5 Movie Moments That Were Ultimately Killed Because Failed Test Screenings
Sometimes audiences know better.
Test screenings are an integral part of the filmmaking process and provide filmmakers with valuable insight into how audiences will respond to their films.
Sometimes, these screenings reveal that certain moments in a movie just don't work as intended, and in such cases, directors and studios often have to make changes to ensure that their movies are well-received once they hit the big screens.
Here are five movie moments that had to be changed because they drastically failed test screenings.
1. Halloween Ends (2022)
The director of Halloween Ends, David Gordon Green, considered several endings for the long-running franchise. Initially, he wanted a more modest and intimate ending, but he also explored options for a grander conclusion.
Ultimately, after several screenings and discussions, the ending featuring a processional sequence with Michael Myers' dead body was conceived a few months before the film's release.
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
The original ending of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World had Scott choosing Knives Chau over Ramona Flowers, but test audiences didn't like it. Director Edgar Wright and the team decided to shoot a new ending where Scott ends up with Ramona, in line with the graphic novel series, and this change received a more positive response from the public.
3. Legally Blonde (2001)
This rom-com starring Reese Witherspoon as the eccentric Elle Woods originally had an ending where Emmett kisses Elle after she wins her first case, but test audiences found such an ending unsatisfying.
The filmmakers rewrote the ending to focus on Elle's success and her graduation speech, resulting in a more fulfilling and empowering finale for audiences.
4. Pretty Woman (1990)
Originally titled 3,000, based on the cost of hiring a prostitute for a week, this cult classic had a dark and realistic premise focusing on sex workers in Los Angeles. The original ending had Edward Lewis kicking Vivian out of his car, but Disney, wanting a lighter tone, tested several endings.
Audiences disliked the original ending, leading to the happier, rags-to-riches finale we know, and the title was changed from 3,000 as it sounded too much like a sci-fi movie.
5. Happy Death Day (2017)
The original ending of Happy Death Day had a more tragic outcome for Tree, with her dying for good at the end of the movie. After finally breaking the time loop and surviving until the 19th, Tree was to be poisoned by Gregory's wife and meet her demise, never becoming another Final Girl.
Fortunately, however, this ending received a negative response from test audiences, who were upset with such an outcome for the main heroine.
Bonus: The Little Mermaid (1989)
Apparently, during early testing, the famous Part of Your World song was almost cut from the beloved Disney story. Disney CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg was unhappy with how restless children became during the song and had a strong intention of removing it altogether.
But by screening a final version of the sequence, the film's directors and producers convinced him to keep it. As a result, the song received positive feedback and secured its place in the beloved movie we know today.