Since the Golden Age of Hollywood movie studios have held test screenings of soon-to-be-released movies to gauge audience reactions by asking those in the audience to fill out questionnaires or take part in focus groups to discuss how the movie they saw could be improved. Many directors feel it isn't fair that studio executives will drastically change movies based on the opinions of small groups of people, and there are plenty of horror stories about masterpieces like Blade Runner being recut in the attempt to make the films more mainstream. There is also the legendary mind-boggling story of a test audience for The Wizard Of Oz suggesting that producers remove Over The Rainbow because they thought the song was too slow (thankfully, they didn't listen). With those examples in mind, it's easy to side with the directors, right? Actually, in some cases test audiences are more on point about a film's problems than filmmakers and studio executives care to admit. In some cases the test audience had a better idea of what makes the movie great than the people who made it. While pride might hold directors back from admitting that test audiences saved a particular movie, the opinions of test audiences have uncovered problems of all sizes with movies or have changed the minds of executives eager to trim a lengthy movie. After reviewing this list of movies that were improved by the opinions of test audiences, let us know if you think these test audiences really deserve credit for improving these movies in the comments!
Chris McKittrick is a published author of fiction and non-fiction and has spoken about film and comic books at conferences across the United States. In addition to his work at WhatCulture!, he is a regular contributor to CreativeScreenwriting.com, MovieBuzzers.com, and DailyActor.com, a website focused on acting in all media. For more information, visit his website at http://www.chrismckit.com.