Executive meddling

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ToddHoward2010sm (cropped).jpg All of this just works.
― Todd Howard
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Executive meddling is a term where any kind of media that is going through development, its original intention of writing is altered by executives that have control over the movie or the show, resulting in them altering it as it would work better in their interest, and that also includes actions like cancellation of that development. For games, this is a developmental procedure in which parts of a game are changed or even removed, from rushed to unfinished games and consoles; and even censoring many scenes or mechanics in the final release, all due to demands from the company's higher-ups. The result is usually negative reviews from critics and fans alike.

Why This Move Sucks

  1. Even if the creators of a product already have something great intended for it, executives stick their noses in its development and make the product work better for them or make it completely unrecognizable from its previous incarnation.
  2. It's usually done to increase profits instead of increasing the quality of the product.
  3. It's very unnecessary and can easily cause great damage to the final product; some products have been screwed over or canceled outright due to executive meddling.
    • It may also cause the product to be retooled; this can be good in some circumstances, but it's often done horribly.
  4. It can happen to products that some like, but feel they're for much younger audiences or would appeal to nobody.
  5. It can also get people to blame the product's creators rather than the executives, even for things that are entirely out of the creators' control.
  6. Overall, it demonstrates that most executives can be scummy or just plain bad, even as people in society.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite executive meddling, some products can go on to receive a positive reception.
  2. Executive meddling can rarely have a positive effect:
    • In the South Park episode "Mr. Garrison’s Fancy New Vagina", Trey and Matt originally had the surgery scene run for 5 minutes; Comedy Central forced them to cut it down to only a few quick shots.
    • The breastfeeding joke being changed in the Pokémon episode "The Kangaskhan Kid" is an understandable decision by 4Kids because of how different the United States and Japan's views on what is/isn't appropriate are.
  3. Despite its problems, executive meddling can be handled surprisingly well, such as in the movie Toy Story.



  • Nintendo was infamous for their meddling right up to the Wii U era, with Nintendo of America having content policies resembling the old Comics Code Authority, while Nintendo of Japan would often order second-party and even third-party developers to make sweeping changes to their products.
    • Dinosaur Planet was originally developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64, where the story was about Krystal and a male wolf named Sabre where the main characters aimed to stop the main antagonist General Scales. However, after Shigeru Miyamoto saw a likeness between Sabre and Fox McCloud, he renamed the title as Star Fox Adventures. Nintendo forced Rare into changing the plot and characters around and turn it into a Star Fox title, despite the game and its gameplay having no relation or similarities with the series beyond that. Sabre was axed, with his role being given to Fox, and Krystal was made into an older vixen and became the damsel in distress. Also, a rushed release date caused what could have been a climactic boss fight with General Scales to be completely cut. Much of Dinosaur Planet's leftovers still remain hidden in the final game's files. After 20 years after the game's cancellation, a development build was leaked online.
    • Mortal Kombat was censored by Nintendo of America. The SNES version of Mortal Kombat had the blood changed to sweat, and the fatalities were severely toned down (for example, Johnny Cage punches his opponent's head off in the original version, and in the SNES version, he simply delivers a hefty kick to their chest). The Sega Genesis port was technically inferior, but ended up being the most popular version because it contained all the violence and gore that made the game popular in the first place. Realizing this, Nintendo of America released Mortal Kombat II on the SNES in all its gory glory.
    • Nintendo's constant meddling also heavily affected the development of Body Harvest, since Nintendo repeatedly tried to force DMA Design to change it from an action-focused third-person shooter into a role-playing game, due to the Nintendo 64 lacking one thanks to limitation issues.
    • Nintendo's content policies were also a constant source of friction with developers right up to the middle of the N64 era: even at this point, Nintendo would still not allow games to show nudity or the use of drugs or alcohol, resulting among other things in covered-up babes and "steroids" becoming "Vitamin X" in Duke Nukem 64, the unused hidden strip club in Perfect Dark's Chicago level and the game's "Adrenaline Pill" item being renamed "Combat Boost," and a Western level in Duke Nukem Zero Hour having graffiti that declared it to be a "Dry town by order of Sheriff Ted Nindo."
    • Their meddling with the content of id Software's port of Wolfenstein 3D for the SNES (no references to Hitler or Nazi iconography, no blood, dogs had to be made into rats, etc) is widely believed to have led to id licensing the engine to the developers of Super 3D Noah's Ark, simply because it would annoy Nintendo.
    • Almost all of the content in Conker's Bad Fur Day reflects a constant uphill battle by Rare against Nintendo's desire to make the game their way.
    • Konami's US division were particularly strict in their interpretation of Nintendo's guidelines, resulting in alterations such as the cross weapon becoming a boomerang in several Castlevania games, and the removal of crucifixes from gravestones.
    • Even in more recent times, Nintendo's insistence that Star Fox Zero have no option for regular joypad control and instead exclusively used a convoluted aiming method involving the Wii U gamepad's tilt functions and second screen has been blamed for ruining what would otherwise have been a perfectly good entry in the series.
  • Rascal: Rascal is commonly regarded as one of the worst games on the Sony PlayStation and is most infamous for its use of Tank controls and the terrible camera. 20 years later the game's director published a video where he explained that the game was planned to have analog control, however the publisher mandated to use Tank controls due to the popularity of Tomb Raider. Switching to Tank controls in turn completely broke the game because the engine and camera were built for analog control and couldn't be adjusted to Tank controls.
  • Superman: The New Superman Adventures: Was originally planned to be more ambitious by being an open world Superman game with destructible physics. Warner Brothers forced Titus to scrap this plan and instead put in anything they wanted and take out anything they didn't like, thus squashing out any creative freedom the team had. This led to Titus focus more on appealing to Warner Brothers demands rather than fixing up the game; resulting in one of the worst games of all time.
  • Konami is a textbook example of executive meddling. There are too many instances to list here on this page, so here's the link to their downfalls.
  • When NiGHTS into Dreams got a sequel, the developers wanted it to be on the Xbox 360, but Sega made them develop it on the Wii instead to take advantage of its motion controls.
  • Both Konami and Capcom refused to have both Solid Snake and Dante's original incarnation to be in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as fighters, so Sony got Raiden and Ninja Theory's incarnation of Dante from DMC: Devil May Cry instead (though his portrayal in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale retains some personality traits from his original incarnation).
  • (Un)surprisingly, Electronic Arts often does this, examples being,
    • After acquiring Virgin Interactive’s North American operations, they quickly canceled their then-upcoming fighting game, Thrill Kill before launch, because according to them they didn't want to publish a "senselessly violent game".
    • Fuse was the first multi-platform title developed by Insomniac Games. Originally, it was known as Overstrike and had a colorful and cartoonish art style (like most of their games), similar to Overwatch before that game came out. EA, however, after focus groups reacted negatively to the game's art style, had Insomniac redesign it to look more "realistic". The end product was generic and almost indistinguishable from other third/first-person shooters of the time. Note that the focus group consisted of 12 to 14-year-olds, who often play games with realistic and gritty art styles like Call of Duty and Battlefield (which have consistently been rated M across the board).
    • While developing Ragtag (a Star Wars game), EA demanded that the game must have a 90% score on Metacritic, forcing LucasArts to approve every single creative decision in the game.
    • They also shoehorned always online connection in the reboot of SimCity against Maxis' wishes.
  • Due to them not owning the film rights to the X-Men franchise at the time, Marvel prevented Capcom from putting X-Men characters in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, despite them being a franchise staple. There were rumors that the X-Men were going to be added later as DLC and this seemed possible after Disney acquired Fox, but after the game suffered bad sales and the lack of main updates, it is very safe to say that the game is now dead.
  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Mori Toshimichi admitted that was originally going to add Adam and Penny during 2.0 DLC because of his and crew's favorite characters. but Rooster Teeth pushed one and only character of RWBY side of 2.0: Neo.
  • Brash Entertainment - the whole company downfall was more or less a form of executive meddling as said here.
  • The VR version of Resident Evil 4 had its suggestive dialogue censored due to Facebook demanding the changes for modern audiences such as when Leon flirts with Hannigan and Luis comments on Ashley's figure.
  • Sega has been doing this since the 90s. Examples include (but are not limited to):
    • Executive meddling between the regional divisions. Sega of Japan (up until the Dreamcast) always meddled in Sega of America's business, because the American division always did things that the Japanese division saw as weird or stupid (some things that were actually very beneficial to the company), most likely due to cultural differences. Such examples include:
      • Before the release of the Sega Genesis (their most popular and iconic console), Sega of Japan did not like Sega of America's advertisement for the console (because they were loud and very noticeable, and the Japanese advertisements were calm and mellow) and almost stepped in to take control of the American release. Luckily, the CEO of Sega trusted the American division and let them do what they want, and because of that, the Genesis sold 40 million units, give or take.
      • Sega of Japan also stepped into the North American release of the Sega Saturn, announcing that the console would release four months earlier than the PlayStation. Not only did this leave Sega of America scrambling to create (very poor) advertisements, but also led to several distributors and stores to drop all Sega hardware altogether, and major developers to drop development on the Saturn. Basically, Sega of Japan - vainly believing that it'll do the company good - doomed it.
      • On top of which, Sega of Japan was also the reason why the 32X failed, as they forced Sega of America to slow (and then stop) development and support for the add-on shortly before the Saturn release.
    • Also, their mascot Sonic the Hedgehog has several instances of executive meddling:
      • Sonic X-Treme was practically bloated with executive meddling when the game's boss fights and actual gameplay were broken into two and given to two teams, they somehow made two entirely different games, and it snowballed from there, it didn't help that the Sega Saturn's complicated architecture made development significantly harder than needed. When the project's engine developed into a fairly advanced state they tested it on a physical Saturn only to find that the game simply couldn't run on it. Sega (despite it nearing the deadline and for NO reason) told the team to scrap EVERYTHING and start from scratch, when Sega of Japan execs came and checked on the game's progress, they were disgusted by its primitive gameplay, so they demanded that the game must be more advanced, again, despite it being VERY close to its deadline and some of the people in the team arguing over its direction. As a last resort, the team requested to use NiGHTS into Dreams engine for X-Treme and Sega said "yes" until a couple of weeks later they took it back when Yuji Naka threatened to quit if they stopped because they didn't ask his permission (It should be noted that Naka WASN'T the owner of the engine, therefore, Sega had full rights to give it to the X-Treme team without needing his permission). The breaking point was when an employee got diagnosed with pneumonia, and all of that ultimately led to the game's cancellation.
      • When the Sonic X anime was about to be dubbed in English by 4Kids Entertainment (now known as 4Liscencing Corporation), Sega replaced the upcoming games' voice cast with new ones without telling the old voice cast.
      • During development, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was going to be ported to the Nintendo Wii, but when Sega learned about the Wii's limitations compared to the other two consoles (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) as well as its control scheme, they instead decided to make an original title for the Wii based on the Wii controller's capabilities. This resulted in Sonic Team being split up into two groups, with the newly formed group starting work on what would become Sonic and the Secret Rings and only a small amount of people continuing work on Sonic 06.
        • Sonic '06 was also heavily rushed to meet a holiday release date and to match with Sonic's 15th anniversary. As a result, the game was nowhere near finished so the team had to take an untested alpha build, said alpha build was flooded with glitches and numerous design issues.
      • The Werehog sections from Sonic Unleashed were part of Yoshihisa Hashimoto's idea and in an interview, he revealed that he knew said sections would be accused of being a rip off of God of War, but he did it anyway. It is well known that the Werehog was only included because Sega was worried that the game would be too short otherwise. While it did make the game longer, fans almost unanimously hated the Werehog because more than half of the game is played as it.
      • Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was rushed to meet the holiday deadline, and so Sega could end the contract with Nintendo that they made in 2013 (said contract stated that they had to make three Nintendo exclusive Sonic games, the other two being Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games). This was a terrible idea, because the developers were not told beforehand that the game had to be a Wii U exclusive (which explains the images of the game running on the PS3 and Xbox 360) and the game's engine (Cry Engine 3) did not run well on the Wii U.
      • Sonic Mania: Initially, the developers had planned for every level in the game to be completely original and new, but Takashi Iizuka (Sonic Team's leading member) demanded that most of the levels in the game had to be recycled from previous Sonic games[1]. Even though the game was very well received, the overuse of recycled levels was the most criticized aspect of the game and many players were disappointed that there were so few original levels.
      • Sonic Origins: According to Simon Thomley, AKA Stealth of Headcannon, he and his team were pressured by Sega to crunch on development of the remasters and refused to let the team delay the compilation, forcing them to rush the game out to June 23rd. The team at Headcannon was reportedly treated by Sega as "outsiders creating a separate project that was then wrangled into something entirely different", and they were unhappy with the end result at launch.



  • Film, Film, Film parodies this. At the end of the production, there is little left of writer's original work.
  • Cool World was originally supposed to be about half-doodle/half-human Debbie Dallas, out to kill her human father for having sex with her cartoon mother. Paramount executive Frank Mancuso, Jr. had the script secretly rewritten and handed back to Ralph Bakshi, changing the animated horror/thriller story to a Who Framed Roger Rabbit clone about an artist getting trapped in the comic book he created when he was in prison and his creation, Holly Would, having sex with him so she can become human and unleash the cartoon creations into the real world. Bakshi also intended to have Drew Barrymore as the female lead, but instead they stuck him with Kim Basinger, who thought that it was a children's movie.
    • Basinger's attitude helped push the rewrite because she thought kids should be able to watch the movie. Bakshi tried to convince her that this wasn't the kind of film she thought it was, but the producer agreed with her and arranged the rewrite behind Bakshi's back.
  • Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings was originally going to be a trilogy before becoming a theoretical Two-Part Trilogy. Then these execs insisted on changing Saruman to Aruman but that didn't remain consistent; then they insisted on calling it The Lord of the Rings instead of The Lord of the Rings: Part I, assuming the audience wouldn't see half a movie; and finally, they rushed the film out the door. Even after the film was a box-office success, they didn't greenlight the sequels.
  • Happy Feet originally involved a subplot regarding actual extraterrestrial aliens, whose presence was made gradually more and more known throughout, and who were planning to siphon off the planet's resources gradually, placing the humans in the same light as the penguins. At the end, through the plight of the main character, their hand is stayed, and instead, first contact is made. This was chopped out during the last year of production at the behest of the studio executives, and has yet to see the light of day in a finished form, although concept art is available, and certain shots from these sequences do remain in the film, those of space being the most prominent, having become instead a constant visual motif. The film would've been somewhat longer, by extension. This also explains the bizarre closing credits, in which the names of the cast and crew were displayed over various planets and stars.
  • The Black Cauldron had nearly twenty minutes cut off the finished film, courtesy of then newly-installed Disney Studios chief Jeffery Katzenberg, before it hit theaters, causing obvious skips in the soundtrack.
  • Toy Story: Disney Studios head Jeffrey Katzenberg continually pushed for Pixar to make the film more adult and cynical, which led Woody into being a Jerkass and the main form of humor being based off of insults. The result backfired, but in a positive way; after a screening for the Disney executives known as "The Black Friday Incident", Roy Disney declared it the worst thing he'd ever seen, while company president Peter Schneider wanted the entire film scrapped. Katzenberg realized that he had a negative effect on the film's production after a discussion with Thomas Schumacher, and Pixar was given two weeks to rewrite the film as they saw fit.
  • Aladdin: Robin Williams signed on to do the voice of the character Genie on the conditions that his name wasn't used in advertisements, that the ads didn't feature the Genie alone, and ads did not feature him in over 25% of the space. (He had a prior commitment premiering around the same time and didn't want it to color people's perception of him.) As the Disney executives realized the Genie was the soul of the movie, the second condition was promptly discarded, and by the time of Academy Award nominations, the first as well.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Executives from both Disney and Warner Bros. animation studios mandated that their characters could only be used as long as they received the exact same amount of screen time as their competitors, hence why Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny are always on-screen together. Heck, Michael Eisner and Roy Disney thought this film was way too suggestive to the point of cutting some things out until it was finally decided that the film won't have any cut scenes and instead be distributed by Touchstone Pictures.
  • The Emperor's New Clothes started out as a Prince and Pauper movie called Kingdom of the Sun, which would have been a full-on musical with a serious tone akin to Beauty and the Beast. Its overly long production time, poor reception from test audiences, and the lackluster performances of Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame led to Disney halting production and forcing the team to retool the movie.
  • In a positive example, The Lion King was going to have a total Downer Ending akin to Hamlet, but it was forced to be rewritten because the executives at Disney didn't like it.
