The Most Expensive Deleted Scenes In Film History

Down the years Hollywood studios have wasted millions on sequences that never saw the light of day. Here are some of the most expensive…

Superman Returns - Supes Goes Back To Krypton

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Critics and audiences might have thought differently about Bryan Singer’s 2006 take on the Man Of Steel were he to have included his original opening, which according to legend cost $10 million and featured a unitard-wearing Supes (Brandon Routh) returning to the remains of his home planet in one of those cool crystal spaceships.

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Gliding around the debris, he sees a large S carved into the rock, before feeling shonky because the entire thing is made up of – surprise, surprise – green Kryptonite.

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The feel of the scene is – as many viewers have commented – more akin to Stanley Kubrick than comic book and the ethereal vibe certainly lends it gravitas. But ultimately, we want to see Superman saving mankind on Earth, which is why – along with the differing tone – that Singer probably chose to eschew it. Watch it here.

The Brothers Grimm - The Tree Attack

“I cut out the most expensive scene in the movie.” That’s what director Terry Gilliam said about his flop, in which a deleted sequence shows CGI trees coming to life and attacking the heroes (Matt Damon and Heath Ledger).

Gilliam admitted he ditched the scene when his old Python comrade Terry Jones suggested it ruined the flow of the film.

Almost Famous - Stairway To Heaven

It’s no secret that writer/director Cameron Crowe loves to soundtrack his films liberally. This semi-autobiographical tale is the apotheosis of that obsession, with the music budget reaching an amazing $3.5million (most films cost less than $1.5m).

But one song choice proved too far even for Crowe. In order to demonstrate the importance of music to his life, William (Patrick Fugit) plays his mother and assorted hangers-on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’. The entire thing.

Despite being punctuated by comedy, courtesy of his sister’s boyfriend’s air playing, it’s still basically just watching a bunch of people listening to a song. Crowe couldn’t afford to licence the tune and the scene remains a deleted curio. Watch it here.

Watchmen - Tales Of The Black Freighter

When Zack Snyder took on the mantle of directing Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal comic book, his goal was always to stay as close to the source material as possible. It had already worked once before with ‘300’.

But ‘Watchmen’ is a slightly more complex beast and one of its many layers is the pirate comic-within-a-comic ‘Tales Of The Black Freighter’, which a young boy is reading on the streets of Moore’s epic.

Snyder initially wanted to include it. The film company didn’t, especially since the movie’s running time was already pushing three hours. Ultimately, Snyder shot the story as a 26-minute animation, with Gerard Butler leading the voice cast. After dabbling with inserting it into the main narrative, it was instead released as a very pricey (30-50% more than average), straight-to-DVD bonus.

Little Shop Of Horrors - The Dark Original Ending

Those who saw the musical on Broadway will have been familiar with the original ending director Frank Oz shot for his 1986 screen adaptation starring Rick Moranis as a lowly garden shop worker who raises a soul-voiced plant with a taste for human flesh.

The 23-minute sequence cost $5 million and featured Audrey II and her clones taking over the world, with Seymour (Moranis) even feeding her his girlfriend (Ellen Greene) before being eaten himself.

Unsurprisingly, movie audiences didn’t much care for the frankly terrifying finale and it was changed to something a bit more upbeat. The original briefly made an appearance on a special edition DVD, before producer David Geffen removed it from view.

But for fans of this curious musical comedy, the sight of giant red-lipped cabbages eating everything and everyone in sight while a Broadway number plays in the background represents a missed opportunity to push the film even more leftfield. Watch it here.

World War Z - The Entire Third Act

During the torturous production of ‘World War Z’, it was decided after an early screening that the entire last act of the film just didn’t work. None of it.

So producer Brad Pitt and writer Damon Lindelof decided to scrap it and start again, swelling the budget from $120 million to $190 million in the process.

The cut footage included an epic 12-minute battle sequence that saw Pitt battling zombies in Moscow’s Red Square. The Russian-set story was deemed “too political” and wasn’t character-driven enough however, so the team switched it for a more conventional ending involving Pitt trying to discover a cure for the zombie pandemic with the help of Peter Capaldi in Wales (obviously).

“Once we shot it and we did a rough cut, everyone agreed that this is too big and too exhausting,” Forster told Movies.com, “it would be better to go a simpler route.”

You can still glimpses of these ridiculously expensive deleted scenes in the montage right at the end of the film.

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