19 Movies That Were Altered After Public Backlash

In this business of show, you gotta give audiences what they want.

As is the nature of supply and demand, the public has had a massive effect on what the film industry produces for them.


Warner Bros./Paramount

Such an impact comes after audiences unleash waves of controversy over who or what appears in a film, especially now that they can share their opinions worldwide on social media. So be prepared, as we’re going to look back at 19 films that were altered by public backlash.

WARNING: SPOILERS AND MATURE CONTENT AHEAD!!!

19.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)


Paramount

We should’ve expected this one from Michael Bay after what he did with the Transformers franchise. At Nickelodeon’s upfront presentation in 2012, Bay revealed that this TMNT film would have the heroic turtles instead hail from an alien planet and that the film would be titled Ninja Turtles. Fans were not happy about this creative decision, with Michaelangelo actor Robbie Rist saying that Bay was “sodomizing” the franchise. Bay thus decided to have the Turtles have an origin loyal to the source material, with Megan Fox’s April making a jab at this scandal in the film.

18.

Hellboy (2019)


Lionsgate

Ed Skrein was originally set to play the werejaguar Ben Daimio in Neil Marshall’s Hellboy reboot. But once he learned his character was of Asian descent by outraged fans, Skrein stepped down from his role. He was eventually replaced with Daniel Dae Kim, but even that wasn’t enough to salvage this cursed film, as Hellboy ended up being a critical and commercial bomb.

17.

Suicide Squad


Warner Bros.

After the brutal reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. decided to steer clear of their initially dark approach to the DCEU and win back their fans. The studio scrambled to reshoot and edit scenes from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad as it was scheduled to release in the same year. They chose to give the film a more comedic and upbeat tone in the vein of Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy, so they had the company that created the film’s beloved “Bohemian Rhapsody” take control of the film’s final cut. Of course, this turned out horribly, as Suicide Squad got even worse reviews than BvS.

16.

Fantasia


Disney

Disney is no stranger to racist controversies. Just look at the crows from Dumbo (one of them was actually named “Jim Crow”). But in the symphonic classic Fantasia, a Black centaur named Sunflower is shown polishing a white centaur’s hooves. Another Black centaur named Otika appears in the film rolling out a red carpet for Bacchus. Sunflower and Otika are clearly racist caricatures, and the fact that they are portrayed as servants to white characters added fuel to the fire. As a result of audiences criticizing these characters, Disney removed them from the film in the ’60s just as the Civil Rights Movement was rocking the US.

15.

Alien: Covenant


20th Century Studios

Ridley Scott originally decided to step away from the xenomorphs in his Alien prequel series that started with Prometheus. But once fans retaliated against the film for leaving out the iconic alien for much of the film, Scott decided to bring the xenomorph back into the spotlight with Alien: Covenant. While this could’ve made for a bigger box-office draw, Covenant underperformed at the box office and made less than Prometheus.

14.

Fantastic Four (2015)


20th Century Studios

The Fantastic Four have not had a good run in cinemas. Despite being Marvel’s First Family, this superhero team has yet to get the film they deserve. Their latest cinematic outing, directed by Josh Trank, was heavily criticized even before its release. Fans went ballistic when the film’s iteration of Doctor Doom would be named Victor Domashev instead of Victor von Doom. And so, the studio brought everyone back to do reshoots and made Doom’s name the same as his comic book counterpart’s.

13.

Justice League (2017)


Warner Bros.

Just like with Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. tried to change their game plan with Justice League. Once Zack Snyder left the director’s chair after a family tragedy, they hired Avengers director Joss Whedon to helm reshoots and ultimately overhaul the film. Such changes included a more lighthearted tone, more comedic moments, Superman getting a bad CGI lip, and removing any connections to BvS’s Knightmare sequence that set up the Justice League‘s war with Darkseid. Ironically, the subsequent backlash led to Snyder’s original cut of the film being released.

12.

The Predator


20th Century Studios

This film from Iron Man 3 director Shane Black came under fire after it was revealed that one of the actors in the movie was an actual predator. Steven Wilder Striegel, who played a small role in the film, tried to start a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl in 2010, and Black hired him knowing he was a registered sex offender. Star Olivia Munn approached Fox executives after learning the truth, and a scene in which Striegel’s character hits on Munn’s was understandably removed.