    • Likewise, after an early version of Mufasa’s death scene was shown to Studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg, he pointed to his dry eye and said, “See this? I’m not crying!” A more positive example than many, since whatever version they showed to him, the scene in the finished film stands among Disney's all-time biggest Tear Jerkers.
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride:
    • Several short, but important scenes were axed, including the original (much more emotionally charged) last moments of Nuka and Zira. The reason for the cuts were due to them being perceived as not child-friendly.
    • The idea that Kovu was actually Scar's son was dropped to merely being hinted at. This was done so that Kovu & Kiara wouldn't be Kissing Cousins by the end.
  • Flushed Away:
    • Aardman Animation originally pitched the movie to DreamWorks as being about pirates, but they claimed that there was no market for pirate films and were forced to modernize the idea.
    • The singing/whistling slugs that recur regularly in the movie were originally just in one scene, but the producers apparently thought it was comedy gold and insisted that if a significant amount of time had passed without any big laughs, they were to slot in the slugs in some way. The experience working with DreamWorks (along with the poor box-office receipts) was enough to make Aardman Animation break off from them completely and later join Sony Pictures, who eventually greenlit the pirates project Aardman wanted to do (The Pirates! Band of Misfits).
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: DreamWorks originally wanted Wallace's voice actor to be changed to a well-known American, which Aardman fought against. The issue was eventually dropped, and Aardman got to keep Wallace's voice. At one point, Wallace was intended to have a trendy car yet it was removed due to being out of place since a lot of the props in the film are mostly old fashioned.
  • Quest for Camelot: According to ex-WBFA personnel such as Lauren Faust, the movie was originally supposed to be akin to Ralph Bakshi's Wizards, being a more adult film and even have a PG-13 rating. Warner Bros. decided that they wanted it to be more like a Disney film instead, so the entire film was rewritten to fall in line.
  • Bolt:
    • An In-Universe example is what kickstarts the film's plot. When the ratings of Bolt's show start going down, executive Mindy Parker tells the director that the show's Target Audience are unhappy with its "predictable" episodes and that if they lose as much as half a rating point, she will fire everyone in the room. The director responds with an episode in which Penny, Bolt's owner, gets captured by their Arch-Enemy. The problem is that Bolt doesn't know it's all just a TV show, so he freaks out and runs away from the studio to track down and "rescue" her. Later, with Bolt still missing, Mindy tells Penny that they have to make a "grown-up" decision of forgetting about Bolt and using a double instead.
    • Almost all of the already completed voice performances of Chloë Grace Moretz were replaced with Miley Cyrus for marketing purposes.
    • The movie was going to be called American Dog, and the plot would've been about a self-centered dog who was stranded in the middle of the Arizona desert, meeting quirky characters and learning the error of his ways. Disney thought it was too similar to Pixar's Cars, and so it was re-tooled into the film we see today.
  • In G.I. Joe: The Movie, Duke was supposed to have died from Serpentor's snake javelin. The executives liked this idea so much they decided to kill off Optimus Prime, too. After the traumatic response from the latter, they quickly backpedaled and made the GI Joe writers change Duke's death to only being in a coma.
  • Ultramarines: According to scriptwriter Dan Abnett, he had no information about the project's budget, the team had different interpretations of his script, and his executives told him what to include and what he could not.
  • Walking with Dinosaurs was originally supposed to be a silent movie, with no dialogue or voiceovers. The producers however would not have it as such, and thus voices were dubbed over the finished animation, presumably in an attempt to capture the success of earlier talking dinosaur films like Dinosaur and The Land Before Time.
  • In the mid-50s, a British animation firm adapted Animal Farm for the screen, supplied with copious notes by its mysterious financial backers (namely, the CIA) to make the animals appear worse than the original farmers on every conceivable level, as opposed to a good idea that went awry because of self-serving interests. George Orwell, an ardent socialist, was surely spinning in his grave.
  • Frozen was originally going to be traditionally animated, and first titled "The Snow Queen", then "Anna and the Snow Queen". After The Princess and the Frog under-performed at the box office, they made it CGI and the title was changed to "Frozen" (which actually fits the film's theme more, anyway). Even the Signature Song, "Let It Go", went through a slight lyric change. The third line was originally going to be "Couldn't keep it in, God knows I tried". It wasn't because they wanted to remove religious references (as some people initially thought), but it didn't want to be considered to be taking the Lord's name in vain. The final line is instead "Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried", which fits better with the song's pattern anyway.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, the video game companies had a major say in what their characters can do and not do. Bandai Namco did not like the plan to have Dig Dug be the homeless game hero, forcing them to change it to Q*bert. Nintendo had shown the animators the proper way to have King Bowser hold a cup of coffee and Sega made the animators reanimate the scene where Ralph escapes Hero's Duty and into Sugar Rush because of Sonic the Hedgehog's reaction - Sonic was originally supposed to be scared out of his rings when Ralph's escape pod raced by, but Sega had said that only being hit caused him to do so. Dr. Wily from Mega Man almost made it to the film as a cameo but he was removed due to how Capcom treated the Mega Man franchise back then including the cancelation of Mega Man Legends 3.
  • The worst case of this in an animated film is undeniably Richard Williams' masterpiece, The Thief and the Cobbler, which was outright butchered by the execs. Shelved for years, altered to make it look more like Disney's Aladdin, redrawn by different animators... the film has never gotten the respect it deserves. The only way people know of these injustices are through the effort of film editor Garrett Gilchrist, who compiled multiple versions of the film into a "Recobbled Cut", which he distributes freely online, and through Kevin Schreck's documentary "Persistence Of Vision".
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): While it's unknown if the current development has any, some intense meddling was narrowly avoided during the time Sony Pictures was the distributor, if the Sony hacks and the emails leaked are to be believed. Several script disagreements were revealed, with Amy Pascal (whose knowledge of the show was minimal going by the various questions made) pushing to make the movie more like The Smurfs complete with possible visits to the real world. It remains unknown how far these pushes got, though it's likely they were the reason ties were cut with Sony, and pretty much the entire fanbase agreed a bullet was dodged in the process.
    • Another example happened with the marketing of the movie when it was finally released. Lionsgate forced Hasbro to show tons of ads for the movie on TV, especially on children's channels, but they instead showed more ads for the toys based on the film rather than the film itself as the company requested. This caused the movie to underperform and for Hasbro and Lionsgate to split up.
  • Transformers: The Movie, being a silver-screen installment of a Merchandise-Driven series, had its fair share of meddling. Most evident in the finished product is the mass death of characters whose toys were no longer sold, though this has the positive side effect of indicating just how much higher the stakes are, with Optimus Prime in particular receiving an appropriately dramatic and emotional send-off that places a major subplot in motion. Another instance of meddling nearly banished Arcee to the cutting-room floor; writer Ron Friedman had a daughter who loved Transformers and knew of other young girls who did as well, so he felt the movie should introduce a female Autobot as a main character for them to relate to. He ended up having to fight to keep Arcee—although Hasbro was fine with female Transformers as supporting characters, they felt a female main character in a "boys' series" lacked marketing potential. While Friedman ultimately won out, Arcee ended up a Toyless Toyline Character regardless. It's rather telling that it took 28 years for a proper G1 Arcee toy to come out (all other Arcee toys released up to that point were either made for other series such as Energon, Animated, or Prime, or were unlicensed third-party toys that use some...interesting names to skirt Hasbro's trademarks, even using these names for characters whom Hasbro does not own the trademark to or can't trademark).
  • The How to Train Your Dragon franchise:
    • How to Train Your Dragon 2 had some executive meddling that the director admitted made the story's narrative suffer. Originally Hiccup's mother, Valka, was intended as the story's main antagonist, being a mirror to Hiccup and Stoick as a pro-dragon human who believed that peaceful coexistence was impossible, but when this was shown to a focus group, they reacted poorly to the concept, forcing a late stage rewrite of the narrative arcs, to the point where you can practically see the welding lines in the script where the new antagonist, Drago, was inserted, and the antagonistic elements of Valka's arc were removed.
    • While it makes sense for T.J. Miller to have been recast for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois claims that it was primarily the studio's decision to do so.
  • An unusual case occurred with Zootopia. Although the film had been in production for over four years, their internal story walk-through process kept revealing that the dark, "tame-collar" story-line was considered too dark and made the city of Zootopia an unappealing place that the audience did not want Nick or Judy to remain in. Instead of scuttling the project, Disney Animation Executives trusted the development process they had put in place and gave the creative team an opportunity to entirely rework the story just nine months before the scheduled release date. The team came up with shifting to Judy as the main protagonist, replacing the shock collars with the concept of social bias/prejudice, and rallied the animators to overhaul the movie but still make the release date. The result was the second Disney animated feature to cross a billion dollars worldwide making it their most successful animated feature after Frozen.
  • Tim Sheridan, who wrote Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost mentioned that there was debate within WB when they conceived this film whether the monster Asmodeus should be real or not. The result has changed several times during production until it was agreed upon there would be both a "supernatural" explanation and a "realistic" explanation. However due to some of the examples listed on the movie's trivia page, one gets the impression some things in the film would have been very different had this trope not been around to forcibly change some events.
  • The DC Animated Movie Universe's very existence was predicated on this.
    • As revealed on the commentary for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, James Tucker was told during the production of his second film, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, to make a Shared Universe similar to the New 52, which was spawned from TFP's source material, Flashpoint, thus TFP was as a launching point for the DCAMU.
    • Tucker also revealed in an interview for DC Universe's DC Daily for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, that he was similarly given an edict to wrap up the universe and make that film the Grand Finale for the DCAMU.
  • Tony Cervone, the director for SCOOB!, said how he wasn't fond of the fact that except for Frank Welker as Scooby Doo, the Scooby-Doo and Hanna Barbera characters were recast with big-name celebrities, which he attributed to studio request.
  • A Goofy Movie at one point faced this. Jeffrey Katzenberg wanted Bill Farmer to give Goofy a regular voice instead of his usual iconic cartoonish voice yet Bill didn't want it to happen to avoid confusion with the audience.
  • Chicken Little had faced production problems during its development. The title character was going to be a girl with Holly Hunter voicing the character and this version of the character would have faced paranoia which caused lots of outbreaks in the town. In an attempt to reduce her anxiety, she went to a summer camp known as Camp Yes-You-Can where she met her friends who were the same as in the final product. Chicken Little and her friends then discovered that the sheep who ran the camp were wolves in disguise who were plotting to eat all of the students, Chicken must face her fears to become a hero, but also prove to her dad she can make him proud. However, due to executive meddling by David Stainton and Michael Eisner, the storyline was rewritten to Chicken Little being a male to save his hometown from aliens and to cash in on the "Fractured Fairy Tale" trend popularized by Shrek, but failed poorly.
  • This is why Disney's Dinosaur went though development hell. The film was originally going to be much darker than the final film as the original script was intended to be similar to that of a nature documentary where the characters didn't talk but Disney themselves wanted a cute film about dinosaurs talking. Another reason was due to budget reasons.


  • The Accused: At first, director Jonathan Kaplan was doubtful of casting Jodie Foster as Sarah. Executives at Paramount wanted to cast the more bankable Kim Basinger in the role; however, Kaplan refused the studio's demands and proceeded to cast Foster as the rape survivor. The result: the movie was a success with audiences and critics alike, and Jodie Foster won her first Academy Award.
  • Airplane!: The studio wouldn't let the producers use a propeller plane as the airliner, so the producers gave the jet a propeller plane sound instead.
  • Alan Moore, because of this trope, not only refuses direct involvement with film adaptations of his comics but also voluntarily relinquishes all profit rights to them. He also asks to have his name removed from adaptations' credits, which the studios only really started doing with Watchmen. Watchmen had a troubled production with two versions by different studios. The earlier Fox version saw a lot of changes. The setting was updated to take place during The War on Terror, it went from a character study to a straight action flick, and the plot was changed to Ozymandias going back in time to kill Dr. Manhattan, which somehow transported the characters into the "real world", where they're known as comic book characters. That one languished in Development Hell. The subsequent WB version similarly tried a Setting Update, only for Zack Snyder to threaten to quit if anything was changed.
  • The Alien series:
    • This happened in two media regarding the alien designs. The makers of the adult alien's action figure wanted to add genitals to them; the director of Alien: Resurrection wanted to do the same to the "newborn" alien. Both times, the producers said no, saying it was "too much".
    • Alien³ had a legendarily troubled production. 20th Century Fox spent millions of dollars over four years trying to get the script up and running — every director who signed up left, either due to creative differences or refusing Fox's mandates (such as the inclusion of Sigourney Weaver), and there wasn't even a finished script when filming started, so rookie director David Fincher, whom they believed they could control, had to make up the plot of the film as he went along by piecing together parts of the other unfinished scripts and improvising the rest. Fincher had other plans regarding being a simple workman and started several battles with the producers. Fox prevented Fincher from shooting key scenes (which he shot anyway, and made it into the final cut), sent him back for reshoots after a deliberately botched test screening (using, as actor Ralph Brown put it, "brain-dead kids from Southern California"), insulted him on several occasions and eventually locked him out of the editing room. The producers would also try to hide the story of the film's production, blocking the original version of the making-of documentary Wreckage and Rage (itself originally titled Wreckage and Rape, telling you what the creators thought of it). Fincher hated the final product and was even so discouraged from directing that he almost turned down Se7en. As a measure of how much it afflicted the film, no fewer than eight people attempted to claim credit for the screenplay during the WGA arbitration process, with a further four not bothering for various reasons. In particular, Rex Pickett, who wrote a significant portion of the shooting script, ended up being one of the ones not wanting credit largely due to how unpleasant the whole experience had been. This was so bad, even H. R. Giger - the original designer for the first Xenomorph — was shafted in favor of Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis's designs. This didn't stop Giger from faxing his designs to his client, David Fincher after he disembarked from the project.
      • Notably, one of the Fox executives was dead-set on this film revolving around prisoners in some way. Early script treatments were set on a prison barge or transport of some kind (causing tentative director Renny Harlin to quit the project, as it was just "more corridors, more guns, more aliens," and nothing new he could get excited about). When Vincent Ward started doing his story treatment, it was suggested to change the monks from his version into prisoners. And of course, the finished film takes place in a penal colony.
    • The original film itself has a positive version of this trope, according to some sources. The film's executive producers Walter Hill and David Giler ended up writing the final shooting script for the film, modifying Dan O'Bannon's and Ronald Shusett's original treatment. Among the changes they made was the introduction of the character Ash and making the characters' dialogue flow more naturally, befitting their role as "truckers in space."
  • Almost Famous:
    • DreamWorks decided that Cameron Crowe's original vision of the film as a "band on the road" movie wouldn't appeal to audiences, so the theatrical version removed a large amount of Stillwater material to reshape the film as a love story between William and Penny. To compensate for tampering with the film, Dreamworks later released the "Almost Famous Untitled: The Bootleg Cut" DVD, which features the film as Crowe intended.
    • Crowe also planned for the film to be released as "Untitled," but Dreamworks demanded a more unique name. Extras were allowed to submit potential titles ("Saving William's Privates" was one) until Crowe settled on "Almost Famous."
  • United Artists pressured director Robert Aldrich into shooting a more optimistic ending to Apache in the final days of shooting. Aldrich reluctantly agreed and was dismayed when the film was released with this alternate ending. He later concluded that "if you shoot two endings, they will always use the other one, never yours".
  • The original Army of Darkness ending had Ash drinking too much sleeping potion and, instead of waking up in the present, arriving in the post-apocalyptic future and screaming through the credits. When test audiences complained about the ending, meddling executives stepped in to request a new, much happier ending be filmed in its place. However, in Tropes Are Not Bad; the theatrical ending is widely considered better, as it gives Ash some closure and eventually allows the franchise to return with Ash vs. Evil Dead. The original ending, though, was used in the international release.
  • Baby It's You: John Sayles's choice for Jill was Rosanna Arquette, however, executives at 20th Century-Fox, the studio that was supposed to finance the film, wanted the younger Brooke Shields, who, ironically, was closer to the character's age. Sayles eventually cut ties with Fox and chose to finance the film independently by keeping Arquette on the project and selling the North American theatrical distribution rights to Paramount.
  • Babylon A.D., which made sense at some point, was reportedly disowned by its director because Fox meddled, as described here. They cut the film down so much that Vin Diesel, who hadn't seen a cut of the film for months, jokingly wondered if he was still in the movie at all.
  • Back to the Future suffered from this extensively. Some of it worked; for instance, the mechanism that would take Marty back to the future was originally a nuclear test in Nevada, which was changed to the ordinary lightning bolt. Others didn't, and Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale bowed down to a lot of pressure. But they stopped short of naming the film Spaceman from Pluto. Steven Spielberg handled this by answering the memo: "Thanks for the joke memo, guys: it's the funniest thing ever. We're still laughing about it." The executive who suggested it was too proud to admit that he was serious.
