High Profile Movies With Serious Studio Interference

by Nick Kush
Studio Interference

Sometimes, directors and studio executives just don’t see eye to eye.  This results in a ton clashing and, at worst, major studio interference.  However, not all studio interference is bad.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy is famous for having positive interference from executives which turned the final products into nothing short of perfection.  Unfortunately, these are not those films.  Here are a few high profile projects that were tampered with mightily in production, making us all suffer as a result.

Superman II (1981)

Most of the follow up to 1978’s Superman was actually filmed during the production of the first film.  However, much was changed by the studio before the film hit theaters.  Angry with Richard Donner that he went over budget on the first film, the studio fired the director in favor of Richard Lester.  This caused major rewrites to the script as Gene Hackman refused to take part in the sequel to honor Donner.  His scenes were then replaced by a body double and Zod became the main villain.  Lester also added more slapstick to the film which clashed with Donner’s original vision for the film.  Luckily for the product, Donner’s original cut of the film was released on DVD in 2006 and was received with a lot of praise.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 89%

Metacritic Score: 87

MovieBabble Score: B+ (Donner Cut)

studio interference

image via YouTube

Blade Runner (1982)

Although Ridley Scott’s intended cut of the film has since seen the light of day, the initial theatrical release of the film had serious studio interference.  Warner Bros. was not happy with the bleakness of the film.  So, they demanded that Scott remove the intended ending that question whether Deckard was a replicant or not is favor of a happier finish.  The studio also feared that audience would not understand the film, so they forced Harrison Ford to create a voice-over for the beginning of the film in hopes of clearing up any ambiguities.  The film still bombed at the box office, however.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 89%

Metacritic Score: 89

MovieBabble Score: B (Director’s Cut)

studio interference

image via CinemaBlend

Alien 3 (1992)

David Fincher has remained astonishingly quiet about the making of his first feature film.  However, that hasn’t stop stories from being unearth over time.  Alien 3 spent more than $13 million in pre-production as the studio kept changing scripts and writers.   This greatly reduced the budget of the film, causing Fincher to have to begin filming the movie before a final script was finished so that the high profile project wouldn’t suffer any more delays.  There are whispers that Fincher originally had a three hour rough cut of the film (a whole hour longer than the theatrical release).  In combination with all these issues, Fox also removed much of the gore and ideas from the film to make it more “accessible” to audiences.  The end result of this studio interference is a film that disappointed many moviegoers.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 44%

Metacritic Score: 59

MovieBabble Score: C

studio interference

image via Bloody Disgusting!


2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Vin Diesel was unhappy with the way his character progressed while reading the script for 2 Fast 2 Furious so he decided to sit out on the project until it was rewritten.  Rather than work on Diesel’s request, the studio made a big effort to a new write a script that made provisions for Diesel’s departure from the franchise.  So, 2 Fast 2 Furious has a plot with entirely new characters at is center to pair with the late Paul Walker.  Unfortunately, Diesel’s absence was seemingly felt as the film is considered one of the worst in the Fast and Furious franchise.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 36%

Metacritic Score: 38

MovieBabble Score: D+

studio interference

image via Stand By for Mind Control

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Many people had high hopes for the origin of the popular X-men character.  The film had Hugh Jackman return as Wolverine and even had Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood behind the camera.  However, as you may have guessed, things did not go according to plan.  Fox disallowed many of Hood’s ideas for Wolverine (including him having PTSD from fighting in many wars) in favor of a more family friendly story line.  Deadpool was also a major selling point for the film, but the studio mandated that alterations were made to the character so as to not upstage Wolverine, leading to his mouth being sewed shut.  On the bright side, at least the errors made in this film gave the real Deadpool more comical ammunition in his own movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 38%

Metacritic Score: 40

MovieBabble Score: D-

studio interference

image via Collider

RoboCop (2014)

Many were excited to see the updated version of the classic film, but MGM had different ideas for the project than director Jose Padilha had in mind.  Dealing with serious financial troubles, MGM wanted the film to reach as many audience members as possible.  This led to the film ending with a PG-13 rating rather than R so that a younger audience could watch the film.  Jose Padilha had a bunch of new, darker ideas for the RoboCop character that never saw the light of day, causing the film to add practically no new elements to the beloved story.  Padilha later exclaimed to a close friend that production of the project was “hell.”

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 48%

Metcritic Score: 52

MovieBabble Score: C

studio interference

image via Channel 4

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

After Sony’s reboot to the Spider-Man franchise was met with predominantly positive reviews, the studio wanted to move forward with an entire universe surrounding the web-slinger.  This meant that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would cast aside many character moments for Peter Parker with more villains.  Sony also wanted the film to be more humorous than the previous installment.  This caused the main villain, Electro, to become less menacing than desired.  These issues eventually broke director Marc Webb who has since taken on far less high profile films.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was suppose to open the door for an expansive universe, but it ultimately closed the door on it completely.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 52%

Metacritic Score: 53

MovieBabble Score: D+

studio interference

image via YouTube

Fantastic Four (2015)

Director Josh Trank infamously tweeted out upon the release of his rebooted Fantastic Four that he “had a fantastic version of this.  And it would’ve received great reviews.”  Fox did not care for Trank’s grittier take on the Fantastic Four so they took the film back from him and completely changed the second half of the film.  The final act has been called one of the worst endings to a comic book film.  This is predominantly because the studio threw together a finishing touch to the film in order to finish it after extensive re-shoots.  However, those changes are very apparent as Kate Mara has a wig in scenes that is noticeably different to the rest of the movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 9%

Metacritic Score: 27

MovieBabble Score: D

studio interference

image via YouTube

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

As you may have seen in the Ultimate Cut of this film, Zack Snyder’s original vision for Batman V Superman was a three hour film that was rated R.  In fear that the film would lose a considerable amount of revenue because it wouldn’t be able to be screened as many times throughout the day to a smaller audience, Warner Bros. quickly stepped in on the project and cut the film down to a two and a half hour run time along with a PG-13 rating.  Trimming a half hour off the film caused editors to have to rearrange scenes in order to make sense of a now chopped up narrative, leading to a jumbled mess as a result.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 28%

Metacritic Score: 44

MovieBabble Score: B (Ultimate Cut)

studio interference

image via Forbes

Suicide Squad (2016)

In fear that fans would react negatively to Suicide Squad’s similar somber tone to that of Batman V Superman, Warner Bros. quickly hired Trailer Park (a trailer company) to create a competing edit of the film to director David Ayer’s.  The studio also tried to lighten up the tone by calling for extensive re-shoots to add more humor.  The result, as you know, is a film cut similarly to a music video that also disappointed viewers.  There are rumors that there is extensive scenes with Jared Leto’s Joker that were cut from the film because they didn’t mesh with the film’s new found humor.  Since they were not released when the extended edition of Suicide Squad was released on Blu-Ray, it’s likely that we may never see these moments.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 25%

Metacritic Score: 40

MovieBabble Score: D

studio interference

image via YouTube

What are other movies that bother you due to studio interference?  Comment down below with your thoughts!

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EclecticMusicLover April 19, 2017 - 11:24 am

Great post! You certainly cover a lot of films and provide interesting details.

MovieBabble April 19, 2017 - 12:25 pm

Thanks so much! It definitely took a little research!


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