11.

Slender Man


Sony

Given Slender Man’s popularity, it was only natural that a production studio wanted to make a movie about him. But the timing couldn’t have been worse, as this film came four years after two girls attempted to murder their friend to appease Slender Man. Many people criticized the filmmakers for cashing in on such a controversial figure following its first trailer. So the filmmakers removed multiple scenes from the film to avoid more backlash, but this only succeeded in ruining the story.

10.

The Interview


Sony

It’s no surprise that this film created tensions between the US and North Korea, as it showed James Franco and Seth Rogen attempting to assassinate Kim Jong-un. North Korean hackers replied to this film’s production by launching a cyber attack on Sony Pictures and leaking private information to the masses. Though the film premiered on demand, Kim Jong-un’s death scene was digitally edited to appear less gory and avoid more controversy.

9.

Bird Box


Netflix

While this Netflix hit follows a group of people surviving an apocalypse caused by supernatural creatures, it garnered backlash for depicting a real-world tragedy. At the beginning of this film, a news channel displays footage of a train wreck, which was of the actual Lac-Mégantic train that crashed in 2013. This scene was subsequently edited to use footage from an American TV show instead.

8.

Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet


Disney

Though this film is meant to be about Wreck-It Ralph and his friend, Vanellope, the most memorable moment was when Vanellope met all of Disney’s princesses in a hilariously meta scene. However, audiences were outraged over how Princess Tiana and Pocahontas were designed differently in this film’s first trailer, specifically because their skins were made lighter. As a result, the animators changed these characters’ appearances to have them more resemble their 2D counterparts.

7.

Aladdin (1992)


Disney

Aladdin was one of Disney’s most successful films during the ‘90s, but such popularity brought controversy. Many complaints were made by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee concerning the film’s opening song, “Arabian Nights.” This song drew outrage for the lyric, “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.” This offensive lyric was removed and replaced when the film was released on home video.

6.

Army of the Dead


Netflix

This was the second time a Zack Snyder film was forced to undergo digital erasure, but thankfully, this incident was not mustache related. Actor Chris D’Elia was supposed to play the heroes’ helicopter pilot, but after he was accused of sexually harassing underage girls, he was replaced with Tig Notaro. This was all done thanks to some reshoots and some pretty stellar digital editing.

5.

The Devils


Warner Bros.

This religious drama is one of the most controversial films ever made, as it included many explicit, sexual, and violent scenes involving religious figures. The most notably shocking moment consists of a group of naked nuns sexually assaulting a statue of Christ. Unsurprisingly, this film was heavily censored, and three minutes were removed from its original cut for its American distribution.

4.

The Brown Bunny


Wellspring

This film was the very definition of self-indulgence, as writer/director/leading actor Vincent Gallo included a scene in which his character receives un-simulated fellatio from co-star Chloë Sevigny. This film was understandably panned at the Cannes Film Festival, which sparked a bitter feud between Gallo and critic Roger Ebert. However, all this criticism drove Gallo to re-edit the film, bringing the bloated runtime down from 119 minutes to 93.

3.

All the Money in the World


Sony

Ridley Scott was faced with the daunting task of removing Kevin Spacey from his film just a month before its release. After Spacey was accused of being a sexual predator and rapist, Scott reshot Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer replacing him as character Jean Paul Getty, and Plummer was nominated for an Academy Award for his sudden performance, which was completed in only eight days.

2.

Sonic the Hedgehog


Paramount

This has to be one of the worst cases of fan backlash over CGI in recent years. We all remember how everyone slammed Sonic the Hedgehog after finally seeing the titular hero’s disturbing cinematic appearance. As a result, the film was delayed a few months so the filmmakers could recreate the blue hedgehog, and all the hard work paid off in the end, as the film became a critical and commercial success.

1.

Cats


Universal

Director Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Cats had failed before it was even released, as many people criticized the CGI used to create the film’s humanoid felines. Even though the filmmakers had months since the trailer’s release to finish the effects, they were still less than desirable. So the studio released another version of the film with more polished CGI after its premiere. But at that point, the damage was already done.

Do you agree with this list? Are there any other altered films that I missed? Please let me know in the comments section below.

By Indana