  • Batman Forever and Batman & Robin both suffered from executive meddling after the relative failure of Batman Returns. That film was Darker and Edgier and didn't appeal to parents who still thought that Batman was for kids. Warner Bros. thus replaced Tim Burton with Joel Schumacher. Schumacher was a comic fan himself and wanted to continue the Darker and Edgier trend, even planning an adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. Warner Bros. said no, telling him to make it kid-friendly and Merchandise-Driven. Schumacher long lamented the series being used as a toy commercial.
  • Battlefield Earth is an interesting case. According to the original screenwriter, it had a chance at being good, and the studio was behind that version, at least initially. Then the fans of the book's author got extensively mixed up with the process. Their founder, who had written the original novel, had a very precise idea of how he wanted the film adaptation to turn out and had left behind plenty of notes on the subject. And the rest is history.
  • The classic Film Noir The Big Sleep had positive executive meddling. The film was completed in 1944 but then shelved so the studio could push through its backlog of WWII movies. It was finally released in 1946. In the meantime, stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall had married, and the pair's first film, To Have and Have Not, had been released, demonstrating their bankable chemistry. The Big Sleep was recut and new scenes, mainly featuring the two leads flirting, were inserted. This made the movie even more confusing, but the results were worth it. The original 1944 version survives, though, as it was shown to U.S. troops overseas during the war; both are available on DVD.
  • Blazing Saddles: They tried. Mel Brooks was called into a meeting with the film company executives where they had a long list of changes that they wanted to make, including removing all instances of the N-word and cutting the beans scene entirely. Mel took careful notes of all their requests, and when the meeting was over he dumped his notes in the garbage because his contract gave him the final cut of the film.
  • The script for the 1987 Blake Edwards screwball comedy Blind Date starring Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger was rewritten so much that Dale Launer, who wrote the original script, pretty much disowned the finished film. Launer called his experience with Blake Edwards to be the worst in the motion picture business. According to Launer, Edwards refused to talk to him and even refused to have someone tell him that Edwards wasn't going to talk to him. The bottom-line for Launer was that Edwards was shooting his script, but was unwilling to have any communication with him whatsoever.
  • During the filming of The Blues Brothers, Universal kept pressuring John Landis to replace some of the African American musical stars in the cast like Cab Calloway and Aretha Franklin with acts like Rose Royce who were more contemporary and successful (the notable exception was Ray Charles). Such changes would have contradicted much of the Aesop behind the movie, to give respect and attention to blues, jazz, and R&B's rich history and traditions, which were being neglected as new trends in music were emerging and traditional Black musicians were being forgotten. Landis refused the changes, but as a result, some theater chains refused to book it into their theaters in white neighborhoods.
  • The director of Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 wanted to make the film more psychological thriller exploring the relationship between media, fiction, and reality that would also be a commentary on the media frenzy and fan community around the first film. The film would start lighthearted and slowly grow stranger and darker, with the end remaining vague about whether the main characters committed horrible acts due to being under the influence of the Blair Witch or if they lost touch with reality while getting too deep into the fiction. The studio initially liked this take, but upon seeing the director's first cut, they wanted to add more gore and violence earlier on in the film, which included scattering around some revealing scenes from the ending and adding a completely new scene where the characters massacre a group of foreigners visiting the site of the first film. To make the mood of the film darker, the studio also changed the soundtrack to hard rock. Finally, the "Book of Shadows" in the title which is nowhere to be seen in the actual movie was added by the studio.
  • Brazil stands out as one of the most contentious instances of Executive Meddling ever. It was a battle between the director, Terry Gilliam, and Universal Studios and its COO Sid Sheinberg.
    • Sheinberg wanted to replace Michael Kamen's orchestral score with contemporary rock music (to "attract the teens"), change its tone from a sci-fi epic to a love story, and repurpose a Dream Sequence from earlier in the film to serve as a real-life happy ending (instead of its planned Downer Ending). He also tried to cut the film's running time from 142 minutes to 97. Gilliam fought back, but could only get some of the footage back; only ten minutes were edited out. Then he started clandestine screenings for students and critics, who liked it and got the film positive vibes. Sheinberg wasn't impressed. Then a frustrated Gilliam bought a full-page ad in Variety asking Sheinberg when he would release the film. Sheinberg, undeterred, finished his version with outside editors. This version, which aired on broadcast television in the United States, is known as the "Love Conquers All" version; it was not well received.
    • Gilliam's own, original 142-minute cut has since been recognized as a classic and is now available on home video. It was also the version released in Europe, where distributors had no problem with the original content. Gilliam swore off working with Universal for a decade until 12 Monkeys, also a critically acclaimed film — he was so wary about what happened with Brazil that he had a documentary crew record everything behind the scenes (which eventually became the documentary The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys).
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai, specifically the commando storyline. While present in Pierre Boulle's novel, it was a minor subplot compared to the prison camp story. Hoping to boost box office appeal, producer Sam Spiegel (over David Lean's objections) beefed up this storyline. William Holden's character Shears, a British officer in the book, becomes an escaped American POW shanghaied into helping destroy the titular bridge. Spiegel also demanded Lean add not one but two token love interests: a British nurse Shears meets at a Ceylon hospital and a Siamese woman who joins the commando team. Spiegel's meddling certainly didn't ruin Kwai, though most critics consider the commando story weaker than the main plot. This was at least an improvement over Carl Foreman's early drafts, which featured more elaborate and outlandish action scenes like a submarine battle and elephant stampedes!
  • The film Buffy the Vampire Slayer was intended to be entirely different. Joss Whedon wanted a B-Movie feel to it; the execs much preferred the comedy aspects of the script. The meddling was so bad that Whedon — himself no stranger to executives meddling in his TV series — walked off set one day and never came back. A version of the original script still exists and is considered canon in series continuity. Whedon claims that the Origin comic miniseries is the closest publicly available thing to it.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: The producers thought the original ending was too anti-authoritarian, so they changed it—thereby inventing the cinematic Twist Ending.
  • The 2013 remake of Brian De Palma's Carrie was not intended to be a remake at all. Director Kimberly Pierce intended to make a film that was more faithful to the Stephen King book than the earlier film, but the studio forced her to reshoot footage to bring it more into line with the deviations De Palma had originally made. A leaked screenplay confirms this.
  • Caligula was a whole other can of worms in and of itself. To begin with, Gore Vidal's screenplay for the film (for which he was paid $200,000) was heavily rewritten to the point where Vidal disowned the project. As a result of his conflict with Tinto Brass, who would ultimately direct the bulk of the film, Vidal would merely receive a credit of "Adapted from a screenplay by". Next, Tinto Brass was only able to complete editing on the first hour of the film, when he was locked out of the editing room. Several scenes were changed or added, and the tone and pace were altered drastically, including excessive amounts of sex scenes, against Brass' intentions. Brass was credited with a "Principal Photography by" credit, and he has since disowned the final cut.
  • Casablanca was barred by The Hays Code from having Ilsa leave her husband for Rick at the end; this led to the film's famous Bittersweet Ending. The execs also refused to let Rick be arrested at the end, leading instead to the famous line, "Round up the usual suspects."
  • The film adaptation for The Cat in the Hat was supposed to be more in line with the book, retaining its family-friendly subject matter and sticking to the source material rather than adding things in. Once the box office success of the film adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! came around, however, Universal and DreamWorks went to extreme lengths to replicate that film's success, hiring several writers from Seinfeld to drastically rewrite the script, shoehorning multiple adult jokes that Dr. Seuss would never have approved in his stories, and questionable casting choices like Mike Myers as the title role, Alec Baldwin as the antagonist and Kelly Preston as the mother. Many people who watched the final film had no positive things to say about it, and the Seuss estate hated the film so much that Seuss's widow refused to allow any more live-action films based on her husband's work. Nowadays, for many people, it serves as the textbook example of how not to do a family-oriented film.
  • A draft of Charlie's Angels was written by Barry Sonnenfeld, but a subsequent rewrite trashed everything except the opening scene, which doesn't inform the plot. Sonnenfeld joked that he wrote everything except the plot, dialogue, and characters.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Originally, Rhianna Griffith, the actress who played Jack, was slated to return, a decision backed by Vin Diesel. Instead, Davalos got the role because studio executives thought she was prettier. Likewise, the second live-action movie featured significant cuts which made the movie less fun to watch.
  • Clerks improved from executive meddling. First-time director Kevin Smith had trouble finding a distributor until it was suggested that part of the problem was that it had an unnecessary and out-of-place Downer Ending in which Dante is killed by a robber. He changed the ending, and the rest is history.
  • When Steven Spielberg pitched a special edition of Close Encounters of the Third Kind featuring scenes that had to be cut from the original shooting due to budget and schedule issues, Columbia allowed him to produce it under the condition that he also shoot an ending scene taking place inside the space ship, which Spielberg didn't want to show. Naturally, for the film's 20th anniversary, Spielberg released a director's cut of the special edition that didn't include the executive-mandated spaceship scene.
  • The original cut of Cobra ran for about 120 minutes with a full-blown X rating. Afraid the movie would be overshadowed by the then recently released Top Gun though, Warner Bros. told Sylvester Stallone to edit it down to an R rating and shorten it to its final theatrical length of 87 minutes to allow for more screenings per day, both in an attempt to attract a greater audience.
  • In Conan the Barbarian (1982), the original plan was for Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the narrator. The suits didn't like that, so Mako became the narrator. Tropes Are Not Bad; Mako's narration is so high on pork content that it's impossible not to like it.
  • This occurred heavily in The Core. John Rogers originally wanted to have a magnetic reversal occur, but he was told that it was too far-fetched. The capsule that drilled into the core was also expected to have a window. While discussing one particularly stupid incident in the development of the film, Rogers commented "This [kind of thing], by the way, is why screenwriting pays so well. They don't pay me to write. I'd write for free. They pay me NOT to punch people in the neck."
  • The Crow is notable for averting Executive Meddling for the most part and for being endorsed by the comic's creator James O'Barr. O'Barr once mentioned in an interview an executive who tried to meddle, suggesting it be adapted as a musical starring the late Michael Jackson. O'Barr thought the guy was joking; when he insisted he was serious, O'Barr showed him the door.
    • The first sequel, on the other hand, is infamous for being cut in half in an attempt to make it more like the first. Director Tim Pope and screenwriter David Goyer have both renounced the theatrical version and the supposed "Director's Cut" only has ten more minutes of footage. The novelization and comic adaptation, however, kept the script intact.
  • Daredevil's original version didn't survive when Fox executives saw spinoff potential in Jennifer Garner's Elektra. They recut the film to give Elektra more prominence, cutting off most of Matt Murdock's backstory, his legal career, and any sense to the ending. The result received largely mixed reviews, and the eventual Elektra film was panned.
  • In the original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Klaatu was initially supposed to survive the barrage of bullets via the Applied Phlebotinum that brought him back to temporary life in the final cut to reinforce his God-like powers. Unfortunately, the censors didn't like the ending, suggesting it was too left-wing of a movie, forcing the line, "That power is reserved for the Almighty Spirit."
  • Coinciding with Focus Group Ending, Deep Blue Sea's climax was reshot after test audiences were continuously upset at Susan, the person who started the whole mess by increasing the sharks' intelligence, getting away nearly scot-free after all the death and damage she caused (several audience members were noted as yelling "Die, bitch!" whenever she came onscreen). This was compounded by the anti-climatic death of LL Cool J's charming, parrot-loving chef character, Preacher. Ultimately, they changed it so that Susan pulled off a Heroic Sacrifice by drawing the final shark to her giving the hero time to finish setting the bomb to kill the shark, and letting Preacher survive his injuries and help detonate it.
  • Averted with Dirty Dancing. Corporate sponsors persuaded Vestron Pictures to cut the subplot about Penny's abortion or else they would no longer support the film. Vestron ultimately gave these sponsors the door, though this probably had less to do with respect for the filmmakers but rather the fact that they had lost interest in the film and were considering sending it straight to video.
  • Discworld:
    • A planned adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Mort was nixed when producers wanted to "lose the Death angle". The book can largely be described as "Death takes an apprentice". Here is Pratchett's comment about it: "What you have to remember is that in the movies there are two types of people 1) the directors, artists, actors and so on who have to do things and are often quite human and 2) the other lifeforms. Unfortunately, you have to deal with the other lifeforms first. It is impossible to exaggerate their baleful stupidity."
    • There was a film version of The Wee Free Men in the pipes, but according to Terry, the script he was shown "had all the hallmarks of something that had been good, and then the studio had got involved." The project is now mired in Development Hell.
  • Disturbing Behavior was practically shredded in the editing room, having nearly twenty minutes cut (the theatrical edit is just 84 minutes long) and a different ending put in by the studio over the objections of director David Nutter. Among the scenes, the cut includes numerous story and Character Development scenes whose absence the film greatly suffers for, which perhaps explains the film's tepid reception by critics and at the box office. Fortunately, all of the scenes in question are included on the DVD. The Sci-Fi Channel's edited-for-TV version of the movie often reinstates the deleted scenes, making it something of an unofficial director's cut, though it leaves the theatrical ending.
  • DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story is a spoof of the Sports Story Tropes. This was reflected in the original ending, which spoofed the trope Underdogs Never Lose by having the heroes lose the final round to the Jerkass villain, only for one of their numbers to win big in Vegas and recover some of their losses. The suits didn't like this and insisted that the heroes win. In response, the director created an overly complicated ending with a labeled Deus ex Machina, and a scene in the credits shows the villain whining that he only lost because "audiences can't cope with anything challenging." The DVD has an "alternate ending" which gives insight into how the original might have gone; if it were genuine, it would have been the cruelest ending ever.
  • Several scenes in Dracula Untold were shoved in late in production, after Universal decided to hop on the bandwagon of shared universe films with their classic monster properties.
  • Dragonball: Evolution suffered immensely from executive meddling. Ben Ramsey's original script was a much more faithful adaptation of the source material, complete with Pilaf and his gang, Oolong, Pu'ar, the Nimbus, and even a cameo from Krillin. The higher-ups at Fox didn't want a kids' movie, so the concept of the movie being based in the early portions of Dragon Ball was scrapped in favor of having the movie set during Goku's teen years, modernizing the Dragon Ball world and making the story more of a coming of age film, so that the casual audience wouldn't feel alienated by Dragon Ball's original premise. Needless to say, the script was changed a lot once it was out of Ben Ramsey's hands.
  • This is why Pete Travis was fired from the post-production of Dredd and replaced with screenwriter Alex Garland. Reportedly, Travis's cut was not the action-filled film that the studio and producers wanted, so he was locked out of the editing room and eventually let go. Garland could even seek co-director credit, but he and Travis managed a deal. Luckily, the film received a generally favorable response from audiences & critics, and despite failing at the box office, has since become a cult classic,
  • Mostly averted in the case of Drop Dead Gorgeous, but not for lack of trying by New Line Cinema late in the production, according to BuzzFeed's 15th-anniversary piece on the film. After principal photography was over, while the film was being edited, New Line, which hadn't paid much attention during shooting, looked at its tracking numbers and found that not only were very few potential viewers aware of the film, but fewer still planned to see it. Panicking, they asked the filmmakers to recut the film Lighter and Softer, more like a conventional teen comedy along the lines of Clueless. But there wasn't much existing material to do that with, by then it was already too late to get the cast back together for reshoots, and most of the editing was done. The studio never realized that, as the screenwriter put it, it was a movie for girls who saw Clueless and said: "Fuck them!"
  • Dune (1984) had its runtime pared down by hours, and the result was a confusing mess to many people who didn't read the book. Oddly, though, that's David Lynch's preferred cut of the film. He was so displeased with the three-hour TV version that he asked for his name removed from the credits.
  • Shortly after acquiring distribution rights, Lionsgate took Dying of the Light away from writer/director Paul Schrader and cut the film down. The result was critically panned, and Schrader has disowned this version.
  • Enemy Mine: The studio executives believed the title would confuse audiences who wouldn't realize that "mine" was the first person possessive, and so insisted on the addition of a subplot involving a mine. Run by the enemy.
  • The original cut for Event Horizon was 130 minutes long, but executives at Paramount were unsure about this, given that the film would be rated NC-17. After a disastrous test screening, Paramount told Paul W.S. Anderson to remove thirty minutes and cut some of the violence for the film to be rated R. Because of this, the running time was shortened from 130 to 95 minutes and the film was a critical and commercial disaster. Anderson has since regretted shortening the running time of the film. The 35 minutes of deleted footage were presumed lost until 2012 when Anderson himself said that a videotape containing the original cut was found while he was being interviewed at the San Diego Comic-Con.
