« Back to Blog
2 post-apocalyptic movie endings that were changed by audience opinions
Companies selling products aren't the only businesses using paid surveys to increase sales. There are other industries that collect opinions in different ways and use them to drastically change projects and outcomes.
The film industry is well-known for using test audiences to alter your favorite movies. In fact, oftentimes a crowd's reaction to a rough cut can change the way a film ends, which is essentially the most important part of many cinematic adventures.
For better or worse, studio executives weren't happy with the way audiences reacted to the original endings of these films, so viewers got something drastically different than what was first intended. Read on if you don't mind spoilers.
'I Am Legend'
This 2007 post-apocalyptic film starred Will Smith as Doctor Robert "Legend" Neville. He's perhaps the only survivor of a plague that has turned the citizens of New York City - and maybe the world - into vampires, and he's frantically working to concoct a cure using his natural immunity and vampire test subjects he abducts.
The movie is an adaptation based off of a novella by Richard Matheson of the same now. However, the two end quite differently because the original was disliked by test audiences. The original cut of the movie and the book end with Neville realizing that he is the monster preying on the misunderstood vampires. The vampires reveal themselves as intelligent, organized and caring creatures. Meanwhile, Neville has been kidnapping them to experiment on.
Instead, the film adaptation ends with Neville sacrificing himself and killing a group of vampires before they can rescue their kidnapped member. The original moral of the story is lost, but audiences preferred the change.
'28 Days Later'
Danny Boyle's cult classic film "28 Days Later" was never predicted to earn such a popular following. But despite having a measly $8 million budget, according to the Internet Movie Database, the film attracted so much attention that producers followed up with a sequel. That may be because the original ending was changed.
"28 Days Later" follows Jim, a delivery man who fell into a coma after a bike accident. During his time in the hospital, Great Britain has spiraled into zombie mayhem. When Jim awakens, he finds some remaining survivors and they leave the city in search of others.
At the climax of both films, Jim is shot in the stomach while escaping from an army compound with two of his surviving female friends. In the original version, the two frantically try to revive Jim but fail. They're left to confront the zombie wasteland alone.
Test audiences got the impression that the two women were doomed after Jim's death, so the movie was given a brighter new ending. Jim is successfully revived after escaping the compound and the movie picks up with him waking up the same way he did in the hospital at the beginning. However, now the three survivors have successfully outlived most of the undead, who are now dying of starvation. The movie ends with the three catching the attention of a passing fighter jet.
Your opinion has a lot of power. It can be used to change your favorite products for the better with paid surveys, or it can even save characters from a zombie wasteland.
« Back to Blog