop that plot and focus on what was working: the relationship between a math genius and his therapist.

    Miramax / Via

    Affleck and Damon completely rewrote the script, which was ultimately produced by Miramax and nominated for an Oscar. They later called their first attempt "hopelessly naive." 

    10. David Fincher has "all but disowned" his directorial debut Alien 3, due to the fact that heavy studio interference kept him from making the movie he had envisioned.

    A picture of David Fincher, with a quote overlay about David Fincher struggling with Alien 3
    Getty / Frazer Harrison

    Fincher was hired after two directors had already left the project, and after multiple conflicts over budget and seemingly minor details like "the color of blood," the final insult came when the studio insisted that he cut 30 minutes from the movie. Cast member Charles Dance said in 2017 that he believed the film's lukewarm reception could be traced back to the fact that, "Fincher had the studio on his back the whole time, phoning him at all hours of the day and night."

    11. After seeing the final cut of Gremlins, one of Warner Bros.' notes to Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante was that there were too many gremlins. Spielberg responded that they could cut all the gremlins and call the movie People, but somehow he didn't think people would show up.

    The Gremlins poster with "Gremlins" crossed out and replaced with "People"
    Warner Brothers / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Once again, Spielberg got his way, and gremlins remained the main draw of Gremlins

    12. After the success of Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever, toy companies and other corporate partners "wanted in" on the sequel, Batman & Robin. Schumacher blamed the widely panned finished product on the studio's insistence on a "toy-etic" (and, by extension, family-friendly) approach.

    The definition of toy-etic (when you have something in the movie they can make toys out of)
    Warner Bros. / Via

    It probably didn't help that Warner Bros. insisted on a hard deadline of two years post-Batman Forever. And the Bat nipples, those didn't help, either.

    13. Its production was rushed from the start, but Suicide Squad's problems only got worse when a disappointing box office performance by Batman vs. Superman prompted studio executives to push director David Ayer towards a lighter, brighter version of the movie.

    Harley Quinn's mugshot, edited in rainbow colors
    Warner Bros. / Via

    Executives were concerned that the film wouldn't live up to the "fun, edgy tone promised in the strong teaser trailer for the film" (that's the one set to "Bohemian Rhapsody"). So while Ayer pursued his moodier vision, Warner Bros. made a different cut, both of which were screened for test audiences. The studio's version, with "more characters introduced early in the film and jazzed-up graphics" is what made it to theaters, but based on the 26% it got on Rotten Tomatoes, it was all for naught. 

    14. Bong Joon-ho told Vulture that Harvey Weinstein wanted to cut 25 minutes from Snowpiercer and fill in the blanks with voiceover written by Neil Gaiman, but the director outright refused.

    Bong showing off his Oscar
    Frazer Harrison / via Getty

    Weinstein didn't get the changes he wanted, but he still retaliated by giving the movie as small a release as possible because lest we forget, that guy chose to be the absolute worst in every single scenario. 

    15. In 1972, the stage musical 1776 was adapted for the screen, but one song was missing: “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men," which depicted "Revolutionary War era conservatives as power-hungry wheedlers focused on maintaining wealth." Producer Jack L. Warner had the song cut at the express request of his close friend...then-president Richard Nixon.

    the anti-conservative lyrics of "Cool, Cool, Considerate Men"
    Columbia Pictures / Via

    Warner went so far as to ask for the original negative of the song to be destroyed, but the editor secretly put a copy of it in storage. Upon hearing of the cut, director Peter H. Hunt asked Warner, "How could you do this?" Warner replied, "With a pair of scissors." Sony Pictures eventually re-released the movie with the song intact. As for Nixon's dream of a squeaky-clean perception of American conservatism in the 1970s, we can all agree that 1776 was the least of his problems.

    16. New Line Cinema was supportive of the dark humor of pageant queen satire Drop Dead Gorgeous, until they looked at the film's tracking numbers (which indicate how many people are interested in upcoming releases) and realized that very few people had heard of or wanted to see it. So they asked for extreme edits to make the film more similar to recent hit Clueless.

    The posters for Drop Dead Gorgeous and Clueless
    New Line Cinema / Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Director Michael Patrick Jann later said that, "[Drop Dead Gorgeous] is for the girls who went to Clueless and were like, 'Fuck them.'" Trying to make the film lighter at the last second didn't help its box office or critical performance (it was a bomb in both regards), though it's now considered a cult classic. 

    17. And finally: This one's just a theory, but many fans believe that The Matrix's biggest plot hole is the result of the studio not believing the audience was smart enough to get the Wachowskis' original idea.

    Neo waking up in the real world
    Warner Bros. / Via

    The movie solves the problem of why our robot overlords keep any humans around by having Morpheus explain that they use people as batteries. Audiences have long pointed out that this is a violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics (energy cannot be created or destroyed, for those of you who, like me, didn't pay attention in 11th grade physics), but the Wachowskis' original idea (that the robots used humans to create a neural network) makes more scientific sense. Fans speculate that the studio thought a neural network would be too complicated for audiences to grasp, resulting in this plot hole.