  • The Ex: According to screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman, executives completely changed this Zach Braff comedy when it didn't test well and then changed it again for DVD. Guion later said in an interview: "That movie was a bit of a cautionary story for screenwriters in terms of that it was a movie that struggled a little bit and didn’t test well initially, and the financers panicked and said, 'We better show a lot of people getting hit in the balls.'"
  • Ex Machina had a difficult time getting a United States release. Universal's international arm produced and took most of the bill for the movie internationally. However, Universal's US executives rejected a US release believing that it wouldn't fit with the studio's film slate that year (and it's not hard to understand why; Universal had a cluster of box office smash hits that year and didn't see any room for Ex Machina to be part of it). Their arthouse unit, Focus Features, also rejected the film for similar reasons, meaning that indie film studio A24 had to broker an agreement with Universal to get the film to America. Unfortunately for Focus, Ex Machina's worldwide acclaim and decent financial results may have played a role in that unit's reorganization under Universal Pictures International and Focus Features head Peter Schlessel (who was instrumental in snubbing Ex Machina) consequently getting his pink slip.
  • Exorcist: The Beginning is possibly one of the most extreme examples of this trope in action in cinema history. The entire film's existence is the result of Executive Meddling, when the studio saw the original cut, hated it, and had the whole movie redone with a new script and new director. When the recut film flopped at the box office and was critically thrashed, they allowed the original cut to be released as Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, which got slightly better reviews.
  • Fantastic Four (2015):
    • Josh Trank envisioned his film as being between 2 hours and 20 minutes long; the studio cut that down significantly to a little over 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus about 10 minutes for credits. Judging by Trank's Twitter comment that he disliked the final cut, it also appears that the rumors that he wasn't very involved in editing and reshoots are true, meaning that the studio took over. Numerous reviews noted that the reshot scenes (in which Kate Mara wears a noticeable wig) are primarily in the second half, which feels like it belongs to a different movie than the first half.
    • The studio gave the movie a 122 million dollar budget, which was smaller than the 150 million Trank initially thought he had to work with. This led to some planned action sequences being cut, such as a Missing Trailer Scene where the Thing Dive bombs an enemy terrorist camp.
    • Entertainment Weekly later revealed that Josh Trank lost the dressing room because he was combative and abusive toward the cast, producers, and crew, at one point almost getting into a fistfight with Miles Teller. This, combined with personal issues (such as Trank trashing his rental house in response to a landlord's complaint), led Fox to pull Trank from the film's production before the reshoots. The same article also mentions that Fox insisted that Trank include Kate Mara as Sue Storm and as a result, the two didn't get along during principal photography.
    • Ironically, according to sources who have spoken out in articles about the production, Fox tried to keep their distance from the project as a response to the perception of Fox as micromanaging taskmasters due to X-Men Origins: Wolverine's Troubled Production and just let their new auteur work. However, by the time the production was going off the rails and they started to meddle, it was too late to save the project, which now had a disorganized vision and executive meddling.
    • Jeremy Salter's original script was going to be a much more faithful adaptation but it was rejected to save on budget. The only thing from his screenplay that made it to the finished product was a young Reed saying "Don't blow up".
  • Roman Polański's The Fearless Vampire Killers suffered terribly from this when it was released in America. For starters, America is the only country in which that was the title. In Europe, it was released under Polanski's original title, Dance of the Vampires. Executives also cut out 20 minutes of footage (from a film that was only 107 minutes, to begin with), dubbed over the characters to make them sound American (and not very well), and added a cheerful little slapstick cartoon short to the beginning, which clashed badly with the tone Polanski was reaching for. The finished product was so bad that Roger Ebert would simply say that, in the screening he attended, no one laughed even once, although a couple of people cried.
  • Fight Club:
    • At one point, executives at 20th Century Fox were doubtful of Helena Bonham Carter as Marla and wanted the younger Reese Witherspoon for the role of Marla. However, director David Fincher rejected the studio's demands, as he felt Witherspoon was too young, and cast Bonham-Carter as Marla, based on her performance in the 1997 film The Wings of the Dove.
    • The scene where the narrator severely beats another member of the club out of jealousy for the apparent attention he was getting from Tyler Durden originally focused more on the beating. Censors deemed this unacceptable so the scene was altered to focus more on the narrator's face, and the reactions of the onlookers. Many considered the alteration to be more disturbing than the original scene.
    • During the scene where Tyler is discussing with the narrator the night of sex he has just had with Marla Singer, there is originally a flashback line where she intimately whispers to Tyler that she "wants to have [his] abortion". Studio executives were outraged by this line and demanded that director David Fincher change it. Fincher complied with the executives' promise that he would change the line only once. The studio executives begged for it to be changed back when it turned into Marla nostalgically exclaiming that "[she] hadn't been f**ked like that since grade school". (Helena Bonham Carter herself only said the line because being English, she didn't realize how young "grade school" would be.)
    • The film ends with the success of Project Mayhem and what appears to be a sort of reconciliation between Marla and Tyler, which differs rather greatly from the novel's ending. Even the book's author, Chuck Palahniuk, is said to have liked it better than his ending, though he also mentions in his book "Non-Fiction" that the process of watching the book become the movie was deeply depressing, most especially the way actors such as Brad Pitt and Edward Norton wrote in their bits of dialogue.
  • Blake Edwards' A Fine Mess was originally intended as a heavily improvised homage to Laurel and Hardy's 1932 short The Music Box, with Richard Pryor and Burt Reynolds as the leads, in the spirit of Edwards' The Party. Problems with the studio are among the reasons why it eventually turned into the scripted chase comedy that was released.
  • According to this interview with director Jeffrey Bloom, Flowers in the Attic had many conflicts between him and the producers on how the movie should have gone. Bloom wanted to remain faithful to the book, including more suggestions of Brother–Sister Incest, but many scenes were either cut or never filmed due to time restraints. During post-production, Bloom walked away from filming the new ending for the final cut in which Corrine is hanged with her wedding veil because he felt it was dumb. He speculates that had author V. C. Andrews lived to see the film, she would've hated the ending too. The new ending was filmed without Bloom's involvement, and the original ending was thrown out.
  • As related by Frank Darabont in Fangoria Magazine, meddling was rampant in director Chris Walas' The Fly II. The screenwriters wanted to explore many themes, among them an exploration of what it means to be a son to a father. Those themes were dropped in favor of Squick and Gorn. Darabont says that at the first screening, Walas turned to him at the film's conclusion and said, "It's not the movie I wanted to make, either." Mel Brooks reportedly remarked "In all my years, I have never seen such vile studio interference on a project." The worst thing? All these decisions were made by executives who hadn't even seen the first film.
  • The original cut of the Roger Corman Alien knockoff Forbidden World was originally titled Mutant and contained several comedic moments. However, Corman hated mixing genres (especially comedy) and after seeing test audiences laugh at the film, he ordered director Allan Holzman to make thirteen cuts, each one removing something that the test audiences found funny, reducing the movie's runtime to 77 minutes. Corman also had the title changed because he claimed that nobody would know what a mutant was. He sent his assistant to a local high school to ask the students which title was more appealing, with the replacement Forbidden World being the more popular vote. Although the film did well, Holzman was disappointed because he felt that Corman's edits made the film mundane, with the more serious tone drawing attention to how absurd the movie was. Holzman kept a print of his director's cut and refused to give it to Corman until Corman threatened to have him arrested. The two eventually reached an agreement, and the print was donated to UCLA (after Holzman made a copy). Holzman's 84-minute director's cut would finally see the light of day (albeit in rather poor quality) in 2010 along with the theatrical cut in Shout! Factory's Blu-Ray restoration of the film.
  • Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, the second-to-last of Peter Cushing's Frankenstein movies, has a particularly insane example that everyone except the one person who held the money hated from filming to this day: the rape of Anna by Doctor Frankenstein. He had done many villainous things throughout the movie, from blackmailing the young couple to do his bidding to the murder of several innocent people — but all these things could be traced back to Frankenstein's insane and hyperfocused amoral dedication to scientific progress. This was what had always made Cushing's Frankenstein an interesting and complex villain. Then the rape scene was thrown in because the producer demanded "More sex!" Cushing is visibly shaken during the entire scene and takes the actress Veronica Carlson out for dinner afterward to talk through what they have just experienced. Carlson in turn asked her friend Roger Moore to be present on the set for moral support. And just to make it official, director Terence Fisher stormed off the set in the middle of shooting the scene and the producer had to finish it himself.
  • Friday the 13th:
    • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan was supposed to be one-third on the boat, and two-thirds in New York, and the studio forced the director to reverse the ratio. The main reason the studio forced this decision was because they simply didn't have enough of a budget to be able to film all the New York scenes.
    • The seventh movie was originally going to pit Jason against Freddy himself. However, the two were owned by Paramount and New Line, respectively, and neither side could agree on how to proceed. It took New Line getting a hold of the rights to Jason (plus years of Development Hell) for Freddy vs. Jason to come along.
  • Gigli was originally intended to be a black comedy. Producers, however, made it into a Rom-Com to cash in on the J-Lo/Ben Affleck romance at the time. Seven Razzies (and director Martin Brest's retirement from filmmaking) ensued.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation, just weeks before its scheduled release, was pulled for reshoots to give Channing Tatum's character, Duke, more screen time (as a response to Tatum's increased box-office draw). It is also believed that the film was, in part, rescheduled over the studio's fears of the film bombing in an already crowded fall 2012 movie market.
  • While the Ed Wood "masterpiece" Glen or Glenda would have been a horrible movie regardless, the suits pulled the strings behind the scenes, adding softcore bondage so the film could draw more publicity as an adults-only extravaganza. Ironically, this meant that the film didn't make much of a profit and only gained national attention when it was re-released in theatres in the coming decades.
  • Godzilla:
    • Director Ishirō Honda wanted King Kong vs. Godzilla to retain the dark tone and sociopolitical subtext of the prior films, but was made to create a more straightforward story with a Lighter and Softer tone to appeal to a wider and younger audience. Honda strongly disliked this decision, but it worked because King Kong vs. Godzilla remains the most-attended film in the entire franchise, even decades later.
    • Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! owes its existence to executive meddling. Director Shusuke Kaneko's original plan was to use Varan and Anguirus, but execs at Toho wanted him to use more popular and visually impressive monsters, leading to the film where King Ghidorah is a good guy.
  • The Golden Compass was left with much of its content on the cutting room floor. Chris Weitz's original cut was three hours long, in line with New Line's desire for the next The Lord of the Rings. Then they changed their mind, worrying about the general darkness of the His Dark Materials series, and tried to lighten it up, doing so by cutting the Downer Ending and 45 minutes' worth of other scenes. This created such glaring gaps that they needed reshoots to smooth them out. They also added a very strange and obvious Sequel Hook. They even insisted on cameos from The Lord of the Rings actors like Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen, the latter of whom voiced over a character already being played by someone else. The film went so far over budget that New Line sold the international distribution rights to finish post-production. This blew up spectacularly, as the film did poorly domestically but was a smash hit internationally. As for the original cut, it's unlikely to see the light of day; Weitz claims it still needs $2 million worth of effects.
  • Goodfellas: Martin Scorsese's choice for Karen Hill was Lorraine Bracco, however, the studio pressed Scorsese to cast Ellen Barkin, Melanie Griffith, Madonna, or Michelle Pfeiffer for the role. However, Scorsese refused and kept Bracco on the project.
  • Ian McEwan claimed in his work on The Good Son that meddling occurred once Macaulay Culkin stepped into the project. The script was subsequently taken out of McEwan's hands and rewritten.
  • The theatrical cut of Greed was cut to two hours by MGM. Erich von Stroheim's original cut was nine and a half hours. Most of the cut material is deemed lost.
  • With Gremlins, Warner Bros. thought the film focused too much on the gremlins and wanted most of their scenes cut. Producer Steven Spielberg, in a move reminiscent of Back to the Future's response to meddling, suggested that the studio could cut every gremlin scene and call the movie People. The studio wisely backed down.
  • Grizzly Man: Averted to the applause of a grateful nation. The executives wanted to play the audio recordings of wildlife activist Timothy Treadwell's final moments (basically, the audio of a man and woman being mauled and eaten by a wild animal) in the film. Werner Herzog vehemently refused on grounds of taste. The most the audience got was his reaction to listening to the recording himself with headphones on so the sound couldn't be picked up. Based on his reaction, and merely Jewel Palovak's (Treadwell's ex-girlfriend) reaction to Herzog's reaction, anyone who viewed that film really dodged a bullet. Hell, he even warned her never to listen to it and urged her to destroy it (she still has it, but won't listen to it or release it).
  • This happened a lot to Guillermo del Toro's films. He's notorious for sticking to his guns, like a lot of Mexican directors, meaning that he would often run into problems; in fact, he's one of the few to even want to work in Hollywood to begin with.
    • Mimic was left unrecognizable by executive meddling. Del Toro likened it to "having a beautiful daughter and watching her arms get cut off," possibly a Titus Andronicus reference.
    • Pan's Labyrinth: Executive felt that viewers wouldn't get the setting, Franco's Spain, and wanted the film set in Nazi Germany instead. Del Toro stuck to his guns here and won out.
    • Hellboy (2004): Executives felt that Hellboy should be changed from an out-and-out demon to a human who was (somehow, inexplicably) born in Hell who would turn into Hellboy when he got angry, a la the Hulk. Del Toro vetoed all attempts to change the character and again eventually won out.
    • Pacific Rim: Del Toro resisted the studio's insistence on 3-D, thinking it wouldn't add anything to the movie (if it didn't detract from the experience outright). He eventually conceded to the conversion, but he oversaw the whole process to make sure it was done right. Fortunately, this wasn't hard to do, as many scenes were already in CGI. On a lighter note, Tomokazu Sugita, who dubbed Raleigh's voice for the Japanese release, relates a funny story: he originally dubbed the "Elbow Rocket" scene according to the script (this version of the dub was used in the Japanese trailer), and then an exec from Warner Japan told him "Since this is a robot movie, and this is Japan, why not just yell 'Rocket Punch'?"
    • His adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness never got off the ground; executives killed it because The Wolfman (2010) (itself a victim of heavy meddling, as seen below) got poor reviews, taking this to mean that there was no market for gothic horror films, especially period films with no Token Romance.
    • Guillermo even wanted to work on a movie based on The Haunted Mansion (no not the 2003 movie) with the movie not taking place in the real world and having the Hatbox Ghost as one of the main characters. He also revealed that the film will be "scary and fun and the scary parts will still be scary" to want to go for a PG-13 rating. When Guillermo left the project, it was announced around August 2020 that Katie Dippold decided to write a new screenplay for the film because she thought that Guillermo's script was "too scary".
  • Halloween:
    • Halloween II (1981): John Carpenter didn't want to do a sequel, but the producers said that they were doing one with or without him. He figured that if someone was going to be paid to write the script, it might as well be him. Rick Rosenthal was then brought in to direct, but the producers didn't like his decision to make it more of a thriller than a slasher, so they got Carpenter to shoot some extra scenes, mostly involving killings. As a result, Rosenthal is not a fan of the released version.
    • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers had so much meddling that it resulted in two different altered cuts of the film. One way or another, the executives took over the film after it ran over time and budget. Their first attempt to salvage it became the "Theatrical Cut". The "Producer's Cut" is the other version, which trims the violence and cursing, has a ton of alternate takes, changes the opening narration, and cuts 20 minutes from the Theatrical Cut. The two also have very different explanations for Michael's killing ways; the Theatrical version offered a scientific reason, but the Producer's Cut said it was supernatural.
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle centers around the subtle and omnipresent (yet hilarious) issues faced by the ethnic minority Indian and Asian main characters. The execs wanted to change them to both being Jewish, which not only would have negated the central concept but also have proven the entire point of the film. The director refused, but he did place a Jewish buddy duo in the film. The film's sequel, perhaps trying to avoid this, puts the racial issues front and center and has Harold and Kumar arrested as terrorists.
  • Before being #MeToo'd, producer/distributor Harvey Weinstein is infamous for recutting films without the consent of their directors, to the point that he has been nicknamed "Harvey Scissorhands" and "Darth Weinstein".
    • Fanboys: The executives ordered so many changes that whole swathes of subplots make no sense unless you ignore them. The DVD version is better, but it's still ridiculously obvious which scenes the executives demanded. The original still exists, and the director still has a print of it, but he's not allowed to show it to anyone. The director recounts the whole debacle in this podcast.
