It's a common belief that in Hollywood, test audiences are not to be trusted. You show them Schindler's List and they'll complain that it's too black and white, there's not enough songs in it and the ending doesn't have enough dancing.
But sometimes, the initial reaction to an ending is the right one and while we've previously listed the alternate endings that are actually better, we're now looking at the ones which are far far worse. So thank you, random people in the middle of nowhere who filled out some forms. This one's for you.
From the outset, this sleeper hit was intent on shocking you out of your seat, with a cruel bag of tricks up its mean-spirited sleeve. And it worked like a charm throughout, all the way to the deliciously sick final shot of Kerr Smith the moment before he gets smashed to smithereens by a falling sign. Hard to believe that the original ending, seen above, was ever even written. It's a saccharine end note that imagines an alternate set of events which leads to Ali Larter's character becoming pregnant and moping around a graveyard with an unconvincing CG leaf. Bad times. More violence needed.
A rather rare ending here that was found on a VHS workprint of the film sold at a garage sale. But rather than being haunted, it contained an alternate finale which would have left viewers with an entirely different take on the acclaimed dark comedy. The ending we all know sees sociopathic overachiever Tracey Flick making moves in congress but this sad, yet more sentimental, sequence has Flick apologising to her nemesis and losing our respect in the process. Star Matthew Broderick confessed that he's a fan.
After a skillfully restrained buildup, the ending of this micro-budgeted horror was a tough nut to crack. It took the help of Steven Spielberg to finally work out what to do but before then, this whimper of a finale was all there was. In it, we see Katie coming in after killing Micah off-camera, waiting a while and then getting shot by incoming police, by which time any suspense and even interest had totally evaporated. Thank you Spielberg.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
It's hard to think of James Cameron's furiously entertaining sci-fi classic as possessing a flaw as it managed to outdo its predecessor in pretty much every way possible but in an alternate universe it almost ended with a stink. This finale fast forwarded to 2027 where Skynet is defeated, John Connor is a US senator and has a daughter who plays with a heavily prosthetics-covered Sarah Connor. It was weak all round but would have prevented Terminator: Salvation at least...
Mr & Mrs Smith
It might be mainly remembered as the film which broke Jennifer Aniston's heart but Mr & Mrs Smith was also a hugely entertaining action comedy that boasted a charming duo and a well judged combination of stunts and humour. While the final scene was no great shakes (the couple tell their therapist about the improvements in their married life), this attempt makes it look like a masterpiece. In it, the couple are searching for a mark but, in an utterly hilarious twist, it turns out to be their weirdly photoshopped daughter. No and no.
Freddy Vs Jason
As glefully schlocky as you'd expect, this showdown between two horror icons deserved an ending that would give some clear idea of a winner. And that it did, with Jason emerging from water with Freddy's winking severed head. But the original ending was somewhat nonsensical with the lead teen couple having a nasty surprise in the bedroom. It's incoherent and test audiences were suitably confused. It's also really awful.