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Five on Friday: 5 movies that were re-edited for not making the cut

In CNA's regular look at what hit the headlines during the week, Five on Friday looks at five movies that were re-edited (more than once for some) after their release.

Five on Friday: 5 movies that were re-edited for not making the cut

File photo of an editing room. (Photo: iStock)

SINGAPORE: Remember the times when you frantically try to delete a message on WhatsApp because you need to retract something you said? 

How about when you’ve published a Facebook post and realised there's a grammatical error? 

All it takes are a few clicks on the "Edit" or "Delete" buttons and chances are, the reader is none the wiser.

But what if you’ve released a movie and you want or need to change it? Sounds impossible?

Apparently, no.

Recently, filmgoers in China were treated to a different version of the latest movie in the Despicable Me franchise, Minions: The Rise of Gru, several weeks after the film was released in cinemas in the United States.

Unlike the international version, the film that was screened in China saw an alternative ending in which the good guys win.

A series of subtitled still images inserted into the credits sequence on mainland Chinese screens reassures the audience that police catch Gru's law-breaking mentor Wild Knuckles and lock him up for 20 years after a failed heist.

Meanwhile, Gru "eventually became one of the good guys", devoted to raising his family, the Chinese ending said.

Yet, this is not the first time such edits have happened. Here are five other movies that were re-edited after their release:

BLADE RUNNER

When I say Blade Runner, which movie do you think of? The one released in 2017 starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford or the original 1982 version with Ford?

For fans of the original, do you know how many different versions the 1982 movie had?

At least five.

The very first release of the sci-fi classic, known as the theatrical cut, had studio-mandated voiceovers and a happier ending which director Ridley Scott did not want.

Then came the international cut released for audiences worldwide which was gorier and more violent.

There was also what was called the workprint, referring to a rough cut of the film, discovered by a film preservationist in 1989.

The discovery of the workprint is said to have triggered the idea of releasing new and more definitive versions of Blade Runner for the public.

Hence in 1992, a new version - the director’s cut - was released and both the voiceover and happy ending were dropped. While it was called the director’s cut, Scott did not actually supervise the film as he was working on another project and so he was not totally satisfied with the outcome.

For the 25th anniversary release of Blade Runner in 2007, Scott wanted a true director’s cut to be released into the world and so he did just that and called it the final cut.

No voiceover, no happy ending, no problem (for Scott at least).

Five versions of the film have been put together into a Blade Runner ultimate collector’s edition so for all of you avid fans, here’s how it looks.

Blade Runner, five-disc ultimate collector's edition. (Screenshot: Amazon.com)

ALADDIN

Screengrab from the song Arabian nights featured in Aladdin. (Screenshot: YouTube/Prince & Princess)

Aladdin – a movie we know and a movie we love. At least I do, especially the animated version released in 1992.

A big part of the movie’s success, besides late actor Robin Williams' portrayal of the Genie, is the music. A Whole New World was my anthem growing up.

It’s no surprise that the Disney movie went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.

Yet, one particular song did find itself in the midst of a controversy. 

The opening song Arabian Nights originally featured lines such as "Where they cut off your ear/If they don't like your face/It's barbaric, but hey, it's home”.

Arab-American Anti-Discrimination groups demanded the line be changed because of its portrayal of Arabic people as violent barbarians.

The lyrics were changed in July 1993 to "Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense. It's barbaric, but hey, it's home", with the change first appearing on the video release in the same year.

Some groups still weren’t too fond of the use of the word “barbaric” and strove to have it altered, but Disney refused.

“Barbaric refers to the land and the heat and not to the people,” Disney distribution president Dick Cook explained to the LA Times in 1993.

LILO AND STITCH

A comparison of the scene where Lilo hides from Nani in the original version (left) and the re-edited version of Disney+ (right). (Photo: Twitter/@HappyKittyShop5)

Die-hard fans of the animated movie Lilo and Stitch were not too pleased when they realised the version of the movie on streaming service Disney+ had been edited.

In the theatrical version, a character called Cobra Bubbles, a former CIA agent-turned-social worker, stops by to check on the titular character Lilo and her sister Nani's house.

In the scene after he leaves, Nani gets angry at Lilo for making a bad impression and chases her around the house until they end up in the laundry room. In the original version of the movie, Lilo jumps into a dryer to hide.

But in the Disney+ version, Lilo does not hide in a dryer. Instead, she is in a furniture of some kind, behind a pizza box.

The executive decision to edit the scene was done so that children will not follow Lilo's footsteps and try to hide in a dryer, which could be potentially dangerous.

I see where the safety concerns are coming from. On the other hand, I’m also impressed that some eagle-eyed fans were able to spot the difference. I definitely would not have picked up on it.

HEAVEN'S GATE

I don’t know about you but I for one would not be able to sit through a five-hour movie.

Heaven’s Gate, a 1980 Western epic film by the late director Michael Cimino, lasted for five hours and 25 minutes when its first cut was shown to the studio.

The studio refused to release a movie that long so Cimino went on to cut out a chunk of the film. The version that was screened at a premiere ran three hours and 39 minutes.

But things still did not work out as the film ended up receiving an overwhelmingly negative reception which eventually led to it being pulled from cinemas.

Cimino re-edited the film to two hours and 29 minutes and released it in April 1981, the only version that screened in wide release.

Despite all this, the film still remained a financial failure and was declared a disaster then. Interestingly, over the years, opinions on the movie have shifted, with some calling it a masterpiece.

INCREDIBLES 2

Light-sensitive viewers took issue with the first release of the 2018 sequel to the Incredibles. 

The Disney and Pixar movie had set the record for best debut for animated film and it became the fourth-highest grossing film of the year.

But the movie was re-edited to pass what is called the Harding Box Test, which is used to look at video footage for flashing lights and patterns that may trigger a seizure in people with photosensitive epilepsy.

This came after concerns when the film first aired in the US that some scenes could cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy.

The villain in the movie, known as The Screenslaver, uses hypnotic flashing videos to put people in a trance and the repeated light flashes could be problematic for light-sensitive viewers, argued some viewers.

A viral Twitter thread soon made its rounds, warning viewers of the flashing lights and some cinemas put up signs to inform the audience.

Eventually, Disney re-edited the film to comply with the Harding Box test, with the altered version having reduced flashing images.

Source: CNA/ng(ta)
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