    • The 2013 South Korean film Snowpiercer nearly went through Weinstein's editing machine as well, ignoring protests from the film's director, Bong Joon-ho (famous for The Host (2006)). The original unedited film was a box-office hit in Korea, and it also got positive reviews after screenings in the UK. Weinstein cut the film by 25 minutes and edited it to play up the action at the expense of character development. Bong fought for the original cut, pointing to the negative press surrounding the recut, and he got his wish — but Weinstein scaled back the number of theaters that would show it.
    • He also did this to Vampire Academy, much to the chagrin of its screenwriter, Daniel Waters.
  • In his commentary on the 20th-Anniversary DVD release of Hellraiser, Clive Barker says that the suggestions made by executives improved the film. Ironic, since they were trying to tone it down. The same cannot be said however for the fourth film, Hellraiser: Bloodline. This was edited and rewritten by the studio to such a degree, that Barker cut ties with the film franchise, and director Kevin Yagher refused to be credited for it.
  • The Hairy Bird: After the film was acquired by Miramax for U.S. distribution, Harvey Weinstein sought to make edits to the female-driven film to make it more appealing to male audiences. Miramax did not publicize the finished film and sent it straight to video. Weinstein thought the original title of the film was too offensive, so he had it changed to All I Wanna Do. In the U.K. and Canada, the film has the title Strike! Australia is the only place the film retains its original title, as Weinstein neglected to secure Australian distribution rights.
  • There were two cuts of Heaven's Gate: a five-hour cut and a studio-mandated 210-minute cut. This was the only time during the film's production that Michael Cimino would capitulate to studio demands.
  • Highlander II: The Quickening: After production ran late and over budget, the insurance company took over production. They made numerous changes, including changing the Immortals' Back Story and merging two fight scenes. Director Russell Mulcahy blamed this for the film's incredible crappiness and tried to salvage it by recutting it into something closer to his original vision; it would be released as Highlander II: The Renegade Version.
  • Gee Malik Linton wrote, produced, and directed Hija De Dios as a psychological social drama treating the abuse of women and children in the New York Dominican community with Ana de Armas in the central role. Lionsgate Premiere tried to reshape the film as a New York cop procedural thriller starring Keanu Reeves under the title "Exposed", and the director had his name removed, using the alias "Declan Dale" instead. An alternate version that follows the director's vision was edited by Roman Polanski's longtime editor, Hervé de Luze, under the original name.
  • The Hitman movie was severely meddled with, at least according to well-substantiated rumors. If you watch the trailers (and promotional stills) carefully, you can see the remains of a different "train station" scene. It is said that the producers ordered the editor, Nicolas de Toth, to direct the re-shoot — without even notifying the director, Xavier Gens. The leaked near-final script contains scenes that could be matched to the remains seen in trailers and promotional photos.
  • Rob Zombie's 2003 horror film House of 1000 Corpses was initially filmed while Rob was negotiating for Universal Pictures to distribute it. When Universal execs saw the final cut, they turned pale and refused to release it, though it was eventually picked up by Lionsgate. Rob groused to Guitar World magazine shortly thereafter, "I called it House of 1,000 Corpses; what did they think it was going to be about?"
  • Hussar Ballad. Soviet authorities weren't pleased with Igor Ilyinsky, famous for playing in comedies, portraying such an iconic figure as Field Marshal Kutuzov, and tried to force the director to replace him, even after the film was already finished. The director managed to show the film to Nikita Khrushchev's son-in-law, who liked it a lot and arranged for it to be released.
  • The planned ending of the 2007 film I Am Legend tested poorly and was replaced at the studio's insistence. The new ending was nothing like the book's and also completely against the point of the original film. Among other things, it introduces serious plot holes, skips the shocking twist that made the book so successful (while still heavily foreshadowing the now-nonexistent twist), and even removes the reason for the movie to be called I Am Legend.
  • James Brooks' I'll Do Anything was originally written and filmed as an Old Hollywood-style musical. Then it was shown to test audiences, who believed the musical numbers should be cut. Brooks was forced to remove the songs and shoot several new scenes in their place, releasing the film months later as a non-musical. As Nathan Rabin points out in his review of the original bootleg for his book My Year of Flops, one of the film's themes is "test screenings and Hollywood's pathological need for approval." The irony was not lost on him.
  • The 1967 spy comedy In Like Flint has agent Flint uncovering a plot by a group of powerful women executives (in those pre-liberation days they were heads of cosmetic companies, fashion houses, etc.) who commandeer and arm a space station to take the reins of power from men and run the world their way. As originally scripted, Flint argues with them that even though they had been dealt an unfair deal in life, their plan was simply the other side of the coin, adding that "if it's a slug on one side it's a slug on the other". Someone in the studio hierarchy trimmed his eloquent case down to "Ladies...forget it!" and the movie's producer quit in protest.
  • The existence of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is due to this trope. Steven Spielberg wanted to end the series with Last Crusade, but both Harrison Ford and George Lucas insisted that a fourth film be made. It went through 20 years of negotiation and Development Hell, caused mostly by Lucas being set on very specific scenes and plot points that had to be used in the movie. Writers like Frank Darabont and M. Night Shyamalan either quit or were fired by Lucas. The film was finally made and released in 2008 when Spielberg had no other projects in sight and Ford had given an ultimatum demanding that the movie be done now or never.
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), already a Troubled Production, saw the studio make things worse when they fired Richard Stanley from his dream project because Val Kilmer was notoriously unreliable. They replaced Stanley with John Frankenheimer, who managed to make enemies out of both Kilmer and David Thewlis, leading to a disorganized shoot and a Box Office Bomb.
  • John Carter is infamous for how Disney botched so much of its release. They first dropped the title of "John Carter of Mars", as they somehow reasoned that the "Mars" name was the reason their movie Mars Needs Moms was a huge box office bomb. They failed to properly develop word-of-mouth buzz and gave it Invisible Advertising which completely failed to mention how the property influenced virtually every sci-fi story of the last century. It all ended with a massive box office bomb.
  • John Woo suffered this twice:
    • The first victim was Hard Target. According to several crew accounts (including one here), Woo was locked out from the post-production offices by Jean-Claude Van Damme under an order from Universal executives to keep Woo from protesting the studio's treatment of his film.
    • Seven years later it happened again, with Mission: Impossible II. Allegedly, Woo butted heads with star Tom Cruise over Woo's cut of the movie. Once editing started, Cruise, under order from Paramount executives, locked Woo out of the offices, again to keep him from protesting the studio's treatment of the film. Needless to say, it was the failure of Paycheck, which too suffered from executive meddling, that was the straw that broke the camel's back, as Woo gave up on Hollywood after that.
  • The Keep is a rather severe example. Running over three hours originally, the studio haphazardly cut it down to 96 minutes, resulting in an incongruous, David Lynch-type film. Characters spoke in fragmented conversations that seemed to skip ahead of themselves — you can hear the mid-sentence cuts to the audio track in some places. Michael Mann has disowned the film, and author F. Paul Wilson has since refused to allow any further film adaptations of his novels.
  • This CinemaBlend article suggests that The Last Airbender may have been more a case of this trope than solely the fault of M. Night Shyamalan. Nepotism, script rewrites and cut scenes to keep the movie under 100 minutes long seem to have ultimately killed Shyamalan and the company's enthusiasm for the project, leading them to phone it in just to get their paychecks.
    • The biggest nail in its coffin was casting an important investor's daughter as Katara. This meant that Sokka, Katara's brother, had to look similar to her, along with the entire water tribe (originally modeled after Native American/Inuits). When someone realized that the entire movie would be white faces (the original cartoon featured a very diverse cast, none of them white), a conscious decision was made to diversify the cast by casting Dev Patel as the villain Zuko. This meant the entire fire tribe (originally modeled after medieval Koreans) was now Indian/South Asian, making the entire movie about a tribe of white people saving the day from a tribe of brown faces.
    • Additionally, a crewmember of the movie posted just how nightmarish the production was to everyone, including Shyamalan.
    • To add insult to injury, the film was meant to be over 30 minutes longer of footage which was cut out of the movie at the last minute to have the terrible 3D conversion as said above thanks to rushing this movie for its July 2 launch, and it was probably not worth it as it made the movie much worse with many of the major problems this movie has. And to add insult to injury the Novelization has over 20 differences some major that got axed out because of what happened!
  • The controversial "Leia Poppins" scene in The Last Jedi came about because the head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, told the director Rian Johnson that she wanted to see Leia use force powers other than her mental connection to those close to her.
  • The Last Laugh: Director F.W. Murnau and screenwriter Carl Mayer originally wanted the film to end with the death of the doorman in the bathroom. Executives at UFA pressed them to conjure up a happy ending before the film's premiere to maximize its economic potential. Murnau and Mayer, obviously annoyed by this, created a cynical epilogue, showing the doorman having inherited from an eccentric hotel guest, who bequeathed his entire estate to the last person seen before he died. The executives also pressed the artists to change the film's title from "The Last Man" to "The Last Laughter".
  • Limitless: The film's original, darker ending that was closer to the source material was changed after it didn't test well (combined with the writer and director not liking it).
  • Ben Affleck's fourth directorial effort Live by Night was hit by this. Affleck envisioned and filmed the movie as a three-hour-long character-driven drama, with Joe's brother Danny Coughlin (Scott Eastwood was cast in this role) even appearing in a supporting role. But Warner Bros. thought audiences wouldn't want to sit through a three-hour movie (despite the success of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) and wanted it to be a crowd-pleasing action film so Affleck was forced to cut it down to 129 minutes with Danny Coughlin's entire character and another role played by Affleck's regular Titus Welliver being axed. Affleck's schedule also likely proved to be an issue as he had been cast as Batman during pre-production and would have to do Justice League (2017) right after Live by Night. This also is probably the reason why many character arcs feel incomplete or rushed, which was a complaint among critics along with the pointless Blade Runner-esque narration, which may have been added to fill the gaps left in the story. Affleck's real-life divorce from Jennifer Garner and his alcoholism probably didn't help things either. It ended up with a very mixed reception and a massive box office bomb.
  • Logan's Run had loads of important scenes cut. The studio suddenly decided it had to be rated PG. Even though the book it was adapted from was set in a dark, crapsack, Teenage Wasteland.
  • Disney delayed production on The Lone Ranger after the underperformance of Cowboys & Aliens. It didn't help at all.
  • The Lord of the Rings almost suffered this fate.
    • Peter Jackson knew a proper trilogy would be a hard sell, so he came up with a two-movie treatment. He showed it to Miramax; they agreed to it, but their then-parent company Disney balked at the projected cost. They leaned on Miramax to suggest changes, which included: mashing it into a single film; "use or lose" Saruman; combining Rohan and Gondor (and making Éowyn Boromir's sister); cutting the entire Moria sequence and describing it in an Info Dump; and pare down the four Hobbits to two and kill off one of them at some point. Jackson flatly refused, so Miramax gave him four weeks for another studio to bite, after which they'd just hire another director. Then New Line did bite, told Jackson to make it a full trilogy, and the rest is Oscar-winning history. The fallout at Miramax led to Harvey Weinstein's departure (and indirectly to Disney ousting CEO Michael Eisner as well).
    • Ironically, the prequel series The Hobbit suffered much more from executive meddling. Now Jackson presented New Line a two-film treatment which the studio insisted should be expanded to three (even though the source material was much shorter than The Lord of the Rings was). The studio originally threw the series into Development Hell when it refused to pay J. R. R. Tolkien's estate its due; when they finally cleared that up and got the green light to start filming, they gave Jackson only six months of pre-production. They also forced a lot of added plot threads, which caused more than one Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole — in particular, they wanted more Alfrid scenes and forced Legolas into Kili and Tauriel's love story. One of the actors also revealed that Warner Bros. told Jackson they didn't care about the other dwarves or characters and wanted them sidelined to focus on action and more on Gandalf, Bilbo, and Thorin when originally Jackson intended to give the characters 50/50 screentime.
  • Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee got this treatment. He wanted to make the film similar to his later The Wild Bunch, but the studio wanted a regular "Cavalry vs. Indians"-like Western, and Peckinpah lost out.
  • Mallrats:
    • The brief topless shot of Joey Lauren Adams was not part of the script but insisted upon by Universal. When Adams refused to be filmed topless, Universal threatened to fire her from the film. Director (and Adams' boyfriend at the time) Kevin Smith had to persuade her to do the scene.
    • The "semen as hair gel" joke was removed for being deemed too gross, and almost resulted in the replacement of Jason Mewes with Seth Green as Jay.
  • One of the wonderful defiances is from Tim Burton in Mars Attacks! He was told he couldn't kill Jack Nicholson's character. The solution? Cast him twice and kill him twice!
  • Not even the much-lauded Marvel superhero movies by Marvel Studios are immune to this.
    • In Iron Man 2 studio execs clashed with Terrence Howard's agents, leading to him being replaced by Don Cheadle. They also re-cut Big Bad Ivan Vanko/Whiplash's scenes to make him less sympathetic. And they insisted on adding story elements that would help set up The Avengers, which director Jon Favreau thought made for a much less coherent story overall. Favreau was so put off by the studio that he refused to return for Iron Man 3.
    • In The Avengers, Joss Whedon wanted Loki to have a muscular Dragon intimidating enough to go up against the Hulk. Marvel said no, not wanting too many Asgardian or fantasy elements in the movie. Marvel also replaced Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, although this one worked out as fans liked Ruffalo's portrayal (and Norton was notoriously difficult to work with).
    • Iron Man 3 fell victim to this twice from two different parties:
      • Disney was responsible for the first example (to the plot) - Shane Black originally intended to adapt the Demon in a Bottle comic book storyline, but Disney objected as children would be watching it and Robert Downey Jr. was reluctant to explore alcoholism on screen because he felt it could take him back to a mental state he'd worked hard to move beyond. Black complied if only for concluding that Iron Man facing both a villain and alcoholism would lead the two threats to be underdeveloped.
      • Marvel's corporate arm was responsible for the second one - The Big Bad was originally female, but they insisted it be a male character, as toys based on female characters wouldn't sell. As a result, the entire script had to be changed, and it led to the downsizing of both Ellen Brandt's and Maya Hansen's roles.
    • Thor: The Dark World was originally planned to focus more on the Dark Elves, especially Malekith, but those scenes were cut in favor of more of Ensemble Dark Horse Loki. (Fan reaction was mixed.) Director Alan Taylor also publicly complained about The Stinger that set up Guardians of the Galaxy, feeling that it clashed with what was otherwise a fantasy film; Marvel loves these stingers and had this one done without Taylor's involvement.
    • The original cut for Avengers: Age of Ultron was over three hours long. Naturally, the executives demanded that it be cut down to something more manageable, with priority being given to scenes that set up things for Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok rather than what fits the movie's storyline.
    • This got Ant-Man stuck briefly in Development Hell. Edgar Wright signed on in 2006 and originally wanted it to be a standalone film, like the first Iron Man film. Marvel insisted on some sort of tie-in to the rest of the MCU, such as cameos by Howard Stark and Peggy Carter. Wright left the project as a result.
    • Ever wonder why Black Panther and Captain Marvel were stuck in Development Hell until 2014? Well, you can blame Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, a reputedly racist and misogynistic CEO who believed and could conceivably still believe, that audiences wouldn't want to watch movies with non-White Male Lead heroes (a belief that rings rather hollow given the success of The Hunger Games and Wonder Woman). Perlmutter himself would only allow Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to make Black Panther and Captain Marvel on the condition that Feige would make an Inhumans movie. This issue, among many other questionable decisions Perlmutter made, led to Disney sacking him as Marvel CCO in October 2019 in favor of Feige.
    • Much of Marvel Studios' meddling came from a Creative Committee within former parent company Marvel Entertainment as a whole. Meddlers included such notable names as Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, and the aforementioned Perlmutter. Kevin Feige grew increasingly tired of the meddling and eventually convinced Disney to dissolve the Committee and completely separate Marvel Studios from Marvel Entertainment (making Disney themselves the only meddler).
    • Even once the Creative Committee was dissolved, this reared its head again when Disney Studios president Alan Horne went over Kevin Feige's head and fired James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 following far-right online trolls uncovering some offensive tweets Gunn posted a decade prior (and which he had previously apologized for). While Gunn was eventually rehired after continued requests from Feige, the cast, crew, and fans of the franchise, production was still delayed until Gunn had finished working on The Suicide Squad for the DC Extended Universe.
