Let’s face it, movies are two things — artistic expressions from the director/actors AND a business investment by the studios funding the production. No one is going to drop $50 million (sometimes much more) on an art project without expecting some sort of return on that money. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why there are so many stories about studio executives meddling with the production of a movie.
From script changes to casting decisions, studios are often quick to offer their suggestions if they think it will help the movie make more money at the box office. And if the financial outlook turns sour, those suggestions often become demands, leading to behind the scenes drama and (usually) an even worse final product.
Not all studio executives are non-creative pencil pushers or bean counters, though. Some come from a creative background themselves, and a few of these movies were improved by having the studio step in and put their foot down on certain details.
Regardless of whether it was for better or worse, here are ten movies that were drastically changed when the studios got involved.
10. Toy Story (1995)
It’s hard to imagine that Toy Story as anything other than the damn perfect movie that it was. It was the first feature film by Pixar and helped usher in an era of computer-animated films, rather than traditional animation. Pixar would go on to even bigger and better success stories, including several Toy Story sequels.
But it took a lot of tinkering to get Toy Story just right. It was originally based on a short film (also by Pixar) called Tin Toy, a five-minute clip about a small musical toy trying to escape the clutches of a destructive toddler. Disney (who already had an agreement in place to buy Pixar at the time) felt Tin Toy was a bit too childish and asked Pixar to make the movie a bit more mature to attract older kids and their parents, maybe even the teenage crowd.
Unfortunately, Pixar was too successful in following those demands. The main characters of Woody and Buzz became annoying sarcastic jerks, turning off test audiences and studio execs. Disney ordered director John Lasseter to try again. Thankfully, the Pixar team nailed it on their third attempt. Toy Story made more than ten times its budget at the box office, was nominated for four Oscars (winning the Special Achievement award), and spawned two more sequels, with a fourth installment releasing this past summer.