Studio Interference: two words that strike more dread in film fans than extensive re-shoots, another reboot and CGI Moustache. Being a director is a hard enough job as it is; they have to balance budgetary constraints, prevent continuity errors and make sure everyone on set knows what they're doing, amongst many other responsibilities. The last thing they need is someone else forcing them to mess it around, often at the last minute.
Granted, sometimes it is completely justified, and makes the film all the better for it. Take Alien and Get Out for example, which both saw their final moments changed, preventing their much bleaker original endings and allowing them to become the great achievements they are today.
Sadly though, these moments are few and far between. Yes, film is a collaborative medium, but way too many times we see instances where directors are inundated with ridiculous demands, sometimes not even originating from the studio itself! While trying their best to check all the boxes, some mandates are so terrible that even the best in the business aren't able to weave them into their films in satisfying ways. Inevitably sticking out like a sore thumb, us film fans can see right through this. These are the worst offenders.
10. Spoilers At The Start - Dark City
Dark City is the hidden gem of 1990s science-fiction films. While overshadowed in the pop culture sphere by its not-too-distant cousin The Matrix, the neo-noir thriller is an impressive effort in its own right. Featuring The Strangers, an ominous and mysterious organisation keen on hunting down amnesiac John Murdoch, the eerily uneasy tone alone is enough to get your teeth stuck into, which was aided by great performances, especially one against type from Kiefer Sutherland.
The film does an excellent job of making you feel something's not quite right, but unsure exactly what, as it slowly peels back the mystery behind The Strangers and the city around them.
Unless you're watching the theatrical cut, that is. You see, the studio didn't think that audiences were smart enough to understand the premise for the film, so decided to push for one tiny tweak.
And what small change was that? Only to add an opening narration by Kiefer that virtually spoils the main mystery of the film (essentially everything about The Strangers) before it even had a chance to break the one-minute mark. The fact that this was swiftly removed by Alex Proyas for the director's cut pretty much sums up his thoughts on it too.