    • Scott Derrickson, the original director of Doctor Strange, had previously returned to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and he had potential ideas as he wanted to make the film into a full-blown horror movie featuring Nightmare, a villain of Doctor Strange from the comics, while deeply exploring the characters Jonathan Pangborn and Hamir after their smaller roles in the first film. Derrickson wanted to explore more gothic and horror content that was lacking in the first film as a few producers also had ideas to feature the Multiverse as a horrific concept that has hopeless consequences while introducing more monsters. Despite these methods however, Marvel Studios and Disney decided to turn this movie would only scary sequences without actually featuring a horror plot, therefore Derrickson decided to depart as the director but remained in the film production as an executive producer as a compromise to avoid conflicts with creative differences while Sam Raimi took over as a new director. Despite Raimi's good work and best efforts with the film and its scary sequences, it was not put into full potential to go into detail about the Multiverse being an extremely dangerous impression to deal with and meddling with.
  • In The Matrix, The Wachowskis wanted to have the machines use the humans plugged into the Matrix as a gigantic neural network computer. However, executives thought that the audience wouldn't understand this, so they changed it to using humans to generate electricity, even though this violates the laws of thermodynamics and creates several plot holes (though some fans find it a decent enough metaphor).
  • The original producer of Monty Python's Life of Brian abandoned the film just as the Pythons were getting ready to shoot (or, as Michael Palin put it, "when they finally read the script"). The film was left without a producer, but then in stepped former Beatle George Harrison, who was a total Python fanboy who also happened to be rich enough to finance the film on his own. He even founded his own production company just for this film, although it went on to produce many later successes as well. When asked why, Harrison just said, "I wanted to see the movie." Eric Idle would later call it "the most expensive movie ticket ever purchased."
  • Shown in a subverted form in the movie Morning Glory. Rachel McAdams' character is hired to be the Executive Producer and given free rein to do whatever she wants with the show within a show as long as it is within the budget.
  • My Stepmother Is an Alien was supposed to be a film about child abuse, using the concept of an evil alien to build as a metaphor for this touchy topic. Said screenwriter Jerico Stone: "I wanted to reach kids in a way that wouldn't make the story just a disease-of-the-week TV movie. And after certain incidents I'd experienced, I realized I could tell the story as a fable, a fairy tale that would make it easier for kids to grasp the child abuse angle." The film didn't turn out that way, for one, it was rewritten as a silly comedy instead of a horror film, at the behest of Paramount, who subsequently turned it down. It ended up at Weintraub Entertainment Group, and (like most of their output) was a flop.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie was originally envisioned as an origin story of how Joel got stuck on the Satellite of Love. The executives also wanted little (if any) movie riffing (obviating the point of the series), insisted on using only Universal's collection of movies, asked them to "dumb down" the riffs and add more cursing, rewrote the ending, imposed Invisible Advertising, and pared down the movie thinking people wouldn't get why it's so long — leading to a film shorter than most episodes of the original series. It was bad enough to contribute to Joel Hodgson leaving the series.
  • Jacques Tourneur famously directed some atmospheric movies of a supernatural nature that delivered chills while leaving much unseen and to the imagination. With 1957's Night of the Demon, he intended to show said demon, at most, in a brief "did I see that?" glimpse toward the end, but the producer insisted on a full-on rubber suit creature, very visible at both the beginning and the end. Opinions vary on its inclusion, but many feel it's a fine movie regardless.
  • Zigzagged with the film version of The Nutcracker starring Macaulay Culkin. Producer Arnon Milchan wanted to add narration to the film for the sake of continuity but Kit Culkin, the Stage Dad from Hell (who also starred in a Nutcracker production), demanded to take out the narration or else he wouldn't let Mac promote the film. Milchan initially acquiesced to Kit's requests. Then Kit decided to make more demands, which pissed Milchan enough that he brought back the narration and risked millions of dollars in the process. A lot of people in Hollywood praised Milchan for having the guts to stand up to Kit.
  • When On Our Own was picked up for video distribution by a Mormon-owned studio, they re-cut numerous scenes, re-dubbed lines of dialogue, and filmed an additional framing device to place the film within their religious ideals. The result was a film that often contradicted itself, and writer/director Lyman Dayton had his name removed from this version.
  • On Dangerous Ground was supposed to have a depressing Did Not Get the Girl ending. Executives thought that that wasn't going to go down well with audiences, so they forced director Nicholas Ray to cut it out. That’s why the ending feels rather rushed; Ray refused to direct the revised final scene in question, so blocking was left to the main actors.
  • The initial U.S. release of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America was cut by more than an hour and a half from 229 minutes to 139 minutes, and re-edited from an original non-linear storyline that would have given Pulp Fiction's editor nightmares into a straight chronological sequence — with the result that the film's stars (Robert De Niro and James Woods) don't even show up on-screen until forty minutes in. The European release was the original, and it was critically acclaimed.
  • According to star Shannyn Sossamon, the decision to turn the American remake of the Japanese horror film One Missed Call into a PG-13 movie was made at the last minute by the studio against director Eric Valette's wishes. Valette allegedly has his own preferred Director's Cut which has never been released. Screenwriter Andrew Klavan says the actors, producer, director, and himself couldn't agree on what the movie should be, and that their pulling in different directions resulted in the final mess of a finished film.
  • Passengers (2016): It had a great avalanche of problems before the initial production similar to Godzilla (1998), originally the film was going to be released in 2010 with Warner Brother as the production house, however, everything was canceled with prior notice when the Writers' strike occurred in 2007 where several of the scriptwriters They resigned from the film due to pressure from the studio, this caused the film to be delayed several years and Warner dissented from producing it.
    • A new production the film had a tentative release date of 2013 with the help of FOX, but again it was rejected due to that the main producers did not like the changes that were made to the original story, Since before the strike the film had been conceived as a psychological thriller where "Alex (the original name of Jim) and Aurora together with a group of navigators had to face an alien that was on the Ship" because its premise was similar to Alien and noting the failure of Apollo-18 this plot was scrapped, being changed to a sci-fi thriller where "The ship's crew, including Jim and Aurora, had to adapt to the hostile environment of the planet" but was rejected because it returned to resemble the Prometheus after these changes resignations were presented among the original cast where it was taken into account to hire Keanu Reeves in the role of Alex (Name original of Jim) or Scarlett Johansson as Aurora, with these unforeseen events the production was delayed again.
    • The arrival of 2014, after a new agreement between FOX and Paramount, the production of the film was launched, however, there were again disputes between the main producers due to the fact that Paramount had made quite drastic changes in the film, since originally With the new agreement between FOX and Paramount, the idea that the film was a tragic-romantic drama between Jim and Aurora was contemplated where as the base story "Jim and Aurora had to live together on the ship for 80 years", however, Paramount did not respect this agreement, where they changed the story twice, eliminating the background of Romantic History for a romantic thriller where "Aurora had fallen in love with Jim but he had gone crazy and wanted to kill her" and in an Erotic Drama where "Jim together Aurora fell in love, and spent several days on the nave having passionate sex" but everything was rejected due to disagreements between production, in the end in a new deal with Sony it remained in the story and came in the final version, however, this did not free her from having new problems.
      • With the new Sony agreement, the idea of ​​respecting the already modified script of the film had been contemplated, where Jim along with Aurora woke up at the same time, so now they had to live together as the only awake passengers, on the ship that would lead them to fall deeply in love, sadly by Sony boss Tom Rothman, who was unenthusiastic about the film's high budget, an estimated $120 million, and tried to cut it in half, to $120 million. 80 million dollars, producer Neal Moritz, who never agreed with Rothman, threatened to sell the project to another studio in response, forcing Sony to back down, these new disputes caused the story to change as the ending of the movie, where Jim and Aurora didn't wake up together but it was Jim who woke up Aurora, at the same time the movie ended with Jim and Aurora finding two hibernation pods and together they promised to tell that they wanted to f form a life together when the journey was over, but it was changed that Jim died or committed suicide something that angered producer Neal Moritz reforming him at the end of the final version that left him unsatisfied.
      • When Passengers received a polarized reception and failed to meet box office projections, Moritz's already strained relationship with Sony collapsed, causing him to terminate his first studio contract in almost 20 years and sign with Paramount, Sony threatened to sue Tom Rothman for his mismanagement of this film.
  • An In-Universe example with the second Peter Rabbit movie: A group of executives who are interested in Bea's sequel to her book based upon the adventures of the titular character involves wanting to put him and his family in unusual situations like sending them to the beach, or taking them to space. Near the end, they come up with an idea involving a big chase sequence involving boats, cars, and motorcycles, which is how the movie itself ends.
  • Planet of the Apes very nearly got a gritty reboot in 1995. Titled Return of the Apes, the movie would have been as bizarre as violent, with a plot centered around two scientists that travel to Africa 102,000 years before the present to look for a cure to a disease that is ravaging humanity in the future, only to run into a war between primitive humans and advanced gorilla-like apemen. It had a $100 million budget approved, Arnold Schwarzenegger had signed as the lead, Stan Winston was making the special effects, Terry Hayes was writing and Phillip Noyce was directing. So, how come you've never heard of it? Enter Fox executive Dylan Sellers, who thought that the script needed comedy. In particular, he thought that the film needed a scene in which Schwarzenegger would teach the evil killer gorillas how to play baseball. When Hayes turned in the revised script without this scene, only months before shooting, Sellers fired him, Noyce quit the project in protest, and the film went back into Development Hell. In the words of fellow producer Don Murphy, "Terry wrote a Terminator and Fox wanted The Flintstones." Sam Hamm was brought in and penned a more comedic, child-friendly, straight space Sci-Fi draft with two scenes featuring apes playing baseball. This script never got to the filming stage as Sellers was arrested soon after for drunk driving; afterward, no ''Apes'' script included baseball.
  • The infamous scene from Predator where the group freaks out and fires their guns wildly into the jungle was put into the film solely because the studio told John McTiernan that the movie needed more "gun shooting scenes". So he added a scene where the gun shooting was pointless.
  • The Predator had many reshoots, a Release Date Change, and promotional pictures that show stuff that didn't end in the movie, so speculation on what the studio added is in full force (the Screen Junkies writers even debate on their Honest Trailers Commentary that the result seems like "Studio Notes: The Movie"). Co-writer Fred Dekker later confirmed at least one imposition, changing the ending to be set at night.
  • The movie of Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters suffered greatly from meddling, as expounded in this essay by the scriptwriter. Among other things, the execs wanted to change the slugs to space spores.
  • Red Dawn (2012): The plot of the movie was originally centered around a Chinese invasion of America. After the movie was completed, the executives decided to change the villain from China to North Korea and went so far as to digitally alter every Chinese symbol into a North Korean one and add additional scenes. Theories abound, from suggesting that distributors were unnerved by the prospect of a Chinese invasion, to the risk of the film being Banned in China itself, which would leave a lot of money on the table.
  • Ridley Scott is a frequent victim of this. For example:
    • Blade Runner. Amongst the things the executives tried to change was adding narration by the protagonist, Deckard, to explain the story because they felt the viewers wouldn't understand the movie otherwise. Executive meddling also changed the ending to have Deckard and Rachael driving off into the mountains, using footage from a different movie. Several versions have since been released that removed all these changes.
    • Kingdom of Heaven: Scott wanted to make a political drama, but Fox wanted a Gladiator-style action movie with a romance subplot. They also weren't enamored with the original cut's three-hour length. This led to some elements of the story being dropped, including Sibylla's character motivation, Balian's backstory, and King Baldwin V's entire character. They would be restored in the director's cut.
    • This is commonly referred to in regards to the Troubled Production of Prometheus. The film was originally intended to be much closer to a true Alien prequel, with Jon Spaihts' original script ("Alien: Engineers") being much more coherent and logical; among other things, it gave many of the supporting characters much clearer motivations, answered commonly-addressed moments of idiocy (the expedition team keeps their helmets on inside the ship at all times) and tied in much better to the Alien canon ( the team originally discovered the Engineer outpost on LV-426, and Holloway gave birth to a proto-chestburster). Midway through pre-production, 20th Century Fox brought Damon Lindelof of Lost onboard as a "name" writer to rework Spaihts' script, jettisoning a large amount of context, explanation, and connections with the main franchise in the process. Interestingly, the Blu-Ray special features have the cast and crew explicitly describing the film as an Alien prequel, despite the marketing and trailers distancing the film from the source material.
    • Ridley Scott wanted to cast Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World, but the studio insisted on the more bankable Kevin Spacey (also requiring an elaborate makeup job as unlike Plummer he was a few decades too young for the role). This backfired in a huge way when Spacey's long history of sexual abuse was revealed just a couple of months before the film's release, turning his name so toxic overnight that it was decided the more cost-effective option was to bring in Plummer as Scott wanted in the first place, get back all the cast and crew involved in Getty's scenes, and reshoot them all in just a few weeks while still aiming for the same release date. The kicker? It worked so well that Plummer received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in the movie.
  • While he did enjoy acting in R.I.P.D., Jeff Bridges believes the studio changed some things around that made the movie underwhelming.
  • James Whale's original cut of The Road Back (1937), a sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), received generally favorable reviews. Charles R. Rogers, head of Universal Studios, bowed to threats from Nazi Germany and re-edited the film, including having out-of-place comedic scenes filmed and inserted. The resulting film was a critical and commercial failure and was banned in Germany anyway.
  • The original screenplay for Robin Hood (2010) was a very sought-after script titled Nottingham. It was about the Sheriff of Nottingham trying to investigate some murders in his city, with his efforts frequently being hindered by a brigand who lived in the local forest. Then the studio that bought the script brought Ridley Scott on board, who decided that one can't make a Robin Hood movie in which Robin Hood isn't the main character and threw away the script completely, turning the movie into yet another film about how Robin of Locksley became the famous outlaw of Sherwood Forest.
  • Lionsgate Film's Robin Hood (2018) was originally conceived as a biographical trilogy about the famous character from English literature, however these plans abruptly changed due to the semi-success of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, at the same time as the box office failure or critics of The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Now You See Me 2, and Gods of Egypt, led the top executives to change the landscape of the film from a dramatic biography to an action story, during this change they filmed several scenes that were never included in the final result, due to the poor reception in the test transmissions who alleged the dark or morbid tone that the film had at the beginning, in turn, the film had a very limited budget due to last minute decisions of the executives that they tried a bad decision to copy the panorama of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the first reaction of the film in the projections, where in an almost desperate attempt they looked for this installment of Robin Hood to start a franchise with more than 6 or 8 films, moving away completely from the main idea of ​​a Biography Trilogy, in the end, these projects were canceled after the tremendous box office and critical failure of the film.
  • The RoboCop reboot fell victim to this big time. The director and star both pushed for a hard R tribute to the beloved cult classic. Sony executives were more interested in ripping off iconic moments from Iron Man and Batman films to try and build a new superhero franchise. Reportedly, the director complained that for every ten ideas he had, nine were cut by the studio.
  • A scene in The Santa Clause' ended up deleted from the DVD releases because of complaints from the parents of children who watched the film. Said children dialed the number that Scott Calvin sarcastically gave (1-800-SPANK-ME), and discovered that it was a phone sex hotline.
  • Scarface: MCA, Universal's then-parent company, wanted a more recognizable actress like Goldie Hawn or Sigourney Weaver to play Elvira Hancock. Brian De Palma refused, and he demanded that an unknown actress should play Elvira. His effort paid off, and Michelle Pfeiffer, a relatively unknown actress, was cast.
  • Scooby-Doo: James Gunn wrote a PG-13 movie around urban legends and Wild Mass Guessing developed by fans. Despite these elements being filmed, Warner Bros. forced many of them to be cut to get a PG rating. Later on, Gunn's contract mandated that he write a sequel and he was forced to leave the Dawn of the Dead (2004) remake as a result.
  • Scream 4 was another victim of Harvey Weinstein's tampering, with both Hayden Panettiere and director Wes Craven reportedly complaining about script changes. The DVD Commentary brings up several instances, particularly noting that the film originally ended with a "We got a heartbeat!" scene involving Panettiere's character Kirby. Given that the finished version has the most downbeat ending of the series and was the least successful at the box office, and given both audiences and critics gave Panettiere major props, leaving Kirby writhing on the ground in agony with her fate left in the air might have been a mistake.
  • In-Universe in Scrooged. Frank's boss runs into him in the hallway and orders him to shoehorn some scenes with small animals into the production of A Christmas Carol to appeal to household pets, thinking that pet appeal would be The Next Big Thing.
  • The movie version of the stage musical 1776 was commissioned by the U.S. government in the run-up to the Bicentennial. As such, it suffered from executive branch meddling, in particular regarding the Villain Song "Cool Considerate Men". It detailed the motives of what were then "conservatives" — i.e. the wealthy, risk-averse colonists who opposed the independence movement. Then-president Richard Nixon hated the song for its implied parallels to his conservative movement. He was unsuccessful in getting it removed from the play, but he was friends with producer Jack Warner and got it removed from the film. He went so far as to ask Warner to destroy the footage; Warner, no longer in charge of the studio, could only have the negatives packed into unmarked boxes. He would later regret cutting the song from the film, feeling it was essential to the plot. The song would make it to the Special Edition DVD release.
