The end of a film needs to leave a lasting impression. It's our whole experience of the film boiled down into the last 10 minutes: the big reveal, the lasting poignant tone, the grand pay off for investing two hours of our time into staring at a little glowing screen - so it better be worthwhile.
With that in mind, it's scary to think of what we could have ended up with if a diligent scriptwriter hadn't caught some of these catastrophic endings before they ruined their respective films.
Now, obviously, scripts go through lots of stages of development before they make it to the big screen, but when you consider some of the missteps that have almost ruined films before, it's a wonder the scripts even made it past the first vetting stage. Clearly - and thankfully - the studios realised that there was enough quality up to the flash of idiocy to justify putting in a little more work.
Still, it's frightening to think that some of the most iconic movies in cinema almost sabotaged themselves at the final hurdle, beginning their lives with a draft detailing a disastrous third act that would have blockaded their entrance into cinematic Valhalla and rendered them trash...
The film that launched Kevin Smith's career almost ended very differently, adding a tone change so severe it would have ruined the entirety of the goodwill the film carefully built up until that moment.
A seemingly random addition to what is a perfectly good play-out, it's something that could have affected Smith's clout in the industry before he even had any. Let's just be glad the Jay and Silent Bob creator went with the choice he did.
A black and white comedy film, Clerks runs on the simple concept of its title - we watch store clerks Dante and Randal as they go about their days in their shops, discussing films, playing hockey, and annoying the few customers that come. Trying to fix their lives for the better, the pair are unhappy with how things are currently playing out, though the solutions never quite work out as planned.
Clerks ends with Dante and Randal having a fight, reconciling, and cleaning Dante's store before closing for the evening, following the A-Typical set up of the films premise.
Kevin Smith originally filmed a sequence where Dante is shot by a burglar just after Randal leaves the store. The film uses the same sequence in its actual ending, just cuts it short to avoid the completely off-tone murder, as advised by Smith's two mentors. The change allowed his film to become a cult hit, so was definitely the right call to make for a confused young filmmaker - you can see just how bizarre the original sequence was below.