2024 will mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the Renny Harlin shark thriller Deep Blue Sea (watch it HERE) – and some fans feel the best way for distributor Warner Bros. to celebrate would be to release the film’s original ending. There’s a petition to let Warner Bros. know there’s interest in this idea, and the campaign has not only earned a show of support from the film’s star Thomas Jane (who said it would be “kinda fun” to see if fans can get the studio’s attention), but even a financial contribution from Harlin, who felt his contribution might help with the legitimacy of this fan movement.
Directed by Harlin from a screenplay by Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, and Wayne Powers, Deep Blue Sea has the following synopsis: On an island research facility, Dr. Susan McAlester is harvesting the brain tissue of DNA-altered sharks as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease. When the facility’s backers send an executive to investigate the experiments, a routine procedure goes awry and a shark starts attacking the researchers. Now, with sharks outnumbering their human captors, McAlester and her team must figure out a way to stop them from escaping to the ocean and breeding.
Thomas Jane is joined in the cast by Saffron Burrows, L.L. Cool J, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, and Aida Turturro.
The ending of Deep Blue Sea was changed with a one day reshoot that took place just one month before the film’s theatrical release. Harlin explained the change in an interview with Mandatory: “At the test screening the audience was really with the movie and when Sam Jackson gets eaten, the audience was screaming and laughing and we thought, okay, it’s a home run. When it came to the last seven minutes of the film, all of a sudden it just fell flat like a pancake and people kind of hated it. We were like, what the hell happened? It just shows how sometimes you can be clueless and you’re so deep in the project that you can’t read the audience’s mind. Basically what had happened was that the audience felt so deeply that the scientist character, the woman who was behind the whole experiment with the sharks (played by Saffron Burrows), that it was all her fault. In their minds, she was the bad guy and in our minds, she was the heroine and we thought saving her was the key. Basically, we had test cards that said, ‘Kill the bitch.’ It was an amazing revelation. I remember us all sitting down and going, ‘Holy shit, we are in trouble. How do we fix this?’ It was my idea, I said, ‘Okay, we don’t have time for a big reshoot but I have an idea. When she falls in the water, what if she doesn’t survive? She gets eaten by the sharks and L.L. Cool J is the hero. Everybody likes him, and Thomas Jane.’ We did a one-day reshoot at Universal Studios’ tank and it was a really simple shoot we did in order to change the ending of it. We did some CG work on the sharks and stuff like that, but it was a super fast fix and it saved the movie because the audience got what they wanted. It just goes to show that no matter how smart we think we are, it’s the audience who will tell us how it’s really supposed to be.“
As for why fans feel the original ending should be seen, the petition maker said, “The character of the film, Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) was recalled as a villain for her actions throughout the film, but it was already addressed in the film’s deleted scenes (and the film itself) that she wasn’t suppose to be. She regretted her decisions, and felt terrible after what she caused. And, for her to be the one who kills the shark at the end of the film made more sense to have her character arc completely resolved, and redeemed, other than having her die off for audience pleasure.“
Are you interested in seeing the original ending of Deep Blue Sea, and will you be signing the petition? Let us know by leaving a comment below.