  • The trailer for Shaft (2000) had a fight scene on an airport runway between Shaft and Wade. That scene was supposed to be in the movie, but it didn't make the final cut because of Jeffrey Wright's role as drug lord Peoples Hernandez being more of the antagonistic role.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020):
    • According to story co-writer Van Robichaux, Sony was aiming to give the movie a Darker and Edgier look in the hopes that it would snatch a PG-13 rating to boost its box office chances. However, when the film jumped ship to Paramount, a re-write of the screenplay was ordered to make the film more family-friendly. The action-oriented sequences were kept in, however.
    • The budget was initially set at $100 million, but Paramount reduced it to $90 million. Thanks to the costs of redesigning Sonic, they found a happy medium at $95 million.
    • Robichaux was said to have frequently clashed with then-Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal during the early stages of production, before the move to Paramount.
    • Sonic's first, more "realistic" design was an active decision by Paramount executives, with them hoping to imitate the aesthetics of the live-action Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films. They openly knew that fans would hate it but they believed that it would be liked and accepted by the general public, similar to how the aforementioned franchises had been received. However, the massive, almost universal backlash that followed the first trailer led them to immediately delay the film to have Sonic be redesigned to look more like his cartoony game design.
  • Spartacus: During post-production, Kirk Douglas received detailed memos from Universal Studios and Production Code offices demanding heavy cuts. Having received the instruction "Any implication that Crassus is a sex pervert is unacceptable," the producers excised the notorious "snails and oysters" scene between Olivier and Tony Curtis. More seriously, Universal trimmed several action scenes, along with political content that was deemed subversive. The studio feared that if Spartacus had a chance of winning, viewers would perceive the film as Communist! Nearly 30 minutes were cut, most of which was restored to the 1991 re-release.
  • The Spider-Man films:
    • Spider-Man 3 director Sam Raimi wanted to do a movie focusing on a hero with negative qualities and a villain with positive qualities while wrapping up sub-plots involving Mary Jane and Harry "Goblin Jr." Osborn. The story was packed as it was when producer Avi Arad insisted that fan-favorite Venom be added to the film. Raimi at first refused on the basis that he didn't understand the character of Venom that well, but eventually gave in. This left the movie with Venom and Eddie Brock shoehorned in. Gwen Stacy was also shoehorned in, filling a role that was originally just a random woman. It was commercially successful, but reviews were mixed. Raimi was dissatisfied with the final product, outright calling it "awful" in later interviews and blaming himself for its failure, while Avi Arad apologized for forcing Raimi to do the character despite knowing the director's misgivings.
    • Sony was eager to start production on a fourth Spider-Man film and asked Raimi to direct once again. However, while Raimi wanted to do a story revolving around Peter and Mary Jane's wedding and the Vulture as the main villain, the studio wanted to do a Time Skip that involved Dr. Connors becoming The Lizard, as well as Peter cheating on her with Black Cat (reworked to be the Vulture's daughter) and leaving his wife and child. Raimi loathed the idea of the studio interfering once again and refused to do it, telling Sony to just cancel his project and do the Continuity Reboot that they wanted to create anyway.
    • For The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the studio cut out bits that explored Peter's personal life, preferring to shoehorn in new characters and plot threads that had the sole intent of pushing future installments in the film series so they would have something to act as a competitor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Andrew Garfield, who played Spider-Man, was not pleased and said so in an interview. Sony was so unhappy that they considered replacing him with another actor, a piece of information discovered in a massive 2014 data leak.) The film was not successful, leading to Sony striking a deal to allow Spidey to migrate to the Marvel Cinematic Universe while still maintaining film rights to the franchise.
  • Star!, the first collaboration between Julie Andrews and director Robert Wise since The Sound of Music, was a victim of this. Upon its release in 1968, it was an expensive flop, no doubt due to the rise of New Hollywood, the oversaturation of movie musicals, and Julie Andrews taking an unexpectedly dark turn as stage icon Gertrude Lawrence. The latter issue seemed to be the biggest in the eyes of 20th Century Fox executives. In an attempt to remedy this, the studio decided to re-release it in a dramatically altered fashion against Wise's wishes. Fox hacked a third of the film's three-hour running time, minimizing (if not outright deleting) scenes involving Lawrence's inner demons to appease Andrews fans who only saw her as Mary Poppins or Maria von Trapp. The studio decided to release the new bastardized version under the new title of Those Were the Happy Times with an advertising campaign that tried to pass it off as a spiritual sequel to The Sound of Music. Unfortunately, this did nothing to make people flock to see it, and Happy Times soon faded into obscurity. Fortunately, Fox didn't junk the original three-hour version of Star! and the film has been seen in its unaltered state since at least the early 1980s.
  • The Star Trek films:
    • Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a quasi-failure with a big price tag. Paramount tried to avoid this in the future by removing Gene Roddenberry as executive producer. They were also outraged by a script he wrote in which the Enterprise crew had to ensure the Kennedy assassination. But since Roddenberry made Star Trek to begin with, they had to kick him upstairs, where he could become his meddling executive.
    • The original ending of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan did not have Spock performing a mind-meld on McCoy, and did not have the shot of Spock's casket having soft-landed on the Genesis planet. It was implied that he was Deader Than Dead. This tested poorly, with Harve Bennett noting in Shatner's book Star Trek Movie Memories that there was "a silence, a heavily funereal silence" as the test audience left the theater. As a result, over Nick Meyer's vehement objections, the "Remember" shot and the tracking shot resting on Spock's casket were added to the final theatrical cut. Particularly sharp-eyed viewers will note the change in film quality during the "Remember" shot.
    • The traitorous Lt. Valeris in 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was originally written to be Lt. Saavik from the three previous films, so that her betrayal would have a more profound impact. However, Gene Roddenberry overruled writer/director Nicholas Meyer in what was by all accounts an epic battle of rank-pulling and forced the creation of a "new" protégé for Spock. Meyer even pointed out that he wrote Saavik himself (as she first appeared in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).
    • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is one of the least popular Star Trek films, and fans largely blame executive meddling. Among the problems was that the script changed hands numerous times, and the budget and schedule were so tight that Industrial Light & Magic couldn't be used to make the special effects.
    • They tried with Star Trek: Insurrection; many observers claim this would have improved the movie. Paramount executives wanted to fix some of the film's plot holes, such as why the Designated Villains were bad guys for wanting access to a planet's miraculous healing powers, and why Picard was so intent on saving a particular race of only six hundred (thus well below the threshold for avoiding dangerous inbreeding).
  • As Star Wars takes heavy inspiration from Japanese culture, George Lucas originally wanted Toshiro Mifune to play Obi-Wan Kenobi but 20th Century Studios allegedly shot the idea down as they thought his thick accent would be too hard for Western audiences to understand. Mifune was offered the role of Darth Vader however, but turned it down as sci-fi wasn't a well-respected genre at the time and he thought he'd be doing his culture a disservice. He later regretted turning down the roles, which could have allowed him to define the nature of the Jedi in that landmark film franchise and cultural touchstone.
  • Street Fighter: Early on, Steven E. de Souza decided that they should only include seven fighters from the game to avoid having a messy story and bloated cast. The representatives from Capcom initially agreed, but reneged on their promise and forced him to include nearly the entire roster, causing the core cast to balloon from seven to fifteen, which doesn't even take into account supporting roles or Canon Foreigners. Also, Capcom wanted de Souza to cast Japanese actor Kenya Sawada as Ryu, although the director was looking for a comedic actor with better English language skills. The character of Captain Sawada was created as a compromise, causing the cast to bloat even further.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire had a fair amount of this going on during production. Some of the jazzy, brass-heavy music was deemed "too suggestive" and re-scored with strings. The ending was also changed, to show Stella leaving Stanley after he rapes Blanche. Blanche's monologue about her husband was also toyed with, making it nearly impossible to realize he was homosexual if you hadn't read or seen the play ruining his motivation for killing himself. These changes were mandated by The Hays Code; a Director's Cut 40 years later would make up for it.
  • The Super Mario Bros. movie was originally a Disney production. Disney wanted a more fantasy-based production, but they were in a hole early when they were forced to fire director Greg Beeman after spending $10 million in just six months. They scrambled for nearly a year before finally hiring Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel (of Max Headroom fame) — the only directors interested in it. They told the new writers to strictly limit new action scenes or anything requiring special effects; they were ignored, resulting in two rewrites before filming began. Then the execs micromanaged the heck out of Morton and Jankel, deleted 20 minutes' worth of footage, and created an atrocious animated intro to make up for it. It's said that this treatment was a big reason why Nintendo refused to license its characters to Disney for its theme parks (going with Universal instead).
  • After almost finishing production on Superman II, director Richard Donner was fired by producer Alexander Salkind, who wanted a lower-budget movie with more camp. The result of the franchise was disastrous. Many of the stars, including Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman, refused to work with new director Richard Lester, and the third and fourth movies in the series were so critically disliked that the pseudo-reboot/sequel Superman Returns, released almost twenty years after Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, ignores them entirely.
  • The production of what would eventually become Superman Returns was similarly fraught with meddling, most of it from producer Jon Peters. Kevin Smith was originally recruited to write the screenplay in 1997, but he backed out after being inundated with Peters's bizarre demands, to say the least. The film as we know it didn't emerge until 2003 when Bryan Singer was handed the project and steadfastly refused to alter the mythos. Among Peters's changes:
    • He demanded that Superman not fly or wear his iconic tights, the latter because it was "too faggy". On the other hand, he wanted the film's villain, Brainiac, to speak with a "homosexual lisp" and have a robot sidekick who would be a "gay R2-D2 with attitude".
    • His choice to play Superman was Sean Penn, based on his performance in Dead Man Walking, where he had what Peters called the eyes of a "caged animal, a fucking killer".
    • He wanted Superman to be an ordinary human being who got his powers from his suit, which was itself a living being that crawled out of a tennis ball tube. Peters is said not to like comic books, which may explain why he was unaware that he had ordered Superman to be turned into Venom.
    • He wanted a fight scene between Brainiac and two polar bears. This was ridiculous enough to be parodied in Superman: The Animated Series, where Superman steals something from Brainiac, hides it in the Fortress of Solitude, and jokes that he should guard it with a polar bear.
    • He wanted a marketable space dog Team Pet, whom he described as "Chewbacca a la mode".
    • And he wanted Superman to fight a Giant Spider. It completely befuddled Kevin Smith, who could only surmise that it was an homage to King Kong. This became Peters' most infamous request; it would be parodied by the animated Superman: Doomsday, where Superman does fight a giant mechanical spider, which a bystander — resembling and voiced by Kevin Smith — calls "lame". (Superman: Birthright did the same but made it awesome.) Peters, undeterred, would bring his Giant Spider obsession to other projects, including an abortive adaptation of The Sandman, before finally getting his wish in Wild Wild West.
  • Tank Girl suffered badly from this according to Rachel Talalay. They fought over the film and the studio cut out a ton of stuff. Like Blade Runner, it had an opening narration tacked on (which Lori Petty hated), and the studio also insisted on removing scenes of Tank Girl in bed with Booga from the video releases. The studio interference may have been the main reason why Talalay hasn't helmed a feature film since and now mostly works in TV. Large chunks of the plot and dozens of jokes (including the ones best-loved by test audiences) were cut, and the producers kept asking, "Who is Tank Girl? What is her motivation? What is the origin story of Tank Girl?", proving that film studios only understand these movies through the lens of Batman. Cecil: That's like asking for the "backstory" or "motivation" of Benny Hill. It doesn't add anything to the character; it just distracts from the time when they could be doing something funny.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) was hit by executive meddling, but many of the details are still unclear. Before the movie came out it was indicated that Eric Sachs (William Finchtner's character) was going to be the Shredder. Fans of TMNT accused the film of whitewashing Shredder, a Japanese villain, and the studio forced them to do reshoots to make Shredder a Japanese man whose face is always in shadow. As a result of these last-minute changes, the Shredder's motivation and goals in the movie are pretty much non-existent, while Eric Sachs has a much clearer motivation for being a villain.
  • Terminator:
    • Averted with The Terminator. The film's backer, Hemdale, wanted James Cameron to end the film when Reese destroys the tanker truck with the Terminator inside, eliminating the memorable show-off between Sarah Connor and the now-skeletal Terminator in the factory. Hemdale would have most likely succeeded had Cameron not stuck to his guns.
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day goes to great lengths in its introduction to imply that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the bad guy again and Robert Patrick John's protector. The production crew was rather disappointed when the advertisers decided to make a point of stating outright that Arnold was the good guy in every trailer which led to the trailers ruining the plot twist for some.
  • Venom (2018) was supposed to be R-Rated and it would have had blood and gore, but Sony was scared that it would make less money and felt it could make it impossible to make a crossover with Spider-Man so they turned it into a PG-13 movie and cut the R-Rated scenes, which led the movie into being generic with poorly editing scenes (you can tell which scenes had been cut)
  • That Lady in Ermine had its ending changed from the original operetta and its adaptations. Angelina was supposed to be back with her husband after her identical ancestor convinced the Colonel of an invading army to leave. Execs thought it meant Angelina got away with cheating, so the ending was changed to the marriage being annulled and Angelina and the Colonel ending up together.
  • In The Thing (2011), the executives chickened out and changed many animatronic effects to the cheapest CGI they could find. That awful-looking alien tetris tower inside the otherwise well-made starship was there to hide a completed animatronic alien pilot that remained from a better ending the writers had created but would be more expensive to produce.
  • Not even Those Wacky Nazis are exempt from this trope.
    • The Nazi propaganda film Der Ewige Jude ("The Eternal Jew") was envisioned by Joseph Goebbels as an understated and subtle (well, by Nazi propaganda standards) demonstration of the "evils" of Jewry. Goebbels believed that the best propaganda was primarily entertainment and not propaganda. Hitler disagreed and demanded more polemical material, including laughably crude (even for Nazis) comparisons of Jews to rats. It was a box-office flop, and some viewers fainted at the crudity. Unfortunately, Goebbels would get his way with the much more effective and successful Jud Süss.
    • Jud Süss itself is a more straightforward example. Director Veit Harlan and star Ferdinand Marian hoped to make something more nuanced than standard Nazi propaganda; however, little of their attempted complexity survived Goebbels' micromanagement. Notably, the film initially climaxed with Süss providing a Motive Rant explaining his villainy as a reaction to lifelong antisemitism. Unsurprisingly, Goebbels ordered the scene cut, feeling it made Süss too sympathetic.
    • The same thing happened with Triumph of the Will but in reverse. Nazi officials (including Goebbels, though for reasons of personal rivalry with Leni Riefenstahl) complained there wasn't enough propaganda in it. Hitler, however, allowed Riefenstahl to make the movie her way, creating the classic propaganda movie of the era. On Triumph and her subsequent films, Riefenstahl had an Auteur License, whereas most other German filmmakers were answerable to Goebbels.
  • THX 1138: Warner Bros. inexplicably cut 5 minutes from the original theatrical release, much to the displeasure of George Lucas, who has stated that "Whether it's five minutes shorter or longer, it didn't change the movie one bit". WB did reinstate the cut footage when they released the film in 1977 for obvious reasons.
  • The producers of Times Square tried to remove the original cut's lesbian content and added songs so that the soundtrack would be a double album. Director Allan Moyle resisted and was fired. The deleted footage is lost.
  • Because of Sam Witwicky's mother going on pot-induced escapades and humiliations during Sam's tour of the campus in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, both Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania forbade Michael Bay from stating the name of the college. Because of this, the college was also subject to Where the Hell Is Springfield?
  • Tremors had some positive meddling regarding the casting. The studio suggested that Michael Gross, then a household name due to Family Ties, should play Burt Gummer. The crew was worried, as this would be Playing Against Type for Gross, but Gross did so well in the role that he made the character an Ensemble Dark Horse. Similarly, the studio also suggested casting country singer Reba McEntire, who had never acted in a movie before; she was successful enough in the role to launch her acting career.
    • Originally, the filmmakers wanted no hint of a monster in the film until the road workers were killed to preserve the mystery and suggest that a regular person was responsible for the murders. But the studio wanted to market the film as a monster movie and thus demanded more onscreen kills before the big reveal. The filmmakers were forced to go back and add in two new scenes: one where Rhonda is unknowingly stalked by a Graboid as she heads back to her truck, as well as the death of a new character named Old Fred. This is another example of positive meddling, as these scenes add to the sense of mounting danger without spoiling the big reveal later on.
