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Source: Disney/Pixar

12 Happy Movies That Originally Had Shockingly Bleak Endings


Movie audiences love happy endings, which kind of sucks for screenwriters who love writing stories with gritty, realistic endings that aren't always uplifting or neatly tied up in a bow. Because of that, many movies with the standard Hollywood Happy Ending ™ don't actually start off that way. What normally happens is the film is test-screened first. If the audience hates the ending, it gets chucked and replaced with a different, happier one. It happens a lot more than you think, too. Below, a few of the biggest examples. Warning, there be spoilers ahead!

1. 'Pretty Woman'

Source: Touchstone Pictures

The ending you saw:

In this "hooker with a heart of gold" story, Vivian (Julia Roberts), a sex worker, falls for Edward (Richard Gere), a rich corporate raider who needs a girlfriend-for-hire for the week. Edward shows her the finer things in life, gives her a makeover, falls in love with her, and the two live happily ever after. Classic rags-to-riches story. Nothing sad here.

The original:

Instead of happily ever after, in the original ending, Edward kicks Vivian out of his car, throws a wad of cash at her, and drives off while she sobs. Bleak. Screenwriter J.F. Lawton never meant for the movie to be a lighthearted romcom. The movie was originally supposed to be a realistic depiction of prostitution that showed the gritty side of homelessness and addiction. Once Disney bought the script, they decided to rewrite the story and make it more wholesome.