  • The TV Set discusses this trope. A fellow whose brother has just committed suicide wants to make a thoughtful Dramedy TV show that would serve as a fictional account of their relationship, and a way of coming to terms with suicide in general. A particularly pushy executive gets involved, and it gets turned into a Lowest Common Denominator comedy called Call Me Crazy! Oh, and does the brother have to commit suicide?
    • Lenny: "Suicide is depressing to, like, 82% of people!"
  • According to the commentary on the extended edition DVD, the creative team behind Underworld was pressured by the studio to keep Viktor a sympathetic character throughout, and have Lucian be a straight villain. One wonders what would have happened in such a movie, since that would have negated the story and the bulk of the action. The writing and directing team luckily prevailed, keeping the revelation of Lucian as a sympathetic figure and Viktor as a lying murderous jerk.
  • The Watcher in the Woods was a major victim of Executive Meddling:
    • Disney thought that the film's original screenplay, written by Brian Clemens, was too intense. They hired their people to revise it. They also cut 20 minutes off the film's run time and changed the opening credits sequence from its original, much darker incarnation.
    • The original ending was to have the Watcher appear and take the heroine to his spaceship, which contained the girl who was haunting the heroine throughout the film. However, Disney wanted to rush the film's release to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the acting career of Bette Davis, who played the girl's mother. The scenes involving the spaceship weren't finished at the time, so they were left out of the film, and the ending became unintelligible. Rather than finish the special effects shots required for the film's intended ending, Disney put in a new ending in which the Watcher is now a pillar of light (instead of an insectoid alien), with the events of the missing girl's disappearance and the Watcher's presence being explained by the heroine's younger sister (who is possessed by the Watcher).
    • Disney also fought Anchor Bay's attempt to restore the original cut on the DVD; they did eventually allow a release with a rough cut of the never-filmed ending shown as an "alternate ending", along with a second "alternate ending" meant to approximate the original cut's ending. Both endings would eventually appear on the Disney DVD version of the film.
  • Blake Edwards reluctantly consented to MGM cutting 24 minutes from his film Wild Rovers in return for a promise that the studio wouldn't interfere with his next film. Instead, the studio started meddling with The Carey Treatment while it was being filmed, resulting in a film that Edwards did everything to disown and whose screenwriters hid behind a collective pseudonym.
  • In The Wizard of Oz's original script, Oz was a real place that Dorothy had visited. Executives thought that audiences would be too "sophisticated" to accept a fantasy land like Oz (in odd contrast to today's mentality), thus enforcing the famous All Just a Dream ending. They also tried to cut the song "Over the Rainbow" just because they didn't like the idea of their star singing in a farmyard.
  • The reason why the prologue for The Wolfman (2010) is so short and why a good chunk of character development and establishment are left out is because the execs thought the audience would want more Wolfman and less storytelling. The Director's Cut reinserts many of the removed scenes.
  • The World Is Not Enough had an ending early in production featuring a poignant scene in which James Bond visits a mental hospital to cheer up Fallen Princess Elektra King, who has been institutionalized to treat her Stockholm Syndrome. This was nixed for unknown reasons, and replaced with a much less satisfying comedic ending featuring very bad puns and Dr. Christmas Jones.
  • In the lead-in to World War II, multiple Hollywood executives and censors were extremely leery about offending Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, albeit less for political reasons than fear of losing these lucrative markets:
    • For The Life of Émile Zola, Jack Warner personally ordered producers to cut references to Alfred Dreyfus's Judaism and French anti-Semitism. (The only acknowledgment is a brief close-up of Dreyfus's military record, listing his religion as "Jew.")
    • Warner also took Blockade, a Spanish Civil War epic, and excised all references to fascism.
    • This continued even after the war began; censor Joseph Breen tried to ban Fritz Lang's film Man Hunt as a "hate film" for depicting a near-assassination of Adolf Hitler. In this case, Fox studio head Daryl Zanuck sided with Lang and the film was released intact.
    • The book An Empire of Their Own, which chronicles the rise of Hollywood by German and Eastern European Jewish studio magnates, documents the refusal of some portions of Hollywood to "make nice". While some German Jews ranked as film execs or studio owners were carefully walking the line about not criticizing anti-semitism, the Eastern European Jews running their large studios in Hollywood were adamant on not just bringing German anti-semitism to the fore, but also highlighting the American Fascist Party and their brownshirt march through New York.
    • This even hit Casablanca. The rightfully legendary scene where the patrons of Rick's Cafe drown out Strasser and his Nazis in an epic Battle of the Bands was originally meant to be more pointed against the Nazis. The song used on the German side as filmed was Die Wacht am Rhein, a pre-Nazi marching anthem. The song that was intended was Das Horst-Wessel-Lied, the de-facto second national anthem of Nazi Germany and the official Nazi Party anthem. Warners vetoed the use of the song because it was still under copyright to the Nazi Party. This meant that if Warner Brothers wanted to market the film in neutral countries (for obvious reasons, the Allied nations weren't in a mood to respect Schicklgruber's copyright claims on their turf) they could have been put in the absurd position of being compelled to pay royalties to the enemy!
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Fox executive Tom Rothman didn't like the Darker and Edgier direction director Gavin Hood was going with the movie, forcing so many rewrites that portions of the screenplay were rewritten even after filming had started. He also decided that Deadpool, a Medium Aware Ensemble Dark Horse in the comics who can't shut up, should only make a brief appearance before his mouth gets sewn shut, obviating any reason for people to want to see him. The reaction to that one was so negative that even after Rothman left, no other execs were confident about Deadpool's theatrical success; the eventual Deadpool (2016) movie was a pleasant surprise on that front.
    • Deadpool had its working budget cut by Fox, from $65 million to $58 million, right before the film was about to start production. Tim Miller admitted that this helped the film's pacing, and led to some action scenes being cut, as well as introducing a Running Gag of Deadpool forgetting his duffel bag. The film also makes fun of only two mutants being around in the X-Mansion due to the limited budget: Deadpool: It's a big house. It's weird I only ever see the two of you. Almost like the studio couldn't afford another X-Man.
  • In-universe example in The Pentagon Wars. The film is about the incompetent development of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, where the top brass change their minds several times over what features and performance they want the vehicle to have. This causes Development Hell and budget overruns, and eventually, it gets to the point where they criticize features they previously requested i.e. demanding a tall turret (so it can double as a scout) and a big gun and then complaining that it makes the vehicle look like a tank (which will encourage the enemy to target it first as it is the biggest threat). 'Designer: Do you want me to put a sign on it in fifty languages saying, "I am a troop carrier, not a tank, please don't shoot at me"?
  • The Trip (1967) was not originally intended as an anti-drug movie, but American International Pictures insisted on an Opening Scroll warning viewers of the dangers of taking LSD, as well as a Freeze-Frame Ending of Paul's face shattering, symbolizing his broken and traumatized mind. This completely conflicts with the rest of the movie, which makes taking LSD looks incredibly fun and has nothing to suggest that Paul was harmed by his trip.


  1. Sonic SatAM: Cancelled because of executive meddling, not from Sega, but from ABC - a new president came in and declared that he was sweeping out the old and bringing in new stuff. That, coupled with the fact that the show's ratings were low, resulted in its cancellation.
    • It was also likely canceled due to Disney's purchase of ABC, which led to other original shows like Bump in the Night being canceled.
  2. The Simpsons and Family Guy: Despite their quality drops, Fox won't let them end due to them being cash cows.
  3. The Fairly OddParents: Nickelodeon executives forced series creator Butch Hartman to add new characters like Poof, Sparky, and Chloe Carmichael. While Poof got mixed-to-positive reviews, the latter two characters were not well received, which majorly contributed to the show's eventual cancellation.
  4. Danny Phantom: When writer Steve Marmel wanted to make the show darker and edgier in its third season, Nickelodeon fired him, leading to the show's quality declining in said season.
    • Nickelodeon also canceled the show after three seasons, despite series creator Butch Hartman wanting to do more episodes.
  5. Moral Orel: Originally, the series was meant to have 5 seasons. However, after the Season 2 finale, Adult Swim changed it to 3 seasons. To make matters worse, Season 3 was going to have 20 episodes, but it was changed to 13.
  6. Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain: The show's entire existence was due to Warner Bros. executives wanting Pinky and the Brain to be part of a sitcom "more like The Simpsons" and also have them be adopted by Elmyra Duff.
    • As a result, the idea was reportedly met with resistance from the producers of the series, with the opening theme even making references to the decision with the lyric: "Now Pinky and the Brain share a new domain. It's what the network wants, why bother to complain?". In the end, Brain says: "I deeply resent this!". After the first season (the show in general) was met with negative feedback from fans of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, the spin-off/retool series was canceled afterward.
  7. Back at the Barnyard: Three seasons were ordered. Unfortunately, due to unknown reasons, the show's third season was canceled and the series ended in 2011.
  8. Bunk'd: The show will often jump the shark because the writers constantly keep replacing old characters and bringing in new characters every season. The show was originally going to end after Season 3, but due to an increase in popularity, it was renewed for four more seasons. However, Disney hardly did it to the other good shows that had a great impact.
    • It made even worse when Disney Channel kicked most of the original cast members off to introduce new characters which shows how expendable the cast is to Disney. Despite their drops in quality and ratings, Disney won't let them end due to them being cash cows.
    • Because of these stupid changes most fans have completely turned away from the show because of these seasons.
  9. Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 2 was originally meant to have 26 episodes. Unfortunately, Nickelodeon slashed the episode amount in half and may have canceled the series.
  10. Young Justice: It was initially canceled after two seasons because of poor toy sales (the box-office bombing of the 2011 Green Lantern movie also played a major role in this). However, thanks in part to a strong fan campaign and high viewership ratings on Netflix, Warner Bros. Animation decided to revive the series, much to the joy of many.
  11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): Season 5 was originally intended to be the final season of the series, as its arc concluded the main series' storyline in 2006. Additionally, while the last two seasons aren't all that bad, they changed the tone to a more lighthearted one.
  12. Batman: The Animated Series: Some of the more violent parts of the show were toned down to make them more kid-friendly.
  13. Adventure Time: Initially, Cartoon Network wouldn't allow Princess Bubblegum and Marceline's relationship to be shown on-screen because the show airs in countries where homosexuality is illegal, such as Russia. However, they ended up kissing in the series finale, which other countries would simply edit out.
  14. Avatar: The Last Airbender: There was going to be a subplot about Zuko's mom, Ursa, but it didn't come to fruition due to time constraints. The comics based on the show resolve the subplot, though.
  15. Beavis and Butt-Head: A little kid burned down his trailer home after allegedly watching the show, which caused MTV executives to force Mike Judge to tone down Beavis' pyromaniac tendencies, and add a disclaimer at the top of the show.
  16. Courage The Cowardly Dog: The show got pulled from the airwaves for a little while because of the episode "The Mask", which had an implied lesbian couple in the form of Bunny and Kitty.
    • Another reason the show was canceled was that Cartoon Network executives thought that a plush toy of a pink dog (Courage) wouldn't sell well to young boys.
  17. Pinky Malinky: The show was set to premiere in 2009 on Cartoon Network, but then pushed to 2011 before being picked up by Nickelodeon, then was pushed to 2016, then 2017, then 2018 on Netflix before finally premiering on January 1, 2019, on Netflix. It was then canceled after three seasons.
  18. Pee-Wee's Playhouse: The show was pulled from broadcasting in July 1991 when actor Paul Reubens was arrested after being caught masturbating in an adult movie theatre in Florida, causing all Pee-Wee Herman merchandise to be pulled from stores (like Toys 'R' Us).
    • Also, all Pee-Wee Herman cameos on other shows had to be removed (for example, he had a cameo in the celebrity version of the Sesame Street song, Put Down the Duckie. His scene was removed and replaced with Phil Donahue). Thankfully, the cameo of Paul Reubens is kept intact in later versions of the show, including Netflix and Hulu prints of the scene. The YouTube print also kept the scene intact, and it was also kept in later broadcasts for some time.
  19. Planet Sheen: only 26 episodes were made, all of which were stretched over 2½ years. Unfortunately, nothing has been heard from O Entertainment since this show was canceled in 2013.
  20. The Real Ghostbusters: Many unnecessary changes were made by a consultant firm known as Q5, which was hired by ABC. Some of these changes included replacing Lorenzo Music with Dave Coulier as Peter Venkman, recasting Laura Summer with Kath Soucie as Janine Melnitz, and recasting Arsenio Hall with Buster Jones as Winston Zeddemore. The biggest changes were making Slimer the focus of the show and toning down the dark elements, making it more kid-friendly. Most of these changes were made without any sort of audience testing by Q5. Many of these changes resulted in the rating dropping, and drove story editor Joe Straczynski to leave the show, though he continued to write episodes for the show such as "The Halloween Door".
  21. Neon Genesis Evangelion: TV Tokyo rejected the original scripts for episodes 25 and 26 because of how graphic they were. This resulted in budget cuts and the show having one of the most bizarre series finales of all time. The rejected scripts became The End of Evangelion, the uncut ending to the series.
  22. The Ren & Stimpy Show: According to John Kricfalusi in his words: "For every idea Nick accepted, they threw out five others", because Nickelodeon ridiculously censored some scenes like the Dog Catcher shaking his butt in front of Ren and Stimpy in the Big House Blues pilot, because they seemed the scene to be "too gay", and Stimpy's Invention almost didn't get made because of the nervousness of the executives.
    • This worsened in the Games Animation era. According to Bob Camp and Bill Wray, executives were not even consistent about how they wanted the episodes to air and made Ren more and more meaningful as the series progressed, resulting in Ren being a huge jerk in this era in episodes like Ren's Brain.
  23. Power Rangers (Super) Megaforce: Originally, the show was going to be a full-on adaptation of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. Unfortunately, due to Tensou Sentai Goseiger not having enough bad toy sales to be skipped, Saban Brands (the owners of the Power Rangers franchise at the time) was forced by Toei Inc. (the creator of the Super Sentai franchise) to combine the two seasons which is the most nonsensical choice ever made by Toei! Because of this and Nickelodeon's 22-episode limit, many Sentai episodes and monster suits from Goseiger and Gokaiger were skipped because of that.
  24. Johnny Test (2005): It was originally supposed to end after three seasons, but a year later Cartoon Network demanded more episodes, beginning on September 10, 2009, in Canada (November 9, 2009 in the US), and lasted for three more seasons, consisting of 26 half-hour episodes instead of 13. It was even renewed for a seventh season in June 2013 that would consist of 13 half-hour episodes with a three-part special as the season (and possibly series) finale, but due to a lawsuit filed in the Fall of 2013 it never saw the light of day, and the series was canceled on Christmas of 2014. Thankfully, the Netflix reboot is an improvement.
  25. The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss was turned into a preschool show and was moved to the Nick Jr. block, thanks to focusing group testing.
  26. 101 Dalmatian Street: Originally was gonna air in 2018, but was pushed to 2019 (although there were sneak peeks in December 2018). The series was announced to have a US streaming release on Disney+ but didn't have promotion whatsoever. It later aired on television on Disney XD on March 29, 2021, but had bad ratings because the show was already on Disney+, fewer people had the channel it aired on, and all of the episodes were previously released in other countries before the US. This includes Disney Channel UK, which ceased operations on September 30, 2020, due to a cable disagreement with Disney focusing more on streaming. Disney's poor treatment of the show resulted in it being canceled after only one season.
  27. SpongeBob SquarePants: Originally ended with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, but executive want to continue with more seasons in favor of popularity.
  28. The Owl House: On October 9, 2021, Dana Terrace confirmed that the show was canceled because Disney thought it didn't fit their brand. When the third and final season was announced, it was confirmed that it would have 3 44-minute specials.
  29. Final Space: On September 10, 2021, Olan Rogers revealed on a YouTube video that the series was canceled after three seasons when he intended for the show to have 5 to 6 seasons, resulting in the show ending on a massively bleak cliffhanger. Olan elaborated that the cancellation happened because of the merger between Warnermedia and Discovery, which was spearheaded by Discovery executive David Zaslav.
  30. Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School: Episode 9 of the Despair Arc built up to an epic action scene involving Juzo Sakakura kicking Junko Enoshima's ass that was originally going to be in the next episode (which was episode 10 of the Despair Arc), however, the battle was cut from said next episode and the episode cut straight to the aftermath.
  31. Cyberchase: The show was originally about three kids saving cyberspace from an evil doer to now them trying to protect the environment. The reason for this change is that PBS believes that protecting the environment is so important, that they changed the entire subject about it, and while there are some hints of math solving from time to time, the environment is pretty much all they learn about, and in the 10th season, the subject was about eating healthy.



  1. Christian Whitehead interview by Glixel (September 7, 2017) Section: Are there any stages from classic Sonic that you wish had made the cut?


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